MLA Style: In-Text & Parenthetical Citations

About In-Text & Parenthetical Citations

Whenever you quote, paraphrase, or even write a sentence that is not completely original thought: You include an in-text or parenthetical citation before you close out the sentence.

In-text and parenthetical citations provide brief and relevant information for readers of your paper to know which fully-detailed bibliographic citation at the end of your paper is referenced and where.

You are not limited to only using either in-text or parenthetical citations in your paper, you can use both throughout.

One Author

In-Text Components:
Author text (page numbers).

In-Text Example:
Peters proposes that as society works towards inclusivity, it would behoove music studies within academia to reflect on their programs and curriculum as they “are often steeped in past traditions that [are] exclusionary as to gender and race, they can unintentionally cultivate a culture that continues to marginalize students [and] faculty” (22).


Parenthetical Format Components:
Text (Author page numbers).

Parenthetical Format Example:
As society works towards inclusivity, it would behoove music studies within academia to reflect on their programs and curriculum as they “are often steeped in past traditions that [are] exclusionary as to gender and race, they can unintentionally cultivate a culture that continues to marginalize students [and] faculty” (Peters 22).


Peters, Gretchen. “Do Students See Themselves in the Music Curriculum? A Project to Encourage Inclusion.” Music Educators Journal, vol. 102, no. 4, 2016, pp. 22–29. JSTOR, doi:10.1177/0027432116644330.

Two Authors

In-Text Components:
First Author and Second Author text (page numbers).

In-Text Example:
Haidt and Rose-Stockwell argue: “If social media creates incentives for moral grandstanding rather than authentic communication, then we should look for ways to reduce those incentives” (60).


Parenthetical Format Components:
Text (First Author and Second Author page numbers).

Parenthetical Format Example:
“If social media creates incentives for moral grandstanding rather than authentic communication, then we should look for ways to reduce those incentives” (Haidt and Rose-Stockwell 60).


Haidt, Jonathan, and Tobias Rose-Stockwell. “Why It Feels like Everything Is Going Haywire.” The Atlantic, vol. 324, no. 6, Dec. 2019, pp. 56–60. Academic Search Complete, libproxy.howardcc.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=139493517&site=ehost-live.

Three or More Authors

In-Text Components:
First Author et al. text (page numbers).

In-Text Example:
Stapleton et al. assert that while it is a common practice on Instagram for users to post in an idealized and performative manner not representative of reality, some users might perceive that others truly have a better and hence enviable life (143).


Parenthetical Format Components:
Text (First Author et al. page numbers).

Parenthetical Format Example:
While it is a common practice on Instagram for users to post in an idealized and performative manner not representative of reality, some users might perceive that others truly have a better and hence enviable life (Stapleton et al. 143).


Stapleton, Peta, et al. “Generation Validation: The Role of Social Comparison in Use of Instagram Among Emerging Adults.” CyberPsychology, Behavior & Social Networking, vol. 20, no. 3, Mar. 2017, pp. 142–149. Academic Search Complete, libproxy.howardcc.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=121610377&site=ehost-live.

Organization (Commonly Abbreviated) as Author

In-Text Components:
Author text (page numbers).

In-Text Example:
When one does not have a tissue, the CDC urges people to cough or sneeze into their upper sleeve--which will both prevent germs from going airborne, but also allow any germs to die more quickly on cold fabric as opposed to warm skin (3).


Parenthetical Format Components:
Text (Author page numbers).

Parenthetical Format Example:
When one does not have a tissue, people need to cough or sneeze into their upper sleeve--which will both prevent germs from going airborne, but also allow any germs to die more quickly on cold fabric as opposed to warm skin (CDC 3).

Organization (No Abbreviation) as Author

In-Text Components:
Author text (page numbers).

In-Text Example:
The American Red Cross instructs that when providing first aid until EMS personnel arrive, outside of emergency situations, one should not move a seriously injured individual as such action could cause further injury and impede their recovery (11).


Parenthetical Format Components:
Text (Author page numbers).

Parenthetical Format Example:
When providing first aid until EMS personnel arrive, outside of emergency situations, one should not move a seriously injured individual as such action could cause further injury and impede their recovery (American Red Cross 11).

No Author

In-Text Components:
"Title of Resource" text (page numbers).

In-Text Example:
In "Persistent Depressive Disorder: A Constant Hum, a Ceaseless Drone," PDD is defined as a chronic form of depression that may have episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms, albeit its duration is prolonged and sometimes perennial (39).


Parenthetical Format Components:
Text ("Title of Resource Shortened" page numbers).

Parenthetical Format Example:
PDD is defined as a chronic form of depression that may have episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms, albeit its duration is prolonged and sometimes perennial ("Persistent" 39).

(Note: Parenthetical citations of sources with no authors should refer back to the title of the source with as few words as is possible without causing confusion.)

No Pages

In-Text Components:
Author text.

In-Text Example:
While pineapple is often derided as a pizza topping, most have only tried it paired with pig--Patel submits that pineapple and jalapeño pair quite well on a pizza together, for a delicious vegetarian option many have likely not tried.


Parenthetical Format Components:
Text (Author).

Parenthetical Format Example:
While pineapple is often derided as a pizza topping, most have only tried it paired with pig--whereas, pineapple and jalapeño pair quite well on a pizza together, for a delicious vegetarian option many have likely not tried (Patel).

Additional In-Text & Parenthetical Citation MLA Style Resources

In-Text & Parenthetical Citations Video