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Writing and Citing: MLA 8th Edition: In-Text Citations

MLA 8th Edition

General Format



  • In-text citations are placed within the body of the paper.
  • The in-text citation is used to direct readers to the correct entry in your Works Cited page.
  • In-text citations are placed within parenthesis and will usually contain the last name of the author and page number.
  • In-text citations should immediately follow a direct quote.
  • When paraphrasing, you need to include an in-text citation.

MLA 8 Example In-Text Citation:

(Author page number)

Quotation: ( Melville 115)

Paraphrase: (Melville 116)

Signal Phrase: (115)


Signal Phrase

Signal Phrase:

Using the author(s) name within the paragraph constitutes a signal phrase. 


In Food Politics, Robert Paarlberg states that  "there are some examples of food aid altering the behavior of consumers in recipient countries" (55).


Paarlberg emphasizes the fact that food aid creates dependency (56-61).

Direct Quote

Direct Quote:

Use quotation marks to indicate the use of the author's exact words within your paragraph.


Before chemical or synthetic fertilizers existed, "all food production worldwide was de facto organic" (Paarlberg 166).



A paraphrase is when you take a paragraph that you have read and put it into your own words.  You will still need to use an in-text citation as the ideas are not your own.


The beginnings of the organic food movement can be traced back to the early twenty-first century in some European countries such as Austria and England (Paarlberg 58-61).


Format Variations

Two Authors:

(Author Last Name page number)

(Powel and Connaway 28).

Three or More Authors:

(Author Last Name et al. page number)

(London et al.  120)

Unknown Author:

Shortened title of Work

("Impact of Global Warming").

Corporate or Organization as Author:

Use the corporation or organization as author. Use abbreviations when available.

(Corporation or Organization page number).

(ALA 7).


When citing from a work within an anthology, cite the author of the chapter, story, poem, or essay.

(Author Last Name page number)

(Achebe 543).

Bible or Sacred Text:

When citing the Bible, you must indicate which version you are using, ( example;  King James)in the first in-text citation only. Subsequent citations need only the book. Also include chapter and verse in each citation.

(Title, chapter verse)

(New Jerusalem Bible, Ezek. 1.5-10).