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MLA In-text Citations with Two Authors, Multiple Authors, and No Page Numbers

If you’re a researcher in the fields of literature, language studies, etc., you’ve probably had to use the 9th edition of the Modern Language Association (MLA)’s handbook. This style guide is uniquely suited to the conventions and needs of these fields, making it a popular choice among several journals. In this article, we’ll explore the basic requirements you need to follow when applying MLA style to in-text citations in your research paper.

The Basics of Formatting In-Text Citations

What sets MLA style apart from many other style guides is that you use page numbers rather than year of publication when you give credit to sources within your paper. In a way, this makes sense for literature and language studies: you’re often referring to full-length novels and even longer works, and just year of publication can make it difficult for a reader to quickly track down the source you’re referring to. See the below example:

This movement may be partly due to the widespread social unrest following World War I (Blake 242).

Note that there’s no comma between the author’s last name and the page number.

MLA In-Text Citations with Two or More Authors

If your source has more than one author, here’s the style to be followed.

            (Ross and Kingsley 345)

            (Vernon et al. 217)

Even when the authors’ names are part of the main text, you don’t use the ampersand (&), nor do you italicize “et al.”

Citing Multiple Works by the Same Author

It’s possible that you’ve to cite multiple works written by the same author. In this case, you also include a shortened title in each in-text citation, along with the page number. Take a look at the example below.

In his latter works, Grimsworthy’s religious beliefs (“Charming Minds” 4) and deepening interest in Catholicism (Grace 352) are more evident.

Following the style you use in the Works Cited list, you have to enclose short titles of books and longer works in italics and short titles of articles or poems in quotation marks.

Citing Works by Unknown or Corporate Authors

If you’re citing a work with no known author, you can use an abbreviated version of the title instead. See the example below:

The nursery rhyme “Pop! Goes the Weasel” contains a reference to the popularity of treacle (line 2). In fact, the mention of “the way our money goes” also highlights the growing dissatisfaction with rising prices among the masses (“Weasel” line 7).

Also, if the source has a corporate author, you can use the name of the corporate along with the page number. Use abbreviations as appropriate.

More than 57% of the children studied demonstrated long-term gains in reading fluency and speed (UNESCO 87).

MLA in text citation with no page number

Some sources, such as poems or web pages, just don’t have page numbers. Here, you need to use an alternate system. For poems, cite line number. You can also use abbreviations such as paragraph (par.), chapter (ch.) and scene (sc.). Look at the example below:

An exquisite word-picture of the moon can be found in the concluding lines of the poem (Soundsworth, lines 13-16).

Note that for web sources, you do not need to include URLs in the in-text citations. Also, if you’re accessing any work online (which has previously been published in print), you should not use paragraph numbers or page numbers based on your Web browser’s print preview function.

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