APA Examples - Getting started - In-text citation

See this example properly formatted in the QUT Cite tool.

In-text citation is the first part of your reference. You must include an in-text citation every time you quote, paraphrase or summarise somebody else's words or ideas - that includes images, information from the internet, and even tweets!

Facts and ideas that are considered common knowledge within a discipline do not need to be cited. For example, Einstein's theory of mass-energy equivalence (E=mc2) would not need to be cited.

What to include

APA is an author-date style. That means you need to include:

You must cite the author and year for each reference you cite, every time you cite that reference (exception: in a narrative citation, omit the date for a work you refer to for a second time in the same paragraph, unless you are citing more than one work from that author).

See below for more information about each of these elements.

For more information about authors see the Authors button below.


Remember - you need to indicate a quote.

For a short quote (under 40 words), "incorporate it into text and enclose it within double quotation marks" (APA, 2019, p. 271). The citation is before the full stop.


The general format for an in-text citation is:

Parenthetical citation


(Author, Year) OR (Author, Year, page)

Narrative citation

If you have included any of the elements in the text of your essay you can leave them out of your citation.


Author (Year) OR Author (Year, page)


"… this is not comparable" (Neal, 2005, p. 3)

According to Neal (2005, pp. 32-33) …

In an investigation with older drivers (Perryman & Fitten, 1996) …

In 1996, Perryman and Fitten investigated …

The Indigenous Deaths in Custody 1989-1996 report (Office of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, 1996)

According to statistics … (Economist Intelligence Unit, 2010)

Taylor (2006, p. 340) states "interior design"

Citing two items at once: (Salmon et al., 1944; Scullard, 2010)

Three items by the same author: (Brown, 2005, 2009, in press)

For more information about this see the Authors button below.


The author is the primary creator of a work. It may be the writer, the painter or the choreographer. There may be more than one person.

They may have the same role (e.g. a book by two people), or different roles (e.g. a film will have a director, a writer, a producer). They may have the same name as someone else you are citing (distinguish them by initials).

The author may be a group, a government department, or an organisation.

All of these could be authors in an in-text citation:

For more information about Authors and how to format your in-text citations for all these variations see the Authors button below.


The year of publication. You can generally find this at the beginning or the end of a work - in the front pages of a book, the beginning of a film, the bottom of a report or web document. Look for the copyright symbol ©.

Web pages sometimes have an "updated" date. This can be used unless it is just the date the whole site was last updated (check other pages on the site and see if it changes). If you cannot find a date, put n.d. (it stands for 'no date').

For more information about dates and how to format your in-text citations for all these variations see the Publication details button below.

Page numbers

If you are quoting a source, include the page or other details about that part. Use the abbreviations p. and pp. for one or more pages.

It is not required to provide a page or section number for a paraphrase but do so if it would help the reader locate the passage (APA, 2019, p.269).


If you are unsure, always check with your lecturer as to their preferences in this matter.

For more information about page numbers and how to format your in-text citations for all these variations see the Page numbers button below.

Citing multiple works

Parenthetically: list citations in alphabetical order and separate with semicolons, e.g. (Fry, 2019; Steiner & Thompson, 2016). If the authors are the same, sort chronologically.

Narrative citation: they can appear in any order, e.g. "Howard (2017) and Clark (2018) examined …".

Sources with the same author name

Two authors with the same family name: use the initials too (J. Jones, 2015).

Same author and same year: differentiate them by using a small letter e.g. (Smith, 2006a).


Some reference types have slightly different in-text citations. We include the in-text citation in the example for that type, see:

See the APA blog for more information.