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MLA Citation Help: Parenthetical Citation

General Rules for MLA 8th Parenthetical (or "In-Text") Citation

General Rules for MLA 8th Parenthetical (or "In-text") Citation
What is parenthetical citation?
     A parenthetical citation (or “in-text" citation) tells your reader in which of your sources you found your information or idea.
Why do we use parenthetical citations?
     A parenthetical citation tells a reader where to find the original information or idea without interrupting the flow of your paper. If you don’t use parenthetical citations, you are claiming those ideas as your own. THAT IS NOT OK and is one form of plagiarism.
How do I use parenthetical citations?
     At the points in your paper where you use information or an idea that you found in a source, you give credit. After you explain the info or the idea, you insert a parenthetical citation in the text of your paper.
How do I format a parenthetical citation?
     In most cases, a parenthetical citation simply uses the first word of your Works Cited section entry plus the page number(s), if there is/are any.
  • Print sources, like books: (Cooke 71-73).
  • Online sources where there are no page numbers: (Paretksy).
  • No author: Use the first word from your Works Cited listed for that source on your Bibliography - this is usually the first word or phrase of the title if there is not an author.  (Archaeology).
What about punctuation?
     The parenthetical citation is placed at the end of the sentence, but before the period. There is no comma within the citation, like so:
  • "Few performers straddled the apparent gulf between hard bop and the avant-garde with the conviction of tenor saxophonist John Coltrane" (Cooke 160).
If your sentence doesn't end in a period, include the sentence punctuation before the parenthetical citation, like so:
  • "What was that mysterious music?" (Wilbur 78).
  • "That is amazing!" (Wilbur 94).
What if I want to use information from two sources in one of my sentences?
     Example: Early New Orleans jazz combined the sound of American and European marching band music (Wilbur 73) and the "raw, loose and syncopated sounds from Africa" (Bolden 324).
          OR, put one parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence, like this: (Wilbur 73; Bolden 324).
     Wilbur and Bolden are the last names of the authors who wrote the books in which the info above appears. Your Works Cited entries should look like this:
Bolden, Wilma. Jazz Life. Bop Press, 1985.
Wilbur, Horace. Early Audio Recordings. Record Press, 2008.

Your source doesn't have an author?
     The best way is to work the organization responsible into your text, like so:
          ... According to the United Nations Population Fund, although natural disasters are often unavoidable, there are many things people can do to mitigate their impact (Shelter 29).
        In this case, the book is called Shelter from the Storm and is published by the United Nations Population Fund.

In your Works Cited, you have more than one source from the same author:
     Say you are using two pieces of Dr. Markey's work in your Works Cited.
        This article:
            Markey, Timothy. “Caesar as Jupiter in Lucan's ‘Bellum Civile.’” The Classical Journal, vol. 103, no. 3, Feb.-Mar. 2008, pp. 281–294.
        And this book:
            Markey, Timothy. Learn Latin, Learn English. Berkshire, 2012.
-When you use the first source, your parenthetical citation will look like this: (Markey, "Caesar" 283).
-When you use the second source, your parenthetical citation will look like this: (Markey, Learn 312). 

You have 2 sources from different people but with the same last name:
     Use the authors' first initial as well:
         (J. Smith 32).
         (C. Smith 89).

Your source is a video, podcast, or other "timed" media?
     Your parenthetical citation should include which source it is from, and the time it can be found. The example below is from a TED Talk by Jesse Richardson:
       "The difference between art and design is that art is an expression, whereas design solves a problem" (Richardson 3:58).

You want to quote a quotation? (Say you read an article written by Mr. McCreight. In the article, Mr. McCreight quotes Mr. Mull's book Musings (which you have not otherwise used in your research). You would like to use Mr. Mull's quote. The best thing to do is get a copy of Mr. Mull's book to find out for yourself if Mr. McCreight quoted Mr. Mull correctly and represented his idea accurately. But what if you can't get Mr. Mull's book?)

What do you do?... You do TWO THINGS:

1. In the body of your paper you write something like this:

... Mr. Mull asserts in his book Musings that Frost's poem The Road Not Taken is "truly, one of the most misquoted and misunderstood poems in English"  (qtd. in McCreight 17).

2. In your Works Cited, you cite the book or article you actually read:

McCreight, Jeffrey. Writer's Room Jetsam. Yale UP, 2012.

Parenthetical Citation for Shakespeare

1. When you quote from a play, divide lines of verse with slashes the way you would if quoting poetry.

2. Your in-text citation refer to Act, scene, and line numbers -- not page numbers. The period goes after the parenthetical reference.

EXAMPLE:  In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Theseus draws a comparison that: "The lunatic, the lover, and the poet, / Are of imagination all compact" (V. i.7-8).

EXAMPLE:  In Twelfth Night, Feste the clown sums up the play's world view when he says, "Nothing that is so, is so" (IV.1.7).

EXAMPLEEarly in the play, Viola reminds us that Shakespeare's fools often behave the most rationally and give the wisest counsel of any players when she refers to Feste, "This fellow is wise enough to play the fool, / And to do that well craves a kind of wit" (III.1.56-57).

3. Verse quotations of more than three lines in length need to begin on a new line, and the whole block is indented, as in any block quotation. The parenthetical citation, located at the end of the verse quotation and after the end punctuation, will include the initials of the play's name and the line numbers (unless previously mentioned in text).

EXAMPLE:  Duke Orsino, frustrated in his pursuit of Olivia, asks his musicians to overload him with music (the "food of love"), and in so doing, remove his appetite for love the way overeating removes one's appetite for food:

If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it, that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again, it had a dying fall.
O it came o'er my ear, like the sweet sound
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odor. Enough, no more,
'Tis not so sweet now as it was before. (TN. I. 1. 1-8)

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