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How to Combine Two Sentences in an MLA Citation


In-text citations in MLA format include an author's last name and a page number indicating the source of borrowed words and ideas. Citations typically appear at the end of a sentence, but you can combine ideas from two different pages or even two different sources if such structure helps you make your point.

Parenthetical Citation

Citations within sentences should occur at a natural break, if possible, and as close to the borrowed information as feasible. For instance, you might combine the two ideas with a conjunction such as "and," placing one citation before the conjunction and the second one at the end of the sentence. Punctuate the sentence according to traditional rules, and put no punctuation within the citation. Such a sentence might look like this:

The canary represents her freedom (Sullivan 22), and its death was apparently the last straw (Jones 132).

Signal Phrase

According to the "MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers" (7th edition), you may choose to put authors' names in signal phrases instead of citations. The format requires that page numbers still appear in parentheses at the end of each idea when you combine them in sentences. Ideas from two different pages in the same source might appear like this:

Sullivan indicates that the canary represents her freedom (22), the strangling a "clear connection to the husband" (32).

You may also use signal phrases for two different sources:

Sullivan indicates the canary represents her freedom (22), and Jones points out that its death was apparently the last straw (132).

When you use the author's name in a signal phrase, it should not appear again within the citation.

References
  • MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th edition); Modern Language Association
About the Author

Kristie Sweet has been writing professionally since 1982, most recently publishing for various websites on topics like health and wellness, and education. She holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Northern Colorado.

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