Direct citation is quoting a source word for word, with no changes.
Indirect citation is the same as paraphrasing, which is significantly changing the wording of a source. You should make sure that you change the wording significantly or you might be committing plagiarism.
Both direct and indirect citation require parenthetical documentation of your source. An MLA in-text citation is always page-number style. See here for more information.
Example 1 of direct citation: "[I]t is an inspection on the part of the mind alone" (Descartes 22).
Example 2 of direct citation: Descartes indicates that "it is an inspection on the part of the mind alone" (22).
Example 1 of indirect citation: It is my mind that is able to tell that it's the same wax candle even after it has burned down (Descartes 22).
Example 2 of indirect citation: Descartes points out that it is the mind that is able to tell that it's the same wax candle even after it has burned down (22).
Note that if the author's (last) name is included in the sentence, it is not necessary to include the name in parentheses along with the page number of the citation.
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Image Credit: Paper by Turkkub from the Noun Project
- In-Text Citation