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APA Guide: 7th Edition

Basic In-Text Citation Styles

Author Type

Parenthetical Citation

Narrative Citation

1 author (Smith, 2020) Smith (2020)
2 authors (Perkins & Jackson, 2020) Perkins and Jackson (2020)
3 or more authors (Johnson et al., 2020) Johnson et al. (2020)

Group author with abbreviation (First citation)

Subsequent citations

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2020)

(CDC, 2020)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2020)

CDC (2020)

Group author without abbreviation (Stanford University, 2020) Stanford University (2020)
Refer to section 8 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th Edition, page 253-278

How to Quote

A quote is generally more than three words borrowed from another source. The basic rules for quoting vary depending on the size of the quote. See accompanying tabs for more info.
Please note:
  1. When you need to leave out part of a quotation to make it fit grammatically or because it contains irrelevant/unnecessary information, insert ellipses like this . . . to indicate the truncation.
  2. If you must add or slightly change words within a quotation for reasons of grammar or clarity, indicate the change with square brackets. Exception: It is acceptable to change double quotation marks to single ones when you have a quotation within a quotation; it is also fine to change the first word of a quotation to upper case when needed.

See pages 271-272 of the manual for more information.

Fewer than 40 Words
Fit quotations within your sentences, enclosed in quotation marks, making sure the sentences are grammatically correct. When citing, the parentheses begin after the quotation marks but before the punctuation.

Because they are an avenue to communicating a specific point, "quotations are effective in research papers when used selectively" (Gibaldi, 2003, p.109).


See pages 271-272 of the manual for more information.

40 Words or More

For these longer quotes, be sure to use the following steps:
  1. Omit the quotation marks.
  2. Start a block quotation on a new line.
  3. Indent the entire quotation a half inch from the left margin (but not from the right margin).
  4. Double space the quotation.
  5. Place punctuation mark immediately after the quotation.



The American Psychological Association (2009) is clear on its expectations for large quotes:

If the quotation comprises 40 or more words, display it in a freestanding block of text and omit the quotation marks. Start such a block quotation on a new line and indent the block about a half inch from the left margin (in the same position as a new paragraph). If there are additional paragraphs within the quotation, indent first line of each an additional half inch. Double space the entire quotation. At the end of a block quotation, cite the quoted source and the page or paragraph number in parentheses after the final punctuation mark. (p. 171)


See pages 272-273 of the manual for more information.

Quoting - Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I quote when there are no page numbers?
    If the page numbers are not provided, use paragraph numbers in your citation with abbreviation para.
    Research has clearly shown that "dogs drool often" (Jones, 2009, para. 2).

  2. How do I indicate I have omitted part of the text?
  • Use three spaced ellipsis points like this . . . within a sentence when you omit material from the original work.
  • Use four points like this .  . . . when you have omitted material between two sentences.


See page 275 of the manual for more information.

How to Cite When...

If there is no author (be sure it's not an institutional author, like Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), cite the first few words of the reference list entry (usually the title) and the year. Use double quotation marks around the title or abbreviated title. For example: ("All 33 Chile Miners," 2010). Note: Use the full title if it is short.

If two or more of your sources are written by authors with the same surname, include the first author's initials with the surname in every in-text reference.

Example:  Among studies, we review M. A. Light and Light (2008) and I. Light (2006) ...

If a resource contains no page numbers, as can be the case with electronic sources, then you cannot include a page number in the parentheses. However, if the source indicates paragraph numbers, use the abbreviation “para.” and the relevant number in the parentheses. If the paragraph number is not visible, cite the closest heading and the paragraph number following it.


As Myers (2000, para. 5) aptly phrased it…
(Beutler, 2000, Conclusion, para. 1)

APA strongly recommends that you cite the direct and original source. So, if you read something that cites an interesting piece of information, it's best to find that original source, read it, and cite it. This will also prevent you from incorrectly interpreting it. Now, if you need to quote and cite something that is quoted in the source you are reading, there is a method.


If you do not have a date for the original source, you would only need to cite "Smith" in your references page, since this is the author you have read.

Jackson's study (as cited in Smith, 2009) suggests....

If you know the date of the original source, then you would cite the original source.

(Jackson, 1994, as cited in Smith, 2009)

Refer to section 8 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th Edition, page 258.

When citing several sources at once, combine them all within one set of parentheses. List them in alphabetical order (by authors' last names) and date order (if necessary), using semicolons between them.

Example:  Many studies have found a significant correlation between writing papers early and getting a higher grade (Day & Dream, 2010; Light, 2008; Night, Walker, & Sleep, 2015).

Citing Works in Text Using Seventh Edition APA Style

This webinar provides an in-depth look at the APA Style citation system, including how to create and format in-text citations, integrate source material into a paper, and cite at an appropriate level.

Style experts also answer many of writers’ most common citation questions. Among these are how to paraphrase versus directly quote a work, how to cite long paraphrases from a single source, when to include a page or paragraph number in a citation, and how to cite works without page numbers.