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GOVT 2305 U.S. Government - Sinegal - Fall 2023: Writing & Citing

Best Practices in MLA Citations

Do I really have to put that period in that spot? What about indents? Do I need to cite my textbook?

Yes, yes, and YES!

Every part of a citation matters because it matters to your professor. Correct citation can be difficult but once you get the hang of it, it will become like second nature. Below are resources to get you started on your Works Cited citations and your In-text or Parenthetical citations. Have questions or a complicated citation? Ask a Librarian!

MLA Walkthrough

Creating a Works Cited Page in MLA

Everything you consult when creating your paper should be cited on a separate page called the Works Cited Page. This page is the last page of your essay. The links and resources below will help you craft citations for your essays.

Use the following video and sites to learn about proper citation in MLA. In addition, learn about cross-checking your citations

You can also create citations using generators, especially helpful for resources that are not from ACC databases like your textbook. Remember: it's your responsibility to double check the citations for accuracy!

In-Text (Parenthetical) Citations in MLA

Citations in the middle of your paper are called in-text or parenthetical citations. You will use in-text citations whenever you:

  • provide a direct quote from a source
  • use anything that is not your original thought or opinion

ACC Library Services provides a nice overview for parenthetical citations including examples. 

Say you want to use this source material for your paper. You can use the entire quote, called a block quote, but make sure you follow the correct formatting. 

"It's either going to be vote-by-mail or nothing if we have to deal with a worst-case scenario," Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said Monday on a conference call with reporters. Wyden and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who announced her husband's coronavirus diagnosis Monday, have sponsored a Senate bill similar to the provisions that House Democrats are trying to put in the emergency package.

Some GOP lawmakers have said their primary opposition is to the mandates that Wyden and others want to impose on the states, and argue that election-related funding can come later. But advocates said there is little time to waste for officials on the ground. (Gardner, et al.)

The "et al." for the in-text citation occurs because you have more than one author. Instead of listing each author, use the "et al." phrase to indicate multiple authors.

You can also use it as a parenthetical citation in the following ways:

  • You can directly quote the entire piece or a part of it. For that, add quotation marks around the part you want to use, the author, and the page number, if applicable. 

"Some GOP lawmakers have said their primary opposition is to the mandates that Wyden and others want to impose on the states, and argue that election-related funding can come later (Gardner, et al.)."

  • You can also include the author's name as a way to introduce the work. For this one, we still don't have a page number so we will leave it as is.

Gardner, et al. found that "some GOP lawmakers have said their primary opposition to the mandates" are largely in line with what state governments want to impose. 

  • You can also write an inference where you give the title of the work and the author name but no direct quote/s. 

According to Gardner, et al., reporters for the The Washington Post, funding for voting by mail will likely occur later but not for the current elections (Gardner, et al.). 

The citation for the Works Cited page for this source is created automatically using the Cite feature in the database. 

Gardner, Amy, Elise Viebeck, and Joseph Marks. "Election Officials, in Bipartisan Push, Seek Funds for Mail Voting." The Washington Post, Mar 25, 2020. ProQuest,

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