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What Are Parenthetical Citations and How to Use Them

Did you get an essay? Even if you love writing, even if you can write very well, there is something that might spoil the entire pleasure. This something is citation! Many students shiver when they hear this word, and they are so right. Just the citation kinds can confuse even the smartest students. That is why your teacher should specify, which exactly citation he is expecting from you. Based on this, you will make the quotes. And yes, there are several citations styles, and they differ.

But now, let`s move to the point. What are parenthetical citations? When you are writing a paper, you use other sources, such as:

In most cases, you base your ideas and proofs or your ideas on those sources. And sometimes, you have to use a sentence or two from the source. Those aren’t your sentences, and you have to show it. Otherwise, you are stealing somebody`s ideas. That’s why the parenthetical citation exists: to show that the sentence isn’t yours and to show where you have taken it from.

Definition of Parenthetical Citations: Does It Exist?

Of course, the definitions exist. The main idea of a parenthetical citation is to show that you have used somebody's idea and to show it's origin. So, a parenthetical citation is a way to show that the idea isn’t yours.

When you think about the parenthetical citation meaning, you will see that it is again about the same. The aim is to show that some ideas don’t belong to you and to indicate the source of the concept and its owner. So, when do you use parenthetical citations? Actually, wherever you need in your text. Once you feel you have to insert a phrase of a famous person or just some phrases that you liked and that prove your ideas, you use citations.

How to Do Parenthetical Citations Correctly

Well, this is the most complicated thing: doing all those citations correctly. Actually, there are several citation styles, and everything depends on which citation style you actually need for your paper. Whenever you use somebody`s words, even if you paraphrase them, you should make a citation.

There are rules on how to do parenthetical citations. They all depend on which style is the favorite one of your teacher. For example, let`s take internal parenthetical citations. They have some peculiar features that must be preserved. Basically, when we speak about parenthetical citation rules, we should check in which particular style we need the citation.

Parenthetical Citations MLA Rules

MLA citation style is one of the most frequently used in papers. To apply parenthetical citations MLA for your writing, follow these rules:

And that’s it. Your MLA citation is ready. Note please that not all elements might be present in your citation, and that is normal. Sometimes, especially if it is an online source, your citation will include just 3 elements. That should not frighten you and make you think that you have done something in a wrong way.

Parenthetical Citations APA Features

Parenthetical citations APA differ from those of MLA style. They aren’t so popular as MLA, but still, you will have to make them from time to time. So, you should know how to use APA style citations. Moreover, they aren’t so complicated as it might seem at the start. Just follow the instruction:

Please note that in APA style you are required to use the past simple or past perfect tense for the past researches. As well, APA style is always an in-text citation style.

Turabian Parenthetical Citations Peculiarities

Tubarian parenthetical citations can be used in text and as a list of references. While using this kind of an in-text citation, you enclose all information immediately in the paper text. If you need to indicate a page number, separate it with a comma. Tubarian style citation includes the following elements:

Chicago Style Parenthetical Citations Guide

Chicago style parenthetical citations are not complicated to make, as well. They can be made as footnotes or as a reference list. In both cases, you have to include the following elements, basically, like in the case with any other citation style:

Note, please, that all major elements in the reference list should be separated by periods.


Using parenthetical citations might look very odd. Many students perceive it as an invention of “bad” professors to make the student`s life even more complicated. However, citations are needed to show where you took your ideas from and to refer to the author of the idea and the source where you have found it.