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Cite Your Sources

In-text Citations (also called parenthetical citations)

In-Text Citation Examples - Chart

There is more information on slide 2!

In-Text Citations Screencast

Examples & In-text Citations

What a Works Cited page should look like

A bibliography is "a list of the books referred to in a scholarly work." Newton South High School follows the Modern Language Association (MLA) format for bibliographies. Because the word "Bibliography" implies books, and students often use non-book, non-print sources in their work, MLA has a different title for bibliography: Works Cited. A Works Cited contains an alphabetized list of citations for all the works you will cite in your text. Pay close attention to punctuation, indention, and spacing. Every detail is important. Following these guidelines will ensure that your bibliographic format is correct: A bibliography

  • Works Cited page(s) are placed at the end of your research paper, starting on a separate page. page

  • Center the title, Works Cited, an inch from the top of the page.

  • Double space between the title and first citation entry.

  • Use a one-inch left and right margins.

  • If the citation entry runs more than one line, indent the subsequent line or lines a half inch (hanging indention).

  • Double space between and within citation entries.

  • Alphabetize the list by author. If there is no author, use the title for alphabetizing. Ignore the articles A, An and The when alphabetizing citations by title.

See the example Works Cited below to see what it should look like.

A Works Consulted title indicates that the list is not confined to works cited in the paper. In other words, perhaps you consulted a particular source when doing your research, but you ultimately chose not to quote the source, or to paraphrase an idea you gleaned from the source in your paper. If you include the citation for this source on your source list, then the title for this list should be Works Consulted vs. Works Cited. cited

Works Cited

MLA HAndbook. 9th ed., New York, Modern Language Association, 2021. 

"Bibliography." DK Illustrated Oxford Dictionary, London, DK Pub., 1998, p. 83. 

An annotated bibliography includes an annotation, or note, about each source in your bibliography. Depending on your assignment, your teacher may instruct you to summarize, assess, or reflect on each source in your annotations:

  • Summarize: briefly describe the content of the source (i.e., main ideas, issues, etc.)
  • Assess: briefly describe the value of the source to your research and its quality and relevance compared to other sources you consulted
  • Reflect: briefly describe how this source fits into your research (i.e., how you will use it to advance your argument, address your thesis, etc.)

Annotations vary in length from a few sentences to several paragraphs depending on the assignment and the source itself. Seek guidance from your teacher about expected length if it is not already obvious based on the assignment.

Annotations appear following each source citation. They are double-spaced, with an extra line-break in between the citation and the annotation.

Here is an example annotated citation:

"The First Industrial Revolution: Why It Started in Britain." The Industrial
     Revolution in Europe, 1750-1914, edited by James Farr, Detroit, Thomson/
     Gale, 2003, pp. 338-41. This source is a specialized encyclopedia devoted
     to the industrial revolution in Europe from 1750-1914. This is a high
     quality source. I used this source to learn more about why the industrial
     revolution started in Britain, and the reasons provided in the source are
     very detailed and seem consistent with other sources. I used this
     information to address my thesis by comparing this to the development of
     the industrial revolution in other parts of the world.


For more information about annotated bibliographies, we recommend Purdue University's Online Writing Lab's (Purdue OWL) Annotated Bibliography page.

Works Cited

Sacks, Jeff, et al. "Annotated Bibliographies." Purdue OWL, Purdue University,
     10 Mar. 2013, Accessed 19 Oct.

Below you will find some basic examples of how to create in-text citations for the most common source types.  For a complete list of more complicated examples we recommend the Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) website "MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics." 

For video tutorials on how to create in-text citations, scroll to the bottom of this page.

The source information in your in-text citation must match the source information in the Works Cited (also known as bibliography).  Often, the word or phrase you put in the parentheses is the first thing that appears in the source citation in your bibliography/works cited, followed by the page number if available. Remember, you need to use an in-text citation when you use a direct quote from a source as well as when you paraphrase information from a source!

In-text citations for a print source with a known author

Citation in Works Cited:

Burke, Kenneth. Language as Symbolic Action: Essays on Life, Literature,

and Method. Berkeley: U of California P, 1966. Print.

In-text citation options:

Human beings have been described as "symbol-using animals" (Burke 3).

Human beings have been described by Kenneth Burke as "symbol-using animals" (3).

Note that the in-text citations are at the end of the sentence, that the period for the sentence appears after the parentheses, and there is no p. or pg. notation -- just the page number 3.

In-text citation for a web source with a known author with no page numbers

Citation in Works Cited:

Bennett-Smith, Meredith. "Mansa Musa Of Mali Named World's Richest

Man Of All Time; Gates And Buffet Also Make List." The Huffington Post. 10 Oct. 2014. Web. 13 Feb. 2015.

In-text citation:

In 2014, the Huffington Post claimed Mansa Musa was “the richest person ever…worth a staggering $400 billion, after adjusting for inflation…” (Bennett-Smith).

In-text citation for a web source without a known author and no page numbers

Citation in Works Cited:

"The Impact of Global Warming in North America." Global Warming: Early

Signs. 1999. Web. 23 Mar. 2009.

In-text citation:

We see so many global warming hotspots in North America likely because this region has "more readily accessible climatic data and more comprehensive programs to monitor and study environmental change . . ." ("Impact of Global Warming").

Note that you do not include The (or A or An) in the article title of the in-text citation, and you do not need to write the whole title -- an abrreviation is fine as long as it is clear which source you are referrring to from your Works Cited.

In-text citations for sources that have the same title as another source you are using.

Citations in Works Cited:

"Martin Luther." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale,

1998. Biography In Context. Web. 21 May 2013.

"Martin Luther." New Catholic Encyclopedia. Detroit: Gale,

2003. Biography In Context. Web. 21 May 2013.

In-text citation:

After Luther was declared an outlaw and sentenced to death, he was saved by Frederick the Wise who had him kidnapped ("Martin Luther," Encyclopedia of World Biography). 

Martin Luther’s family must have had some wealth because they were able to send him to school without any financial aid ("Martin Luther," New Catholic Encyclopedia). 

Note that you need both the article title and the book title, since the article titles are the same. Note that you need a comma inside the quotation marks at the end of the article title before you list the encyclopedia title. 

In-text citations for a primary source you found in a secondary source:

For indirect quotations, use "qtd. in" to indicate the source in which the original source was quoted.

Ravitch argues that high schools are pressured to act as "social service centers, and they don't do that well" (qtd. in Weisman 259).

Multiple citations:

To cite multiple sources in the same parenthetical reference, separate the citations by a semi-colon:

. . . as has been discussed elsewhere (Burke 3; Dewey 21).


An in-text citation is used to give credit to a source for its information.

An in-text citation is NOT needed when you are using common knowledge, familiar proverbs, or well-known quotations. Common knowledge is general in nature and is found in more than three sources.  ex: Christopher Columbus first sailed to the Americas in 1492.

Primary Sources

"A primary source is a document or physical object which was written or created during the time under study. These sources were present during an experience or time period and offer an inside view of a particular event. Some types of primary sources include: 


  • ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS (excerpts or translations acceptable): Diaries, speeches, manuscripts, letters, interviews, news film footage, autobiographies, official records 
  • CREATIVE WORKS: Poetry, drama, novels, music, art 
  • RELICS OR ARTIFACTS: Pottery, furniture, clothing, buildings

Examples of primary sources include:

  • Diary of Anne Frank - Experiences of a Jewish family during WWII 
  • The Constitution of Canada - Canadian History 
  • A journal article reporting NEW research or findings 
  • Weavings and pottery - Native American history 
  • Plato's Republic - Women in Ancient Greece"

 "Primary vs Secondary Sources." Primary vs Secondary Sources. Princeton University, n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2013.

  • Most of the time, you will not be citing the original primary source itself, rather you will be citing a facsimile or reproduction of the source, often found online.

  • Consequently, the primary elements of the citation you create will be gleaned from the facsimile source, not from the original or any intermediary sources (e.g., if you got a primary source from Fordham University's Internet History Sourcebook website, and they got it from a book edited by William Stearns Davis, you would cite the website and not the book). The reader can be directed back to a prior intermediary source by going to the your source and finding the additional reference there.  

  • You should make every attempt to credit multiple source contributors where available. For example, Fordham University's Internet History Sourcebook website is edited by Paul Halsall, so he should be credited in your citation as an editor. If the facsimile source credits other contributors, like a translator or an additional editor for this source, then add these as additional contributors in your citation. 

  • Citations do not indicate whether a source is primary or not. Consequently, the format of the citation is dependent upon where you found the source facsimile, e.g., on a website, in a book (in print or online), in a database, etc.  If you saw the original primary source and not a facsimile, then you should cite it based on the form of that source, e.g., a manuscript, a map, an artwork, a treaty, etc.

Here is an example citation for a primary source found online.  This source is Res Gestae Divi Augusti, found on Fordham University's Ancient History Sourcebook website.



"Res Gestae Divi Augusti, C. 14 CE." Internet History Sourcebooks:

Ancient History Sourcebook. Ed. Paul Halsall and J. S. Arkenberg. Fordham University, June 1998. Web. 04 Nov. 2013.

Adapted from Ms McNally/NSHS History guidelines for writing and citation:


The above quotations are taken from the following source:

Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Society. New York: W.W.

Norton &, 1999. Print.

Thanks to Heather Hersey from the Lakeside School in Seattle, WA for creating this helpful tutorial video for how to paraphrase!

Avoiding Plagiarism

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