Parenthetical Notes

Parenthetical notes are descriptions placed within the body of your paper acknowledging the source of your information (Note : you can use footnotes or endnotes instead of parenthetical notes , however, in the 1988 edition of the MLA Handbook, the use of parenthetical notes was recommended and the use of footnotes/endnotes discouraged) . As parenthetical notes are very brief, a works cited (or bibliography) is prepared and presented at the end of the paper giving a more detailed description of the item you used.

Basic rules are:

  1. Place note at the end of the sentence containing the reference.
  2. Surround notes in parentheses (i.e. (   ) ).
  3. Information elements are: Author(s) Surname(s), title if no author, and pagination.
  4. If there are 2 authors separate surnames with and.  More than two: use comma between surnames and between last and second last names.
    The author(s) or title and the pagination is separated by a space.

    MLA Parenthetical Note Format for Book or Journal Article

    (Author Surname(s) page(s))

    (Smith 42)
    (Smith and Brown 42)
    (Smith, Brown and Porter 52-53)

    The Canadian hotel industry had revenues in excess of 50 million (Smith and Brown 42).

    MLA Parenthetical Note Format for Direct Quotation

    On the future of gold, Peter Munk said, “There will always be a market for gold” (52).

       Author mentioned in the quotation so note requires pagination information only.

MLA Parenthetical Note Format for Internet

The Asian crisis has affected economies around the world and most particularly Spain (Smith, n.pag.).

Footnotes and Endnotes

Until 1988, the MLA Handbook recommended using footnotes or endnotes to acknowledge the contributions from other information sources. Some courses may still require you to use footnotes or endnotes in a paper.

Basic Rules are:

  1. A footnote is identical to an endnote in the format of bibliographic details and punctuation. They differ, however, in their placement.
  2. Footnotes are placed at the bottom of a page of text.
  3. Endnotes are placed at the end of the paper.
  4. Both types of notes  are arranged in  numerical order with an identical superscript number appearing at the end of the sentence in the text. (e.g. 1    2     3     4, etc.)
MLA Footnote Format for Book:

footnote number (using superscript number) Author First name Surname,.  Title of Book. Place of Publication : Publisher's Name, date. p.[n]

1Pamela Walker Laird. Advertising Progress : American Business and the Rise of Consumer Marketing. Baltimore, Md. : The John Hopkins University Press, 1998. p.22
MLA Footnote Format for Journal Article:

footnote number (using superscript number) First name Surname. "Title of Article." Title of Journal. vol.issue (Month year) : page

 2John M. Covaleski. “The firm of the future: 21 century accounting.” Accounting Technology. 15.4 (May 1999) :  4+



Bibliographic citations are presented at the end of your paper and describe the sources of information that you examined in order to prepare your paper.

Basic rules are:

  1. Begin immediately at margin. Indent on the 2nd line. Note: You will often see citations without the indentation on the second line.  *This may be perfectly acceptable to an instructor.
  2. Place all sources in alphabetical order by first author's surname or title of item if there is no author.
  3. Author’s name is always inverted with a comma after surname. e.g. Smith, John E.
  4. If there is more than one author, the second, etc. author's name is not inverted. e.g. Foxall, Gordon, Ronald Goldsmith and Stephen Brown.
  5. Title of the book is underlined.
  6. Title of the journal is underlined for articles from print, online, or networked database versions.
  7. It is also, acceptable to use italics or bold title information instead of underlining.
  8. Place quotation marks around the title of an article or a separate work within a work  e.g. an excerpt within an encyclopedia or handbook.
  9. Use a colon to separate volume, issue and date from pagination.
  10. If pagination irregular, or if article comes from an online source give the first page number and the  + sign.      e.g.  55+
  11. When citing articles from online indexes cite the name of the index or database and underline it.
  12. Internet material must include day of access.
MLA Bibliography Format for Book (incl. Encyclopedia):

Author Surname, First Name. Title of Book. Place of Publication : Name of Publisher, date.

e.g. MLA Bibliographic Citation of  a Book with 1 Author
Laird, Pamela Walker. Advertising progress : American Business and the Rise of Consumer Marketing. Baltimore, Md. : The John Hopkins University Press, 1998.
e.g. MLA Bibliographic Citation of A Book With 3 Authors
Foxall, Gordon, Ronald Goldsmith and Stephen Brown.  Consumer psychology for marketing. London : International Thomson Business Press, 1998.
e.g. MLA Bibliographic Citation using a Corporate Author
Tourism Canada.  Adventure travel in Canada : an overview of product, market and business potential. Ottawa : Tourism Canada, 1995.

e.g. MLA Bibliographic Citation for Encyclopedia  - Status not well-known.
Author of Article.(if given) "Article Title." Encyclopedia title. Ed. name of editor. vol.  Place of Publication : Name of Publisher. date.

White, Mark. "Green marketing." Encylopedia of business. Ed. John Maurer. 2 vols.  Detroit: Gale Research, 1995.

MLA Bibliography Format for Unpublished Personal Interview

Interviewee Surname, First Name. Personal interview. date.

Munk, Peter. Personal interview.  24 Dec. 1998.

MLA Bibliography Format for Article from a Printed Magazine:

        Refer to 6.7.6 MLA Style Manual. Omit volume and issume number of magazine or newspaper and record date of publication only. Note: if you have an author - some magazine articles may not name an author - begin with the title.

Author Surname, First Name. "Title of Article." Title of Journal  Date year : page(s)

Stipp, David. “Hatching a DNA Giant." Fortune 24 May 1999 : p.179-187
MLA Bibliography Format for Article from a Printed Journal:

Covaleski, John M. “The firm of the 21 century accounting." Accounting
Technology 14.4 (May 1999) : 4+.

MLA Bibliography Format for Full Text Articles from an Online Database:

        Treat articles as you would articles from magazines or journals from a printed source and ADD Database name, the format of the database, e.g. CD ROM, publisher and publication date of the database if CD ROM, date of access for online database and add URL if available for article - if not use URL for database.
See MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers sect. 4.9.7 example with ABI/INFORM.

Online Databases - e.g.  ABI/INFORM, Business Index ASAP

Author Surname, First Name. "Title of Article." Title of Journal Volume.Number (Date year) : page+. Name of Index. Database Producer. Name of university. Date of access <URL>.

Covaleski, John M. “The firm of the 21 century accounting”. Accounting
Technology 14.4 (May 1999): 4+. ABI/Inform. Proquest Direct. University of Saskatchewan Library. 15 May 1999 <>.


There are variations in footnote style, but if you remember certain main points you should always be within the acceptable range:

Some examples:

1. Milovan Djilas, The New Class (London, 1957), p. 53.

2. Ibid., pp. 78-79.

3. Mark Frankland, The Patriot’s Revolution (Chicago, 1992), p. xvii.

4. "The Tito-Stalin Correspondence, March-June 1948," in Gale Stokes (ed.), From Stalinism to Pluralism (New York, 1991), p. 59.

5. Misha Glenny, "Yugoslavia: The Revenger's Tragedy," The New York Review of Books, August 13, 1992, pp. 33-35.

6. Djilas, New Class, pp. 30 and 97, and Glenny, p. 35.