Skip to Main Content

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 Citation Chart

Basic In-Text Citation Styles

Author type Parenthetical citation Narrative citation

One author

(Luna, 2020)

Luna (2020)

Two authors

(Salas & D’Agostino, 2020)

Salas and D’Agostino (2020)

Three or more authors

(Martin et al., 2020)

Martin et al. (2020)

Group author with abbreviation

  • First Citation
  • Subsequent citations
  • (National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 2020)
  • (NIMH, 2020)
  • National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH, 2020)
  • NIMH (2020)

Group author without abbreviation

(Stanford University, 2020)

Stanford University (2020)

With page number

(Stanford University, 2020, p.150)

Stanford University (2020, p.150)

Personal Communication (email, social media, interview, etc.) (E. Roberts, personal communication, July 21, 2020) Emily Roberts (personal communication, July 21, 2020)


Table provided by the APA Style Guide: American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Author-date citation system.