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How to Cite After a Sentence


Using parenthetical citations -- that is, citing your sources after the sentences where you have referred to them -- gives your readers a quick reference point to your source. Parenthetical citations also ensure that the information from your sentence (and from the just-cited source) is still clear in your reader's mind when they see your citation, which will make it easier for them to follow up on that source. Of course, following the proper format for these citations will further help your readers since it will keep you from bogging down your sentences with long lists of citations.

Get the essential information for the source (or sources) that you want to cite after your sentence. For parenthetical citations that follow the MLA style guide, these include: the author's last name; the title of the work that you are citing; and the number of the page, the line (if you are citing poetry), or the paragraph (if your source has no page or line numbers) where the information that you have cited can be found. The required elements of your citation in the APA, Chicago, and Turabian styles are the same as those for the MLA citation except that the title of a source is usually replaced by the year of a source's publication.

Type an open parenthesis after your sentence, but before the period. Make sure that there is one space between the last letter of your sentence and this open parenthesis.

Type the author's last name and then make a single space.

Type a shortened form of the source's title, but only if you are using many sources by the same author in your paper. The first noun in the article or book's title will work for this shortened version of the title. If the work that you are citing from is a book, make sure that the title is either italicized or underlined. If the work that you are citing from is an article, make sure that you put its shortened title in quotation marks. If you are following the APA, Chicago or Turabian style guide, type the source's year of publication rather than its title in this position regardless of whether or not you are using multiple sources by the same author.

Type the number of the page, line or paragraph on which your cited information or idea appears if you are following the MLA style guide. If you are following the APA, Chicago or Turabian style guide, the number of the page, line or paragraph can usually be left out of your parenthetical citations.

Add a semicolon after the page number if you need to cite more than one source in the same parenthetical citation (if you refer to more than one source in the same sentence). Make sure that there is a single space to separate the semicolon from the next name. For example: (Mitropoulos "Shinto" 129; Fitzpatrick 191 .

Type a closing parenthesis after you have included all of the necessary citations. Your completed citation should look like one of these if you are following the MLA style guide: (Mitropoulos 13) for a reference to a source that has a unique author within the scope of your paper; (Mitropoulos "Shinto" 129) for a source by an author who is the creator of more than one of your sources; (Mitropoulos "Shinto" 129; Fitzpatrick 191) for multiple citations where one author has multiple works in your paper; or (Mitropoulos 129; Fitzpatrick 191) for multiple citations of two different authors who only have one of their works in your paper. Finish your sentence with a period placed directly after the closing parenthesis.

If you are following the APA, Chicago, or Turabian style guides then your citations will most likely look like this: (Mitropolous 2009) for a single author; or (Mitropolous 2009; Fitzpatrick 2009) for multiple authors.

Tips
  • The MLA and Turabian style guides require you to (almost) always provide the number of the page, line or paragraph from which you are citing, but the APA and Chicago style guides require a number only if you are directly quoting a source. Consult the style guide that you are using to make sure that your citations follow the appropriate format regarding page numbers.
  • If you are citing from a work other than a book or article written in prose, then you must use abbreviations that tell the reader that you are referring to something other than the page number. These abbreviations vary from style guide to style guide so consult a copy of the style guide that you are using for the appropriate abbreviations.
  • If you are citing the same source multiple times consecutively, then you can shorten your citations to only the number of the page or line on which the information cited can be found. However, if you do this, make sure that you use the full citation form for any new sources and for every non-consecutive citation of the same source.
  • To shorten your citations after sentences, consider including the author's name along with the source's title within your sentence. If you do this, you will only need to include the number of the page, line or paragraph on which the information that you have cited in your sentence can be found.
Warning
  • Parenthetical citations serve the same crediting function as citations in a list of works cited or bibliography. Therefore you must make sure that all of the elements of your parenthetical citations are correct, accurate and presented in the proper format to avoid possible accusations of plagiarism.
References
About the Author

Nicholas Zacharewicz is the holder of a Master of Arts in English and has had poetry, short fiction and articles published in anthologies, journals, newspapers and online. His writing specializes in Medieval literature and culture, genre fiction, and video games.

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