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Parenthetical Citation

Parenthetical citation is referencing works of others in your text that can be traced back to your works cited or bibliography. This allows people to know which sources you used in writing your essay and then further research, if desired.  

Some teachers refer to parenthetical citation as just "citation" or they may use the words "cite" or "citing."

When you are adding direct quotes or indirect quotes/paraphrases to your paper/project, you MUST cite those quotes.  If you don't, you are plagiarizing.

The following are some basic guidelines for referring to the works of others in your text in MLA format:

MLA format follows the author-page method of parenthetical citation. This means that the author's last name and the page number(s) from which the quote or paraphrase is taken must appear in the text, and a complete reference should appear on your Works Cited page. The author or source's name may appear either in the sentence itself or in parentheses following the quotation or paraphrase, but the page number(s) should always appear in the parentheses, not in the text of your sentence.

Print Sources with Known Author: For Print sources like books, magazines, scholarly journal articles, and newspapers, provide a signal word or phrase (usually the author’s last name) and a page number. {See first example below}. 

Here is an example:
Romantic poetry is characterized by the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (Wordsworth 263).

If you provide the signal word/phrase in the sentence preceding the citation, you do not need to include it in the parenthetical citation but remember to add the page number to the citation.

Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (263).

Print Sources with No Known Author: When a source has no known author, use a shortened title of the work instead of an author name and also provide the page number the quote/indirect quote was found on. This shortened title should be traced back to its entry in the works cited.  and provide a page number.


We see so many global warming hotspots in North America likely because this region has “more readily accessible climatic data and more

comprehensive programs to monitor and study environmental change . . . ” (Impact of Global Warming 6).