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In school, I was taught that the in-text MLA citations should always be at the end of the sentence, even when the quote itself is located in the middle of a sentence. I was looking at the Purdue OWL website and noticed that it says to put the author and page number right after a quote, even if the quote is in the middle of the sentence.

They say this is correct:

According to some, dreams express "profound aspects of personality" (Foulkes 184), though others disagree.

I was always taught the citation should look like this:

According to some, dreams express "profound aspects of personality," though others disagree (Foulkes 184).

Was there a change within the past few years that makes the former acceptable? Are both citations still considered valid?

Thanks.

  • I'm not prepared to answer your question because my copy of MLA style has sublimated into untrustworthy gray matter, but I'm interested in the answers, and I hope this comment will spawn notifications. My instinct tells me that the OWL is correct. From a purely intuitive point of view, the citation at the end of the sentence in your second example seems to be about the disagreement rather than what dreams express. – Feralthinker Sep 14 '15 at 4:24
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In the MLA Handbook, 7th edition, section 5.2 "MLA Style" states "acknowledge your sources by keying brief parenthetical citations in your text to an alphabetical list of words that appears at the end of the paper." There is no mention of a requirement to put the citation at the end of the sentence, although that is the method shown in the example given.

In your sentence, if the quotation is from Foulkes, it is less confusing to insert the citation immediately after the quotation; if the citation is placed at the end of the sentence, it seems to imply that Foulkes is among those who disagree.

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Both ARE considered valid, although using the citation after the quote is considered more professional. Out of the range of the question, the most commonly accepted form of notation is the superscript, along with the citation on the bottom of the page.

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I would put at the end if possible to aid readability, however would re-word the sentence so it was not as confusing (ie agree it would seem to imply that Foulkes is among those who disagree)

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  • Hey, thanks for the answer. As it stands though, could you expand on your answer a little, and maybe provide sources/examples to reinforce your answer. In it's current form, it's little more than a comment – user18397 Apr 24 '17 at 0:41

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