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APA: In-Text Citations

In-Text Citations in APA

Why we include in-text citations:

Researchers include brief in-text citations in their writing to acknowledge references to other people’s work. In-text citations may be parenthetical or narrative.

Parenthetical citations include the last name of the author and year of publication within a set of parentheses:

The two primary motives for writing are communication and discovery (Ballenger, 2014).

In a narrative citation, the author's name appears in the running text while the year of publication appears in parentheses immediately after the name:

Ballenger (2014) describes two primary motives for writing.

In some cases, the author and the year of publication may both be mentioned in the narrative and parentheses would not be used. 

In 2014, Ballenger describes two primary motives for writing. 

(APA, 8.11)

In-Text Citations with Multiple Authors

Works with one or two authors

Include the author name(s) in every citation. For two authors, use an ampersand (&) with parenthetical citations, but spell out "and" in narrative citations.


Rallying to restore sanity was a revolutionary undertaking (Stewart & Colbert, 2010).

Stewart and Colbert (2010) suggest that rallying to restore sanity was a revolutionary undertaking.

Works with three or more authors

Include the name of only the first author plus "et al." in both parenthetical and narrative citations.


The study did not come to any definitive conclusions (Rothschild et al., 2013).

Rothschild et al. (2013) indicate that the study did not come to any definitive conclusions.

(APA 8.17)

Citing Sources without an Author

If a work has no author, include the first few words of the bibliography entry (in many cases, the title) and the year.
Use double quotations around the titles of articles, chapters and/or websites.

Article Example:

Statistics confirm that the trend is rising (“New Data,” 2013).

*Note: Unlike in your reference list, parenthetical citations of articles, chapters and/or website should have all major words capitalized.

Italicize the titles of periodicals, books, brochures or reports

Book Example:

The report includes some bleak results (Information Illiteracy in Academia, 2009).

If the author is specifically listed as "Anonymous", use "Anonymous" in place of the author's name. 


The number of times an incident like this had occurred in history could be counted on one hand (Anonymous, 2020). 

(APA, 8.14)

Citing Part of a Work

When citing a specific part of a work, provide the relevant page number or section identifier, such as chapters, tables or equations. Direct quotes should always have page numbers.


One of the most memorable moments is when he says, “You are going to live a good and long life filled with great and terrible moments that you cannot even imagine yet!” to Augustus (Green, 2012, p. 272).

If the source does not include page numbers (such as online sources), you can reference specific parts of the work by referencing the paragraph number (if given) with the abbreviation “para. xx”


He quickly learned that pandas were not considered good pets (Chan, 2011, para. 3).

Section or heading and the number of the paragraph in which the information is found. For lengthy headings, use the first few words of the title in the parenthetical citation


The sample population included both red and giant pandas (Chan, 2011, Methodology section, para. 1).

(APA, 8.13)

Citing Groups or Corporate Authors

Corporations, government agencies, and associations can be considered the author of a source when no specific author is given. You may abbreviate the name of a group author if the abbreviation is well-known, if the full name is lengthy, or if it appears at least three times within the text.

Provide the full name of the group on first mention in the text, followed by the abbreviation.


The study published by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP, 2011)  focused on percentages of tax money that goes to imprisonment over education funding.

If the group name first appears within a parenthetical citation, include the abbreviation in square brackets.


The study focused on percentages of tax money that goes to imprisonment over education funding (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People [NAACP], 2011).

(APA, 8.21)

Citing and Formatting Block Quotes

When directly quoting information from sources in your writing, you may need to format it differently depending on how many words are used.

If a quote runs on for more than 40 words:

  • Start the direct quotation on a new line
  • Indent the text roughly half an inch from the left margin
  • If there are multiple paragraphs in the quotation, indent them an extra half inch
  • Remove any quotation marks
  • Double-space the text
  • Add the parenthetical citation after the final sentence, but do not add a period after the closing parenthesis.

(APA, 8.27)

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