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Writing an In-text (Parenthetical) Citation
Definition: An in-text, or parenthetical, citation is put in the body of your paper to refer to one of the sources listed in your Works Cited.


Guidelines: When do I need to include an in-text citation?

What to include: In parentheses, place the author's last name followed by one space and the page number, and a period at the end.

Example (see more examples below):   
      (Friedman 3).
Examples: Most Common Types of Entries
 
No author listed
      Use the first word or two of the title in quotation marks.
Example:   
      Many Chinese families abandon their baby girls, hoping to have boy babies in the future ("Missing Girls" 5).
 
Web site without page numbers
      MLA format specifies using the paragraph numbers, if given. Most Web site do not have them.
      Until there is a uniform way to handle this, most teachers request using the notation 'n. pag.' for 'no pagination.'
Example:
      "This Web site has no paragraph numbers listed" (Author n. pag.).
 
Two or more sources with the same author
      The in-text citation would include the author's last name, the first word or two of the title and the page number.
Examples:
      journal article       (Smith, "Common Errors" 7).
      book                     (Smith, Library Fun 227). 
 
Two or more authors with the same last name
      If the authors have different first names but the same last name, the reference would include the first initial of the first name with the last name (J. Smith 23).
      If the first initials are the same, you would use the first names (Jonathan Smith 23).
 

 

Examples: Less Common Types of Entries
note: the following in-text (parenthetical) reference examples do not refer to real sources.

Same idea from more than one source   Quote is in the middle of one of my sentences
My own idea, but also found in an article   Quote already has quotation marks in it
One person is quoted in a source written by someone else   Long quote
Authors with the same last name   Quote poetry
Quote is on more than one page   Long poem or has unique spacing
Part of a chart   Author's name stated in my text
Part of a quote   Title stated in my text
Quote dialogue from a play   Author and title stated in my text
Web site has no page numbers   Source stated in my text

 

 

What if I’m paraphrasing information when I’ve found the same ideas in more than one source?              
      Your reference should mention each source.  This shows the reader that you have done thorough research on the topic.
Example:
      Researchers have found that high school students believe their skills in doing research are better than they actually are (Smith 34; Jones 567)
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What if I’m talking about my own idea, but find the same idea in an article?
      Make a reference to the work of the other person, using the term 'see also.'  Otherwise the reader may think you have plagiarized that person's work.
Example:
      My experience with students has led me to conclude that the lack of ability to create a visual image as they read greatly hinders reading comprehension (see also Jones 65).
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What if I want to use information from a person, but I found it quoted in a source written by someone else?              
      You would include the information, with the reference showing the source it was originally from and also where you read it ('cited in').
Example:
      Research done by John Smith found that 46% of high school students are not effective at doing online research (Smith, cited in Miller 789).
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What if there are more than one in-text references to authors with the same last name?
      If the authors have different first names but the same last name, the reference would include the first initial of the first name with the last name (J. Smith 23).
      If the first initials are the same, you would use the first names (Jonathan Smith 23).
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What if the quote is printed on more than one page of the book or article?
      You would list the entire page number of each page with a hyphen between (Smith 396-401).
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What if a chart is good, but I only want to use part of the information?
      You still include reference information, but indicate that you have adapted it.
Example:
Year
Male
Female
Total
2004
12
15
27
2005
16
21
 37

Fig. 1 adapted from Smith, John. "Article title."
Magazine name. Date: page.

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What if a quote is good, but I want to leave out part of it?
      You would quote as you normally would, but use 3 spaced periods, called ellipsis points, to show that a part was omitted.
Example:
      "You would quote as you normally would, but use 3 spaced periods . . . to show that a part was omitted" (Smith 45).
      "You would quote as you normally would, but use 3 spaced periods . . ." (Smith 45).
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What if the end of the quote is in the middle of one of my sentences?
      You would put the reference information at the end of the quote, even if it is the middle of the sentence.
Example:
      "You would put the reference in the middle" (Jones 3), if the quote ends there.
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What if the material I'm quoting already has quotation marks in it?
      You would put the quote you're using in quotation marks and change to single quotation marks for the part that was quoted within that larger quote.
Example:
      "You would put quotation marks around the quote you are using, and 'use single quotation marks, the librarian said, around quotations within your quote' " (Smith 678).  [note the single and double quotation marks together at the end]
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What if the quote is long?
      If the quote is 4 lines or longer, you would indent the entire quote one inch (10 spaces), double space it, and use no quotation marks. In most cases a quote like that would be introduced with a colon.              
Example:
      According to John Smith, an MLA expert, a long quote is usually introduced in this way:
A long quote begins on a new line and is indented one inch, or 10 spaces.  The entire quote is double spaced. There are no extra indentations, and quotation marks are left off.   If the quote includes 2 paragraphs, each is indented an additional 3 spaces.  The reference information comes at the end of the quote, just as it would in a shorter quote.  It includes the last name of the author and the page number. (Smith 5)
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What if I need to quote poetry?
      You would incorporate the quote into your text, enclosing it in quotations marks. Use a slash ( / ) to indicate where each new line began.
Example:
      Some poems are memorized by most children. "Mary had a little lamb / Its fleece was white as snow" (author page).
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What if the poem is long or has unique spacing?
      If the poem you quote is 4 lines or more in length, begin it on a new line, indent one inch (10 spaces), double space it, and omit the quotation marks.
      The reference comes immediately after the last poem line.
Example:
      E. E. Cummings often uses interesting spacing:

          It's
          spring
          and
                  the
                        goat-footed
          balloon-Man         whistles
          far
          and
          wee (16-24).

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What if I need to quote dialogue from a play?
      Go to a new line, indent one inch (10 spaces), double space, and begin each new dialogue line with the character's name, all in capitals letters, followed by a period and the dialogue. If one person's words continue to a second line, indent that line an additional 3 spaces. The reference appears at the end of the last line of the quote.

      Dialogue from a play would appear as follows:
      TEACHER. Each character's name is in capitals followed by a period and then what was said.
     
      LIBRARIAN. If what the character said is long enough that the dialogue continues to more than one
      line, each additional line is indented an additional 3 spaces, which is 1/4 inch (Smith 34).

What if a Web site has no page numbers?              
      MLA format specifies using the paragraph numbers, if given. Most Web site do not have them. Until there is a uniform way to handle this, most teachers request using the notation 'n. pag.' for 'no pagination.'
Example:
      "This Web site has no paragraph numbers listed" (Author n. pag.)
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What if the author's name is already stated in my text?
     Since the author Harvey Teacher's  name is already stated in the text of the paper, it is omitted from the in-text citation and only the page number or paragraph is used (39).
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What if the title of the article is stated in the text of my paper?
     Since only the title "How to Write an In-text Citation" is given, and the Works Cited is organized by the author, both the author's last name and the page number are included in the in-text citation (Smith 56).
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What if both the author and the article title are listed in the text of my paper?
     The article "How to Write an In-text Citation," by Harvey Teacher, explains that your in-text citation needs only the page number because the reader already knows the author's name to look for in the Works Cited (87).
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What if the source is stated in the text of my paper?
    
Information on the Web site OWL of Purdue University indicates that, when the source is given in the paper's text, both the author and page or paragraph number need to be included in your in-text citation (Russell par. 5).
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