Some Examples of In-text Citation

Example 1: short, in-text citation

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll was my favorite book as a child. When Alice says, "Curiouser and curiouser!" (Carroll 26), the reader is a bit shocked at the proper little girl's error in grammar. The explanation that "she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English" (26) is not sufficient.

Note that in the above example, it is not necessary to repeat "Carroll" in the second quotation because it is evident to the reader that the wrter is using the same source. Clear understanding should always be the guideline in such decisions. Also, notice that the author and title are noted within the main body of the text when the source is first introduced. This is a convention you should emulate as it makes it much easier to follow the subsequent citations.

You can follow this pattern most of the time. Remember, the following rules, however:

  • Cite the author of the piece, not the editor.
  • Anonymous works are best cited by title rather than "anonymous"
  • Make sure that you don't produce comma splices or sentence fragments when you integrate quotations into your own sentences
  • Don't put a comma between the author and page number
  • Do not wait until the end of your paragraph and dump all of your citations into a single set of parentheses

Example 2: citing poetry

I couldn't believe someone would actually write, "I sing the joys of the internet,/invisible web! intangible threads that bind me!" (Geek, ll. 6-7)

When citing poetry, show line divisions with slashes (/) and cite by line number rather than page number, using a comma and the abbreviation "l.", "ll." or just "lines". For drama, use a three part citation that includes the act, scene and lines: (5.3.45-46) without any abbreviations. Note: using Roman numerals (V, iii, 45-46) is no longer recommended in MLA documentation form.

Natalie Grinnell
Wofford College
429 North Church Street
Spartanburg, South Carolina 29303
Last Update: July 17, 2009