How to Cite Using MLA Format in Parenthetical Page Numbers

Parenthetical referencing is used to acknowledge the resource material used in a document. It informs the reader of authors and publications used to support conclusions, assertions or viewpoints made in the text. The Modern Language Association (MLA) has rules for citing page numbers from books, journals and other sources that contributed to the writer's work. The parenthetical reference includes the author's last name and the relevant page numbers in parenthesis, allowing the reader to locate and review the source material if he desires.

Review your list of parenthetical references to ensure page numbers, authors, titles and other details are accurate and that these match the Works Cited list. Place your parenthetical references as close as possible to the text being cited in your document. Include the reference at the end of a sentence -- before the period or comma and after a quotation or phrase.

Assume you are citing page 23 from the article The Coldest Winter written by Jay Weathers on pages 23 to 30 of the January 1, 2010, issue of a publication Weather Patterns. Cite the reference within the text as follows: Meteorologists have noticed this trend in Atlantic weather patterns (Weathers 23).

Assume this same information is published in a magazine. Cite the magazine article in the Works Cited list as follows: Weathers, Jay. "The Coldest Winter." Weather Patterns (italicized) 1 Jan. 2010: 23-30. Print.

Assume this same article, The Coldest Winter, was published by the newspaper Daily Gazette in the weather section E on pages 23 and 28 to 30. Cite the newspaper article in the Works Cited list as follows: Weathers, Jay. "The Coldest Winter." Daily Gazette (italicized) 1 Jan. 2010: E23+. Print.


When citing page numbers that are not in sequence, include only the first page number followed immediately by a plus sign. When citing common literature, include the page number first, along with chapter and section detail if there are multiple editions. Do not include page numbers when citing an entire work or a specialized reference work, such as a dictionary or encyclopedia. When the work does not provide page numbers, state "n. pag." Format your paper according to MLA formatting guidelines for margins, fonts, paper size, etc.