APA In-Text Citations

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Welcome to our guide on in-text citations! If you’re looking to learn the ins and outs of APA style in-text citations and how to do in-text citations APA, we’ve got you covered in this thorough guide.

The information below follows the 7th edition of the Publication manual of the American Psychological Association.


What is APA?

This is a term that you might hear your teacher, professor, or librarian throw around a lot. This abbreviation stands for




This association is kind of a big deal. They do a lot of things related to psychology, but they’re also famous for creating one of the most popular citation styles, APA format. There are other big names on campus, such as MLA format, and Chicago, but this particular style is commonly used by individuals who are writing a science-related paper.

Even if your paper doesn’t necessarily fall into a “science” category, many educators ask their students to cite in this style since it’s so commonly used.

If you’re trying to find information about other commonly used styles, there are more styles on EasyBib.com.

What is an APA In-text Citation?

In plain and simple terms, APA in-text citations are found in the text of a project. Get it? In text. The purpose of an in-text citation in APA is to show the reader, while they’re reading your work, that a piece of information in your project was found elsewhere. They’re placed IN the wording or body of a project, not on the last page; the last page has full references. To learn more about those types of references, check out APA citation.

Types of APA In-text Citations

Just like there are two days in the weekend, two types of peanut butter (creamy and nutty), and two types of foods we crave (salty and sweet), there are (you guessed it) two types of in-text citations.

The in-text citation APA option you include in your paper depends on how you craft your sentences.

Before we continue, MLA works cited pages are very similar to the ones in this style. EasyBib.com has resources for many styles, to help you learn the ins and outs of referencing your work. We even have full pages on grammar topics too, to keep your paper in tip-top shape. Brush up on your noun, conjunction, and interjection skills with our easy-to-follow, comprehensive guides.

Corresponding entry in APA reference list

Would you ever put on one shoe and walk around without the other? Of course not. The same goes with in-text citations and full references. You must include both in your paper. Where there’s one there has to be the other.

Direct Quotes in APA

As Drake states in his lyrics, “We don’t like to do too much explaining,” so we’re going to keep this one short and to the point.

Paraphrasing in APA

We said above that your entire paper shouldn’t have direct quotes everywhere. So, another way to include information from a source is by adding a paraphrase. Simply put, a paraphrase is restated information, but formed using your own words and writing style

Organizing APA In-text Citations

Ready to learn how to structure your in-text citations? The next section dives deep into developing them and answers “How to do in-text citations APA.” Keep in mind that how each one is formed depends on the number of authors and other factors. All the examples below follow rules laid out in Chapter 8 of the Publication manual.

Don’t forget, EasyBib.com has an in-text citation APA generator. Wondering what it’s all about? Here’s a quick explanation: We work for you so citing is easy for you. Yep, you read that correctly.

Our tools structure your in-text citations the way they’re supposed to be structured. Use our automatic generator to create your full references, and on the final screen you’ll see the option to create your in-text citations. An APA in-text citation generator that’s easy as pie!

Something else we do for you? We have a plagiarism checker that scans your paper for any instances of accidental copying. We also have tons of grammar pages to keep your page in check. Check out our adverb, preposition, and verb pages.

APA In-Text Citations for Sources with One Author

Need to create an APA in-text citation for a source without an author? How about an APA in-text citation for multiple authors? Continue reading to see the other ways to structure an APA style in-text citation.

APA In-Text Citations for Sources with Multiple Authors

APA In-text citation no author or date

It’s common to come across sources without any authors. Movies, brochures, website pages often do not have a visible author’s name.

Additional APA In-Text Citation Examples

Overview of APA Parenthetical Citations for Websites

Here’s a quick overview of how to create an in-text citation for websites. Notice that since these are for online sources, the in-text citation has no page number.

Author Narrative Parenthetical
No author “First few words of source title” (Year)

“Explaining Fidget Spinners” (2020)

(“Source Title,” Year)

(“Explaining Fidget Spinners,” 2020)

1 Author Last name (year)

In the article Smith (2009) outlines…

(Last name, year)

(Smith, 2009)

2 Authors Last name 1 “and” last name 2 (year)

Researchers Vega and Cantrell (1999)

(Last name 1 & last name 2, year)

(Vega & Cantrell, 1999)

3+ Authors Last name 1 et. al (year)

It is according to Gentry et al. (2002) that…

(Last name 1 et al., year)

(Gentry et al., 2002)

Abbreviated group author Unabbreviated group name (abbreviations, year)

In a survey conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO, 2020)

(Longhand group name [abbreviation], year)

(World Health Organization, [WHO], 2020)Subsequent citations
(abbreviations, year)
(APA, 2020)

Non-abbreviated group author Unabbreviated group name (year)

Most University of North Alabama students completed the program within 2 years (2018)

(Unabbreviated group name, year)

(University of North Alabama, 2018)

Multiple authors, same last name Full name 1 and full name 2 (year)

Ice cream is highly correlated with happiness according to studies by A. Kramer and B. Kramer (2005)

(First initial. Last name & first initial. Last name, year)

(A. Kramer & B. Kramer, 2005)

Multiple sources, same author, different years Last name (year)

Cane later duplicated these results in another study (2013)

(Last name, year)

(Cane, 2013)

Multiple sources, same author, same year Last name (YEARa)

Cane successfully duplicated these results (2012a)

(Last name, YEARa)

(Cane, 2012a)
(Cane, 2012b)

Multiple sources, same in-text citation All current research in the foundation of previous researches Cox (1989), McGee (2011), and Shaffer et al. (2019) (Last name 1, year 1; last name 2, year 2…..)

(Cox, 1989; McGee 2011; Shaffer et al., 2019)

Once again, if grammar isn’t your thing, and you’re looking for help related to specific parts of speech, check out our adjective, pronoun, and determiner pages, among many, many others!

Follow our EasyBib Twitter feed to find more citing tips, fun grammar facts, and the latest product updates.


American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.) https:doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000

Published May 21, 2019. Updated October 25, 2020.

Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Elise Barbeau. Michele Kirschenbaum is a school library media specialist and one of the in-house EasyBib librarians. Elise Barbeau is the Citation Specialist at Chegg. She has worked in digital marketing, libraries, and publishing.

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What is the difference between the in-text citation and the reference list entry?

An in-text citation is a shortened version of the source being referred to in the paper. As the name implies, it appears in the text of the paper. A reference list entry, on the other hand, details the complete information of the source being cited and is listed at the end of the paper after the main text. An example of an in-text citation and the corresponding reference list entry for a journal article with one author is listed below for your understanding:

In-text citation template and example:

Only the author name and the publication year are used in in-text citations to direct the reader to the corresponding reference list entry.


Author Surname (Publication Year)

Elden (2003)


(Author Surname, Publication Year)

(Elden, 2003)

Reference list entry template and example:

Complete information of the reference is used to guide the reader to locate the source for further reference. In the below template, “F” and “M” are first and middle initials, respectively. #–# denotes the page range.

Surname, F. M. (Publication Year). Title of the article: Subtitle. Journal Title, Volume(Issue), #–#. DOI

Elden, S. (2003). Plague, panopticon, police. Surveillance & Society, 1(3), 240–253. https://doi:10.24908/ss.v1i3.3339

Do all sources need to be cited in-text when using an author-date citation style in APA?

When you use APA style, all sources need to have in-text citations. In-text citations direct a reader to the reference entry to get more information on the source being cited in the text. If an in-text citation is not provided, your reader doesn’t know whether there is a source available in the reference list for the idea or topic being discussed in the text. Even if all the basic elements to cite a source are not available, try to provide an in-text citation with the information you do have. For example, if a source does not have an author, use a shortened version of the title in place of the author in your in-text citation. An example is given below for a parenthetical citation.

Author name available:

(Author Surname, Publication Year, p.# for direct quote)

Author name not available:

(“Title of the Work,” Publication Year, p.# for direct quote)

Therefore, in-text citations are essential to guide a reader to locate the corresponding sources in the reference list for the topics discussed in the text.