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MLA Citation Style (8th ed.): In text Citations

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MLA Handout

MLA Handbook

In text Citations

Quoting a source in MLA style is called a prose quotation: "Whether incorporated into or set off from the text, quoted material is usually preceded by a colon if the quotation is formally introduced and by a comma or no punctuation if the quotation is an integral part of the sentence structure " (MLA 87).

A prose quote incorporated into the text with the author(s) name, informally introduced, and under 4 lines should:

  • ​​​include only the page number in parenthesis at the end of the sentence
  • end with a period after the page number in parenthesis at the end of the sentence

Example: Author's Name in Text - Paraphrase

Purtilio studied patient care service levels identifying primary care as an area requiring enhancement (111).

A prose quote set off from the text using the author(s) name in the sentence, formally introduced, and under 4 lines should:

  • ​​​be formally introduced using the author(s) name, set off from the formal introduction by a colon, be presented word-for-word as written by the author, and set within quotation marks
  • include only the page number in parenthesis at the end of the sentence
  • end with a period after the page number in parenthesis at the end of the sentence

Example: Author's Name in Text - Quote 

Purtilio held a controversial position: "Primary care is one area marked for improvement" (111).

 

A quotation of 4 lines or more is set off as a block (MLA 76-77).  Format block quotations as follows:

  • Omit the quotations marks
  • Start a block quotation on a new line
  • Indent one half inch from the left margin
  • Double space the entire quote as the rest of the paper
  • Place period before the page number in parenthesis at the end of the quotation

A colon introduces the quotation when set off from text and not grammatically connected. If grammatically connected to previous wording no quotations are used. 

Example (set off from the text):

Miele, an expert in the field, wrote of recent research:

The "placebo effect," which has been verified in previous studies, disappeared when behaviors were studied in this manner.

Furthermore, the behaviors were never exhibited again (emphasis added), even when reel drugs (sic) were administered. Earlier studies

were clearly premature in attributing the results to a placebo effect. (278)

Example (grammatically connected to previous wording):

Miele, an expert in the field,  confirmed that the

"placebo effect," which has been verified in previous studies, disappeared when behaviors were studied in this manner.

Furthermore, the behaviors were never exhibited again (emphasis added), even when reel drugs (sic) were administered. Earlier studies

were clearly premature in attributing the results to a placebo effect. (278)

Cite 2 - 3 lines of poetry by inserting a forward slash / between lines to indicate to your reader the line breaks within the published poem.  Review pages 77 - 79 of the MLA Handbook 8th ed.

Example:

Recalling the event in Boston, Edwards concludes: "Of all things that happened there / That's all that I remember" (23-24).


When citing more than three lines of poetry, begin the quotation on a new line and indent each line 1/2 inch from left margin.

Example:

In "Annabel Lee", the speaker offered the idea of an ideal love:

I was a child and she was a child,

In this Kingdom by the sea:

But we loved with a love that was more than love -

I and my Annabel Lee;

With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven

Coveted her and me.

Common knowledge refers to information you can reasonably expect your readers and the general public to know such as widespread facts, dates or historical events.

Common knowledge does not need to be cited; however, a good practice is to speak with your instructor or librarian when you are unsure if information is common knowledge.

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