Whenever you incorporate outside sources into your own writing, you must provide both in-text citations (within the body of the paper) and full citations (in the works cited page). The in-text citations point your reader toward the full citations in the works cited page.
That’s why the first bit of information in your in-text citation (generally, the author’s name; if no name is provided, the title of the article/book/webpage) should directly match up with the beginning of your works cited entry for that source. For further information about in-text citations, please read “Formatting In-Text Citations.”
For example, let’s say I have a quote from Benedict Anderson’s
Imagined Communities in my research paper. Within the body of the paper, following the quote, I include the following in-text citation: (Anderson 56). This information points to the book’s entry in my works cited page:
Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso, 2006. Print.
How might you format your in-text citations so that they’re more compliant with MLA guidelines?
You already know why MLA formatting guidelines are an important part of an academic paper, but let’s face it—who can remember all those rules about when and where certain citation information is requisite and when and where particular punctuation is appropriate? Thankfully, memorizing all of MLA’s formatting guidelines is not necessary! MLA style guides can be found easily online or in texts like
The MLA Handbook, and writers can refer to these resources when they are unclear about a particular MLA style guideline.
Nonetheless, as you create multiple drafts of your composition papers, there are some MLA conventions that you will need to call on time and time again. In particular, as you integrate source material masterfully into your work, you will be required to call on proper in-text citation guidelines repeatedly. It is therefore important that you take the time to memorize the MLA guidelines for in-text citations.
- Is the heading in the upper left-hand corner of the first page?
- Does the heading include:
- Your name?
- Your instructor’s name?
- The course name?
- The date?
- Does the paper have an original title (other than something like “Final Paper”)?
- Is the title presented without being bolded, italicized, or placed in quotation marks
- Read more…
Look at the sentences below, each of which contains an incorrectly formatted in-text citation. Specify the error made in each sentence; then, write a new sentence in which the in-text citation is correctly formatted.
1. The parlor metaphor of writing describes writing as entering into a conversation, as in arriving late and a parlor and talking to guests who have been there long before you have (7).
2. In “Argument as Emergence, Rhetoric as Love,” Jim Corder explains that “Everyone is an argument.” (1)
3. David Sedaris’s
Me Talk Pretty One Day takes place at a school in Paris (Sedaris 1).