What should I include in parentheses if the author’s name is provided in a signal phrase and the source, such as an e-book or Web site, has no page numbers?

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.

Work Cited

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, such as a Web site or Kindle or other e-book, 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.

Work Cited

MLA Handbook. 8th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2016.

Published 29 January 2018

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