Basic Rules for APA In-Text Citations

For an in-text citation of a direct quotation in APA, you need three basic pieces of information: the author’s family name, publication year, and page number. This can be done in a variety of ways.

“On the chance that they might draw attention away from the subject, first- and second-person pronouns are frowned upon in school writing” (Gorell, 2005, p. 146).
Gorell writes that “first- and second-person pronouns are frowned upon in school writing” (2005, p. 146).
In her 2005 book Style & Difference, Donna Gorell writes that “first- and second-person pronouns are frowned upon in school writing” (p. 146).

If you are paraphrasing but not quoting the source, it is best to provide a citation.

It is better not to use I and you when writing papers for class (Gorell, 2005).

Perhaps your source doesn’t include all of these pieces of information. What should you do? Please see below.

 

Quick ‘n’ Easy Author Guide

One author: use the family name (leave out Jr., etc.), year, and page number.

(King, 1967, p. 30)

Two or more authors: use the ampersand (&) and commas. If authors have the same last name, include both author’s first initials.

(Clinton, Bush, & Lincoln, 2014, p. 2)
(Obama & Kerry, 2014, p. 453)
(J. Smith & P. Smith, 2014, p. 369)

Six or more authors: use only the first author’s last name with “et al.” to denote there are more authors.

(Washington et al., 1776, p. 1)

Group with easily identifiable abbreviation: the first time you cite, spell out the entire name followed by the abbreviation in brackets. In following in-text citations, you may use the abbreviation.

(United States Postal Service [USPS], 2014, p. 27)
(USPS, 2014, p. 27)

Group without easily identifiable abbreviation: use the full name every time.

(University of Texas at Arlington, 2011, p. 4).

 

Missing Parts for Online Sources

Sometimes, an online source may be missing the author, year, or page number. In these cases, this is what you can do.

Unknown author: mention the source’s title in the sentence or use the first word of the source in the citation.

According to “Code of Ethics,” the purpose of the code is to “serve as a guide to the everyday professional conduct of social workers” (2014, para. 1).
The purpose of the Code of Ethics is to “serve as a guide to the everyday professional conduct of social workers” (“Code,” n.d., para. 1).

Unknown year: instead of a year, write “n.d.”

(“Code,” n.d., para. 1).

Missing page numbers: give the paragraph number after “para.” or a paragraph symbol (¶).

(“Code,” n.d., para. 1)
(“Code,” n.d., ¶ 1).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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