MLA Checklist












































































Checklist 7: Parenthetical Citations


Did you cite your sources correctly? (Did you put the right thing in your parenthetical citations?)

  • Only the author's last name goes inside a parenthetical citation (unless you are citing a book, in whice number).
  • If the author is unknown, put the first few words of the title inside the parenthetical citation. In other words, when you put the name of an article in a parenthetical citation, you are allowed to shorten it; however, you must use enough words from the title to avoid confusion with other titles that you cite).
  • If both the title AND the author are unknown, put the name of the website in the parenthetical citation. This should be a rare occurrence, as most webpages have an author or a title.

Did you check to make sure that whatever you put in your parenthetical citation has a corresponding entry on your Works Cited page?

  • The first word in your parenthetical citation should match the first word on the corresponding entry on your Works Cited page. If it does not, something is wrong. Figure it out or ask for help. 

Did you place the final period of the sentence after the parenthetical citation (instead of before it)?

Study the following examples:

Correct: According the John Smith, a professor at Harvard University, “Global warming threatens the future of humanity” (Smith).   

Incorrect: According to John Smith, a professor at Harvard University, “Global warming threatens the future of humanity.” (Smith)

NOTE: There is an important exception to this rule. For block quotes, put the final period before the parenthetical citation. (See the sample paper).


Did you place titles of articles within quotation marks?

  • Titles of articles always appear within quoatation marks, wherever they appear in your paper, whether in your text, or in a parenthetical citation, or on your Works Cited page.

Did you italicize the names of websites?

  • Always italicize the names of websites, wherever they appear in your paper (whether in your text, or in a parenthetical citation, or on your Works Cited page).

Do you understand the proper use of the phrase "quoted in"?

  • “Quoted in” is used to indicate that the source of a quote is different than the speaker of the quote. In other words, if—when you found the quote—it already had quotation marks around it, you need to indicate this fact by using the phrase “quoted in” followed by the last name of the person who wrote the article.
  • The proper abbreviation for “quoted in” is “qtd. in”. Use lower cases letters, as in the following example:

Stalin said, “He died a terrible death” (qtd. in Smith).


Did you use Google as a source?

  • Google is never a source. Google is a search engine. The word Google should never appear in any parenthetical citation or anywhere on your Works Cited page.

Are you confident that when I check your sources--(because I will check your sources)--each and every one of your sources says exactly what you claim it says?


Have you misrepresented your sources in any way?

  • If you have, you are guilty of academic dishonesty.

Are you guilty of plagiarism?

  • Remember, sentences with facts and statistics should be put in your own words and cited with a parenthetical citation.
  • Furthermore, anytime you use someone else's exact words, you must put those words within quotation marks or format those words as a block quote. Either way, you also need to a parenthetical citation.