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8.6: Requirements for Parenthetical Citations

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    When using outside sources in your work, it is important to give credit to the original source and provide basic in-text citations also known as parenthetical citations at the end of the sentence that contains that borrowed information. Parenthetical citations may contain the following:

    • Author’s name
    • Title of the work
    • Page numbers
    • Paragraphs numbers

    What needs to appear in parentheses is based upon how much information you include in the attributive tag and what kind of source is being cited. (Parts of this section are from the Purdue OWL website.)


    Here are some examples from the Purdue OWL and the MLA Handbook:

    Parenthetical Citations with Author’s Name (print source)

    Quote with attributive tag

    18th century Romantic Poet, William Wordsworth was marked by a “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” (263).

    Quote without attributive tag

    Romantic poetry is characterized by the “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” (Wordsworth 263).

    Paraphrase with attributive tag

    18th century Romantic Poet, William Wordsworth, extensively explored the role of emotion in the creative process (263).

    Matching Works Cited entry

    Wordsworth, William. Lyrical Ballads. Oxford UP, 1967.

    Parenthetical Citations with Author’s Name (online source)

    Quote with attributive tag

    American author and philosopher, Henry David Thoreau wrote, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived” (par. 16).

    Matching Works Cited entry

    Thoreau, Henry David. Walden: an annotated edition. 1999-2009. walden02.html.

    Parenthetical Citation for Sources without Authors

    Quote with attributive tag

    According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Bipolar Disorder is a “brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy and activity levels” (“Bipolar Disorder”).

    Quote without attributive tag

    Bipolar Disorder is a “brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy and activity levels” (“Bipolar Disorder”).

    Matching Works Cited entry

    “Bipolar Disorder.” National Institute of Mental Health, health/topics/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml.

    Parenthetical Citation Exercise

    Directions: For each entry, you will do the following. Write the last word of the sentence in each example and then the appropriate parenthetical citation. Then you will create a properly formatted Works Cited page.

    • John Muir was an inventor, naturalist, environmental philosopher and wilderness activist. In a letter to his wife, Louisa, he wrote, “Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness.”

      The quote was obtained from the “John Muir” page on Yosemite National Park’s website at this url:
    • Surf Snowdonia is a wave pool located in Dolgarrog, Wales, U. K. Its claim to fame is that it’s the first man-made wave pool to host a top professional surfing contest with surfers competing from all over the world. Surf Snowdonia is located in the forested mountains of Wales “once a derelict aluminum factory, it has been transformed into one of the most innovative surfing facilities in the world.”

      This information and quote was found in an article on the Wavegarden web site, the builders of Surf Snowdonia. The title of the article is “Big Success at World’s First Wavegarden Surfing Contest: Red Bul Unleashed, Surf Snowdonia.” The URL of the web site is The article is on the Wavegarden home page.
    • What is the difference between water use and water consumption? Water use is the amount of water necessary to function. For example, a manufacturing plant may require 10,000 gallons to run. “Even if the plant returns 95% of that water to the watershed, the plant needs all 10,000 gallons to operate.”

      This information comes from Paul Reig’s article, “What’s the Difference Between water use and Water Consumption” on the World Resources Institute web site at this url:
    • According to Pablo S. Torre, a sportswriter and columnist for ESPN, 78% of NFL football players will be bankrupt or in financial trouble within two years of retiring.

      This statistic was taken from the Sports Illustrated article, “How (and Why) Athletes go Broke.” Here is the web site for this article,
    • According to computer scientists, it’s possible to create an algorithm to predict potential ISIS terrorist attacks. In fact, they have already done it. By tracking the pace of development of a group of ISIS sympathizers, it is possible to predict real-life attacks.

      This information was taken from the web page, “The Computer Algorithm Might Be Able to Predict the Next ISIS attack.” It can be found on the PBS NewsHour web site at this address:

    8.6: Requirements for Parenthetical Citations is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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