Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

MLA Citation Guide - 9th Ed.

MLA 9th Edition Guidelines

In-Text Citations

When referring to quotes or outside information in your paper, you will need to use an in-text citation. The two main components for MLA in-text citations are the author's last name and the page number. Use in-text citations for both direct quotes and paraphrasing of information.

General Format for In-Text Citations

You may incorporate the names of the author(s) within your narrative or enclose both parts at the end of a sentence or paragraph.

Direct Quotations

Smith found that "Increased library use is correlated with higher grades on research assignments" (12).

Paraphrasing

Students who use the library receive better grades on research papers (Smith 12).

Smith states that students who use the library receive better grades on research papers (12).

Provide Context - Example

Smith states that students who use the library receive better grades on research papers (12).  However, the connection between library use and good grades on research papers involves a variety of factors, including instructor encouragement to seek out library assistance, personal relationships with staff, and previous library experience in elementary school and high school.

Later in your paper, remind your readers about the source and why you are using it. Does your source

  • Strengthen your position by providing evidence that supports your claims?
  • Provide background information that will help your audience understand the context of your statements?
  • Shape your thinking on the topic or provides questions to pursue in your own line of reasoning?
  • Reference an authoritative voice that lends credibility to your position?
  • Offer a counter-argument that you disagree with but one that you can use to show that you have thought critically about your topic?

A source can often play more than one role in your paper so ask yourself about the role of each source you use. Use the list above as a starting point to practice this important step in your writing process.

Based on A Source's Role in Your Paper in the Harvard Guide to Using Sources

Later In Your Paper - Example

While Smith found a link between library use and improved research paper grades (12), this paper makes the argument that the connection between library use and student success extends beyond research assignments in lower division English classes. Library use, especially during the first two years of college, tends to lead to higher grade point averages and improved graduation rates across a wide variety of undergraduate courses of study.

Table of Examples

Not Enough Context Provided
More Context Provided

In her book, The College Fear Factor, Rebecca Cox points out that students often feel intimidated by professors (26).

[Later in the essay]

It is really easy to feel afraid of talking to the professor. “Students admitted to feeling intimidated by professors’ academic knowledge and by teachers’ power to assess students and assign grade” (Cox 26).

In her book, The College Fear Factor, Rebecca Cox points out that students often feel intimidated by professors (26).

[Later in the essay]

Many students are afraid to talk to their professors. Cox spoke with many new college students, and wrote that, “Students admitted to feeling intimidated by professors’ academic knowledge and by teachers’ power to assess students and assign grade” (26). Yet, many professors hold office hours, which is time set aside to meet with students one-on-one. Meeting outside of the classroom often feels less intimidating.

In her article, “Brainology,” Psychology Professor Carol S. Dweck discusses her research into learning and explains the concepts of Fixed and Growth Mindsets.

[Later in the essay]

My sister rarely does her homework, never studies for tests, yet is often upset about her grades. “Students with this mindset worry
about how much of this fixed intelligence they possess. A fixed mindset makes challenges threatening for students” (Dweck 1).

In her article, “Brainology,” Stanford researcher Carol S. Dweck
discusses her research into learning and explains the concepts of
Fixed and Growth Mindsets.

[Later in the essay]

My sister rarely does her homework, never studies for tests, yet is
often upset about her grades. The school tested her IQ and it was
high, so my parents know she can do the work. Dweck would say my
sister is Fixed Mindset because, “A fixed mindset makes challenges
threatening for students” (1). I think that my sister is afraid to look
stupid, so she doesn’t even bother to try.

Multiple Authors

For two authors, list both last names with the word and between them.

Students who use the library receive better grades on research papers (Smith and Jones 12).

Smith and Jones state that students who use the library receive better grades on research papers (12).

For three or more authors, list only the first author's name and the phrase et al. if enclosed in parentheses, or the phrase and others if spelled out within the text.

Students who use the library receive better grades on research papers (Smith et al. 12).

Smith and others state that students who use the library receive better grades on research papers (12).

Corporate Authors

Sometimes authors may be a corporation, company, or organization. Write out the name of the organization in place of the author's last name.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends expanding farmers' markets to more community locations that are centrally located (21-22).

Expanding farmers' markets to more centrally located community areas could lead to an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 21-22).

Citations with No Page Numbers

Many online resources will not have specific page numbers. If the resource you are citing does not have page numbers and does not explicitly number its paragraphs, simply use the author. For eBooks, you can cite a chapter number.

Heckscher notes that the American Rococo style was most prevalent in the seaports of Boston, New York, Charleston, and Philadelphia.

Fitzgerald draws a stark parallel between the glamorous life led by the main characters and the decay of the valley of the ashes (ch. 2).

Media

If applicable, give a time stamp for media quotations.

Pariser states that "Your filter bubble is your own personal, unique universe of information that you live in online. And what's in your filter bubble depends on who you are, and it depends on what you do" (00:04:12).

Citations with No Author

For citations that have no author and begin with a title, use the title, abbreviated. Keep the formatting of the title (in quotation marks or italicized) as given in the Works Cited list. Remember that authors can be organizations.

("How to Find")

(Beowulf 25)

Multiple Citations with the Same Author

If you have multiple works by the same author that you will be citing, clarify the work in your citation with a shortened title.

In his despair, Hamlet laments, "To be or not to be—that is the question..." (Shakespeare, Hamlet).

Ukiah Campus: 707.468.3053 | Coast Center: 707.961.2200 | Lake Center: 707.263.4944 | North County Center: 707.459.6224
Email: Library Webmaster | Mendocino Community College

Powered by Springshare. Login to LibApps