Skip to Main Content

How to Cite Your Sources

A guide to some of the citation styles

About In-Text Citations

In MLA style parenthetical in-text citations are used. The citation is inserted into the text of your paper to briefly document the source of your information. 

  • In-text citations should include the last name of the author followed by a page number enclosed in parentheses. 
  • For up to two authors, both names should be given. Example: (Smith and Jones 57)
  • For three or more authors use the first author's name then et al.  Example: (Smith et al. 57)
  • If the author's name is not given, then use the first word or words of the title. Example: (Cell Biology 12)


If you are quoting a source verbatim, enclose the quoted section in quotation marks, then add a parenthetical citation at the end of the quote. This citation should include the author's name and the page number. If there are no page numbers, cite the author's name only. 


According to Aaron Jones, "MLA is one of the best citation styles" (32). 


When you write information or ideas from a source in your own words, cite the source by adding an in-text citation at the end of the paraphrased portion. Include a full in-text citation with the author's name and page number (if there is one). If the paraphrased information/idea is from several pages, include them.

MLA is a great citation style that is commonly used by English Students (Jones 34).

Block Quotations

What Is a Block Quotation?

If your quotation is longer than four lines, it is considered a long quotation. This can also be referred to as a block quotation.

Rules for Long Quotations

There are 4 rules that apply to long quotations that are different from regular quotations:

  1. Place a colon at the end of the line that you write to introduce your long quotation.

  2. Indent the long quotation 0.5 inches from the rest of the text, so it looks like a block of text.

  3. Do not put quotation marks around the quotation.

  4. Place the period at the end of the quotation before your in-text citation instead of after, as with regular quotations.