MLA In-Text Citations: Formatically Can Help! Try it FREE

MLA In-Text Citations

JULY 1, 2017

Using in-text citations in your research papers is an important way to prevent plagiarism. This can be easy to do if you only use 1-2 sources in a paper, but if you are doing a research paper with several sources, it can be a nightmare! 

Let Formatically help you cite your sources in MLA format correctly so you can spend more time on, well, anything else!

Formatically Makes In-Text Citations A Breeze

The in-text citation tool within Formatically is almost done! You can create an account here to be the first to know when the feature is released.

When the tool is done, and you have an account you'll need to click on the "upload your essay" button under the essay page section. This will open the essay editor. Once there you'll be able to upload your essay. Formatically will automatically detect quotations and ask if you'd like to create an in-text citation for each.

MLA in-text citations in Formatically coming soon

You'll be prompted to answer a few questions and eventually type the appropriate information into a box. Formatically will make sure spacing, commas, and captilization are all correct.

That's it! Want to be one of the first to try it out? Either create an account, or sign up for updates in the box below.

Using in-text citations in your research papers is an important way to prevent plagiarism. This can be easy to do if you only use 1-2 sources in a paper, but if you are doing a research paper with several sources, it can be a nightmare! 

Let Formatically help you cite your sources in MLA format correctly so you can spend more time on, well, anything else!

Formatically will make In-Text Citations A Breeze

The in-text citation tool within Formatically is almost done! You can create an account here to be the first to know when the feature is released.

When the tool is done, and you have an account you'll need to click on the "upload your essay" button under the essay page section. This will open the essay editor. Once there you'll be able to upload your essay. Formatically will automatically detect quotations and ask if you'd like to create an in-text citation for each.

MLA in-text citations in Formatically coming soon

You'll be prompted to answer a few questions and eventually type the appropriate information into a box. Formatically will make sure spacing, commas, and captilization are all correct.

That's it! Want to be one of the first to try it out? Either create an account, or sign up for updates in the box below.

MLA In-Text Citations: A Quick & Easy Guide

Learning how to cite sources in MLA format is an important skill that will make writing research essays much easier. Even when using a tool like Formatically, it is good to understand some of the basics of MLA in-text citations so you can use our citation tool for any kind of source you run across. 

Why do I need in-text citations?

To put it simply: In-text citations allow your reader to find where your quotes or borrowed material came from.

Paired with a well-written works cited page, your in-text citations will show that you are giving credit to the original sources. It also helps your reader find the source if they want to learn more about it. Believe it or not, teachers do occasionally look up your sources to make sure they are real – and using the wrong citations can lead to lots of trouble!

How do I cite quotes and paraphrases in my paper?

Whenever you are using someone else’s material in your paper, it is important to follow these 3 basic steps:

1. Introduce the quote/paraphrase by using a signal phrase.

A signal phrase is the best way to tell your reader that what you’re about to say isn’t yours. It introduces readers to the author, source title, or other important information they need to know before you add in a quote or paraphrase! Just adding in a quote to your paper without any kind of warning is called a dropped quote, which is not only incorrect – it’s a major pet peeve of writing teachers everywhere!

It is not good enough to just copy and paste a quote into your paper. Adding a signal phrase like “Dr. Smith states…” is an easy way to fix a dropped quote and shows you can write like an intelligent, professional adult!

Here is an example of a dropped quote, and how to use a signal phrase to fix it:

WRONG / Dropped Quote:

In 2000, the legislation of Suffolk County passes a law restricting drivers’ use of handheld phones. “The bill prohibits the use of a cell phone while driving unless it is equipped with an earpiece or can act like a speakerphone, leaving the driver’s hands free” (Kelley 1).

CORRECT / Added Signal Phrase (in orange). 

In 2000, the legislature of Suffolk County passes a law restricting drivers’ use of handheld phone. According to journalist Tina Kelley, “The bill prohibits the use of a cell phone while driving unless it is equipped with an earpiece or can act like a speakerphone, leaving the driver’s hands free” (1).

2. Add in the quote/paraphrase and cite correctly.

After the signal phrase, add in your quote or paraphrase with a citation in parentheses at the end. Typically, citations have the author’s last name and the quote’s page number at the end in parentheses. However, if you use the author’s name in the signal phrase, you only need to put the page number in parentheses.

Example with author in signal phrase:

Most states do not keep adequate records on the number of times cell phones are a factor in accidents; as of December 2000, only ten states were trying to keep such records (Sundeen 2).

Example with author not in signal phrase:

According to Matt Sundeen, most states do not keep adequate records on the number of times cell phones are a factor in accidents; as of December 2000, only ten states were trying to keep such records (2).

Knowing where to put MLA in-text citations and punctuating them correctly can be complicated. Luckily, Formatically’s in-text citation tool will do that for you! All you need to do is type in the author’s name (or article title) and the page number, and Formatically handles the rest!

3. Explain how the quote/paraphrase applies to your thesis.

Once you have introduced and added in your quote or paraphrase, you’re not done! You’ll need to explain why that quote is important to your paper, or how it applies to your overall thesis statement. 

Reasons why you would add in a quote:

  • To introduce an idea or define an important term for your readers
  • To get the reader’s attention
  • To inform readers about a topic
  • To show evidence that supports your argument
  • To refute those who disagree with you
  • To encourage an emotional response in your reader
  • To inspire readers to take action

If you follow these 3 simple steps, your paper will sound more polished and professional, and you will easily avoid plagiarism!

 How do I cite a source if…

…I don’t know the author’s name?

Use the title of your source instead of the author in the parentheses. If the title is really long, just use a shortened version of it instead.

Example:

The sky is blue during the day, and black at night (“Information on the Sky” 9).

…the source is written by a lot of people. 

If 2 people wrote it, use both names in the order they appear on your source. If 3+ people wrote it, use the first author’s name followed by “et al.”

Example:

A team can be defined as "a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable" (Katzenbach and Smith 45).

Cogdill et al. argue that "making backchannel overtly available for study would require making its presence and content visible and its content persist, affecting the nature of the backchannel and raising social and ethical issues" (109).

…the source is a website, and not a printed book?

Whatever you do, DO NOT add hyperlinks in your paper! For a website, just use the author’s name or title of the website. Since websites don’t have page numbers, just leave that part blank.

Example:

The use of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems has grown substantially over the past five years as companies attempt to adapt to customer needs and to improve their profitability ("Making CRM Work").

…the author is a corporation, and not a person?

Treat the name of the corporation as the author. It’s that simple!

Example:

Interest in gender roles and responsibilities over the past decade has been "driven by the realization that women often do not benefit from development activities and in some cases become even poorer and more marginalized" (Centre for Development and Population Activities 3).

…I want to use a quote the source used? Like a quote within a quote?

This is called an indirect quote, and all you have to do is credit who said the quote in a signal phrase, and end by telling us which source you got it from by using “qtd. in” in parentheses.

Example:

Researchers Botan and McCreadie point out “workers are objects of information collection without participating in the process of exchanging the information…” (qtd. in Kizza and Ssanyu, 14).

MLA 7th Edition

When writing your academic paper, having a Works Cited page is not enough. You also have to insert in-text citations whenever you use a quote or paraphrase information that came from a credible source. Here’s a guide to make writing in-text citations easier. If you need to know about other types, then scroll to the bottom and click the link.

Parenthetical Citations 

Simply put, each source that you utilize, whether through direct quotations or paraphrase, needs to include an in-text citation. Each in-text citation will reference a source also found on your Work Cited page. It is important that your in-text citations and Work Cited page entries correspond directly so your reader can access your information quickly and easily. The in-text citation should always come after the material you cited, most commonly at the end of the sentence, and include a page number (unless your sources are unpaginated). While it may seem daunting at first, formatting your in-text citations is actually fairly easy.

1. If the author is named in the sentence…

In the following example, the signal phrase, According to John Smith, already names the author. As a result, the corresponding in-text citation does not need to name the author an addition time. It does, however, need to denote the page number where the quoted words are found. Using the MLA Template, if a quotation ends with an exclamation point or a question mark, these punctuations remain intact, while you add a period at the end of the sentence. Remember that the final period comes after the in-text citation.

Example:

According to John Smith, the amount of brutality during the war was aggravated by the tensions between the two countries, which “puts all the people caught in between at an alarming risk”(123).

2. If the author is not named within the sentence…

Alternatively, if you don’t use a signal phrase, the MLA Format Template requires you to put the author’s last name inside the parentheses along with the page number, and without punctuation between the two.

Example:

Racial discrimination is largely in part due to cultural differences, stemming from the sheer number of ethnicities in the world (Doe 345).

3. If the author is unknown…

In cases where the author of a source is unknown, the MLA Template requires you to use a shortened title of the source as the in-text citation. If the source is long-form, italicize the title; if it is short-form, like an article, its title is put in quotation marks.

Example:

Exercise is undoubtedly one of the healthiest things a human being is capable of doing (“Exercise”).

4. If the page number is unknown…

In the case of citing a source that doesn’t have a page number (like web pages), the MLA Format Template necessitates you to include only the author’s name. However, if the source has numbered paragraphs, it is best to use “par.”or “pars.”when giving the in-text citation.

Example:

A recent poll on Online Journals about the perceived effects of rock music on the study habits of 12th graders indicate that people think rock music negatively affects the students’ study habits (Gabor).

5. If the source only has one page…

According to the MLA Template, you are not required to provide the page number if the source is only a page long. However, your teacher might still require doing so to avoid any confusion.

Example:

Lana Diamandis reports that the negative correlation between the time couples spend apart and their perceived fondness of each other are still affected by other external factors (1). However, these factors may or may not have a direct effect on the relationship.

More Kinds Of In Text Citations

One of the biggest problems that many students experience with making citations, especially in text citations, is the variation between the different styles. Yes, there are of course many different styles of citations. For example, the APA style, American Psychological Association, is used by education, psychology, and the sciences. The Chicago style of citation is used by business, history, and fine arts, and the MLA style, which we are talking about here today, is used by the humanities. In case you were wondering, MLA stands for Modern Language Association.

What we are getting at here is that you need to know which style of citation you need for the paper in question. Now, your professor is usually going to tell you what style of citation is required, which is obviously quite useful. However, now it is up to you to figure out what the differences between those styles are and how to format the one you need to be using. That is the real challenge, getting the right format of in text citations.

Well, for all of your MLA in text citation needs, Formatically can help make things a whole lot easier for you. Sure, it might be beneficial to know exactly how to do these kinds of citations, but you just don’t always have the time or patience for it. For those papers when time and accuracy is of the essence, MLA in text citations from Formatically are a sure fire way to get a great result every time. We all know that referencing and citing your paper incorrectly can quickly lead to a failed essay and even a charge of plagiarism. To avoid those things and continue your schooling career with an exemplary record, you might want to seriously consider using this great feature. 

Making MLA In Text Citations

One of the big problems with these kinds of citations is that there many different ways of doing them. We know that we already mentioned the different kinds of citations styles. However, there are also many different variations within styles themselves. For example, MLA in text citations can look very different depending on what you need them for and how you use them.

If you get these little variations wrong, a professor might just make you pay for it with a bad grade or even nail you for plagiarism altogether. Lucky for you, Formatically and the MLA In Text Citation generator tool knows all of these subtle differences down to a tee.

Author & Page Numbers

For example, say that your reference includes the Author “John Smith” and you are referencing pages 12 – 14. So, how do you do this for an in text citation? Well, to be fair, in some circumstances it might take on the simple form of (12-14), and sometimes it can take the form of (Smith 12 – 14). Do you know when and where to use either of those? To be exact, if you mention the author’s name in the preceding sentence, you can leave the name out of the citation. Yet, if you don’t have the name of the author in the sentence, you will need to add that name into the in text citation.

This may not seem like a hard concept to grasp, but when you are citing a really long paper, having to check which one of those in text citations to use can quickly get tiring. Formatically will always know which citation to use and that means a lot of saved headaches for you.

What About Multiple Authors?

Another thing that can get confusing when it comes to making these in text citations is when multiple authors are involved. Do you know how to make in text citations for 1 author? 2 authors? Multiple authors? The point is that you do need to know the difference.

Or actually, better yet, Formatically knows the difference so you don’t have to. Once again, we aren’t saying that you shouldn’t know the difference, because knowledge is power. Yet, you can know the difference and at the same time have a convenient formatting and generator tool do the heavy lifting for you.

Formatically will always know when to put (Smith 2 -3), (Smith & Jonhson 2-3), (Smith et al. 2-3), and so on. The beauty is that no matter how many authors are involved, this genius app will always get it right for you.

Other Tools & Resources

Every paid tool comes with a free trial! Check it out!
Automatic APA Formatting
Try it out for Free ⇢
RUNNING HEADER
Title of an APA Paper

An abstract is a single paragraph, without indentation, that summarizes the key points of the manuscript in 150 to 250 words. For simpler papers in Paul Rose’s classes, a somewhat shorter abstract is fine. The purpose of the abstract is to provide the reader with a brief overview of the paper. When in doubt about a rule, check the sixth edition APA style manual rather than relying on this template. (Although I prefer only one space after a period, two spaces after a period are suggested by the sixth­edition APA manual at the top of page 88.) This document has a history that compels me to give credit where it’s due. Many years ago I downloaded a fifth­edition template from an

A+
Complete MLA Format
Try it out for Free ⇢
Header 3Works Cited

 on the outcome of one man's idealistic motives and desires of dabbling with nature, which result in the creation of a horrific creature. Victor Frankenstein is not doomed to failure from his initial desire to overstep the natural bounds of human knowledge. Rather, it is his poor parenting of his progeny that lead to his creation's thirst for the vindication of his unjust life. In his idealism, Victor is blinded, and so the creation accuses him for delivering him into a world where he could not ever be entirely received by the people who inhabits it. Not only failing to foresee his faulty idealism, nearing the end of the tale, he embarks upon a final journey, consciously choosing to pursue his creation in vengeance, while admitting that it may result in his own doom. The creation of an unloved being and the quest for the elixir of life holds Victor Frankenstein more accountable for his own death than the creation himself.

Header 2Works Cited

Although humans have the tendency to set idealistic goals to better future generations, often the results can prove disastrous, even deadly. The tale of Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, focuses on the outcome of one man's idealistic motives and desires of dabbling with nature, which result in the creation of a horrific creature. Victor Frankenstein is not doomed to failure from his initial desire to overstep the natural bounds of human knowledge. Rather, it is his poor parenting of his progeny that lead to his creation's thirst for the vindication of his unjust life. In his idealism, Victor is blinded, and so the creation accuses him for delivering him into a world where he could not ever be entirely received by the people who inhabits it. Not only failing to foresee his faulty idealism, nearing the end of the tale, he embarks upon a final journey, consciously choosing to pursue his creation in vengeance, while admitting that it may result in his own doom. The creation of an unloved being and the quest for the elixir of life holds Victor Frankenstein more accountable for his own death than the creation himself.

Your Name Header 1
Teacher
Class
Due Date
This is the Title

Although humans have the tendency to set idealistic goals to better future generations, often the results can prove disastrous, even deadly. The tale of Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, focuses on the outcome of one man's idealistic motives and desires of dabbling with nature, which result in the creation of a horrific creature. Victor Frankenstein is not doomed to failure from his initial desire to overstep the natural bounds of human knowledge. Rather, it is his poor parenting of his progeny that lead to his creation's thirst for the vindication of his unjust life. In his idealism, Victor is blinded, and so the creation accuses him for delivering him into a world where he could not ever be entirely received by the people who inhabits it. Not only failing to foresee his faulty idealism, nearing the end of the tale, he embarks upon a final journey, consciously choosing to pursue his creation in vengeance, while admitting that it may result in his own doom. The creation of an unloved being and the quest for the elixir of life holds Victor Frankenstein more accountable for his own death than the creation himself.