Citation Guide: Modern Language Association (MLA)

Examples of MLA In-Text Formatting Rules

1. Basic Format for a Source Not Named in Your Text

Format:
If you have not mentioned the author in your sentence, you must place the author’s name and the page number in parentheses after the quotation, paraphrase or summary. The period follows the closing parenthesis.

Example:

It would have been impossible for early humans to digest red meat, as their stomachs lacked the necessary acids to break down the muscle and tissue before delivery to the intestines (Tattersall 46).


2. Basic Format for a Source Named in Your Text

Format:
Most often, you will want to name the author of a source within your sentence rather than in a parenthetical citation. By doing so, you create a context for the material (words, facts, or ideas) that you are including, and you indicate where the information from the author begins. When you are using a direct quotation, paraphrase, or summary from a source and have named the author in your sentence, place only the page number in parentheses after the borrowed material. The period follows the closing parenthesis.

When you are using a block (or extended) quotation, the parenthetical citation comes after the final punctuation and a single space. 

If you continue to refer to a single source for several sentences in a row within one paragraph – and without intervening references to another source – you may place your reference at the end of the paragraph. However, be sure to include all relevant page numbers.

Example:

According to Tattersall, when early humans emerged from the dense forests to the adjacent woodlands, their mobility and diet were forced to change dramatically (45).

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