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MEC APA 7th Edition Guide

Guide to the formatting, citation, and reference using APA 7th ed. format

In-text Citation Checklist

Use this linked In-Text Citation Checklist from APA Style 7 to ensure that you properly cite all those quotes, ideas, data, or other information (including images) that is not your own and is not common knowledge.

In-Text Citation Components

When writing a paper, you will need to provide in-text citations (sometimes called parenthetical citations) for quotes, paraphrases, summaries, and to give credit for ideas. Every in-text citation must have a corresponding entry in the reference list, unless you are told otherwise (examples include personal communications and citing an entire website). There are two ways to cite in-text.

For more guidelines, view sections Chapter 8 in the Publication Manual or consult the APA Style page on In-Text Citations.

APA requires that you provide, at minimum, two pieces of information for an in-text citation:

  • Author last name(s) (this could also be an organization)
  • Publication date

A location (usually a page number) is required for direct quotes, and recommended for paraphrasing. 

You will incorporate this information two ways into your text: parenthetically or narratively.

General Format

Use the last name of the author for your in-text citation.

(Matthews, 2010, p. 14)

Multiple Authors

You will list up to two authors in an in-text citation, separated with an ampersand (&).

(Smith & Miller, 2009)

For references with three or more authors, you will only include the first author and then the words et al.

(Smith et al., 2009)

Smith et al. (2009) summarized it as...

Organizational Author

If the author of a work is an organization, company, or group, list that group's full name in the in-text citation.

(City of Manassas, 2019)

If the organization has a common acronym, you may introduce it in your first in-text citation and then use the abbreviation in all subsequent citations.

(American Medical Association [AMA], 2015)

(AMA, 2015)

No Author

You should avoid citing works with no author, because you will be unable to verify authority and credibility. Remember that most resources that do not have an individual author listed will have an organization or group responsible for the content.

If there is truly no author for a reference, you use the title, or first few words of the title. Note that you should capitalize the words in the title for the in-text citation. Place in quotation marks if the title is an article or chapter. Italicize if it is a book, webpage, etc.

("How To Find," 2009).

(Oxford English Dictionary, 1989).


You will use the year of the resource in the in-text citation. Even if there is a more detailed date provided, only the year is included in the in-text citation.

(Nguyen, 2010)

No Date

If there is no date for a reference, use the abbreviation n.d.:

(Northern Virginia Community College, n.d.).

Nguyen (n.d.) states that...

Same Author/Date

If you have two or more distinct works by the same author and published in the same year, differentiate them with letters. These letters are assigned when the references are placed in alphabetical order by title in the reference list, following the guidelines in Section 9.47)

Rowling, J. K. (1999a). Harry Potter and the chamber of secrets. Arthur A. Levine.

(Rowling, 1999a)

Rowling, J. K. (1999b). Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban. Arthur A. Levine.

(Rowling, 1999b)

If both items are using n.d. instead of a year, include a hyphen before the differentiating letter.

(Northern Virginia Community College, n.d.-a)

(Northern Virginia Community College, n.d.-b)

Recall that page numbers and more specific location information as detailed below are only required for direct quotes, but may be used for paraphrasing if you wish.

Page Numbers

If you are using information from a single page, use the abbreviation p.

(Smith, 2009, p. 12)

If your quote (or paraphrase) spans multiple pages, use the abbreviation pp., and separate the two numbers with an en dash (–).

Smith (2009) discusses how the study was received by the media (pp. 12–13).

No Page Numbers

If there are no page numbers on your resource, use section headers, paragraph numbers, or other descriptions to direct your reader to the information you are citing.

  • para. 1
  • Slide 8
  • Conclusions section
  • Economic case section, para. 3

One of the author's main points is that "people don't rise from nothing" (Gladwell, 2008, Chapter 1, Section 2, para. 5).


If you are citing a direct quotation from a video, you can use the time stamp in place of a page number within the in-text citation.

Pariser (2011) states that "your filter bubble is your own personal, unique universe of information that you live in online. And wha's in your filter bubble depends on who you are, and it depends on what you do" (4:12).

Narrative Citations

Narrative citations are the preferred method of citing quotes. You may also use them for paraphrasing or summarizing. The strength of narrative citations is that it flows better for a reader. A narrative citations weaves in the author's name(s) into the text, and then adds in the year in parentheses. The page number will bookend the quote at the end.

You will often want to use a signal phrase to introduce a narrative citation. For an overview of signal phrases along with some examples, visit George Mason University's page on Signal Phrases.


Last name (Year) ... "quote" or paraphrase (p. X).


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2011), rates for pregnancy, STDs and abortion are much higher in the US than in other industrialized countries (para. 1).

Pink (2009) explains that "rewards, by their very nature, narrow our focus. That’s helpful when there’s a clear path to a solution" (p. 42).

Valenas et al. (2017) explored the impact of attentional bias and rumination on test anxiety in first-year university students.

Parenthetical Citations

A parenthetical citation encompasses the components of the in-text citation in parentheses at the end of the sentence, prior to the closing period. This should mostly be used for paraphrasing, and typically not for direct quotes alone.


Recall that a page number is not necessary for paraphrasing, but is encouraged.

(Author, Date, p. X)


Most college students are limited in their research experience to using Google and struggle to learn how to effectively navigate and use the wide variety of resources available to them (Head, 2013).

Researchers have cautioned that flipped instruction needs to be carefully designed, both in overall pedagogical design (Banks & Henderson, 2019) and in the design of instructional videos (Obradovich et al., 2015).

Moreover, Standard II.5.2 explains that school psychologists "do not promote or condone the use of restricted psychological and educational tests…by individuals who are not qualified to use them" (NASP, 2010, p. 9).

Citing Multiple Works

When citing multiple works parenthetically, place the citations in alphabetical order, separating them with semicolons.

Poor empathy development has been associated with negative outcomes including increased aggression, poorer quality relationships, and psychopathology across development (Batanova & Loukas, 2014; Gambin & Sharp, 2016).

Arrange two or more works by the same authors by year of publication. Place citations with no date first, followed by works with dates in chronological order.

     (Jensen et al., n.d., 2017a, 2017b, 2019)

To highlight the work(s) most relevant to your point in a given sentence, place those citations first within parentheses in alphabetical order. Then insert a semicolon and a phrase, such as "see also," before the remaining citations, which should also be in alphabetical order.

     (Velasquez & Estrada, 2017; see also Carillo, 2016; Macias, 2015; Serrano et al., 2015)

If multiple sources are cited within the narrative of a sentence, they can appear in any order.

     Beltran (2014), Randall (2016, 2017), and Holden and Daughtery (2015) examined...


See APA Publication Manual or Concise Guide, 8.12 more about citing multiple works.