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Home: Parenthetical Citations

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Firstly, do not overuse quotes or use really long quotations in your paperWhat it implies is that you are trying to pad your paper.  Teachers see right through this.  As a basic guideline, only up to 10% of all the text from your research paper should be quotations.  When you do use direct quotes, use them correctly.  You should introduce your quote with a signal phrase.   The signal phrase gives the quote some context and helps the flow of your paper.

Long Quotations

If the quotation is longer than three lines of text, you need to put the text in a freestanding block.  Do not use quotation marks.   Introduce your quote with a single sentence ending with a colon.  Then start the quote on a brand new line, with the entire quote indented one inch from the left margin for MLA style (½” for APA style).   

Keep the other rules about direct quotes as stated previously.  Use ellipses (…) to omit sentences or phrases – but make sure the block still makes sense!  Keep all lines double-spaced. 

What are Parenthetical Citations?

What are parenthetical citations?  Sometimes called “in-text citations,” parenthetical citations are the little one-or-two word indicators, put in parenthesis after every single quotation, paraphrase, or summary of information that you used in your paper.  You should be including these as you write your rough draft. 

The only time you do not use a parenthetical citation is for your own ideas and opinions, and anything considered "common knowledge."  An example of common knowledge is "George Washington was the first President of the United States."  This does not need a citation.  Use this rule of thumb.  If you knew it before you read it, it probably is common knowledge.   Ask your teacher if you’re not sure.  Here’s some more information about parenthetical citations:

·    Parenthetical citations refer to the source where you found the information.  The information that comes before the parenthetical citation is assumed to have come from that source.
·    They match the sources at the end of your paper in the Works Cited (MLA) or References page (APA).   They must be in both places.
·    They always go at the end of the sentence and the period goes at the end.
·    With a direct quotation, the parenthetical citation goes after the end quote and before the period.  Ex: “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over” (Berra).
·    Place parenthetical citations underneath all pictures, photos, graphics, and diagrams used in your papers and presentation materials.

Common Examples of Parenthetical Citations

Print work with one author:
MLA: (Smith 483).

APA: (Smith, 1984, p. 483).

Print work with two authors:
MLA: (Smith and Jones 72).

APA: (Smith & Jones, 1992, p. 72).

Print work with a group as author:

MLA: (President's Commission on Energy 315).

APA:  (President’s Commission on Energy, 2000, p. 315).

Print work with no author use title:
MLA: (Writer's Market 66).

APA: (Writer’s Market, 2013, p.66).

Websites with author (n.d. means no date, para means paragraph number):

MLA: (Morris).

APA: (Morris, n.d., para. 5).

Website with no author, use title:

MLA: (“Shakespeare’s Globe”).

APA: (“Shakespeare’s Globe,” 2003, para. 10).

Image (print and digital): Use artists name.  If no artist, use “title”:

MLA: (Michelangelo).

APA: (Michelangelo, 1504).

Classic poem: Use book number. page numbers.

MLA: (Homer 4. 2-15).

Classic verse play: Use act, scene, and line numbers.

MLA: (Shakespeare 1.1.179-186).

Citation from the Bible: Use book, chapter, and verse.
MLA: (Bible, Chron.21.8)