MLA In-Text Citations

Learning how to format in-text citations correctly is a matter of following a few simple steps. Here I provide basic examples as a supplement to Diana Hacker's A Writers Reference. Whether you quote directly or paraphrase (summarize a passage in a brief sentence or two in your words), use the same citation format. In-text citations must be accompanied by a bibliography.

I Mentioned the Author's Name in My Sentence
Since you stated the author's name in your sentence, you do not write the author's name in the parentheses. After the quotation mark, leave one space, type the parentheses, the page number – without pp. or page or # – close the parentheses, and end with a period. Here's an example:

In Matisse on Art (1995) Jack Flam notes the significance of painter Henri Matisse's writing: Matisse "seems to have considered the artist’s essay a distinct genre, a combination of autobiographical reminiscence and expository essay" (1).

I Did Not Mention the Author's Name in My Sentence
In this instance, you did not mention the author's name in your sentence, so include it in the parentheses. Follow the same format; just add the last name of the author. Do not use a punctuation mark between the author's name and the page number. Here's an example:

Henri Matisse's artist statement "Notes of a Painter" is influential to artists who want to express ideas through writing because "he seems to have considered the artist's essay a distinct genre, a combination of autobiographical reminiscence and expository essay" (Flam 1).

I Used a Quote the Author Quotes
Include the name of the quoted individual in the parentheses followed by "qtd. in" – an abbreviation of "quoted in the text." Then follow the same format listed above: include the last name of the author of the book and the page number. It is also a good idea to mention the quoted individual's full name in your text so that it is clear whose words you're incorporating. Here's an example:

One of Henri Matisse's collectors and friends, Leo Stein, remembered how articulate Matisse was; he said that Matisse was "capable of saying exactly what he meant when talking about art…a rare thing with painters" (Stein qtd. in Flam 1).

I'm Using Two Sources Written by the Same Author
In your essay, for example, you use Jack Flam's Matisse on Art (1995) and Flam's Matisse and Picasso: The Story of Their Rivalry and Friendship (2003). In the in-text citation, provide an abbreviated version of the book's title, either Matisse or Rivalry and Friendship. Readers can turn to your bibliography for clarification. Here's an example:

In a study of the friendship between painters Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, art historian Jack Flam notes that a misunderstanding of Matisse's artist statement "Notes of a Painter" (1908) "cast him precisely in the opposite role from the obviously disturbing Picasso" (Rivalry and Friendship 65).