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Sound Writing

Subsection 8.1.3 In-Text Citations

For citation styles that include citations in parenthesis in the body of your paper (also known as parenthetic citations), it’s crucial that the in-text citation (the part in your paper that’s in parenthesis) corresponds exactly with the full reference at the end of the paper in the Works Cited or References section. But parenthetic citations are also designed to offer information with minimal disruption to the reader’s engagement with the text; if some of the citation information is in the sentence itself, then there’s no need to repeat the information in the parenthesis.
List 8.1.6. Strategies for Writing Parenthetical Citations
The citations in this list are MLA format, but the general principles apply in parenthetic formats such as APA and Chicago Author Date format (the Chicago formatting style that doesn’t use footnotes).
  1. If you’re quoting an author and don’t reference the author in your sentence, include both pieces of information in your in-text citation.
    The narrator describes how “. . .the great city of Yershalayim had vanished as though it had never been” (Bulgakov 312).
  2. If there are multiple references to the same source and it is clear from the context what the source is, omit the author’s name after the first parenthetical reference.
    The narrator describes how “. . .the great city of Yershalayim had vanished as though it had never been” (Bulgakov 312) and, likewise, how “the city itself [Moscow] had long ago disappeared,” metaphorically connecting the two cities (382).
  3. If there are two authors, include both of their names in the citation.
    Realism began as a style of writing that allowed an emerging middle class to identify the events of their daily lives with those that they read about (Knight and Woodman 1).
  4. If you reference the author in your sentence, don’t repeat the author’s name in your citation.
    In Anna Karenina, Tolstoy empathizes so consummately with all his characters (even the non-human ones) that large sections of part 6, chapter 9 are told from the perspective of Levin’s dog, Laska (1266).
  5. Spell and capitalize the author’s name as they prefer.
    With last names that include prefixes, do a Google search if you’re not sure what part of the author’s name is their last name. Some authors choose not to capitalize their names, and it’s important to respect that choice.
    Foreshadowing death, Blood Wedding’s Beggarwoman in states, “They’ll not leave here. The sound of the river / will drown in the sound of the trees / the broken flight of their cries. / It must be here, and soon. I am weary” (García Lorca 3.1.92–95).
    In Black Looks: Race and Representation, bell hooks advocates for a form of epistemological agency—what she terms an “oppositional gaze”—that can “look back” at the gaze of traditional power (131).
  6. Sometimes you may not know the author’s name, and in that case, make sure first word in the citation is the first word that appears in the Works Cited entry.
    Reviews of her work typically praise her flair for language but hint at controversy about her message, as in this review in the Santa Cruz paper of her novel: “It is a remarkable production, containing much that is commendable and more that is objectionable, in sentiment and aim” (“Ideal”).
  7. If you cite multiple works written by the same author, include in your citation the title (or just the first word or two of the title if it’s a long title) of the work you’re citing.
    Sometimes you may be citing multiple works by the same author, so it’s not enough to mention just the author’s name in the citation, leaving your readers to wonder which entry by that author is the one you’re referencing.
    As scholar Margaret Thickstun succinctly puts it, Paradise Lost “is about the education of its main characters and at the same time dedicated to the education of its reader” (Moral Education 1).
  8. If you cannot locate an original version of a text that you cite, credit the original author, but cite the secondary source where you found the text.
    Usually it’s best when quoting to go to the original source, but sometimes that’s not possible (perhaps the original quote is very old or is only available in an archive). In those cases, you should mention the original source author in your sentence, but then give the source where you read the quote in your actual citation, with the indication “qtd. in” so that your readers know you aren’t quoting the source from the original. Sometimes there are errors in quotes that you find this way. It may be useful in those cases to indicate that you are quoting exactly what your source wrote, by inserting after the word that looks incorrect [sic] (which comes from the Latin phrase sic erat scriptum, or “thus was it written”).
    The discourse was sometimes ridiculously disconnected from the practical difficulties presented by western geography and resources, as in the following statement by Congressman Joshua Pilcher in 1831: “‘[one] must know little of the American people, who supposes that they can be stopped by any thing[sic]in the shape of mountains, deserts, seas, or rivers’” (qtd. in Emmons 6).