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Citation Help for APA, 6th Edition: In-text Citations

Help with common issues and questions with APA 6th ed. Citation Style.

How To? In-Text and Parenthetical Explanation

Parenthetical documentation or in-text citations tells the reader where you got any and all information that did not come from inside your own head.  This is more obvious when you are directly quoting from a source, but it is also needed when you have summarized or paraphrased from a source and even if you got an idea from somewhere else. 

In order to avoid plagiarism, it is extremely important that you cite all words and ideas that you got from somewhere else.

Put the information about the source in parentheses in the text of your paper as opposed to a footnote where the source information is at the bottom of the page or an endnote where it goes at the end of your paper.  There are slight differences depending on which style you are using. 


  • Give the author’s last name and the publication year.

  • Only use page numbers for a direct quote.

  • Make sure the source information in parentheses matches with your works cited. 

  • The punctuation for the sentence goes AFTER the parenthesis.

  • If your quote is forty words or more, set it off in a block text by beginning a new line, indenting one inch, and do not add quotation marks.  At the end of the quote put the period after the last word of the sentence followed by the parentheses.

More Information: See pages 174-179 of the APA Manual 6th edition for further explanation and examples.

In-Text and Parenthetical Citation Examples

Quote with author’s name in text                                   Smith (2019) states that, “...” (p. 112).
Quote with author’s name in reference                         This is quoted as, “…” (Smith, 2019, pp. 112-4).
Paraphrasing with author’s name in text                      Smith (2019) stated these facts, too.
Paraphrasing author’s name in reference                    This fact has been stated (Smith, 2019).
No author – give title of work abbreviated to first major word
Italics for books & journals, “quotation marks” for articles & web pages            
This book is true (Long, 2019).
This article is true (“Long,” 2019).  
Citing entire website – put URL                                      This has evidence (
Quote from website – use paragraph number According to, “…” (Smith, 2019, para. 4).
More than one author with same last name                P. L. Smith (2018) and J. M. Smith (2019)
Source has more than one author in text                       Smith and Lee agree that (2019)

Source has more than one author in reference

This is agreed upon (Smith & Long, 2019).

Citing more than one work    

We all agree (Smith, 2019; Lee, 2018).

Citing more than one work by same author published in the same year



 We all agree (Smith, 2019a, 2019b, 2019c)

Smith (2019a) believes .....

It has been reported ... (Smith, 2019c)

In-Text and Parenthetical Citation Styles

One Author:
First In-Text Citation   Johnson (2019)
Subsequent In-Text Citations Johnson (2019)
First Parenthetical Citation (Johnson, 2019)
Subsequent Parenthetical Citations                      (Johnson, 2019)
Two Authors: 
First In-Text Citation   Smith and Jones (2019)
Subsequent In-Text Citations Smith and Jones (2019)
First Parenthetical Citation (Smith & Jones, 2019)
Subsequent Parenthetical Citations     (Smith & Jones, 2019)
Three to Five Authors:  
First In-Text Citation   Carlson, Rodriguez, and Inez (2019)
Subsequent In-Text Citations Carlson et al. (2019)
First Parenthetical Citation (Carlson, Rodriguez, & Inez, 2019)
Subsequent Parenthetical Citations     (Carlson et al., 2019)


Six + Authors: First In-Text Citation   Walsh et al. (2019)
Subsequent In-Text Citations Walsh et al. (2019)
First Parenthetical Citation (Walsh et al., 2019)
Subsequent Parenthetical Citations     (Walsh et al., 2019)
Group Authors with Identifiable Abbreviations:  
First In-Text Citation   The College of St. Scholastica (CSS, 2019)
Subsequent In-Text Citations CSS (2019)
First Parenthetical Citation (The College of St. Scholastica [CSS], 2019)
Subsequent Parenthetical Citations     (CSS, 2019)
Group Authors without Identifiable Abbreviations:
First In-Text Citation   University of Wisconsin (2019)
Subsequent In-Text Citations University of Wisconsin (2019)
First Parenthetical Citation (University of Wisconsin, 2019)
Subsequent Parenthetical Citations     (University of Wisconsin, 2019)


More Information: See pages 174-179 of the APA Manual 6th edition for further explanation and examples.

Email, Interviews, Telephone Conversations, etc.?

(J. A. Smith, personal communication, January 3, 2018) OR J. A. Smith (personal communication, January 3, 2018)

Emails, nonarchived discussion groups, letters, memos, telephone conversations, and personal interviews are considered personal communications in APA. This type of communication can be difficult to provide recoverable data; therefore, these types of communication are not included in the Reference list. Cite personal communications within the body of your paper only.
More Information: See page 179 in the APA Manual, 6th edition for further explanation.

No Author?

In-Text Citation Example:
In the text, For All Practical Purposes (2003)

Parenthetical Citation Example:
Plagiarism is described .... ("Student Handbook," 2008)

When there is no author your in-text and parenthetical citations should begin with the first couple words of the title and include the year of publication. When citing books, videos, brochures, journals, reports, etc. italicize the title. When citing web pages, journal article titles, or chapter titles use quotation marks around the title.

More Information: See page 176 of the APA Manual 6th edition.

Multiple Authors in the Same Citation?

Several studies report ... (D'Esposito & Gardner, 1999; Griffiths & Brophy, 2005; Kim & Sin, 2007).

Multiple sources within the same parenthetical citation should be listed alphabetically by author. Separate each citation with a semicolon.

Multiple Works by Same Author in Same Year?

In-Text Citation Example:
Smith (2006a) believes .....

Parenthetical Citation Example:
It has been reported ... (Smith, 2006c)

For works with the same author written in the same year should include a letter after the date. Begin with the letter "a" and continue with "b", "c," etc.

Citing Secondary Source?

What is a secondary source?
A secondary source is a citation or reference you discovered in a book, article, or other item that discusses information found in an orginal source. 

Jacobson describes nursing theories .... (as cited in Nihart, 1999).

Use sparingly!! Secondary sources should only be used when the original source (or primary source) cannot be located. The original work should be named in the body of your paper. In parentheses begin with "as cited in". Then, add the last name of the author of the secondary source followed by the year of publication. Be sure to include a comma between the author's name and the publication date. End with a period if at the end of a sentence.
More Information: See page 178 in the APA 6th edition for further explanation.