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APA Citation Examples: All of the Rules You Need To Know


The APA Publication Manual, Seventh Edition is extremely comprehensive and full of details about how to present your work, including its sources. Despite this thorough approach, APA style is centered on keeping things simple and clear. When it comes to citing sources, APA uses in-text citations and a references list.

In-text citations

In-text citations are used to identify the source of the work in a short, quick way to allow the reader to continue through the work without much distraction, while still giving enough information to match with a full entry in the references list. There are a few ways to include in-text citations.


Inline citations are part of the sentence structure. They require less to be added to the sentence, since one or more pieces of the in-text citation are already included.


  • Roberts (2015) showed that average snowfall rates in the U.S. have lowered in the past 50 years.
  • The researchers referred to the results from Simon and Albertson (2011) showing a 10% increase in sales when social media was used as a supplementary medium.


Parenthetical citations include the reference information separate from the sentence.


  • The relationship between packaging design and user reviews has been explored in recent studies (Johnson, 2020; Malin & Reading, 2019).

Guidelines for page numbers

Page numbers should be included in in-text citations when direct quotes from the reference material are used, either in inline or parenthetical citations. Place a comma after the year, and then use "p." for a single page or "pp." for multiple pages. Use an en dash between the page numbers if there is a sequential range of pages. Separate a list of pages using commas, but do not include "and" before the last page in the list. Also, always show the full page number.



  • Johnson (2020, p. 5)
  • Johnson (2020, pp. 5–10)
  • Johnson (2020, pp. 5–10, 15, 22, 34)


  • (Malin & Reading, 2019, p. 125)
  • (Malin & Reading, 2019, pp. 201–206)
  • (Malin & Reading, 2019, pp. 201–206, 211, 213, 222)


For authors, the last name is the most important. For in-text citations, only use the last name. In the references list, authors are listed with last name, then first initial.

One author


  • Grenig (1997)
  • (Grenig, 1997)


  • Grenig, K.

Two authors


  • Harper and Seafore (2003)
  • (Harper & Seafore, 1993)


  • Harper, J., & Seafore, M.

Three or more authors

For three or more authors, list the first author and then "et al."


  • Gorman, Gaiman, and Agelou (2016)
  • (Gorman et al., 2016)


If there is another reference by a similar list of authors in the same order, then list the authors until the ambiguity is gone. For example, if you had the following references:

  • Liu, Huang, Xi, Jones, and Long (2008)
  • Liu, Huang, Hua, Xi, and Long (2008)

They would be cited in-text as:

  • (Liu, Huang, Xi, et al., 2008)
  • (Liu, Huang, Hua, et al., 2008)

Using et al. indicates that there is more than one remaining author. If there is only one author left, then list that author's name instead of using et al.

Organization as author

When the author is an organization, use the organization's full name the first time you cite the source. If the organization has a well-known abbreviation, then include the abbreviation in brackets the first time and only use that abbreviation in subsequent citations.


  • The American Psychological Association ([APA], 2017) has instructed…
  • (American Psychological Association [APA], 2017)
  • Second citation: (APA, 2017)

No author

If there is no author, use the title of the work in the place of the author's name. If the source title is italicized in the reference list, then italicize it in the citation. If the title is not italicized, then place it in quotation marks.


  • Book: (This book has no author, 2021)
  • Journal article: ("Study on morphine use in hospitals," 1996)


If information for a reference does not exist or is unavailable, it is ok to leave that item off the reference entry.


  • Millne, F. P. (2001). The work of Michelangelo: Then and now. Random House.

Edited book, no author

  • Groton, S., & Gail, C. (Eds.). (2011). Why we think the way we think. Harvard Press.

Edited book, with author(s)

  • Philipson, L. (2019). When love goes wrong (Martin Cove, Ed.). Random House. (Original work published 1965-70)


  • Plato (1989). Symposium (A. Nehamas & P. Woodruff, Trans.). Hackett Publishing Company. (Original work published ca. 385-378 BCE)

Chapter in a book

  • Armstrong, D. (1986). Noise and sleep. In M. R. Bolton (Ed.), Explorations into sleep (pp. 41-92). Harvard Press.

Multi-edition or multivolume

  • Samson, B., & Partridge, P. (Eds.). (2006). Anthology of modern television (2nd ed., Vol. 3). ABC Publishers.

Articles in periodicals

A periodical is a journal, magazine, newspaper, or other material published at regular intervals. Instead of having one format for all periodicals, the APA has some specific guidelines for different types of periodicals.

The basic structure of a reference for a periodical is:

  • Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume number(issue number), pages.

Print journals

  • Moutin, S. (1998). Bringing home a new puppy. New Veterinary Science, 2(1), 5–13.

Electronic journals

  • Grace, W., & Smarts, M. (2021). Learning how to code in Ruby on Rails. Journal of Programming Development, 6(1), 11–16.
  • Grace, W., & Smarts, M. (2021). Learning how to code in Ruby on Rails. Journal of Programming Development, 6(1), 11–16.


  • Gorganzo, P. (1992, April). How to always be on time. Clocks and Hands, 13(1), 20–21.


  • Schultz, B. (2021, April 28). The greenhouse gas problem. The Mont Vernon Times, 2A.

Other print sources

Work from a secondary source

When citing a secondary source, which is a source that refers to another original work, use the secondary source in the references list. When you mention the original work in the text, give the citation for the secondary source.

For example, if Bugatti's work is cited in Martin's, and you did not read the original work by Bugatti, then list the Martin reference in the references list. The in-text citation would be as follows:

  • The work done by Bugatti on motorcycles (as cited in Martin, 2021)….

Dissertation or master's thesis, published

  • Liu, X. (2022). Securing networks against cryptographic injection attacks (Publication No. 6248876) [Doctoral dissertation, Purdue University]. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.

Dissertation or master's thesis, unpublished

  • Guliana, R. M. (2003). Whales and coral growth in the Pacific Ocean [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Sydney University.

Government statute

Basic format: Name of Act, Public Law No. (Year). URL

  • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Publ. L. No. 111-148, 124 Stat. 119 (2010).

Report by government agency or other organization

Basic format: Organization Name. (Year). Title of report. URL

  • United States Government Accountability Office. (2019). Performance and accountability report: Fiscal year 2019.

Conference proceedings, published

Basic format: Lastname, F. M., & Lastname, F. M. (Eds.). (Year). Title of Proceedings. Publisher. URL (if applicable)

  • Morton, S., & Grace, R. (Eds.). (2004). Proceedings of the 24th annual ACM international conference on the design of communication. Online Presentation Library.

Electronic sources


  • Mancie, K. (2021, March 2). Working from home: The new norm. Medium. https://

Online periodical

  • Xi, T. (2022). Building new cryptographic tools for reversible data hiding. Cryptography, 2(5), 16-18.


It is generally not necessary to identify whether the source is in print, ebook, audiobook if the content is the same among all formats. Only do so if the content in the ebook or audiobook is different or has been abridged. You can also cite the narrator of an audiobook if you wish.

  • Ball, M. (2023). Voice acting for beginners. MGM Publishers.
  • Ball, M. (2023). Voice acting for beginners [eBook edition]. MGM Publishers.
  • Ball, M. (2023). Voice acting for beginners (M. Ball, Narr.) [Audiobook]. MGM Publishers.

Social media

Most social media is cited with the same basic format:

Lastname, F. M. or Name of Group [@username]. (Year, Month Date). Content of the post up to the first 20 words [Type of post]. Site Name. URL


To cite a tweet in APA format in a references list, follow these requirements, as given by the APA in Section 10.15 of the APA Publication Manual, Seventh Edition.

  • Doolittle, E. [@moveyourbloomin]. (2020, March 15). Went to the horse races today and met some interesting peeps. Cheered for my horse, but lost. [Image attached][Tweet]. Twitter.


  • U.S. Department of the Interior. (2020, January 10). Like frosting on a cake, snow coats and clings to the hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah [Image attached] [Status update]. Facebook.


  • BBC [@bbc]. (2020, January 12). When doing nothing is your best option [Video]. Instagram.


  • Shaw English Online. (2021, May 13). 1000 Most Common English Words [Video]. YouTube.

TED talk

  • Brown, B. (2010, December 23). The power of vulnerability [Video]. TED.


  • Prime, K. (Host). (2019, March 29). For whom the cowbell tolls [Audio podcast episode]. In Radiolab. WNYC Studios.

Header image by Sara Cohen.

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