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MLA Style and Parenthetical Citations

Making a Parenthetical Citation

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Many high school teachers will require students to use MLA Style for their papers. When a teacher requires a certain style, it means the teacher wants you to follow guidelines for formatting things line spacing, margins, and a title page in a specific way. 

Your teacher may provide a style guide, or he/she may expect you to purchase a book on the topic. Style guides are available at most bookstores. If you need extra help with these features, you can consult these sources:

As you write your paper in MLA style, you will be talking about things you found in your research. Therefore, you will have to indicate in your text exactly where you found the information.

This can be done with parenthetical citations; these are brief notations that you insert within a sentence which explain where you found your facts.

Any time you make reference to someone else's idea, either through paraphrasing or quoting them directly, you must provide this notation. It will include the author’s name and the page number of the work in the text of your paper.

This is the parenthetical citation, and it is the alternative to using footnotes (like you will do if you use other styles found elsewhere on this site). Here is an example of parenthetical citations:

Even today, many children are born outside the safety of hospitals (Kasserman 182).

This indicates that you are using information found in a book by somebody named Kasserman (last name) and it was found on page 182.

You may also give the same information in another way, if you want to name the author in your sentence. You might want to do this to add variety to your paper:

According to Laura Kasserman, “many children today do not benefit from the sanitary conditions which are available in modern facilities” (182). Many children are born outside the safety of hospitals.

Be sure to use quotation marks when quoting someone directly.

MLA Bibliography Tutorial and Guide

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