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MLA Citation Style 7th Edition: Quotes & Paraphrasing

This guide will help you cite sources in MLA Citation Style 7th Edition

Quotes & Paraphrasing: Parenthetical (In Text) Citations

Numbers in parentheses refer to specific pages in the MLA 7th Edition manual.

How to Cite a Direct Quote (92-105)

When you incorporate a direct quotation into a sentence, you must cite the source. Fit quotations within your sentences, making sure the sentences are grammatically correct:

e.g. Gibaldi indicates, “Quotations are effective in research papers when used selectively” (109).
Remember that “[q]uotations are effective in research papers when used selectively” (Gibaldi 109).

If the quotation will run to more than 4 lines in your paper, you must use a block format in which the quotation is indented 1 inch from the left margin, double spaced with no quotation marks.


How to Cite after Paraphrasing

Even if you put information in your own words by summarizing or paraphrasing, you must cite the original author or researcher as well as the page or paragraph number(s). For example, a paraphrase of Gibaldi’s earlier quotation might be identified as follows:

Within the research paper, quotations will have more impact when used judiciously (Gibaldi 109).

For more tips on paraphrasing check out The Owl at Purdue.


How to Cite Information When You Have Not Seen the Original Source (226)

Sometimes an author writes about research that someone else has done, but you are unable to track down the original research report. In this case, because you did not read the original report, you will include only the source you did consult in the Works Cited list. The abbreviation “qtd.” in the parenthetical reference indicates you have not read the original research.

Fong’s 1987 study found that older students’ memory can be as good as that of young people, but this depends on how memory is tested (qtd. in Bertram 124). [Do not include Fong (1987) in Works Cited; do include Bertram.]


How to Cite Information If No Page Numbers Are Available (220-222)

If a resource contains no page numbers, as can be the case with electronic sources, then you cannot include a page number in the parentheses. However, if the source indicates paragraph numbers, use the abbreviation “par.” or “pars.” and the relevant numbers in the parentheses.

One website describes these specific dragons (King). A solution was suggested in 1996 (Pangee, pars. 12-18).


How to Cite Two or More Works by the Same Author or Authors (225)

When citing one of two or more works by the same author(s), put a comma after the author’s last name and add the title of the work (if brief) or a shortened version of the title and the relevant page number.


How to Cite if the Author's Name is Unavailable (223-224)

Use the title of the article or book or Web source, including the appropriate capitalization and quotation marks/italics format.

e.g. (“Asthma Rates Increasing” 29).


How to Cite Poetry (95-96)

When citing 2-3 lines of poetry, you would insert a "/" (without the quotes) between the lines.

e.g. Reflecting on the "incident" in Baltimore, Cullen concludes, "Of all the things that happened there / That's all that
I remember" (11-12).


When citing more than three lines of poetry, you would start the quotation on a new line and indent each of the lines one inch from the left margin.

e.g.   In "High Noon," by Andy Wainwright, the speaker concludes:
     today my entire generation
     is a poet
     it travels in packs
     & word is spreading
     I am alone (7-11)


How to Cite Plays (96-97)

When referencing the lines of only one character, follow the guidelines for poetry and prose.

When quoting a conversation between two or more characters in a play, start the quote on a new line, indented one inch from the left margin.

Write the name of the first speaker in capital letters, followed by a period and the speaker's line(s). Do the same for the next speaker or speakers as necessary.

If the quote you are using for one of the speakers continues onto another line, it is indented an additional quarter inch.

e.g.   OTHELLO. I will deny thee nothing!
     Whereon I do beseech thee grant me this,
     To leave me but a little to myself.

DESDEMONA. Shall I deny you? No. Farewell, my lord. (3.3.83-85)

How to Cite when you are Altering a Direct Quote

When you need to leave out part of a quotation to make it fit grammatically or because it contains irrelevant/unnecessary information, insert ellipses (97-101).

If you must add or slightly change words within a quotation for reasons of grammar or clarity, surround the change with square brackets (101).

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