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ENGL 1301: Composition & Rhetoric I (Harwell): MLA Citations

ENGL 1301 | Prof. A. Harwell (Fall 2022)

Example Citations

Print Books

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. Tender is the Night. Scribner, 1995.

In-text citation: (Scott 180), (Scott)


Twain, Mark. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. E-book ed., Charles L. Webster & Co., 1889. Project Gutenberg,

In-text citation: (Twain chap. 10), (Twain)
Note: in this specific version of the book (your citation reflects the exact copy you're looking at, generally), we don't have page numbers -- chapter numbers are the closest we can get.


Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. First Avenue Editions, 2014. EBSCO eBook Collection,,cpid&custid=s1088435&db=nlebk&AN=837982&site=ehost-live.

In-text citation: (Twain 28), (Twain)

Graphic Novel

Similar to a movie, this citation can vary depending on who or what you're emphasizing in your analysis. If you're looking at the work as a whole (i.e. you're discussing a little bit of everything from plot to dialog to art and so on), you're going to start your citation with the title, not any of the creators.

Saga. By Brian K. Vaughn, illustrated by Fiona Staples, book 1, Image Comics, 2014.

In-text citation: (Saga 56), (Saga)
Quoting speech bubbles? Treat them like dialog in a regular book -- no special formatting. Include the page number for each quote, however.

Cite the excerpt/short story/article first, then give the information about where you found it (i.e. the book that reprinted it). Your in-text citation will not reflect any of the larger worker, however. Collections that contain the work of multiple authors (be it anthology or magazine or journal) are the only time you include page numbers in the Works Cited citation.

Print Anthology: Short Story

Arnold, H. F. "The Night Wire." Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural, edited by Marvin Kaye, Barnes & Noble ed., Barnes & Noble Books, 1993, pp. 328-334.

In-text citation: (Arnold 330), (Arnold)

Print Anthology: Excerpt of a Longer Work

Cisneros, Sandra. Excerpt from Woman Hollering Creek. Norton Anthology of American Literature, edited by Robert S. Levine et al., shorter 9th ed., vol. 2,  Norton, 2017, pp. 1613-1622.

In-text citation: (Cisneros 1618), (Cisneros)


Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Masque of the Red Death." The Complete Short Stories, Road, 2014. EBSCO eBook Collection,,cpid&custid=s1088435&db=nlebk&AN=844566&site=ehost-live.

In-text citation: (Poe)
Note: This particular collection provides neither page nor chapter numbers, so we can't add location information to the parenthetical citation. In your narrative, you could instead mention "At the climax of the story..." or "In the first third..." to help situate your reference.


Hughes, Langston. "The Weary Blues.", Academy of American Poets,

In-text citation: (Hughes)


Dickinson, Emily. "He Fumbles at Your Spirit." Poems, Perseus Books, 1991. EBSCO eBook Collection,,cpid&custid=s1088435&db=nlebk&AN=1023965&site=ehost-live.

In-text citation: (Dickinson 252)

Published Script

If you're working from a copy of the script, follow these examples. If you watch a performance of the play (live or recorded), such as to comment on a particular interpretation or performance, that will look different. An unpublished script will look slightly different from the published script examples, but you probably won't be using any of those.

Standalone, Print Book

Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015.


Anthology, E-Book

Hughes, Langston, et al. Harvest. The Political Plays of Langston Hughes, introduction and analysis by Susan Duffy, 2000, pp. 68-137. EBSCO Ebook Collection,,cpid&custid=s1088435&db=nlebk&AN=46326&site=ehost-live.

Who's the "author" of a film? "Films are collaborative works," says the MLA Style Center, so your citation will vary depending on your focus. Rather than a page number, you'll provide a timestamp for a specific scene you're discussing.

Overall Movie: You're Analyzing Various Aspects, Including Story, Performances, & Direction

The Big Sleep. Directed by Howard Hawks, 1946. Warner Brothers, 2000. DVD.

In-text citation: (The Big Sleep 5:47)
Note: In this example, I've included the format (DVD) in the optional element slot at the end of the citation.


Director: If You're Focusing on the Director's Choices

Hawks, Howard, director. The Big Sleep. Warner Bros., 1946.

In-text citation: (Hawks 1:10:37)

Similar to movies, your music citations will depend on how you listened to the song. It is not, strictly speaking, necessary to name in your citation a particular app you may have listened to the song through.

Odom, Leslie, Jr. "Wait For It." Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording), written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Atlantic, 2015.

In-text citation: (Odom), (Odom 1:31)


Rube Bloom and His Bayou Boys.  "Mysterious Mose." 1930. The Charleston Chasers Vol. 2 & New York Studio Groups (1928–1930), Timeless Records, 2001.

In-text citation: (Rube Bloom and his Bayou Boys)

Song Lyrics

Hozier. Lyrics to “Dinner and Diatribes.” Genius,

Astaire, Fred. Lyrics to "Puttin' on the Ritz." MetroLyrics, Accessed 29 Aug. 2020.

In-Text Citations In Depth

  • Include an in-text citation any time you've used information not original to you, whether you have directly quoted or have summarized/paraphrased.
  • Quotes should not be plopped into your paper as standalone sentences. Work to integrate the quote to flow into some of your original words, whether that's a signal phrase to introduce the quote (e.g. Director Taika Waititi explained his process as, "Quote") or to follow the quote with some summary. This is easier to do if you start focusing on what part of the whole sentence is actually important for you to repeat.
    • If you namedrop someone for the first time, remember to introduce them.
    • Wrong: Waititi says, "quote." Right: Director Taika Waititi says, "quote." (Again, first mention only. Once introduced, you can revert to just Waititi.)
    • Keep your focus on the information, not the source. "The textbook says..." or "The article by John Smith suggests" aren't very interesting namedrops. Just say whatever those sources are telling you and leave the attribution solely to the parenthetical citation.
  • Omit words or phrases by dropping in an ellipsis -- the official name of three periods in a row. E.g. "We the People, ..., do ordain and establish this Constitution..."
  • Alter the wording for grammar or clarity with square brackets. "We the People ... ordain[ed] and establish[ed] this Constitution..."
Quote More of... Paraphrase More of...
Your primary sources (i.e. the literature being analyzed) Your secondary sources (i.e. the scholarly articles that discuss the literature, author, themes)

Normally paraphrasing is preferred to quoting, generally speaking... but if you're doing a deep-dive on a piece of literature, you should be pulling quotes in a good deal. The above is a rule of thumb, not an exclusive dichotomy, of course. You can paraphrase and summarize your primary source, and there may be some really impactful analysis from your secondary sources that you want to quote!

This is what you're accustomed to doing: a relatively short quote, integrated into a sentence, with a citation at the end.

The Headless Horseman isn't confined to the strict perimeter of Sleepy Hollow, but the residents in the tale believe he must return to the churchyard by daybreak, "hurrying along in the gloom of night, as if on the wings of the wind" (Irving).


If your quote is over four (4) lines long, you'll need to format it as a blockquote. (Keep in mind that because this is a long quote, and formats to seem longer, there should be an inverse relationship between how many of these you use and the length of your paper. That is, the shorter your paper, the fewer of these you should have.)

If there is a page number or other parenthetical citation needed, include it at the end of the block quote, after the sentence is over (no period to the right of the parenthetical citation). The block quote should be indented half-an-inch from the left margin.

Detailed descriptions of setting give the reader an idea of the early republic's Dutch residents of the Hudson River valley, from homes to clothing to feast foods:

There was the doughty doughnut, the tender oly koek, and the crisp and crumbling cruller; sweet cakes and short cakes, ginger cakes and honey cakes, and the whole family of cakes. And then there were apple pies, and peach pies, and pumpkin pies; besides slices of ham and smoked beef; ... preserved plums, and peaches, and pears, and quinces; not to mention broiled shad and roasted chickens; together with bowls of milk and cream, all mingled higgledy-piggledy, ... (Irving)


A shorter quote can be integrated into a sentence similar to prose. You may use a / to show where line breaks appeared in the original, and // for stanza breaks.
Laura warns her sister of the dangers of the goblin market's fruits, cautioning, "Who know upon what soil they fed / Their hungry thirsty roots?" (Rosetti).
For three (3) or more lines, you'll use a block a blockquote (sans quotation marks). Similar to the blockquote for prose, any parenthetical citation information (canto, page, etc), if applicable, will be added at the end of the quote, after any closing punctuation.
Rosetti employs a string of similes at four parts of the poem to describe resistance and surrender to the temptations of the goblin fruit, likening the women to nature as well as ships and cities, while the goblins are only animalistic:
Laura stretch’d her gleaming neck
Like a rush-imbedded swan,
Like a lily from the beck,
Like a moonlit poplar branch,
Like a vessel at the launch
When its last restraint is gone.

Match whatever line formatting was used in the original. If your quote starts mid-line, you'll indent a little extra, offsetting the start of your quote further to the right to show this.

“Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out” only explicitly 'crosses out' content in three places, the most direct allusion to the physical relationship between the writer and their partner, but the staggered start-stop shape of the poem gives an impression of interruptions and mild desperation grasping for a happy ending instead of the inevitable sad conclusions:
Here is the repeated image of the lover destroyed.
                                                                                               Crossed out.
            Clumsy hands in a dark room. Crossed out. There is something
underneath the floorboards.
                   Crossed out. And here is the tabernacle
Here is the part where everyone was happy all the time and we were all
even though we didn’t deserve it. (Siken)

Dialog from a play will be set off block-quote style from your paper. Include the speaking character's name in all caps followed by a period, then the line. If a character's dialog runs longer than one line in your paper, indent the subsequent lines extra.

Like the other block quotes, include line or page information (if available) in parentheses after the last sentence of the quoted area.

As Shakespeare introduces the fairy rulers in A Midsummer Night's Dream, he quickly establishes an uneasy relationship, like so many in this play, between the king and queen:

OBERON. Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania.

TITANIA. What, jealous Oberon! Fairies, skip hence:
    I have forsworn his bed and company.

OBERON. Tarry, rash wanton: am not I thy lord? (act 2, scene 1)

MLA Citation Construction