HS Library Parenthetical References



When you use information from an external source, you are responsible for giving credit to that source. You are obligated to document the words, ideas and evidence of other writers that you use in your research paper. The use of parenthetical references enables you to document a source briefly, clearly, and accurately.

The general rule for parenthetical references is to provide just enough information within the text of the paper to locate the source, which will have full details explained on the Works Cited page. Brevity can be accomplished by:

Citing the author’s last name and the page number(s) of the source in parentheses at the end of the sentence that contains the material being documented.

The citation should appear after the text of the sentence but before the end mark.

After the last word or quotation mark, leave a space, then type a parenthesis.

Give the author’s or editor’s last name, leave a space, then put the page reference, parenthesis, then a period.

If you are able to use the name of the author of the material you are quoting or paraphrasing in your text, then the parenthetical reference consists of the page number(s) only.

The parenthetical references in the body of your paper must match the information in the entry on the Works Cited page.

1. Basic Citation for Short Quotation: Signed Source with One Author/Editor

(Book, Magazine, Encyclopedia, Newspaper)

Example (author’s name not used in text of paper):

“Robert Frost was considered by many to be America’s unofficial

poet laureate” (Rand 85).

Example (author’s name used in text of paper):

In Frost’s poem “After Apple Picking,” critic Walter Beacham also feels that the reference to sleep indicates the narrator’s fear of “the thought of death” (7).

2. Basic Citation for Long Direct Quotation:

If a quotation runs to more than four typed lines in your paper, then it is treated differently. It is usually introduced by a sentence ending in a colon. Then the quote begins on a new line, indented ten spaces from the left margin. The right margin remains the same as the rest of the paper. The quote is double spaced with no quotation marks. Place the period after the last word of the quotation for a long, direct quote. Space twice, then place the parenthetical reference with 2 spaces between the author’s name and the page numbers.

Miller’s play plainly depicts the failure of love in the Loman family as one critic states:

Biff’s anger at his father derives partly from Willy’s weakness and helplessness, partly from his bitterness, but partly also from his love for him, a love which won’t cut Biff loose from his own sense of guilt. To absolve his father would be to admit to his own weakness and culpability. (Bigsley 131)

3. Citation for a Work that has Two or More Authors or Editors

After the quotation mark, leave a space, then write or type a parenthesis.

If two authors are used, list the name of the authors in the order as they are listed in your source, separating the names with the word “and.” After the last name, leave a space, then page number(s), a parenthesis, and a period.

Example: “The social history of the United States between 1940 and 1965 was marked by greater variety than during any other generation since the Civil War, but movements towards social equality and conformity dominated the period” (Malone and Rauch 223).

Example: “A writer is an artist in a sense. Instead of brushes and paints, he uses words to create his pictures. He asks you to use your senses to make an image in your mind” (Swinburne, Pastva, and Owen 16).

4. Citation for a work with more than three authors

In a citation with more than three authors, give the first author’s last name followed by et al., without any intervening punctuation.

Example: During the last 1990s, what was already known as English Alley also became known as a hotbed of Byzantine intrigue (Shields et al. 170).

5. Citation for a Source Without an Author Listed, Such as a Magazine, Newspaper, or Encyclopedia

When an author is not listed, use the title of the article in your parenthetical reference. If the title is short, you may use the full title. If the title is long shorten it, making sure to use the first word or words of your Works Cited entry. The article’s title must be enclosed in quotation marks.

Example: “In the aftermath, architects must balance traditional aesthetic aspirations with the demand that buildings be safe, even from terrorists” (“Architects and Oklahoma City” 32).

6. Citation Taken from an Interview

If you use a quotation from an interview, you must cite it. Cite the name of the person interviewed, leave two spaces, then write the word interview with a small i.

Example: One World War II veteran who entered Nagasaki after the atomic bombing noted that the city “had a stark look, gray cast over everything” (Schade interview).

7. Use of More Than One Work by the Same Author

If you are using two or more books or articles by the same author, you must give

the author’s name and the work’s title in your parenthetical reference. Leave a

space after your quotation mark. Type a parenthesis, then give the author’s last

name followed by a comma. Leave one space, then give a shortened title of the

work followed by a space, then the page number(s), and end with a parenthesis

and a period.

Example: Steinbeck is frequently identified as a “proletarian writer of the

1930’s” interested in the “socioeconomic and political problems of the

Great Depression” (Lisca, Nature 87).

Example: It is fervently hoped that migrant workers may be given “the right to

live decently” (Liscca, “Grapes” 81).

8. Citing from an Electronic/Online Source

For electronic sources, use whatever name appears in your Works Cited entry.

Do not use page numbers. For example, if Stephen Galloway is the author of

a database article, the parenthetical reference would be (Galloway).

If an article is given with no author and no page, list the title of the article in

quotation marks for your reference (“U.S. Immigration by Country”).

9. Citing from Literary Works

A. Citing from a Novel or Short Story

Give the author’s name, (unless it is referred to in your text), leave a space,

then give the page number, followed by a semi-colon. Leave a space, then

give the chapter (ch.) or the section (sec).

Example: Early in Lord of the Flies, Simon demonstrates his need for a

hideaway separate from the others: “He bent down and wormed

his way into the center of the mat. The creepers and the bushes

were so close that he left his sweat on them and they pulled

together behind him.” (Golding 52; ch.3).

This tells the reader that the passage is by William Golding, page

52, chapter 3.

Example: Another character in The Scarlet Letter who strongly impacts upon

Hester Prynne is her illegitimate daughter, Pearl. Hawthorne

attributes Pearl’s sometimes erratic and even violent character to

the “warfare in Hester’s spirit at that epoch” that eventually

become “perpetuated in Pearl” (86; ch. 6).

This tells the reader that the passage is from page 86, chapter 6.

B. Citing from Poetry

Passages of poetry should be incorporated into your text with quotation marks. Use a slash (/) with a space on each side to separate lines.

Example: In the poet, “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer,” Walt Whitman

shares his dislike for analytical evaluation of the universe when he


“When I heard the learn’d astronomer / When the proofs, the

figures were raised in columns before me / . . . How soon

unaccountable I became tired and sick” (1-2, 5).

This tells the reader that the passage is lines 1, 2, and 5 of the poem. The

ellipsis (three spaced periods) indicates omitted lines.

Example: In “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” the narrator


“Whose woods these are I think I know. / His house is in the

village, though;” (Frost 1-2).

This tells that read that the passage is written by Robert Frost and are from

lines 1 and 2.

C. Citing from Drama

Like poetry, lines from a drama are separated within your text by a slash (/). Do not cite page numbers. With a drama, cite the title of the play, (unless it is stated in the text), the act, scene, and line numbers, with periods and one space separating the

various numbers.

Example: Macbeth demonstrates his belief in the witches prophecies when

he exclaims: “They have tied me to a stake; I cannot fly / But,

bearlike, I must fight the course. What’s he / that was not born

of woman? Such a one / Am I to fear, or none” (5. 7 1-4).

This tells the reader that the passage is from Act 5,

Scene 7, lines 1-4. The Play title is not mentioned here because the name of the

character quoted (Macbeth) is the same as the title of the play itself.