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APA Guide

This guide contains information to help you cite your sources in APA format.

What are In-text Citations?

If you quote, paraphrase or summarize a source in your paper, it needs to be cited in the text. An in-text citation contains just enough information to help the reader find the source in the references list. A typical in-text citation will include author(s) and the year the source was published.  Include page numbers if citing a specific part of the source.  Place the citation as close as possible to the information you are citing. For help with in-text citations, check out our APA In-text Handout or our sample paper.

Typical In-text Citation with One Author

Place the author’s last name and the year in parenthesis. If the in-text citation lands at the end of a sentence, place the period outside the parenthesis.

Example 1: Chickens have been known to cross roads (Jordon, 2017).
Example 2:
Jordon (2017) discussed how chickens like to cross roads.

Two Authors

If a source has two authors, use an ampersand (&) between the names in the parenthesis.  Use "and" when referring to the authors in the text of your paper.  Include both names every time you cite the source.

Example 1: The chicken crossed the road (Smith & Jones, 2013).
Example 2: Smith and Jones (2013) also discovered that the chicken crossed the road.

Three to Five Authors

When a source has three, four, or five authors, cite all authors for the first parenthetical reference.  For the second and any subsequent citations, list the first author followed by et al. (Latin for "and others").

Example 1st time source is referenced: The chicken was forced to cross the road (Adams, Smith, & Jones, 2016).

Example for subsequent citations: Adams et al. (2016) discovered who forced the chicken to cross the road.
There are many reasons why the chicken was forced to cross the road (Adams et al., 2016).

Six or More Authors

When a source has six or more authors, include just the first author's last name, followed by et al.

Example 1: The chicken had definitely crossed the road (Letterman et al., 2014).
Example 2: Letterman et al. (2014) had also discovered that the chicken crossed the road.

No Author / Anonymous Author

If a source has no author and is listed on the reference page by its title, use the first few words of the title and the year.  Put double quotation marks (") around article or chapter titles and italicize periodical and book titles.  Unlike the reference page, the main words of the title should be capitalized.

Example of a book with no author given: The chicken made a conscious decision to cross the road (The Big Book of Chickens, 2015).

Example of a journal article with no author given: The chicken did not want to cross the road ("The Case of the Chicken and the Road," 2016).

More In-text Examples

Sample Paper