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APA Referencing Style : In-text citations

The aim of this guide is to present concisely the basic rules for citing various types of resources in APA Referencing Style (7th edition).

In-text citations


  • Key elements: Author and Date
  • More than one author: use “&”
  • Page range: use en dash “–” (not hyphen)
Type   Examples 

One author

Walker (2007) found that…

…(Walker, 2007)

Two authors

Use “and” between authors if in sentence:

Walker and Allen (2004)…

Use “&”between authors if in parentheses after text:

…(Walker & Allen, 2004)

Three or more authors

Cite only the first author’s surname and et al. (for first and subsequent citations):

… Walker et al. (2009)

… (Walker et al., 2009)

Corporate authors (well known)

First citation:

…National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH, 2003)

…(National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 2003)

Subsequent citations:

…NIMH (2003)

…(NIMH, 2003)

Corporate authors (no abbreviation)

First and subsequent citations:

...University of Pittsburgh (2005)

...(University of Pittsburgh, 2005)

No author

Use the title or the first few letters of the title if it’s too long and the year.

If the title is italicized in the reference, italicize it in the in-text citation:

…on free care (Study Funds, 2007)

If the title is not italicized in the reference, use double quotation marks:

on free care ("Study Funds," 2007)

Anonymous author

(Anonymous, 2000)

Two or more authors within the same parentheses

Arrange the citations within the parentheses alphabetically; separate them with semicolons.

Several studies (Allen, 2004; Smith, 1999; Tsvetkova, 2018)…

Several studies (Derryberry & Reed, 2005a, 2005b, in press-a; Rothbart, 2003a, 2003b)…

Two or more works by the same author

... past research (Gogel, 1990, 2006, in press)

One author, multiple works published in the same year

If the year of publication is the same for both add 'a' and 'b' after the year.

  ... as research has shown (Rush, 2015a, 2015b).

For references that are in press or that have no date.

  (in press-a) and (in press-b)

  (n.d.-a) and (n.d.-b)

Authors with the same surname

If lead authors share the same surname, include author's initials in all in-text citations even if the year of publication differs.

F. Kelly (2010) and A. Kelly (2016) described that...

…(F. Kelly, 2010; A. Kelly, 2016)

Authors with the same surname and first initial

If authors share the same surname but have different initials, include the initials, even if the year differs:

(J. M. Taylor, 2014; T. Taylor, 2015)

If authors share the same surname and first initial, full first name should be included in all in-text citations even if the year of publication differs.

(Paul Janet, 1876), (Pierre Janet, 1906)

Classical works

If the date of publication is not applicable (in the case of very old books) use the year of translation (trans.), or the year of the version you used (version).

For the major classical works (ancient Greek and Roman works, classical religious works) reference list entry is not required, simply identify in the first in-text citation the version you used and include the part from which you cite (books, chapters, lines, verses, cantos).

(Aristotle, trans. 1931)

Cor. 13:1 (Revised Standard Version)

Citing specific part of a source

Indicate the page (page range), chapter, figure, table or equation at the appropriate point in text.

Note that if you use a direct quotation, you should always give the page number.

Note that page is abbreviated, but chapter is not.

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2005, p. 10)

(Shimamure, 1989, Chapter 3)

Translated, reprinted, republished and reissued dates

Contains two dates in the in-text citation: the year of publication of the original work and the year of the translation, reprint, etc.:

Freud (1900/1953)

(Piaget, 1966/2000)

Personal Communication

(in-text only)

This includes private letters, memos, electronic communications (emails, messages, electronic bulletin boards), personal interviews, telephone conversations, etc.

They are not included in the reference list and require in text citations only. Use the initials and the surname of the communicator and the date.

...T.K. Lutes (personal communication, April 18, 2001)

...(V.-G. Nguyen, personal communication September 28, 1998)


Paraphrasing is a way to say another person's idea in your own words so that you can summarize, synthesize and make relevant conclusions from other sources. When paraphrasing or referring to an idea contained in another work, you have to acknowledge them with an in text citation and provide the page or paragraph number.

McFeely (2001) argues that young people can be encouraged to stop smoking by ...

... are proven methods to encourage young people to stop smoking (McFeely, 2001).

Direct quotes

When you directly reproduce words from another text, you should follow the guidelines for direct citations. Your in-text citation for direct quotations should include author, date, and page numbers. It is usually preferable to use paraphrasing instead of direct citations, unless you want reproduce an exact definition or refer to something said by someone else. Keep in mind to use direct quotations sparingly.

Short direct quotes (fewer than 40 words)

If the citation comprises fewer than 40 words, incorporate it into text and enclose it with double quotation marks. Give the exact page number in your citation preceded by “p.” or “pp.” if the quote is from more than one page.

Effective teams can be difficult to describe because "high performance along one domain does not translate to high performance along another" (Ervin et al., 2018, p. 470).

Quotes in the middle of a sentence​

If the quotation appears in the middle of the sentence, end the passage with quotation marks, cite the source in parentheses immediately after the quotation marks and continue the sentence.

Interpreting these results, Robbins et al. (2003) suggested that the “therapists in dropout cases may…” (p. 541), contributing to an overall climate of negativity.

Long direct quotes (40 words or more)

Introduce the quotation first with a colon and start on a new line 1/2 inch from the left margin (in the same position you would start a new paragraph). Don’t use quotation marks. Indicate missing words in a sentence with three spaced ellipsis points (...). Insert exact page number, in brackets, after the full stop at the end of the quote.

 In 2001, Smith found the following:

          Many young people can be encouraged to stop smoking by

          introducing specific measures including... dependence upon

          tobacco. (pp. 378–379)

Direct quotes from online material without pagination​

Use another ways to indicate the quoted passage: paragraph number, heading or section name, etc.

Basu and Jones (2007) went so far to suggest the need for a new “intellectual framework in which to consider the nature…” (para.4).

Accuracy of quotations​

Direct quotations must be accurate. All the changes made require explanation.

Exceptions: change the first letter of the quotation to uppercase or lowercase; change the punctuation mark at the end of the sentence to fit the syntax; change the single quotation marks to double and vice versa. Any other changes (emphasizing, omitting, correcting) must be indicated.

Quotes with mistakes​

Insert [sic] after the misspelled word (in brackets, italicized).

"Sickness occurred even when reel [sic] drugs were administered" (Miele, 1993).

Adding emphasis​

When you, not the author, are adding emphasis to the words in a quotation, italicize the words and follow by [emphasis added].

"Furthermore, the behaviors were never exhibited again [emphasis added], even when the correct dosage was given." (Miele, 1993)

Omitting words from quotation

Use the three spaces ellipsis points (…) to indicate that you have omitted material from the original quote. Do not omit words from the beginning or the end of the quotation to avoid any misinterpretation.

Inserting material within the quotation

Use brackets, not parentheses, to enclose material such as an addition or explanation within the quotation.

“They are studying, from an evolutionary perspective, to what extent [children’s] play is a luxury that can be dispensed with when there are too many other competing claims on the growing brain…”

If you quote from a source with no author 

Article, chapter accessible online: use the first few words from the title (in italics and capitals) in quotation marks and the year.

.... on free care ("Study Finds Care," 2007)

Periodical, brochure: use the title in italics and capitals.

.... in the book College Bound Seniors (2008)

Secondary citations

A secondary citation is where you are citing information that is cited by the author of your reference and you haven’t read the cited source. Use secondary citations sparingly, for instance, when the original work is out of print, unavailable through usual sources, or not available in English. Give the secondary sources in the reference list and in text. Name the original author in your text and give a citation for the secondary source (as cited in…, year). In the reference list include both the original and the secondary source.

In-text citations:

Allport’s diary (as cited in Nicholson, 2003)…

Fawcett (as cited in Polit & Beck, 2008) outlined the four main concepts...