I am writing an essay and must use MLA formatting. I can format the MLA formatting for the speech on the works cited page but I do not know how to form my in-text citations. The whole speech is done my Martin Luther King, Jr. and everything refers to the same speech. Do I have to make a parenthetical notation for the speech each time I quote something? That seems wrong.

  • Anna, please consider accepting the answer below if it had solved your problem. If not, do you want me top see if English.se will accept this? Perhaps it will get more answers over there. Apr 18, 2012 at 17:34

1 Answer 1


For an issue like this, there are other details that become relevant before an appropriate way forward can be found. First, does the speech you are citing span multiple pages in the source text? If so, then it is appropriate to include a parenthetical citation after each quote. Keep in mind, however, that after the initial citation, you no longer have to include the author's name - it is sufficient to cite solely the page number. For example, your first citation would look something like this:

... "this is the first quote" (King, Jr. 201).

While the subsequent citations would look more like this:

... "this is one of the many subsequent quotes from the same source" (204).

This format will hold true until a new source is cited.

Otherwise - if the speech is a single page (or if you are not citing from a text at all, but from, say, a film) - then it would be worthwhile to discuss the issue with your instructor in order to discover how he or she would prefer you to proceed.

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