MLA formatting question:

I'm writing a paper on Ernest J. Gaine's A Gathering of Old Men. This is the only work I am citing. When using in-text citations, do I need to restate the author in every paragraph, or is a page number sufficient? For example:

Tucker said, "Hey, Mapes" (Gaines 1). This is my interpretation of this quote.

Later in the novel, Tucker said, "Howdy, Mapes" ((Gaines) 2). Here is my interpretation of this quote.

Is the second "Gaines" necessary?

3 Answers 3


You do not need to include the author's name in every citation, as long as you make it clear that you're only using one source. I say this based on the MLA guidelines found here. Specifically, you should look under the section "In-text citations: Author-page style", which states that the author's name doesn't need to be cited in the parentheses as long as he/she is mentioned in the text.

  • As long as the author or the text (if there is only one author) is made clear, you're good. I tend to go ahead and add the fuller reference if it's been more than a page or so or a paragraph or two just to be extra clear (it's never wrong to give the full citation). Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 23:11

The golden rule for citing, imho, is:

The provenance of each idea/concept should be clear to the reader.

When I'm doing section of methodology, in which I explain one particular mathematical theory, for instance, I say that all definitions in this section came from this book, at the start, then I don't cite it again in that section. If I use it again, in other section, then I'll cite again.

In your case, as long as you don't give the impression that it is your original content, it should be clear which is the corresponding citation. This can be a bit tricky, but it is very important, because otherwise it would be plagiarism and that's a whole can of worms...

Of course, this might be different for your field!


It is common to use 'ibid' to refer back to the previous citation, and you can include also the new page number. ibid

  • 1
    ibid is not used in MLA. Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 23:09

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