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MLA Citation Page: In-Text Citations

This page includes sources that will help you prepare a List of Works Cited in MLA format.

Welcome to in the in-text citation page!

Welcome to the in-text citation page. This page covers the basics of in-text citations for the new MLA guidelines. It will cover the basics for using quotes, paraphrasing, and citing images. If you have any additional questions please ask one of the librarians. We are always happy to help.

Hot Tips

1. The citation goes inside the period in a sentence.

Ex: (Richman 134).

2. You have to cite if you did not think of it.

3. Changing a few words does NOT make it in your own words.

4. Use direct quotes only when absolutely necessary

Exact Quote

If you quote directly from a source first use a comma then a space before using quotes. A good quote is only one sentence long.


Steven Spielberg said, "Every time I go to a movie it's magic, no matter what the movie's about" (Spielberg 192).

A Long Quote (More than Four Lines)

If a quote is more than fours lines then it needs to be in it's own block of text with 1/2 inch margins. In the example below you will see the indent increase when the quoted paragraph is introduced. It then returns to the original margins when the quote is finished.


Notice how Rudyard Kipling describes how the family of wolves awaken at dawn in the very beginning of The Jungle Book. It is not only the literal dawn, but the dawn of the story as Father Wolf begins his hunt where he will ultimately find the baby Mowgli: the protagonist.

"It was seven o’clock of a very warm evening in the Seeonee hills when Father Wolf woke up from his day’s rest, scratched himself, yawned, and spread out his paws one after the other to get rid of the sleepy feeling in their tips. Mother Wolf lay with her big gray nose dropped across her four tumbling, squealing cubs, and the moon shone into the mouth of the cave where they all lived. “Augrh!” said Father Wolf. “It is time to hunt again.” He was going to spring down hill when a little shadow with a bushy tail crossed the threshold and whined: “Good luck go with you, O Chief of the Wolves. And good luck and strong white teeth go with noble children that they may never forget the hungry in this world”  (Kipling 1).

It begins very warm and fuzzy, they are wolves in the jungle after all. We are introduced to the parents before anyone else, and a glimpse of foreshadowing with the "squealing pups". The paragraph includes three levels of beginnings from the story, to the day, an the beginning of life. Whether Kipling intended this triple layering or not it what we shall explore in this paper.


These are the trickiest types of citations because you have to cite another's idea or piece of evidence but in your own words to save space or clarify a point. In these cases using quotation marks are unnecessary because they are are not directly quoting a source.


Original Example as a Direct Quote:

" The report showed there were an estimated 1.2 million violent crimes in the U.S. last year. Though the violent crime numbers rose from 2015 to 2016, the five-year and 10-year trends show an increase from 2012 (up 2.6 percent) and a decrease from 2007 (down 12.3 percent)" (Federal Bureau of Investigation).


Paraphrased Example:

Despite a recent increase, violent crime overall is in decline in the United States (Federal Bureau of Investigation).

An Image or Graph

To cite a, image/table/graph in the text you must first give it a title and a number and place that in parentheses with a caption below. The number depends on the order the image/table/graph appears in your paper. 

(Image 1)

The Scarlet Knight

Source: "The Scarlet Knight". Scarletnights, Accessed 11 Nov 2017


In-Text Citation Video

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