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How To - Use the MLA Style Guide: In-text Examples

In-Text Examples

One author

You may cite a single author’s name in the text.

            Alexander notes that race was a critical topic in the 1968 presidential race (22-9).

Or, you can use a parenthetical reference with the author’s name and page number.

            Race was a critical topic in the 1968 presidential race (Alexander 22-9).


Two authors

Use ‘and’ (not ‘&’) between the two author names.

(Wilson and Schlosser 43).


Three or more authors

If the work has three or more authors, list the first author’s name followed by et al.

James et al. claim that social customs prevalent in the southern United States have . . . (157-65).


Social customs in the southern United States have become . . . (James et al. 157-65).


Multiple works by the same author

In the in-text citation, put a comma after the author’s name, then a shortened version of the title, followed by the page reference.

(Dickens, David Copperfield 347)

Work Cited

Dickens, Charles. David Copperfield. Bradbury & Evans, 1850. 


Multiple works by different authors in one citation

Include the authors names and page references separated by a semicolon.

                 (Smith 93; Fayett 131-2)


Authors with same surname

If the works cited list contains two or more authors with the same surname, include the author’s first initial in the in-text citation.

                 (E. Poe 19)


Organizations as authors

When the author is a corporation or organization that is also the publisher, the Works Cited entry begins with the title. Use an abbreviated version of the title in the in-text citation followed by the page number.

(Publication 3).


Work Cited

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 6th ed., American Psychological Association, 2009.


If the author is a government or government body, include the administrative layers listed in the Works Cited entry separated by commas. Use abbreviations for common words like Department (as "Dept.").

(United States, Congress, House, Committee on the Judiciary 17).


Work Cited

United States, Congress House, Committee of the Judiciary. Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, December 1, 2015. Government Printing Office, 2015.


No author

If the Works Cited entry begins with a title because there is no author, use a shortened version of the title in the in-text citation.

(Beowulf 42).


Work Cited

Beowulf. Translated by Burton Raffel, Signet, 2008.


Multivolume works

If your works cited entry indicates only one volume of a multivolume work, include the page reference in the text of your document. The volume is specified in the works cited entry. 

(Norat 27).

Work Cited

Norat, Gisela. "Isabel Allende: Chilean and American Novelist." Notable Latino Writers, vol. 1, Salem Press, 2006, pp. 27-34.


If your works cited entry indicates more than one volume of a multivolume set, you will need to include both the volume and page of the information you are citing to distinguish which volume is being referenced.

(Notable, 1: 27).

Work Cited

Notable Latino Writers, Salem Press, 2006, 3 vols. 


If you are citing an entire volume in the text of the document, place a comma after the author's name (in the example below there are multiple authors in each volume and no general editor, so the abbreviated title is used) and the abbreviation [vol.]

(Notable, vol. 3). 


Work Cited

Notable Latino Writers, Salem Press, 2006, 3 vols.


Entire works

If you are referring to an entire work, you may identify the work in your text using the author or title name from your works cited list, rather than a parenthetical citation.

To Kill a Mockingbird was originally published over fifty years ago and yet is read by many students today.


Work Cited

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. HarperCollins Publishers, 1960.