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APA Style Guide: In-Text Citations

A guide to help with the APA Citation Style.

Using In-Text Citations

APA uses an author-date citation style. To correctly use APA, a short in-text citation is used consisting of the Author's last name and the year of publication. A full citation is included on the Works Cited page.

When to include a page number:

If a direct quotation is included, a page reference (when available) is also included in the in-text citation. Although not explicitly required, APA encourages the inclusion of page numbers for paraphrased passages or other direct references. 

Basic Format

(AuthorLastName, Year). When a page number is included: (AuthorLastName, Year, p. #).

APA style prefers that the name of the author who is being cited should be included in the text of the sentence itself. If both the author and year of publication are stated in the sentence, no additional parenthetical citation is required (unless a page reference is included).


  • Preferred APA in-text citation style (where no page number is required/included): 

Parker (2018) argues that colleges should require students to carry computers to class.

  • Preferred APA in-text citation including a direct quotation (in which case a page reference is required):

According to Parker (2018), "students who own laptops perform better on average in their courses than those who do not own their own computers" (p. 198). 

  • Notice that page references follow the close parenthesis, even when the sentence does not end:

According to Parker (2018) "students have a responsibility to care for their equipment" (p. 121), which she also notes is not always a top priority for every student.

  • An in-text citation where the author's name is not mentioned:

Additionally, she stated, "most students are perfectly responsible" (Jones, 2018, p. 121).

Works by Multiple Authors

Two Authors: 

For works with two authors, include both names in alphabetical order, including an "&" between them.

Parenthetical: (Jones & Smith, 2011). 

In a sentence: According to Jones & Smith (2011), . . . 

Three to Five Authors: 

For works by three to five authors, include all the author's names the first time only. E.g., (Dexter, Hardwick, Jones, McMillan, & Smith, 2018).

In subsequent mentions of the same author, use et al. in place the second, third, fourth and fifth names.

Parenthetical: (Dexter et al., 2018)

In a sentence: According to Dexter et al. (2018), . . . 

et al. (et alia) is Latin for "and others," and is used to avoid printing all the names of the authors of a source. A period does not follow "et," only "al."

Six or More Authors:

If a work has six or more authors, use et al. for the first time the source is cited. See the section on three or more authors above.

E.g. (Kim et al., 2017)

Long Quotation: 

Although it is best to avoid long quotations in APA, if you include a quotation of more than 40 words, it must be included in a separate block of text. Indent the entire block quotation by one-half inch (the same as the standard tab indent), maintain double-spacing, and place the citation at the end in parentheses after the period or punctuation from the quotation. Do not include quotation marks. In good APA style, the quoted author should be introduced before the quotation begins.


According to Kim et al. (2017): 

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The remainder of the paper continues as normal. . . . 

adapted from Limestone College - A.J. Eastwood Library Citation Guide.