MLA In-text Citations Review

Contributor: Melissa Kowalski. Lesson ID: 11722

If you have taken the previous lessons in this series, you've been introduced to the MLA formats for citing other writers' words in your text. Plagiarism's not cool, so take this review to avoid it!



English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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You don't want to be busted by the Plagiarism Police or the MLA Mounties, so take time to review the proper way to cite the works of others in your writing to give credit to whom credit is due!

Can you name the three types of MLA in-text citations?

If you said the three types of citations that you can use in-text when writing in the MLA format are summary from a source, long quotations, and short quotations, you are right.

In the previous lessons in this MLA In-text Citations series, you learned why it is important to cite your outside sources in your writing, and how to cite all three types of citations in MLA format. Remind your parent or teacher why it is crucial to cite any additional sources you incorporate in your work, and mention at least five types of plagiarism that can occur in writing.

If you need to review this information, go back to the first of the Related Lessons in this series, found in the right-hand sidebar, to review the ten forms of plagiarism.

You've also practiced how to cite summary from source. When citing summary, where does the parenthetical citation get placed in the sentence? If you said at the end of the sentence, you are correct. When citing a summary, the parenthetical citation gets placed at the end of the sentence(s) of summary. The author's name and the page number are the two pieces of information that get placed inside the parentheses. Of course, there are exceptions to this when the author's name or the page numbers are not known. The article or source title is used when there is no named author, and the page number is omitted if there are no other numerical indicators, such as line or paragraph number. You can review other rules for citing summary in the second of the Related Lessons of the series.

How can you show the difference when citing a summary versus citing a short direct quote? If you said a short quote is placed in quotation marks and uses the outside writer's exact words, while summary is putting the main ideas of a text into your own words, you're correct.

A short direct quote is four lines or less of another writer's words that are integrated into your writing by introducing or concluding the quoted material in your own words. The short quote is put into quotation marks, and the parenthetical citation follows them immediately, regardless of where the quotation ends in the sentence.

The parenthetical citation still uses the author's last name and page number, and follows the same rules for exceptions when the author's name or the page numbers are unknown. You can review other rules for citing a short direct quote in the third of the Related Lessons of the series.

In addition to citing short quotations, you also practiced citing long direct quotes. A long quote is more than four lines in length. What are the steps for formatting a long direct quote correctly? Write them down on a sheet of paper. To format a long quote correctly in MLA, you should:

  • introduce the quote in your own words and follow them with a colon.
  • start the long quote on a new line without quotation marks.
  • indent the entire quotation one tab (or one half-inch if handwriting).
  • place the period before the parenthetical citation.
  • start the next sentence after the direct quote on the next line flush to the left-hand margin.

Remember that the same information goes inside the parenthetical citation for long direct quotes, short direct quotes, and summary from a source. You can review the formatting of long quotations in the fourth of the Related Lessons of the series.

You can also watch this informative video, MLA In-Text Citations (Step-by-Step Guide) from HSLanguage Arts, to review MLA in-text citation formatting:

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View MLA 8th Edition Online Workshop by Germanna Community College Tutoring Services to reinforce your knowledge of MLA in-text citations:

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Once you feel comfortable with all three citation formats, move on to the Got It? section to practice your skills with a quiz.

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