I'm writing an analytical essay (for school) about a novel. I need to cite some quotes (for support), that comes from that novel.

I know that the MLA style citation goes as follows:

"Quote goes here" (Author Pg#)

However, do I still have to write the author's name in the citation if my essay is obviously analyzing only one work of text? I just want to quote and cite something that the narrator said from the book that I'm analyzing.

So how would it go? It feels kind of weird to write the author names after each quote... when I'm obviously taking quotes out of the same book.

What is proper? What should I do?

3 Answers 3


MLA says that you only need the author's name if the author isn't clear from the context. So you can refer to the author in the sentence, and say:

Sherwood says to "quote like this". (72)

If you're only using one source, the context makes it pretty clear which work you're referring to, so I'd use page number only throughout the essay.

But, as always, you probably want to double check with the person who'll be marking your work, in case they have idiosyncratic preferences.


There are different guidelines and in the first instance ask your tutor.

However if there is no firm guideline on this (which I find hard to believe) there is an option to first list (author, year, page) and thereafter write: (Op. Cit. p.x)

Op. Cit. Is short for "Opus Citatum" trans. "The work has already been cited.", an academic way of saying "see above".

However, as I say, your tutor should be able to help you to the preferred answer.

  • Have you seen this format in the MLA style book? I think Op. Cit. is pretty obsolete, these days, and MLA doesn't usually include the year of publication in the citation, to my knowledge.
    – Kate S.
    May 12, 2011 at 11:29
  • Then if they're following MLA they don't need to really ask. If they want to do as you suggest below they should clarify with their tutor or mentor if this is suitable, unless the MLA has some further guidance. I am not surprised people don't use Op. Cit. outside of fusty UK red bricks these days, but I attended one of those and they used it. I was just offering an alternative in the case that there was no clear instruction from their tutor/style guide (which I said I doubted).
    – One Monkey
    May 12, 2011 at 11:59
  • Another shorthand option when referring to an already cited source would be (Ibid. p. x), although it's just as dated as op. cit.
    – user1926
    May 16, 2011 at 0:05

Don't take the author's name to refer to the author himself. You're using the author's name to identify the work in question (hence why you'll often find “Quote goes here.” (Author Year) when using multiple books by the same author).

So, yes, the same rules should apply, even if the narrator is fictional. Quoting other people quoted in a book (real or fictional) may be another issue, however.

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