EasyBib APA Parenthetical and Narrative Citations Guide

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If you’re writing a research paper, thesis, or dissertation, you’ll need to properly credit any ideas or information you’ve included from other sources. The best way to do this is by including in-text citations and full references. 

This guide is designed to help you create APA style parenthetical citations and narrative citations. You’ll learn the difference between APA parenthetical citations and narrative citations, as well as the correct way to make them within the text. The information from this guide comes from the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Chapter 8 (there is no connection between the association and this guide).

We will cover:

  • Why We Include In-text Citations
  • Parenthetical vs Narrative In-Text Citations
  • What About Reference List Entries?
  • When to Include Page Numbers 
  • Basic APA Citations
  • Narrative and Parenthetical Citations APA with Two Authors
  • Citing Works with Three or More Authors
  • Citing Works Without an Author
  • Citing a Specific Part of a Work
  • Citing Works With Group Authors or Corporate Authors
  • Citing Classical, Religious, or Translated Works
  • Citing and Formatting Block Quotes

Are you working in another citation format? MLA in-text & parenthetical citations are very different, so don’t assume all styles are the same! Other resources you might like to read up on are MLA works cited pages and how to cite websites in MLA.


Video Overview


Why We Include In-text Citations

An in-text citation is used to indicate what information comes from another source. It usually includes the source author and publication year. These citations are important because they:

  • Allow readers to easily locate the full reference on the final page. This means they can easily look up the source for further research.
  • Give proper credit to sources and other authors.
  • Demonstrate that you are a responsible and ethical researcher.

Parenthetical vs Narrative In-Text Citations

Both parenthetical and narrative citations are a type of in-text citation. They have these things in common:

  • They are used in the text of a paper.
  •  A full reference to the source mentioned in the in-text citation is included in the reference list at the end of a paper. 
  • Usually, both include the author’s last name and the year the source was published. 

 

Here is a brief overview of the differences:

APA Format Parenthetical Citation Narrative Citation
All information is placed in parentheses at the end of a sentence.

Example :

“Undeaf” is a word coined by Shakespeare in Richard II (Crystal, 2011).

Some of the source information is included within the sentence text.

 

Example:

According to Crystal (2011), “undeaf” is a word that was invented by Shakespeare.

 

Now that we have an idea of how each is unique, let’s examine each a little more closely.


Parenthetical Citations

The most common form of in-text citation is known as a parenthetical. This means that the reference information is provided within parentheses at the end of the sentence.  

Parenthetical citation structure:

(Author Last Name, Year Published)

Parenthetical citation APA example:

(Crystal, 2011)

Example in use:

“Undeaf” is a word coined by Shakespeare in Richard II (Crystal, 2011).


Narrative Citations

If the sentence itself includes the author’s last name and/or the publication date, this information does not need to appear within the parenthetical citation. If all of the required citation elements are provided within the sentence, then no parenthetical citation is required.

Narrative citation example:

According to Crystal (2011), “undeaf” is a word that was invented by Shakespeare.

If you’re looking for another parenthetical citation APA website to learn about the origins, here’s an informative site. If you want a deeper dive into this topic, we have a full APA parenthetical citation website page, called APA in-text citation. If you’d like an overview on how to go about starting a research paper from scratch, our research page is a great place to start.


What About Reference List Entries?

These brief narrative and APA parenthetical citations are only half of what’s needed. A full reference to the source mentioned in the in-text citation is required. These references are placed on the final page of a paper or project.

Only a snippet is included in the body of the paper (via the in-text citation) to provide the reader with a quick reference, easy enough to read and breeze over, without having to stop the flow of reading through the paper. Readers use the information in the narrative or APA format parenthetical citation to then flip to the reference page to find the rest of the information about the source.

Full references include not only the author, date, and page numbers, but also the title of the source, the publisher, and other key pieces of information. Here is a reference entry example for the source that we used above:

Reference entry example:

Crystal, K. (2011). The story of English in 100 words. St. Martin’s Press.

To allow readers to easily locate the full reference on the final page, make sure the information in the narrative and APA format parenthetical citation matches the beginning of the information in the full reference. 


When to Include Page Numbers 

For most in-text citations, an author name and a publication year are the only elements required. Adding page numbers is only necessary when you are citing a direct quotation from the work.

For works without pages, the Publication manual states to use other indicators (Section 8.28):

  • Heading or section
  • Specific paragraphs (para. 1)
  • A timestamp (10:11)
  • Chapter, canto, verse or line

If you’re searching for a narrative or APA parenthetical citation generator, look no further! Head to EasyBib.com to use an automatic citation generator which can help make your full references for the APA works cited page or APA bibliography. There’s also an option to create your narrative or parenthetical citation. If you want to go the old-fashioned route, and learn how to create narrative references and how to use parenthetical citations APA, continue reading. If you’d like to learn how to style your final paper, read our APA format page.

Need resources related to MLA format? Check out the other tools and citation guides on EasyBib.com. As always, EasyBib.com has even more styles available.  


Basic APA Citations

Parenthetical example – Authored book

It can be said that all postmodern art is a reaction to fake sincerity, or faked patriotism (Baxter, 2007).

Narrative example – Authored book

According to Baxter (2007), all forms of postmodern art can be seen as reactions to faked sincerity or faked patriotism.

Reference entry example – Authored book

Baxter, C. (2007). The art of subtext. Graywolf Press.


Narrative and Parenthetical Citations APA with Two Authors

If you are citing a reference entry that has two authors, include both names, separated by an ampersand.

APA style parenthetical citation structure:

(1st Author’s Last Name & 2nd Author’s Last Name, Year)

APA parenthetical citation example – Two authors:

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

Narrative example – Two authors:

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

Reference entry example – Two authors:

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


Citing Works With Three or More Authors

Include only the last name of the first author, followed by “et al.” and the year published in all narrative and parenthetical citations APA.

Note: The reference entry should list the names of up to 20 authors.

Parenthetical example – Three or more authors:

Rallying to restore sanity was a revolutionary undertaking (Stewart et al., 2010).

Narrative example – Three or more authors:

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

Looking for an APA parenthetical citation website or tool to help you create a citation? Check out the resources at EasyBib.com.


Citing Works Without an Author

In cases where no author is provided and no author can be reasonably determined, the title of the work takes the place of the author name in the in-text citation.

There are a couple of things to consider if you are going to use the title of your work for the in-text citation:

  • If the title is italicized within your reference entry (as it would be for most periodicals and journal articles) then it also needs to be italicized inside the in-text citation.
  • If the title is not italicized in the reference entry, then it needs to be placed within quotation marks (“Title”) in the in-text citation. This is the case with individual book chapters, TV episodes, and other works that are entries within a larger body of work.
  • Work titles that appear inside an in-text citation should be in title case (all words capitalized) while the same title in the reference entry should be in sentence case (only the first word, proper nouns, and words appearing after a colon or semicolon are capitalized).

 

Parenthetical example – Source without an author:

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

Narrative Example – Source Without an Author:

In the chapter entitled “New Data” (2013), statistics confirm the trend is rising.

Even though it may seem like you don’t need to create a narrative or parenthetical citation APA format reference for works without an author, it’s still necessary! You may want to run your paper through our plagiarism checker, which scans for any instances of accidental plagiarism and also does a check for grammar. If you have an adjective, preposition, or noun that needs to be touched up, we’ve got you covered!


Citing a Specific 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. The idea here is to give as much information as is necessary for your reader to easily locate the part of the work that is being referenced.

Parenthetical example – Direct quotation:

One of the most memorable quotes 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 any of the following elements based on which one you believe will be most helpful to your reader.

  • Section title or heading name
  • Paragraph number
  • Time stamp (for audiovisual works)
  • Verse, line, or canto (for religious and canonically numbered works)

Parenthetical example – Paraphrasing, no page number available

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

If page numbers are not available, it might be necessary to include the section title or heading name, especially with works that have been published online. If these section titles are overly lengthy, they can be abbreviated for clarity and tidiness.

Parenthetical citation – Abbreviated section title with paragraph

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

 In need of a narrative or APA parenthetical citation website? Check out the tools and resources on EasyBib.com! We make the narrative and parenthetical APA citation process easy for you!


Citing Group Authors or Corporate Authors

Groups, corporations, government agencies, associations, and other organizations can be considered the author of a source in a narrative or a parenthetical citation APA. This is commonplace with reports, scientific studies, and other works (like the Publication manual) that have been commissioned by larger entities.

If you are trying to cite a work that has no listed author, but the work appears in a corporate or agency-related periodical or website, then the corporation or agency can safely be listed as the author.

Parenthetical example – Group author:

The 2019 survey of students found that the cost of education and student loans deterred many students from pursuing another college degree (Chegg, 2019).


A Note on Abbreviations

It’s not required to abbreviate the name of a group author. However, if a well-known abbreviation exists, you may use it. Provide the abbreviation within brackets in the first in-text citation. Then, you can use that abbreviation for all subsequent entries.

Abbreviated group example – First parenthetical citation APA

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

Abbreviated group example – Subsequent citations

The report found that over one half billion taxpayer dollars went to imprison residents “from 24 of New York City’s approximately 200 neighborhoods” (NAACP, 2011, p. 2).

Quick reminder: If you’re looking for a parenthetical citation APA website, check out the homepage of EasyBib.com. Our automatic generator makes full references and narrative /APA parenthetical citations for you!


Citing Classical, Religious, or Translated Works

For classical sources, such as ancient Greek works, it is necessary to provide not only the original publication date, but also the copyright date of the version or translation that you used for your research.

For the purpose of in-text citations, these two dates would be separated by a slash with no extra spaces:

Parenthetical citation in APA example – Classical work with translation

(Homer, ca. 800 B.C./1998).

Narrative example – Translated work

In Homer’s The Iliad (800 B.C./1998) …

With most Greek and Roman literature, the precise date of publication cannot be determined. In cases such as these, the approximate date is offered with the abbreviation “ca.”, which is short for “circa”.

Reference entry example  – Translated work

Homer. (1998). The Iliad (R. Fagles, Trans.). Penguin Classics. (Original work published ca. 800 B.C.E.)

When citing specific content from these sources, include the paragraph/line numbers that are used in classical works in the narrative or APA parenthetical citation. This information is consistent across versions/editions, and is the easiest way to locate direct quotes from classical works.

APA parenthetical example – Direct bible quotation

The Bible extols the virtues of love; “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud” (New International Version, 1973/2018, 1 Cor. 13:4).

Narrative example – Direct bible quotation

In 1 Cor. 13:4 (New International Version, 1978/2018), the Bible extols the virtues of love: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”

As you can see, it doesn’t matter if you’re creating a reference in the text for a book, website, journal article, or another source type in this format. All of your references in the text of your paper are formatted the same. If you’d like to learn how to create full APA citations for an APA book citation, APA journal, or APA citation website, we have the resources you need!


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
  • Do not use quotation marks
  • Double-space the text
  • Add the in-text parenthetical citation APA after the final sentence

Use our grammar pages to ensure your words are organized and styled appropriately. Check out interjection, conjunction, and adverb, along with many others!

Parenthetical example – Block quotations

Here is some text from the book that clearly defines early on in the novel:

He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced–or seemed to face–the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor (Fitzgerald, 2019, pp. 12-13).

Notice in the above APA parenthetical citation, a page range is included, marked by ‘pp.’ prior to the page numbers. If your quote is found on a single page, use ‘p.’ before the page number in the parenthetical citation APA reference.

Narrative example – Block quotations

Fitzgerald (2019) clearly defines early on in the novel:

He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced–or seemed to face–the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor (pp. 12-13).

Reference entry example

Fitzgerald, F. S. (2019). The great Gatsby. Cambridge University Press.

If you’re still confused on how to do parenthetical citations APA, learn more here. If you’re looking for a parenthetical citation APA website, check out the resources and tools on EasyBib.com!

Need another set of eyes to edit your paper? Run your paper through the EasyBib Plus proofreader, which checks each and every determiner, verb, pronoun, to make sure they’re where they’re supposed to be.

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


Reference

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


Published January 31, 2012. Updated April 16, 2020.

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

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