The Writing Center @ The University of Wisconsin - Madison
The Writer's Handbook
MLA Documentation Guide

General information about MLA parenthetical citations

How do I cite sources in my paper?

The following instructions are basically the same for print sources and electronic sources: When you quote or paraphrase a specific portion of a text in a source, give enough information--most typically the author's last name and the page number--to identify the exact location of the borrowed material.

The parenthetical information should complement, not repeat, information given in your text (e.g., if you mention the author's name in your text, you do not include it in the citation). For more information, see: Citing books, articles, and other sources parenthetically in your paper

What format should I use for my quotations?

Use the block quotation format for quotations more than four lines long: indent one inch from the left margin, double-space the quotation, and do not use quotation marks. The period for the sentence (or other mark of punctuation) comes after the parenthetical reference, except after a block quote. For more information, see: Formatting quotations according to the MLA guidelines

How do I abbreviate references to my sources?

Parenthetical citations do not include the word "page" or "pages" or the abbreviations "p." or "pp." -- just the page numbers themselves. When referring to plays or poems, cite divisions (canto, book, act, etc.). For more information, see: Abbreviating references to your sources