Skip to main content

Referencing and assignment writing: In-text citations

In-text citations

Use the first element from the entry in the Works Cited list - usually the author’s surname - and page number/s in parenthesis. There is no punctuation between the name and the page number, e.g. (Smith 173). If the author’s name appears in the body of your essay itself, use just the relevant page number/s in the parenthesis, e.g. Smith claims that...applies (173). 

More complex citations, such as the ones below, are punctuated for clarity:

  • multiple sources in a single citation are separated by semicolons, e.g. (Smith 178; Brown 65)

  • different locations in a single work are separated by commas, e.g. (Smith 11, 17-18, 95)

  • to identify a location by a paragraph number or another similar method, use a comma to separate the author's name and the paragraph number; use an abbreviation to identify the numbering method, e.g. (Smith, par. 41), (Smith, ch. 7).

The following examples apply to any type of source, in any format.

 

Single author

Direct quotes

The question of how narrative works “can be answered through analysis of the forms of narrative and the pieces that make up an individual narrative” (Utell 7-8).

Block quotes

If a quotation is a long one - usually more than four lines of prose or three lines of verse - place it in a free-standing block of text (hence called block quotation), and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, with the entire quote indented from the left margin. E.g.

Various opinions have been offered about what makes a narrative. In order to answer this question

we have to look at characters and how they act and feel. We have to look at how events unfold over time, and how those events play out as important. …. We have to look at how people (or animals, or things) are thinking. And we have to look at how all of this information is being communicated to us. (Utell 7-8)

Paraphrasing

To answer the question of how narrative works, Utell suggests that one first needs to examine all the elements which make up a given narrative (15).

or

To answer the question of how narrative works, one first needs to examine all the elements which make up a given narrative (Utell 15).

Multiple works by the same author

Add a short form of the title after a comma, e.g. (Utell, “Engagements” 15).

Works by multiple authors with the same surname

Add the author’s first initial or, if necessary, the full first name, e.g. (J. Utell 15).

Two authors

Use both authors’ last names connected by and, e.g. (Hill and Gibson 35-36).

Three or more authors

Use the first author’s name followed by et al., e.g. (Royle et al. 7)

Corporate author

If the author is an organisation, list all the administrative units identified in the Works Cited entry for the source. The units are separated by commas. The commonly abbreviated words, such as Department, should be abbreviated. 

The Tasmanian Government recognised the value of enhancing student experience in its recently released Global Education Strategy (State of Tasmania, Dept. of State Growth 14).

When the author of the work is the organisation that also published it, use the title (in italics, abbreviated if necessary) and page number/s in the parenthesis, e.g.

Google has made finding obscure facts easy. Dusty old volumes, such as Who wrote the movie and what else did he write? have largely been consigned to library storage facilities only to emerge on rare occasions when Google proves no help at all in determining the authorship of this obscure screenplay (78).

or

Google has made finding obscure facts easy. Dusty old volumes containing such facts as the authorship of this obscure screenplay (Who 78) have largely been consigned to library storage facilities only to emerge on rare occasions when Google proves no help at all.

Pseudonyms, online usernames, etc

Pseudonyms, e.g. George Eliot would be (Eliot 89-90), online usernames, e.g. (@realDonaldTrump), etc, are treated like standard names. 

No author

If the work is published without the author's name use the title (in italics, abbreviated if necessary) and page number/s in the parenthesis, e.g. (Beowulf 17); or use just the page number/s if the title appears in the body of your essay. Do not list the author as "anonymous."

Indirect sources

Whenever you cite material taken from a secondary source, not the original work, add the abbreviation of the phrase "quoted in" (qtd. in) to the citation, e.g. 

Jim Collins (qtd. in Driscoll 9) places the phenomenon of "high-pop" in reference to "middlebrow" culture.

Original sources should be used whenever possible.

No page numbers; and other location numbering schemes 

When the work has no page numbers or any other location numbering, such as a website might, use just the author's surname (or title if no author) in the parenthesis, e.g.

"Allegory...is thought to clear the reader’s lungs of the transient and fill them with a deep breath of transcendence."  (Gordimer). In her review of Coetzee's novel The Life and Times of Michael K, she makes a distinction of allegory...

Paragraph numbers; chapter numbers, etc 

Use the author's surname, followed by a comma, and the paragraph number/s (abbreviated to par. or pars.) in the parenthesis, e.g.

Australian laws (Halsbury's, par. 160-920) define the function of a university as follows:

The objects or functions of a university are to provide facilities for teaching and research in such branches of learning as the relevant establishing legislation may determine, to confer degrees and generally to promote university education and the advancement of knowledge.

Use this method only for works with numbered paragraphs; do not count them yourself.

Time-based media (audio/video recordings)

Give the relevant time or range of times in hours, minutes and seconds, separated by colons - as displayed by the media player, e.g. 

Melvyn Bragg calls the eighteenth century "the paradise for the terrible twins - class and snobbery" (Bragg 00:17:07).

Multiple sources in a single citation

List all the sources in the parenthesis, separated by semicolons, e.g. (Smith 178; Brown 65).

Style Manual

If you cannot find an example for what you are looking for then use the MLA Handbook [8th edition]

Need more help?

Ask a librarian

OR

Visit our webpage