Sample Essay With Parenthetical Citations

Why we use parenthetical / in-text citations

Researchers place brief parenthetical descriptions to acknowledge which parts of their paper reference particular sources. Generally, you want to provide the last name of the author and the specific page numbers of the source. If such information is already given in the body of the sentence, then exclude it from the parenthetical citation.

Place the parenthetical citation where there is a pause in the sentence – normally before the end of a sentence or a comma. The in-text citation will differ depending on how much information you provide within the sentence.

Example with author’s name in text:

Johnson argues this point (12-13).


This point had already been argued (Johnson 12-13).

Citing sources with more than one author

If you use sources with the same author surnames, then include a first name initial. If the two sources have authors with the same initials, then include their full names:[su_spacer]


(J. Johnson 12-13).


(John Johnson 12-13).

If there are two or three authors of the source, include their last names in the order they appear on the source:


(Smith, Wollensky, and Johnson 45).

If there are more than three authors, you can cite all the authors with their last name, or you can cite the first author followed by “et al.” Follow what is shown the works cited list.


(Smith et al. 45).

Citing sources without an author

Some sources do not have authors or contributors – for instance, when you cite some websites. Instead, refer to the name of the source in your parenthetical citation in place of the author. Shorten / abbreviate the name of the source but ensure that your reader can easily identify it in your works cited (abbreviate the title starting with the same word in which it is alphabetized). Punctuate with quotations or italicize as you would in its works cited form (a book is italicized; an article is in quotes).


Double agents are still widely in use (Spies 12-15, 17).

With prices of energy at new highs, bikes have been increasingly used (“Alternative Transportation” 89).

Citing part of a work

When citing a specific part of a work, provide the relevant page or section identifier. This can include specific pages, sections, paragraphs or volumes. When the identifier is preceded by an abbreviation or word, place a comma between the identifier and the source reference.

Part of a multivolume work


It is arguably the most innovative period in history (Webster, vol 4).

Chapter within a book (if no specific numbers can be referenced)


The electoral college undermines democracy (Sanders, “Government Injustices”).

Article in a periodical


Allen claims there is an inverse correlation between higher taxes and patriotic feelings worldwide (B2).

When citing a specific page(s) of a multivolume work, precede the page number by the volume number and a colon. Do not separate by a comma.

It was arguably the most innovative period in history (Webster 4:12-15).

Use “par.” or “pars.” when referring to specific paragraphs.

The marketing dollars of big studio films has overshadowed good indie movies (Anderson, pars. 12-34).

Citing group or corporate authors

In your parenthetical citation, cite a corporate author like you would a normal author. Preferably, incorporate the corporate author in your text instead of the parenthetical citation.


Facial transplants pose significant risk to the autoimmune system (American Medical Association 12-43).

As noted by the American Medical Association, facial transplants pose significant risk to the autoimmune system (12-43).

Citing an entire source

When citing an entire work, there are no specific page numbers to refer to. Therefore it is preferable to refer to the source within the text itself with either the author or the title of the source.


Hartford suggests the Internet provides more distractions than it does information.

Citing multiple works by the same author

If you reference more than one source by the same author, distinguish the parenthetical citations by including the name of the source. Use a comma to separate the author from the source.


Wars can be economic catalysts (Friedman, World 77-80).

Industrialized nations are better equipped to rebound from recessions (Friedman, “High Tides” 56).

Citing indirect sources

When an original source is unavailable, then cite the secondhand source – for instance, a lecture in a conference proceedings. When quoting or paraphrasing a quote, write “qtd. in” before the author and pages.


John Murray calls Tim Smith “interesting but egotistical” (qtd. in Jesrani 34).

Citing literary / classic and religious works

For works such as novels, plays and other classic works, it’s helpful to provide further identifying information along with the page information. Do this by adding a semicolon and then the identifying information following the page number.


(Tolstoy 5; pt. 2, ch. 3).

When citing classic poems and plays, replace page numbers with division numbers (part, book, scene, act). The below refers to book 10 line 5. Bear in mind the divisions and the way they are written can vary by source.


Fear plays a role in Homer’s Odyssey (10.5).

The title of books in the Bible and other famous literary works should be abbreviated.

(New Jerusalem Bible, Gen. 2.6-9).

Placing parenthetical citations in direct quotations

When directly quoting a source, place the parenthetical citation after the quote.


Sanders explains that economic woes are due to “the mortgage crisis and poor risk assessment” (20).

Place the parenthetical citation at the end of an indented quotation. There should be no period after the parenthetical citation. The last sentence of the indented quote should look like:


It’s unclear whether multilateral tariffs are disruptive to bilateral talks. (Evert 30-31)

Citing online sources

Generally, follow the same principals of parenthetical citations to cite online sources. Refer to the author, and if possible, a permanent identifier that would be the same for any reader.


The economy will rebound with the new monetary policies (Smith).

Solar power will become the primary source of energy (Williams 2).

Citing online sources with no author

If there is no author, use the title that begins the citation, either the article or website title. Be sure it also takes the same formatting, i.e. articles are in quotes and website titles are italicized. Shorten / abbreviate the name of the source but ensure that your reader can easily identify it in your works cited (abbreviate the title starting with the same word in which it is alphabetized).


Elephants are thought to be one of the smartest mammals (“Smart Elephants”).

Nineteen men and women were convicted (Salem Witchcraft Trials).

Note: Ideally, when citing online sources, try to reference the source within your sentence, with either the author or the title to avoid writing a parenthetical citation.

Where to put the parenthetical citations:

  • Place parenthetical citations at the end of the sentence you are paraphrasing and quoting. For example: The destruction of the argentine is due to many socioeconomic factors (Taylor 33).
  • Even when quoting, place the parenthetical citations after the quotations.


“Mamma always said stupid is as stupid does” (Gump 89).

Long quotes:

When quoting four lines or more, indent every line you are quoting by one inch (or 10 spaces) and do not use quotes.


The use of nuclear weapons in today’s society is strikingly alarming. Though the United States is the only country to employ it in the past, they are at the same time the country that condemns its use the most. While this may seem hypocritical, is it the most proper action for the United States to make as the global leader. (Taparia 9)

This section will be especially useful to you if you are a Higher Diploma or Bachelor student.

For more information on MLA referencing, please check the HCT Online Library. It has a very comprehensive section on external web sites that have further information on this topic.

In-text Citation

What is in-text citation?
  • A link in the body of your assignment to your bibliography.
  • Offers enough information so that the reader can find the complete information in the bibliography.
  • Written next to the information that has been taken from another source.
  • May be written within a sentence or at the end of a sentence.
When do you use in-text citation?
  • Whenever you use information from another source in your report.
Why do you use in-text citation?
  • To lead your reader to the correct entry in your Bibliography.
  • To avoid plagiarizing.

In-Text Citation Examples

Books (Author’s Last Name and page number)Example:
“The use of water in the UAE has increased 15 percent since 1990” (Jones 34).
Use the title if there is no obvious author. (Title page number)Example:
“Sharjah is promoted as the capital of the Arabian Gulf” (Emirates Guide 3).
If your Works Cited list entry starts with the article title, use the article title . (“Article Title” page number) Example:
Results of a recent survey suggest that more tourists prefer eco-tourism adventures (“Tourism Study Results” 7).
If you include the author’s name in your sentence, use only the page number in the parenthesis: Example:
Jones notes that the page number follows the sentence (54).
For a website with no author, use the webpage (or website) title for your in-text citation. If it is a long title, you can shorten it to the first three words. Example:
According to their website, a breeding centre for endangered Arabian animals started functioning in February 1998 ("Sharjah Natural History").

Two Types of In-Text Citation

  • When you use some else’s exact words.

  • Always written inside double quotation marks: “ ” when the quotation is 4 or less typed lines.

    A quotation helps support your arguement by showing that other experts agree with you.
Example One (to avoid plagarism):
When you use a quotation, “enclose the author’s last name and the relevant page number(s) within parentheses” (Smith, Jones, and Parks 781).
Example Two (to avoid plagarism):
Smith, Jones, and Parks note that “you can shorten a parenthetical note by naming the author of the source in the body of the essay; then the parenthetical note consists of a page number only” (782).
  • When you use someone else’s ideas but write it in your own words.
  • Do not use quotation marks.
Original Quote:
“To avoid plagiarizing an author’s language... close the book, write from memory, and then open the book to check for accuracy” (Hacker 361).
Paraphrasing Example:
This is one method for avoiding plagiarism. Experts suggest a reflective approach by reading the original source, then writing down your understanding of the idea. Afterward the original source should be compared with your paraphrase to make sure it’s correct (Hacker 361).

Special In-Text Citation Examples

Two different works by the same author Guideline:
Put the title after the author’s name in the in-text citations. Separate the citations with a semi-colon.Example:
(Smith, MLA Style, 54; Smith, Understanding MLA, 78).
No author and very long article titleGuideline:
If the title in the reference source is very long, shorten the title to the first few words. Make sure that you include enough information for the reader to find the full publication details in your bibliography.
Shorten ("Sharjah Natural History Museum and Desert Park") to ("Sharjah Natural History")
Website page numbersGuideline:
When citing a website, page numbers are not necessary. In special cases, you can give the number of the paragraph on the webpage.
”Numbering the paragraph helps the reader locate it within the webpage” (Smith, par. 6).

Special In-Text Citation Examples - TABLES

  • Number each table above the table at the left-hand margin: Table 1
  • Caption each table on a separate line at the left-hand margin, capitalizing the first letter of each big word and proper nouns.
  • Place in-text citation (from NoodleTools) in parentheses (brackets) on a separate line below the table after the word Source.
  • Give full information about the source of the table in the citation in the bibliography.


Table 1
Middle East Internet Usage and Population Statistics
Middle East Internet Usage and Population Statistics
Middle EastPopulation
( 2008 Est. )
Usage, in
Internet Usage,
Latest Data
% Population
User Growth
(%) of
Bahrain718,30640,000250,00034.8 %525.0 %0.5 %
Iran 65,875,223250,00023,000,00034.8 %9,100.0 %50.2 %
Iraq28,221,18112,500275,0001.0 %2,100.0 %0.6 %
Jordan 6,198,677127,3001,126,70018.2 %785.1 %2.5 %
Kuwait 2,596,799 150,000900,00034.7 %500.0 %2.0 %
Lebanon3,971,941300,0001,570,00039.5 %423.3 %3.4 %
Oman3,311,64090,000340,00010.3 %277.8 %0.7 %
Palestine(West Bk.) 2,407,68135,000355,00014.8 %915.7 % 0.8 %
Qatar824,78930,000 351,00042.6 %1,070.0 %0.8 %
Saudi Arabia 28,146,657200,0006,380,00022.7 %3,090.0 %13.9 %
Syria19,747,58630,0003,470,00017.6 %11,466.7 %7.6 %
United Arab Emirates4,621,399735,0002,260,000 48.9 %207.5 %4.9 %
Yemen 23,013,37615,000320,0001.4 %2,033.3 %0.7 %
TOTAL Middle East196,767,6143,284,80045,861,34623.3 %1,296.2 %100.0 %
NOTES: (1) The Middle East Statistics were updated as of December 31, 2008. (2) CLICK on each country name to see detailed data for individual countries and regions. (3) The demographic (population) numbers are based on data from the US Census Bureau. (4) Internet usage numbers come from various sources and are compiled here, see the site surfing guide. (5) The most recent usage information comes mainly from the data published by Nielsen//NetRatings, ITU, and other reliable sources. (6) For growth comparison purposes, the usage data published by ITU for the year 2.000 is furnished. (7) Data may be cited, giving due credit and establishing an active link back to InternetWorld Stats. Copyright © 2009, Miniwatts Marketing Group. All rights reserved.
Source. (Miniwatts Marketing Group).
NoodleTools Citation in BibliographyExample:
Miniwatts Marketing Group. “Middle East Internet Usage and Population Statistics.” Internet World Stats 31 Dec. 2008. Web. 3 May 2009 <>.
NoodleTools In-Text CitationExample:
(Miniwatts Marketing Group).

Special In-Text Citation Examples - FIGURES: Graphs, Diagrams, Etc.

  • Number and caption each figure below the figure at the left-hand margin, capitalizing the first letter of each big word and proper nouns: Fig. 1. Organic Vegetable Market in California.
  • Place in-text citation (from NoodleTools) in parentheses (brackets) on a separate line below the figure number and caption at the left-hand margin.
  • Give full information about the source of the figure in the citation in the bibliography.


Fig. 1. Organic Vegetable Market in California
(Organic Vegetable Market)

NoodleTools Citation in BibliographyExample:
Organic Vegetable Market in California. Photograph. Certified Farmers’ Markets. 2006. Web. 3 May 2009 < Winner_FARMA_Farmers_Market_2006_(web)pdf>.
NoodleTools In-Text CitationExample:
(Organic Vegetable Market).


Fig. 2. Average Raise in Past 12 Months by Industry
(Average Raise in Past)

NoodleTools Citation in BibliographyExample:
Average Raise in Past 12 Months by Industry. Graph. GCC Human Resource Overview: Salaries, Cost of Living and Loyalty. Web. Feb. 2007: 4. 3 May 2009.
NoodleTools In-Text CitationExample:
(Average Raise in Past).

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