What should I include in parentheses if the author’s name is provided in a signal phrase and the source has no page numbers or other kind of part number?
Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook. For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook.
As the MLA Handbook notes, “When a source has no page numbers or any other kind of part number, no number should be given in a parenthetical citation” (56). The following example illustrates this principle:
“As we read we . . . construct the terrain of a book” (Hollmichel), something that is more difficult when the text reflows on a screen.
Hollmichel, Stefanie. “The Reading Brain: Differences between Digital and Print.” So Many Books, 25 Apr. 2013, somanybooksblog.com/2013/04/25/ the-readingbrain-differences-between-digital-and-print/.
If you provide the author’s name in a signal phrase when quoting or paraphrasing a work with no page or part numbers, you should not provide a parenthetical citation at all:
Stefanie Hollmichel remarks that “[a]s we read we . . . construct the terrain of a book,” something that is more difficult when the text reflows on a screen.
In the example above, your reader has all the information needed to key the source to the works-cited list: the author’s name. Repeating the author’s name in parentheses would be redundant, and since there is no page, part, or chapter number to give, the citation is complete.
If no author’s name is given, use the title—or after the first mention of the title in full, a short title—as the signal phrase.
MLA Handbook. 8th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2016.