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Citations - APA: In-Text Citations - Quoting & Paraphrasing

On This Page:

  • About IN-Text Citations
  • Quoting
  • Long Quotations
  • Paraphrasing
  • No Page Numbers
  • No Author and/or No Date
  • In-Text Citation For Two or More Authors/Editors
  • Citing a Source that you Found in Another Source (Secondary Source)

About In-Text Citations

In APA, in-text citations are inserted in the body of your research paper to briefly document the source of your information. Brief in-text citations point the reader to the full citation on the References list at the end of the paper.

Create in-text citations for the following:

  1. Direct quotes
  2. Paraphrasing

No Page Numbers

No Page Numbers

When you quote from online sources that do not provide page numbers (like Webpages), you can cite:

  • A paragraph number (if this is not provided, you can count the paragraph number from the start of your source). Bowlby described "three phases of the separation response: protest, despair, and detachment" (Garelli, 2001, para. 3).
  • A heading and paragraph number. Example: Bowlby described "three phases of the separation response: protest, despair, and detachment" (Garelli, 2001, Bowlby's Initial Stance section, para. 3).

No Author and/or No Date

No Known Author:

Where you'd normally put the author's last name, instead use the first one, two, or three words from the title. Don't count initial articles like "A", "An" or "The". You should provide enough words to make it clear which work you're referring to from your References List.

If the title in the References list is in italics, italicize the words from the title in the in-text citation.

If you are citing an article, a chapter of a book or a page from a website, put the words in double quotation marks.


(Cell Biology, 2012)

("Nursing," 2011)

No Known Date of Publication:

Where you'd normally put the year of publication, instead use the letters "n.d.".


(Smith, n.d.)


When quoting directly from a source, enclose the words in quotation marks then add the necessary information in parenthesis. There are two basic formats which can be used.

Option 1 - APA standard

The homeless were typically neglected growing up since they "commonly come from families who are riddled with problems and marital disharmony" (Rokach, 2005, p. 477).

Option 2 - used when the author's name for the work being cited is written in the lead in sentence before the quote.

As Rokach (2005) notes, the homeless "often have no one to care for them and no one knows them intimately" (p. 477).

Long Quotations

What Is a Long Quotation?

If your quotation extends to more than forty words as you're typing your essay, it is a long quotation. This can also be referred to as a block quotation.

Rules for Long Quotations

There are 4 rules that apply to long quotations that are different from regular quotations:

  1. The line before your long quotation, when you're introducing the quote, usually ends with a colon.
  2. The long quotation is indented half an inch from the rest of the text, so it looks like a block of text.
  3. There are no quotation marks around the quotation.
  4. The period at the end of the quotation comes before your in-text citation as opposed to after, as it does with regular quotations.

Example of a Long Quotation

At the end of Lord of the Flies the boys are struck with the realization of their behaviour:

The tears began to flow and sobs shook him. He gave himself up to them now for the first time on the island; great, shuddering spasms of grief that seemed to wrench his whole body. His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of the island; and infected by that emotion, the other little boys began to shake and sob too. (Golding, 1960, p.186)


When you write information from a source in your own words then cite the source by adding an in-text citation at the end of the paraphrased portion as follows:

Mother-infant attachment became a leading topic of developmental research following the publication of John Bowlby's studies (Hunt, 1993).

If you refer to the author's name in a sentence you do not have to include the name again as part of your in-text citation, instead include the year of publication following his/her name:

Hunt (1993) noted that mother-infant attachment became a leading topic of developmental research after the publication of John Bowlby's studies.

Original Source

Homeless individuals commonly come from families who are riddled with problems and marital disharmony, and are alienated from their parents. They have often been physically and even sexually abused, have relocated frequently, and many of them may be asked to leave home or are actually thrown out, or alternatively are placed in group homes or in foster care. They often have no one to care for them and no one knows them intimately.

Example: Incorrect Paraphrasing

The homeless come from families with problems. Frequently, they have been physically or sexually abused, or have lived in group homes. Usually no one cares for them or knows them intimately (Rokach, 2005). 

Note: In this incorrect example the writing is too similar to the original source. The student only changed or removed a few words and has not phrased the ideas in a new way. 

Example: Correct Paraphrasing

Many homeless experience isolation in part due to suffering from abuse or neglect during their childhood (Rokach, 2005).

Note: The example keeps the idea of the original writing but phrases it in a new way.

Full Citation:

Rokach, A. (2005). The causes of loneliness in homeless youth. The Journal of Psychology, 139, 469-480. 10.3200/JRLP.139.5.469-480

 Note: Although not required, APA encourages including the page number when paraphrasing if it will help the reader locate the information in a long text and distinguish between the information that is coming from you and the source. Check with your instructor to determine if page numbers are needed for your coursework.

In-Text Citation For Two or More Authors/Editors

Number of Authors/Editors First Time Paraphrased Second and Subsequent Times Paraphrased First Time Quoting Second and Subsequent Times Quoting

(Case & Daristotle, 2011)

(Case & Daristotle, 2011)

(Case & Daristotle, 2011, p. 57) (Case & Daristotle, 2011, p. 57)
Three or More

(Case et al., 2011)

(Case et al., 2011) (Case et al., 2011, p. 57)

(Case et al., 2011, p. 57)

Citing a Source that you Found in Another Source (Secondary Source)

In scholarly work, a primary source reports original content; a secondary source refers to content first reported in another source.

  • Cite secondary sources sparingly—for instance, when the original work is out of print, unavailable, or available only in a language that you do not understand.
  • If possible, as a matter of good scholarly practice, find the primary source, read it, and cite it directly rather than citing a secondary source. For example, rather than citing an instructor’s lecture or a textbook or encyclopedia that in turn cites original research, find, read, and cite the original research directly (unless an instructor has directed you to do otherwise).

Follow these directions when citing a secondary source:

  • In the reference list, provide an entry for the secondary source that you used.
  • In the in-text, identify the primary source and write “as cited in” the secondary source that you used.

If the year of publication of the primary source is known, also include it in the text citation.

For example, if you read a work by Lyon et al. (2014) in which Rabbitt (1982) was cited, and you were unable to read Rabbitt’s work yourself, cite Rabbitt’s work as the original source, followed by Lyon et al.’s work as the secondary source. Only Lyon et al.’s work appears in the reference list.

(Rabbitt, 1982, as cited in Lyon et al., 2014)

If the year of the primary source is unknown, omit it from the in-text citation.

Allport’s diary (as cited in Nicholson, 2003)