What do parenthetical references point a reader to?

Expert Answers
thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Parenthetical citations are used to guide the reader to sources for direct or indirect quotations.

There are three main styles, or formats, used in formal writing, MLA (Modern Languages Association), Chicago (University of Chicago Press) and APA (American Psychological Association). All three of these are standard ways of listing references to various forms of sources, including books, articles in periodicals, online resources, films, works of art, personal interviews, and television. Citation systems normally include a works cited or reference list appearing and the end of an essay and parenthetical, or in-text, citations that indicate which of the works is being referenced and the page number being references in a specific section of your essay.

To avoid plagiarizing, you must include in-text citations for:

- all direct quotations

- all summaries of an author's unique ideas or ways of organizing or presenting information

Do not provide parenthetical citations for common knowledge (e.g. that Saturn is a planet with rings or the date of the French revolution).