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APA Citations (7th ed.): In-text Citation Basics

This guide will help you learn how to properly cite sources in APA style and how to avoid plagiarism.

In-text Citations

In-text citations provide the author and date of publication of a source. This allows the reader to locate the corresponding entry in the reference list at the end of the paper.

APA uses the author-date citation system for in-text citations. Each work cited in the text must appear in the reference list, and each work in the reference list must be cited in the text.

There are a few exceptions to this rule, including:

  • Personal communications, which are unrecoverable sources and are cited in the text only.
  • General mentions of whole websites or periodicals and common software or apps in the text do not require a citation or reference list entry.
  • The source of an epigraph does not usually appear in the reference list.
  • Quotations from research participants can be presented and discussed in the text but do not need citations or reference list entries.

Parenthetical and Narrative Citations

In-text citations have two formats: parenthetical and narrative.

In parenthetical citations, the author name and publication date (or equivalent information) appear in the parentheses. Parenthetical citations may appear within or at the end of a sentence.

In narrative citations, this information is incorporated into the text as part of the sentence.

Parenthetical Citation Examples

When a parenthetical citation is at the end of a sentence, put the period or other end punctuation after the closing parenthesis.

     Media bias is a systemic disease that slants the public view on a multitude of topics, including politics, and furthers social media bullying, threats, and shaming (Chou & Wetzel, 2018).

If other text appears with the parenthetical citation, use commas around the year.

     (see Chou & Wetzel, 2018)

When text and a citation appear together in parenthesis, use a semicolon to separate the citation from the text; do not use parentheses within parentheses.

     (e.g., social media threats; Chou & Wetzel, 2018)

Narrative Citation Examples

The author appears in running text and the date appears in parentheses immediately after the author name for a narrative citation.

     Chou and Wetzel (2018) noted the dangers of media bias.


In rare cases, the author and date might both appear in the narrative. In this case, do not use parentheses.

     In 2018, Chou and Wetzel noted the dangers of media bias.


Note: The year can be omitted from a repeated narrative citation, but only when multiple narrative citations to a work appear within a single paragraph (see p. 265 in the manual for an example).

Citing Specific Parts of a Source

Parts of a source may include:

  • pages, paragraphs, sections, tables, figures, supplemental materials, or footnotes from an article, book, report, webpage, or other work;
  • chapters, forewords, or other sections of author books;
  • time stamps of videos or audiobooks; and
  • slide numbers in PowerPoint presentations.

For religious and classical works with canonically numbered parts common across editions (e.g., books, chapters, verses, lines, cantos), cite the part instead of the page number.


     (American Heart Association, 2018, p. 4)

     (Browning, 2019, Chapter 5)

     (Schultz, 2015, pp. 71-79)

     (Soto, 2017, paras. 3-4)

     (Rios & Bautista, 2019, Table 1)

     (Barr, 2014, Gerontology section, para. 3)

     (Juarez, 2018, Slide 7)

     (The Wright Institute, 2011, 1:22:50)

     (King James Bible, 1769/2017, 1 Cor. 13:1)

     (Aristotle, ca. 350 B.C.E./1994, Part IV)

     (Shakespeare, 1623/1995, 1.3.36-37)


Note: The examples above that have two dates separated by a slash are due to translated, reprinted, republished, or reissued works. The original publication date of the work is presented first.