• What are Parenthetical Citations?
     
    Put simply, parenthetical citations are notations that you include in your research paper to give proper credit to the sources from which you have drawn your facts and ideas.  These are required both when you directly quote AND when you paraphrase from a source.
     
    “Parenthetical” simply means “in parenthesis.”   These are parenthesis (              ).  “Citations” are notes that refer to back to your sources.  These are the books, magazine articles, web sites, etc. from which you get the information that you choose to include in your research paper. 
     
    Parenthetical citations should be simple and brief.  If anyone reading your paper wants more information about the source, he or she can use this simple notation to locate the much more detailed information which appears on the Works Cited list  at the end of your paper. Provide only as much detail as is necessary for the reader to be able to locate your source, but be as brief as possible so as not to unnecessarily disrupt the flow of your writing.
     
    Parenthetical citations are also commonly called source citations or in-text citations.
     
    What to Include in an MLA Citation 
     
    In  short, the parenethetical citation notes the first thing that is listed for the source as it appears on the Works Cited page.  This is typically an author's last name or can be a title for sources that do not indicate an author.  For multi-page sources, such as books, you must also include a page number so the reader can easily locate the particular fact or detail.
     
    Parenthetical citaitons for book sources include the author's last name and a page number:
     
    (Carter 133)
     
    For websites that name an author, you may simply note the author's last name:
     
    (Miller)
     
    If there is no author for a particular source, you simply note the title instead:
     
    ("Cars of the Future")
     
     
    Avoiding Plagiarism
     
    Plagiarism takes place when you copy facts, ideas, words or any other intellectual property and present them as if they are your own.  Citations give credit to the sources that you use help keep you from committing plagiarism.  They identify your sources and enable the reader to locate and verify your facts and ideas. 
     
    If you correctly paraphrase and change the source's words, but do not give credit to the source with a citation, then you are guilty of plagiarizing. Likewise, if you use a source’s exact words and do not put them inside quotation marks and credit the source with a citation, then you are plagiarizing. 
     
    Plagiarism can have negative consequences both in school and in real life.  Learning how to properly credit sources according to MLA Style guidelines will help you avoid this serious offense.
     
    More Info - Visit Purdue's Online Writing Lab (OWL) for more info on properly citing sources in MLA style.