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Postcolonial Unit Paper Project: Parenthetical Citations

Check for understanding

I have included parenthetical citations for:

__ all paraphrases.
__ all direct quotations.
__ all summaries.

My parenthetical citations:

__ relate to sources in my Works Cited or Reference page.
__ are put at the end of the sentence.
__ All the facts and information that come before the citation are from that source.

What are Parenthetical Citations?

  • They refer to the source where you found the information.  Everything that comes before the parenthetical citation is assumed to have come from that source.
  • They match the sources in the Works Cited (MLA).
  • They go after direct quotations, paraphrases, and summaries.
  • They always go at the end of the sentence and the period comes after them.
  • These are also called "in-text" citations.
  • With a direct quote, the parenthetical citation goes between the end quote and the period.

Examples in MLA Style:

Paraphrase: Because children were usually baptised soon after birth, we celebrate Shakepeare's birthday as April 23, 1564 ("William Shakespeare," Britannica).

Quotation: Shakespeare only mentions his wife once in his will, leaving her his "second best bed" ("William Shakespeare," Britannica).

The parenthetical citations above relate to this citation from the Works Cited:

"William Shakespeare." Britannica School.Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2015. Web. 1 Mar. 2015. <>.

Signal Phrases

A "signal phrase" is used to introduce a quotation or paraphrased information. The following contains the signal phrase "According to." If the source material is from a research database or the web and doesn't have page numbers, do not put anything in parenthesis afterwards.  If the source has page numbers, put the page number in parenthesis afterwards.

Example with paraphrase:  According to Salisbury and Morris, an entertaiment industry was created during the English Renaissance.

This is from the Works Cited for:

Salisbury, Joyce and Lawrence Morris. "Theater in England: 15th and 16th Centuries." Daily Life through HistoryABC-CLIO, 2015. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.

When Do I Use Parenthetical Citations?

Use them after every quotation, paraphrase, or summary.  All the facts and information before the parenthetical citation must come from the same source.  The only time you do not use one is for your thoughts and opinions, and anything considered "common knowledge."  An example of common knowledge is "George Washington was the first President of the United States." 

If in doubt, cite it.

MLA Common Forms of Parenthetical Citation

Database articles - use author: (Morris).
Database articles with no author - use article title in quotes: ("Shakespeare's Childhood").
If the author or title of your article is the same - add the name of the database ("William Shakespeare," ABC-CLIO).