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Essay Format Mla Quotes From Internet

MLA: Using Sources Correctly

There are three main ways to uses sources in your research paper. You may quote. You may paraphrase. Or you may summarize. All three require an in-text (parenthetical) citation!

In-text Citations

You CANNOT use information from any website or published book unless you give the author (or site) credit--BOTH inside your text and at the end of your paper.  In other words, it is NOT enough to simply list the sources you used on a Works Cited Page or References List. 

As your instructor reads your essay, he or she should clearly be able to see which sentences, facts, or sections of your essay came from Source A, Source B, or Source C, etc. by looking at your in-text citations.

You can give credit to your sources within your text in two different ways: by using a signal phrase or by simply using an in-text citation. 

Signal phrase:  a signal phrase lets the reader know, right at the beginning of the sentence, that the information he or she is about to read comes from another source.

Example:  Your paper might say something like....According to John Smith (2006), author of Pocahontas Is My Love, "Native American women value a deep spiritual connection to the environment."

Notice that since I took a direct quote from John Smith's book, I placed those words in quotation marks.  Notice also that I placed the date that the book was published directly after the author's name in parentheses--this is proper APA format.  Finally, notice that because I explained WHO wrote the book and WHAT book it comes from, the reader is easily able not only to find the source on his/her own to check my facts, but the reader is also more likely to believe what I have to say now that they know that my information comes from a credible source.

For Web Sources: If I was using a particular website (instead of John Smith's book), the signal phrase would look exactly the same, but I would say "According to Pocahontasrules.com..."     

In-Text Citation:  Use an in-text citation in situations where you are not quoting someone directly, but rather using information from another source such as a fact, summary, or paraphrase to support your own ideas.

Example:  She stated, "Students often had difficulty using APA style," but she did not offer an explanation (Jones, 1998, p. 199).

Notice that it's clear within this sentence that I'm referring to a certain person's beliefs, but since this person's name does not appear at the beginning of the sentence, I have placed her name, the year that her article was published, and the page number where I retrieved this information in parentheses at the end of the sentence.

Information on how to format an in-text citation

Summarizing Sources

Summarize an article or a larger section of an article whenever you simply want to present the author's general ideas in your essay. 

How to Write an Effective Summary:  Cover up the original article, it is key that you not quote from the original work.  Restate what you've read in your own words, and be sure to give the author credit using an in-text citation. 

Example:  Congressman Joe Smith (2009) believes that our approach to reforming the healthcare system is backwards and costly.  He discusses our rising national debt in "Healthcare: Let's Talk" and lists several statistics to prove that Obama's new plan will only make things worse.

Summaries are most often used to condense larger texts into more manageable chucks. However, as a writer you should be aware that this more manageable chunks and easily become vague and weigh your paper down with fluff.

Paraphrasing Sources

Paraphrase your sources whenever you believe that you can make the information from a source shorter and/or clearer for your audience.  A paraphrase is NOT an exact copy of the original, simply changing a few words here and there is NOT acceptable. 

Take a look at these examples:     

The original passage from The Confident Student (6th ed.):  “Whatever your age, health and well-being can affect your ability to do well in college.  If you don’t eat sensibly, stay physically fit, manage your stress, and avoid harmful substances, then your health and your grades will suffer” (Kanar 158).  

A legitimate paraphrase: No matter what condition your body is in, you can pretty much guarantee that poor health habits will lead to a lack of academic success.  Students need to take time for their physical and emotional well-being, as well as their studies, during college (Kanar 158). 

A plagiarized version:  No matter how old you are, your well-being and your health can impact your ability to do a good job at school.  If you choose not to eat well, exercise, deal with stress, and avoid getting drunk, then your grades will go down (Kanar 158).

Because the art of paraphrasing is more concise than summarizing, a true paraphrase shows that you as a researcher completely understand the source work.

Quoting your sources

If you need help incorporating your sources into your essay, the first thing you'll need to remember is that quotes cannot stand alone--they can't be placed in a sentence all by themselves.  You need to make each quote a part of your essay by introducing it beforehand and commenting on it afterward.  

Think of each quote like a sandwich—the quote is the meat on the inside, but before you taste the meat, you must also be introduced to the sandwich by the bread. After you bite down on that meat, you need the other piece of bread to round out the meal.

The top piece of bread will tell us where the quote came from and/or how it fits in with what’s already been discussed in the essay.  The bottom piece of bread points out what was important about the quote and elaborates on what was being said.

Quoting FAQ’s

How do I use partial quotations to liven up my writing?

Be sure to introduce the author from the source work within the sentence itself  and use quotation marks. No comma is necessary to introduce the quoted phrase.


Margaret Reardon points out that today's economy cars are "better equipped" to handle accidents than the smaller cars of the past.

What are block quotations and how are they handled?

Block, or indent, quotations longer than four lines of type. When a quotation is indented, the use of quotation marks is not necessary, and the page number is included outside the ending punctuation.


Jordan stated:

Like many people who enjoy a leisurely pace of living with such attendant activities as reading, painting, or gardening, I often long for a simpler time, a time when families amused themselves by telling stories after supper, as opposed to watching Baghdad get bombed. (1)

Block quotes are indented by one inch, and should be used sparingly.

How do I punctuate shorter quotations?

For a quotation shorter than four lines, quotation marks are used and the page numbers fall inside the ending punctuation.


According to DR. Shannon Marcus:  "Many of our student's personal decisions will have the inherent dangers of instant gratification, and so will their political decisions," (548).

Do I use a comma or a colon to introduce a quotation?

A quotation is usually introduced by a comma or a colon. A colon precedes when a quotation is formally introduced or when the quotation itself is a complete sentence, but either no punctuation or a comma generally precedes when the quotation serves as an integral part of the sentence.


Shelley argued thus: "Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world."


She thought poets "the unacknowledged legislators of the world."


"Poets," according to Shelley, "are the unacknowledged legislators of the world."


Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" concludes: "A sadder and a wiser man, / He rose the morrow morn."

How do I correctly change a quotation to suit my purpose, such as to identify a pronoun?

Often, a quotation you wish to use includes a pronoun instead of a name. Since you must copy the quotation verbatim, you should insert the name after the pronoun to clarify who you are talking about. Use brackets (not parenthesis).

Example: "He [Clapton] got the chills when he listened to that material recently."

What if my quotation contains a mistake?

Additionally, if your source makes a “mistak”, you copy the mistake because direct quotations are copied verbatim. However, you indicate that the mistake is not yours by using [sic], which means "thus" and tells the reader that the error appears in the original.


The professor stressed that "if your source makes a mistak [sic], you should copy the mistake because direct quotations are copied verbatim."

If quotations are verbatim, how do I leave something out of a quotation that I do not need?

Use ellipsis marks if you wish to leave something out of the middle of a quotation (perhaps it is not needed or will make your quotation too long).

Original Source:

She states that

many of our students' personal decisions will have the inherent dangers of instant gratification, and so will their political decisions. Virtual reality will make it possible for them to program themselves into scenarios we now merely fantasize about. As a result, imagination itself will require a new definition. (1)

Quoted with ellipses:

She states that

many of our students' personal decisions will have the inherent dangers of instant gratification, and so will their political decisions. . . . As a result, imagination itself will require a new definition. (1)

Note 1: There are only three ellipses marks used in this sentence. A period also appears, indicating that one sentence ended before the word "As." If you had only left out a few words in mid-sentence, then you would not need a period.

Note 2: Do not change the meaning of the quotation when you leave out part of it!

Note 3: Notice that now that information has been removed from the middle of  the quotation, it is only three lines long. It should no longer be indented.

Use ellipsis marks ( . . . ) at the beginning and end of quotations only if necessary. It is not always necessary to do so, and too many will damage the flow of your essay. Use them sparingly.

If my source quotes somebody else, how do I indicate this?

When you have a quotation within a quotation, handle it this way:

Indented original (article by David Fricke appearing in Rolling Stone):

Clapton [Eric] got the chills when he listened to that material recently. It was the first time he had done so in over fifteen years. "It got too much for me," he says. "Old memories started coming back; old issues raised their head. I think of the people in that band and what happened to them." (qtd. in Fricke 26)

Notice that this quotation is indented because it is longer than four lines. Therefore, no quotation marks are used at the beginning or the end. The quotation marks that appear at the end are the result of needing quotation marks around Clapton's remark, not because the entire paragraph is a quotation. Notice also that the first line is indented an additional five spaces. That's because it's the first sentence in the paragraph in the original. If you begin a quotation in mid-paragraph, there is no indention.

Clapton's name does not appear on your Works Cited page as he is not your source. Fricke is the source. Therefore, Fricke's name should appear. Since Clapton is speaking, however, use "qtd. in" (quoted in) for clarification.

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 <http://www.internetworldstats.com/Stats5.htm>.
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 <http://www.farmersmarkets.net/Docs/ 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. bayt.com. 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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