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MLA Style Guide

How to Format In-Text Citations

In-text citations direct the reader to the corresponding entry in the works cited list, and to the location of the borrowed knowledge in the source. You must cite any knowledge, fact, or idea that is not your own, with the exception of 'common knowledge.' This applies to direct quotations as well as paraphrasing.

An in-text citation consist of two parts:

  • The author (or the first element in the works cited entry if no author is available)
  • The page number (or other label)

If pages or sections are unnumbered, do not give a number in your citation.  

In-text citations can look different depending on the style and structure of your writing. See examples below:

Original Quote from Source  

“Student engagement is a concept that is approximately three-quarters of a century old and refers to how engrossed or attentive students seem to be in their learning or how integrated they are with their classes, colleagues, and colleges.”

Caruth, Gail D. "Student Engagement, Retention, and Motivation: Assessing Academic Success in Today’s College Students."

Participatory Education Research. vol. 5, no. 1, June 2018, pp. 17-30.

1.

Author and page number placed in brackets at the end of a paraphrased sentence

The extend to which students feel involved with their learning and academic environment is known as engagement (Caruth 17).

2.

Author and page number placed in brackets at the end of a direct quote

“Student engagement is a concept that is approximately three-quarters of a century old and refers to how engrossed or attentive students seem to be in their learning or how integrated they are with their classes, colleagues, and colleges” (Caruth 17).

3.

Paraphrased sentence incorporating author's last name, followed by page number in brackets at the end of the sentence

According to Caruth, the extend to which students feel involved with their learning and academic environment is known as engagement (17).

4.

Sentence incorporating the author's last name and containing a direct quote, followed by the page number in brackets following the quote

According to Caruth, “Student engagement is a concept that is approximately three-quarters of a century old and refers to how engrossed or attentive students seem to be in their learning or how integrated they are with their classes, colleagues, and colleges” (17).

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