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In-Text Citation = Parenthetical Citation  

A brief guide to what needs to be cited, how to cite in-text and troubleshooting
Last Updated: Apr 8, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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What Needs to be Cited....Why? What to do....

Direct Quotes:

 reusing another’s words: word for word.

When to use:

When you want to capture:

            Colorful language

                        eg. “manic puppets.”

Precisely worded information

Beautifully written language

A comment that expresses exactly the time period or emotional state

Part of a literary work

Part of an idea or argument that is best presented in the author’s own, unique voice.

How to use:

“Put the quoted text within quotation marks” (in-text here). ALSO use an in-text citation.



Indirect Quotes: reusing another’s words, but reworking them into your own voice, with your own analysis added and tied to your thesis.

When to use:

When you need to:

            -restate a lengthy passage

            And condense the


                        -line of reasoning

                        -complex opinion 


            -if you are trying to balance your use of direct and indirect quotes

            -if you want to keep your own writer’s voice in the essay at that point

How to use: At the end of your paraphrase, but *before* your analysis and tie to thesis, add an in-text citation.




Be aware of restating the author’s



            -line of thinking


            -structure of argument

             and context

*without* giving credit.


Be aware of

            Taking a block of text

            changing certain words

            (think thesaurus)


 moving phrases around

(think re-mix)


*both* of the above examples constitute plagiarism if not cited. Even if cited, both are examples of what not to do.

Better = rework the passage in your own voice, interpreting the meaning, adding the relevance to your thesis.


    staying out of trouble

    Staying out of trouble…..



    DO: Give a proper introduction to your quote (direct or indirect) AND link the quote to your argument, thesis or topic sentence.


    DON'T: Use, borrow, appropriate, re-mix, re-state another person’s




                - line of thinking

                -structure and context of reasoning

                -critical analysis

    As your own.


      Proper Introductions

      Proper Introductions: a few strategies....


      1. Mention the author's name.

      Let the reader know something about the author: The historian, Will Durant, credits the Rural Code as “a creditable attempt to check feudalism and establish a free peasantry” (434).

      an introduction lets the reader know that you are using a credible source, the well-known historian, Will Durant. His books are filled with stories and great, quotable lines and you've found a good one. Let the reader know about the credibility of your quote.

      (If you don’t know much about your authors, or sources, you can Google them. It’s always good to know who you are quoting. Also, check at the bottom of the article, as the databases may give a 1-2 sentence biography)

       2. Tie your quote and introduction to your topic sentence: 

      [topic sentence:] Since the currency did not increase in value over time, there was no reason to hoard it. 

      [introduction to quote:] If the value of the currency did not increase over time, people were more willing to spend money on long term investments like the Pyramids and grand scale buildings.

      [here's the quote:]This led to "long periods of prosperity" in ancient Egypt (Hallsmith and Lietaer 33).


      3.  Question the usefulness of the quote.

       why did I use this quote? What is its usefulness? How does it "fit" in my thesis and work to keep my argument moving?

      While not an easy task, writing a great tie-in to your thesis is a powerful tool and will keep your paper “centered” on your thesis and keep you moving forward through your outline.

      The purpose of an in-text citation is to point back to an expert, an authority, or a quality source of information. If you have gone to the trouble of finding such a source, give yourself credit…’ve found a way to support your thesis or topic sentence. Let your reader *know* that you have credible, quality sources.


        What's Mine Isn't Yours.....

        The danger zone.

        Sometimes we discover a great source. With a really sweet structure and argument. It is tempting to "borrow" the structure of the argument as your own. After all, the argument makes perfect sense and it proves your point nicely. Why not use it? You can. But ***only*** if you give credit to the author for the structure of the argument. Not just the facts. Not just the great language. Not just a sentence or two. If you use the author's structure of argument....Or, the line of reasoning....Or, the theory.....Or, the thesis....Or, the way the author uses the facts to support an opinion or argument, without giving explicit credit to the author, that's plagiarism. The author doesn't own the facts (unless it's empirical research). Facts exist. What the author does own, and claim for his/her own is the way the words construct an argument that proves a point..or supports a thesis. That structure, whether it takes place over a paragraph, a page or an entire book belongs to the author. Use it carefully and respectfully.

        Got a minute (or a few minutes)? Here's a textbook example of brilliant writing, great use of facts and a sweet argument.

        The original source writing (used with permission of the author and publisher).

        A good re-mix; plagiarized.

        Not plagiarized.



          The Mechanics of In-Text = (Parenthetical) Citations

          The “easy” rule:

          Put the (in-text) citation after your quote or paraphrase.

          Enclose it in (parenthesis)

          Put the author’s last name inside, along with a page number.

          (Wynn 144).


          All the exceptions:

          If no author, put part of the title

          (“The Black Plague” 144).


          If no page number (from a website or non page numbered source)

          Just the author



          If you mention the author before or after the quote:

          According to Wynn, …….(144).


          Need more examples?

           a concise overview from Noodletools.


          More help with Mechanics of In-Text

          Detailed information,

          lots of examples.

          Purdue’s Online Writing Lab’s

           resource for In-Text Citations.


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