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APA Style Guide: In-Text Citations and Paraphrasing

This guide is a resource for preparing papers according to the rules of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

Citing within your work without quotes

There are times when you will refer to a work but not use a quote. When you refer to another source's work, you have to cite the author and year the work came from.

Example 1 Plagiarism is generally treated as a serious academic offense at most universities (Johnson, 2003).
Example 2 Johnson in his work points out that plagiarism is treated as a serious academic offense at most universities (2003).

Using Direct Quotes

Directly quoting a source

If you are quoting a source word for word, you must include the page number on which the quote appears with the in-text citation.

Example  According to Johnson (2003), "Universities treat plagiarism very seriously and may expel students as a result" (p. 32).


(Author after quote)

As this plagiarism expert states, "Universities treat plagiarism very seriously and may expel students as a result" (Johnson, 2003, p. 32).

For sources that do not use page numbers, cite the paragraph the quote came from.

Example According to Anderson (2012), "Research begins by first brainstroming what you want to write your paper on" (para. 3).

Citing Long Quotations

For citing longer quotations (40 words or more), you will want to omit quotation marks and create a freestanding block. In this case, start the quotation on a new line, indent 1/2 inch from left margin and keep double spaced.


In Johnson’s (2003) book on plagiarism, he states:

                Universities treat plagiarism as a very serious offense

                and may expel students as a result. As such, it is important

                for librarians and professors alike to make sure students

                learn how to cite sources properly and credit the authors

                of the works they use. (p. 32)

Other In-Text Citation Examples

Unknown Author/Date: Sometimes sources will not provide an author or date. When citing, include the title of the work or shorter version of it, and n.d. for no date.

Example: In a study of how students researched, it was found those who started their projects early ended up creating higher quality papers ("Research Habits," n.d.).

Two Authors: Within the sentence use the word "and" in between the authors and in the citation use "&".


James and Jones (2001) found that college students who did not sleep enough had lower grades.

Example One study found that college students who did not sleep enough had lower grades (James & Jones, 2001).

Three to Five Authors: In the first reference, use all authors when citing. For later references to the same work, just use the first author followed by "et al."

First citation Frogs prefer to ride unicycles over bicycles (Donalds, Wilson, Brown, Smith, & Alexander, 1998).
Subsequent citations of the study Frogs have have natural aptitude for riding unicycles due to their anatomy (Donalds et al., 1998).

Six or more authors:

Use the first author and "et al." for all references.

Example (Miller et al., 2013)

Work Discussed in Secondary Source:

When discussing a work found in a secondary source, first mention the work discussed and in parentheses mention the secondary work "as cited in."

Example According to Lewis's study (as cited in Wilson, 2001), business students were more likely to use the APA format in writing papers.

Discussing the same source multiple times in a paragraph

Need to discuss the same source multiple times in a paragraph? Dennis Johnson of Rasmussen College has some great advice on how to make sure the proper citations are included while avoiding an awkward amount of in-text citations. Follow this link to read examples:

How to Quote

In-Text Citations: Quotations

In-Text Citations: Paraphrasing

How to Paraphrase