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Fowler Essay Guide: Paraphrasing & In-Text Citations

About In-Text Citation

In MLA, in-text citations are inserted in the body of your research paper to briefly document the source of your information. Brief in-text citations point the reader to more complete information in the works cited list at the end of the paper.

  • In-text citations include the last name of the author followed by a page number enclosed in parentheses. "Here's a direct quote" (Smith 8).

  • If the author's name is not given, then use the first word or words of the title. Follow the same formatting that was used in the works cited list, such as quotation marks. This is a paraphrase ("Trouble" 22).

 Note: The period goes outside the parenthesis, at the end of your in-text citation.

Decision Tree 1

What needs to be cited?

Tips for Avoiding Plagiarism from the UC San Diego Library. UC San Diego Library, May 2014. Web. 13 Jan. 2016.

Decision Tree 2

When do you cite?

Tips for Avoiding Plagiarism from the UC San Diego Library. UC San Diego Library, May 2014. Web. 13 Jan. 2016.

Using Textual Evidence in Essays

In-Text Citation For Two or More Authors/Editors

Number of Authors/Editors In-Text Citation Example


 (Author's Last Name Page Number)

 Example: (Case 57)


 (Author's Last Name and Author's Last Name Page Number)

 Example: (Case and Daristotle 57)

Three or more

 (Author's Last Name et al. Page Number)

 Example: (Case et al. 57)

Quoting Directly

When you quote directly from a source, enclose the quoted section in quotation marks. Add an in-text citation at the end of the quote with the author name and page number:

Mother-infant attachment has been a leading topic of developmental research since John Bowlby found that "children raised in institutions were deficient in emotional and personality development" (Hunt 358).

No Page Numbers

When you quote from electronic sources that do not provide page numbers (like Web pages), cite the author name only.

"Three phases of the separation response: protest, despair, and detachment" (Garelli).

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