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Parenthetical References in Text

The 7th edition of the MLA Handbook has completely discontinued footnote / endnote references. As we have done for some time, so too MLA has converted to the parenthetical reference system. In the parenthetical reference system you provide a parenthesis in your paper that containing an author/title and page number pointing to the source of your information (Modern Language Association, hereinafter MLA 5.5.1). The principle behind all rules of citation is to correctly attribute knowledge to its author, laying an accurate trail for your readers to follow to its location. With this in mind, remember these two prime rules: 1) Include all the information necessary to locate your source precisely. For most books this means author, title, place of publication, publisher, and year of publication. For articles in books you must add the author, title, and page numbers of the article as in the reference list below. 2) Give credit where credit is due: cite the author of the text you are quoting. The first step in the trail is from the parenthetical reference to the reference list. That means that the first word in your parenthetical reference must match the alphabetized first word that appears in the reference list, usually an author's last name.

  FAQ: What if there is no author? If there is no author the first word of the title becomes the alphabetized element and therefore appears in the parenthetical reference as in this sentence (MLA 5.4.9, 5.5.9).
  FAQ: What if the author of the quote is not the author of the book I found it in? If the author of the quote wrote a separately authored work that was published in an edited volume, see Articles and Speeches in Books or the sample references at the bottom of this page. If you are quoting somebody quoting somebody else, this is known as an indirect source. Cite the author of the words you quote, followed by "qtd. in" and the author of the book or article where you found the quote (MLA 6.4.7).
Basic Example
When making a page reference to a simple book with a single author, and if only one book by that author is cited in your paper, the reference looks like the one at the end of this sentence, please follow it to the reference you will find below in alphabetical order (Kennedy 52). This is the simplest case. All the other examples will show you how to negotiate the variations on this basic example.
  FAQ: When do I cite a source? You include a parenthetical reference any time you use information gained from a particular source, whether you use a direct quote or not. If you quote directly the quote must also be enclosed in quotation marks or indented (see block quotes below). If you paraphrase you must still include the parenthesis at the end of the sentence where you use the information. If you use information you found in another source without citing it that is plagiarism even if you do not directly quote the source. Also if you cite the source and use the same or very similar wording but do not put quotes around the borrowed words, that is plagiarism. Please be careful.
Titles with more than one author; running quotes; citing whole works vs. specific page ranges.
When making a reference to a book or articles with more than one author, the reference looks like this (Calloway-Thomas and Lucaites). In the previous sentence, the whole book was cited without specific page numbers. This would only occur if you were mentioning information included throughout the book rather than on a particular page (MLA 6.4.1). If you were to introduce a running quote, say from Calloway-Thomas' and Lucaites' introduction, it might look like this: Calloway-Thomas and Lucaites state in the introduction to their edited volume, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Sermonic Power of Public Discourse, that "the word 'sermon' refers generally to a form of religious exhortation" (3). In this case you are using information from a specific page, and the page is included in the parenthesis. Since you mentioned the authors' names in the same sentence they do not need to be repeated in the parenthesis.
More than one book by the same author; authors and editors; italics vs. underline; title case
When you refer to more than one work by the same author, his or her works are listed in alphabetical order by title, under the author's name. After the first title, the author's name is indicated by three dashes and a period (---.). If the same person was an editor rather than an author of one of the works, the three dashes are followed by a comma and the abbreviation "eds." (---, eds.). In the parenthetical reference, you must include the first word of the title after the author's name to indicate which of his works you are citing, as in the reference at the end of this sentence (Kennedy, Classical 36). Note that the italicization agrees with the italicization of the book in the reference list. If you were citing an article, the first word would have quotes around it to correspond to the way it looks in the reference list (MLA 5.3.4, 6.4.6).
  FAQ: Should I use italics or underlining for titles? MLA Guide prefers underlining but allows italics. I am your instructor and I prefer italics but allow underlining. Bottom line: you may use either underlining or italics but you must do it the same way throughout the list (Gibaldi and Achtert 65).
  FAQ: When should I capitalize? MLA style calls for title case for books and articles. This means capitalize the first word in the title and all other words except for articles, prepositions and conjunctions (MLA 3.6.1).
Articles by different authors in the same volume
Another variation you may encounter is when you must cite more than one title, by different authors, in the same edited volume. It gets tedious to repeat all that information every time. You don't have to. All you need is a main reference to the volume itself (Calloway-Thomas), and the authors and titles of the separate articles alphabetized by author, followed by a cite to the main reference that contains editors of the volume and the page numbers of the article, just like a parenthetical reference without the parentheses (Hoover). See also MLA 5.3.6 and Articles and Speeches in Books.
Block quotes
When you use a quotation longer than four typed lines, you should indent it in a block quote instead of setting it off in quotation marks. The indent should be one inch, which I can't precisely reproduce here:.
  Solitary confinement in Birmingham provided King an opportunity to construct an essay that accomplished multiple functions: to answer his immediate critics, to show the legitimacy of nonviolent resistance, to counter the claim that law enforcement officials were showing restraint, and to repair and build his ethos that had been damaged by charges that the movement's anonymous leadership consisted of unwise outsiders who had no sense of proper timing and no respect for the law. (Hoover 51)
Note that in the block quote there are no quotation marks since the indentation itself marks the quoted text. Also note that in the block quote as opposed to the running quote the parenthetical reference comes after, not before, the period (MLA 3.7.2).
Speech in an edited volume
When you are citing a speech in an anthology or other volume edited or even authored principally by someone else, such as in the following quote, "something is happening in Memphis, something is happening in our world" (King 311), you must follow the same rules as for an article in an edited volume. Cite the speaker, the author of the words you are quoting. Place the speaker and title of the speech first in the reference list. For this and the other examples I have mentioned, examine the reference list below carefully. See also Articles and Speeches in Books.
   

Reference List
 
Calloway-Thomas, Carolyn, and John Louis Lucaites. "Introduction." Calloway-Thomas and Lucaites (eds.) 1-17.
---, eds. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Sermonic Power of Public Discourse. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 1993. Print.
Hoover, Judith. "Reconstruction of the Rhetorical Situation in 'Letter from Birmingham Jail.'" Calloway-Thomas and Lucaites 50–65.
Kennedy, George A. Classical Rhetoric and Its Christian and Secular Tradition from Ancient to Modern Times.
  Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1980. Print.
---. New Testament Interpretation through Rhetorical Criticism. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1984.
King, Martin Luther. "I've Been to the Mountaintop." Texts in Context: Critical Dialogues on Significant Episodes in
  American Political Rhetoric. Ed. Michael C. Leff and Fred J. Kauffeld. Davis, CA: Hermagoras P, 1989.
  311321. Print.
Modern Language Association Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. New York: Modern Language
  Association of America, 2009. Print.