MLA Style Parenthetical Citations

Person holding a sign saying "citation needed" against a blue sky. / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Many high school teachers require students to use MLA format for their papers. When a teacher requires a certain style, it means they expect you to follow guidelines for formatting line spacing, margins, and the title page in a specific way. Your teacher may provide a style guide.

Using MLA Style

As you write your paper in MLA format, you will be referencing things you found in your research and will need to indicate exactly where you found the information. As an alternative to using footnotes (which are common in Chicago format), this can be done with parenthetical citations. These are brief notations that explain where you found your facts.

Any time you make reference to someone else's idea, either through paraphrasing or quoting them directly, you must provide this notation. It will include the author’s name and the page number from their work.

Here is an example of parenthetical citation:

Even today, many children are born outside the safety of hospitals (Kasserman 182).

This indicates that you are using information found in a book by somebody named Kasserman (last name) and it was found on page 182.

You may also give the same information in another way if you want to name the author in your sentence. You might want to do this to add variety to your paper:

According to Laura Kasserman, “many children today do not benefit from the sanitary conditions which are available in modern facilities” (182). Many children are born outside the safety of hospitals.

Be sure to use quotation marks when quoting someone directly.

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Your Citation
Fleming, Grace. "MLA Style Parenthetical Citations." ThoughtCo, Aug. 29, 2020, Fleming, Grace. (2020, August 29). MLA Style Parenthetical Citations. Retrieved from Fleming, Grace. "MLA Style Parenthetical Citations." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 26, 2023).