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APA 7: In-Text Citations

General Guidelines

The in-text citation appears within the body of the paper and briefly identifies the cited work by its author and date of publication. This enables readers to locate the entry in the reference list at the end of the paper.

  • In-text citations must be in the reference list. Each source in the reference list must be cited in the text.
  • Even if a source is cited multiple times in the text, it should only be cited once on the reference list.
  • Both paraphrases and quotations require citations.
  • Common knowledge does not need to be cited.
  • Cite only works that you have read and ideas that you have incorporated into your writing. The works you cite may provide key background information, support or dispute your thesis, or offer critical definitions and data.
  • Even when sources cannot be retrieved (e.g., because they are personal communications), still credit them in the text.

There are two formats for in-text citations:

  • Parenthetical: uses parentheses around the in-text citation. The in-text citation includes: the author(s)' last name(s), a publication date, and the page number (the page number is required for quotes; optional for paraphrases or summaries).
    • Example: "Very few people have 20/20 vision. Being able to see well is crucial to success in some sports" (Caplan, 2005, p. 593). 
  • Signal Phrase: consists of a phrase that alerts the reader that a paraphrase or a quote is about to follow.
    • Example: According to Caplan (2005), "very few people have 20/20 vision. Being able to see well is crucial to success in some sports" (p. 593).  

In-Text Citations by Type

Direct Quotation with Page Numbers

When quoting directly, always provide the author, year, and page number of the quotation (in both parenthetical and narrative in-text citations).

  • For a single page, use the abbreviation “p.” (e.g., p. 25, p. S41, p. e221).
  • For multiple pages, use the abbreviation “pp.” and separate the page range with an en dash (e.g., pp. 34–36).
  • If pages are discontinuous, use a comma between the page numbers (e.g., pp. 67, 72).

If the work does not have page numbers, provide another way for the reader to locate the quotation.

Parenthetical Citation

  • (Stanford University, 2020, p. 150)
  • (Martin, 2022, pp. 10–20)

Narrative Citation

  • Stanford University (2020, p. 150)
  • Martin (2022, pp. 10–20)

One author

For a work with one or two authors, include the author name(s) in every citation.

Parenthetical Citation

  • (Luna, 2020)

Narrative Citation

  • Luna (2020) concluded that...

Two Authors

For a work with two authors, include the author names in every citation.

Parenthetical Citation

  • (Salas & D’Agostino, 2020)

Narrative Citation

  • Salas and D’Agostino (2020) concluded that...

Three or More Authors

For a work with three or more authors, include the name of only the first author plus “et al.” in every citation (even the first citation).

Parenthetical Citation

  • (Martin et al., 2020)

Narrative Citation

  • Martin et al. (2020) said...

Same author of multiple works

Parenthetical Citation
If you cite multiple works by the same author or authors, regardless of the publication years, include the date in every in-text citation.

  • (Mohammed and Mahfouz, 2017)
  • (Mohammed and Mahfouz, 2019)

Narrative Citation
Include the year with every citation, even when one of the references is cited multiple times in a single paragraph.

  • Mohammed and Mahfouz (2017)
  • Mohammed and Mahfouz (2019)

Same author and same date

When multiple works have the same author(s) and publication year, include a lowercase letter after the year. These letters are assigned when the references are placed in order in the reference list (alphabetically by title). The year–letter combination is used in both the in-text citation and the reference list entry.

Parenthetical Citation

  • (Blondaux & O’Hanrahan, 2018a)
  • (Blondaux & O’Hanrahan, 2018b)

Narrative Citation

  • Blondaux & O’Hanrahan (2018a)
  • Blondaux & O’Hanrahan (2018b)

Group author with abbreviation

Define the abbreviation for a group author only once in the text, choosing either the parenthetical or the narrative format. Thereafter, use the abbreviation for all mentions of the group in the text. P

Parenthetical Citation

  • (National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 2020)
  • (NIMH, 2020)

Narrative Citation

  • National Institute of Mental Health ([NIMH], 2020)
  • NIMH (2020)

Group author without abbreviation

Parenthetical Citation

  • (Stanford University, 2022)

Narrative Citation

  • Stanford University (2022)

Personal communication

For conversations and interviews with another person, include the person's name, personal communication, and the date.

Parenthetical Citation

  • (E. Roberts, personal communication, July 21, 2020)

Narrative Citation

  • E. Roberts (personal communication, July 21, 2020)

Indirect Citations

An indirect citation uses information from a source that is cited in-text in another source (the secondary source). For example, an article that you are reading contains a cited quote from another article. You want to use the quote in your paper but cannot find the original article.

The use of an indirect citation is not encouraged, but is sometimes necessary when the original article or book cannot be located.

To create an indirect citation, use the author(s) of the original source, followed by "as cited in" and the in-text citation of the secondary source (the source that the original source is cited in). The secondary source is listed on the references page of your paper.


  • The words we use simply appear, as Britton says, “at the point of utterance” (as cited in Smith, 1982, p. 108).
    • Author of the original source: Britton
    • Source that the original is cited in: Smith

Repeating a Citation

When repeating a citation, show the entire citation; do not, for example, include only a page number. Instead:

  • Include the author(s) and year for every parenthetical in-text citation.
  • Do not repeat the year for narrative in-text citations after the first time they appear in a single paragraph. When you start a new paragraph, include the year in the first narrative citation in the new paragraph.
  • If you cite multiple works by the same author or authors, include the date in every in-text citation.