Why we use parenthetical / in-text citations
Researchers place brief parenthetical descriptions to acknowledge which parts of their paper reference particular sources. Generally, you want to provide the last name of the author and the specific page numbers of the source. If such information is already given in the body of the sentence, then exclude it from the parenthetical citation.
Place the parenthetical citation where there is a pause in the sentence – normally before the end of a sentence or a comma. The in-text citation will differ depending on how much information you provide within the sentence.
Example with author’s name in text:
Johnson argues this point (12-13).
This point had already been argued (Johnson 12-13).
Citing sources with more than one author
If you use sources with the same author surnames, then include a first name initial. If the two sources have authors with the same initials, then include their full names:[su_spacer]
(J. Johnson 12-13).
(John Johnson 12-13).
If there are two or three authors of the source, include their last names in the order they appear on the source:
(Smith, Wollensky, and Johnson 45).
If there are more than three authors, you can cite all the authors with their last name, or you can cite the first author followed by “et al.” Follow what is shown the works cited list.
(Smith et al. 45).
Citing sources without an author
Some sources do not have authors or contributors – for instance, when you cite some websites. Instead, refer to the name of the source in your parenthetical citation in place of the author. Shorten / abbreviate the name of the source but ensure that your reader can easily identify it in your works cited (abbreviate the title starting with the same word in which it is alphabetized). Punctuate with quotations or italicize as you would in its works cited form (a book is italicized; an article is in quotes).
Double agents are still widely in use (Spies 12-15, 17).
With prices of energy at new highs, bikes have been increasingly used (“Alternative Transportation” 89).
Citing part of a work
When citing a specific part of a work, provide the relevant page or section identifier. This can include specific pages, sections, paragraphs or volumes. When the identifier is preceded by an abbreviation or word, place a comma between the identifier and the source reference.
Part of a multivolume work
It is arguably the most innovative period in history (Webster, vol 4).
Chapter within a book (if no specific numbers can be referenced)
The electoral college undermines democracy (Sanders, “Government Injustices”).
Article in a periodical
Allen claims there is an inverse correlation between higher taxes and patriotic feelings worldwide (B2).
When citing a specific page(s) of a multivolume work, precede the page number by the volume number and a colon. Do not separate by a comma.
It was arguably the most innovative period in history (Webster 4:12-15).
Use “par.” or “pars.” when referring to specific paragraphs.
The marketing dollars of big studio films has overshadowed good indie movies (Anderson, pars. 12-34).
Citing group or corporate authors
In your parenthetical citation, cite a corporate author like you would a normal author. Preferably, incorporate the corporate author in your text instead of the parenthetical citation.
Facial transplants pose significant risk to the autoimmune system (American Medical Association 12-43).
As noted by the American Medical Association, facial transplants pose significant risk to the autoimmune system (12-43).
Citing an entire source
When citing an entire work, there are no specific page numbers to refer to. Therefore it is preferable to refer to the source within the text itself with either the author or the title of the source.
Hartford suggests the Internet provides more distractions than it does information.
Citing multiple works by the same author
If you reference more than one source by the same author, distinguish the parenthetical citations by including the name of the source. Use a comma to separate the author from the source.
Wars can be economic catalysts (Friedman, World 77-80).
Industrialized nations are better equipped to rebound from recessions (Friedman, “High Tides” 56).
Citing indirect sources
When an original source is unavailable, then cite the secondhand source – for instance, a lecture in a conference proceedings. When quoting or paraphrasing a quote, write “qtd. in” before the author and pages.
John Murray calls Tim Smith “interesting but egotistical” (qtd. in Jesrani 34).
Citing literary / classic and religious works
For works such as novels, plays and other classic works, it’s helpful to provide further identifying information along with the page information. Do this by adding a semicolon and then the identifying information following the page number.
(Tolstoy 5; pt. 2, ch. 3).
When citing classic poems and plays, replace page numbers with division numbers (part, book, scene, act). The below refers to book 10 line 5. Bear in mind the divisions and the way they are written can vary by source.
Fear plays a role in Homer’s Odyssey (10.5).
The title of books in the Bible and other famous literary works should be abbreviated.
(New Jerusalem Bible, Gen. 2.6-9).
Placing parenthetical citations in direct quotations
When directly quoting a source, place the parenthetical citation after the quote.
Sanders explains that economic woes are due to “the mortgage crisis and poor risk assessment” (20).
Place the parenthetical citation at the end of an indented quotation. There should be no period after the parenthetical citation. The last sentence of the indented quote should look like:
It’s unclear whether multilateral tariffs are disruptive to bilateral talks. (Evert 30-31)
Citing online sources
Generally, follow the same principals of parenthetical citations to cite online sources. Refer to the author, and if possible, a permanent identifier that would be the same for any reader.
The economy will rebound with the new monetary policies (Smith).
Solar power will become the primary source of energy (Williams 2).
Citing online sources with no author
If there is no author, use the title that begins the citation, either the article or website title. Be sure it also takes the same formatting, i.e. articles are in quotes and website titles are italicized. Shorten / abbreviate the name of the source but ensure that your reader can easily identify it in your works cited (abbreviate the title starting with the same word in which it is alphabetized).
Elephants are thought to be one of the smartest mammals (“Smart Elephants”).
Nineteen men and women were convicted (Salem Witchcraft Trials).
Note: Ideally, when citing online sources, try to reference the source within your sentence, with either the author or the title to avoid writing a parenthetical citation.
Where to put the parenthetical citations:
- Place parenthetical citations at the end of the sentence you are paraphrasing and quoting. For example: The destruction of the argentine is due to many socioeconomic factors (Taylor 33).
- Even when quoting, place the parenthetical citations after the quotations.
“Mamma always said stupid is as stupid does” (Gump 89).
When quoting four lines or more, indent every line you are quoting by one inch (or 10 spaces) and do not use quotes.
The use of nuclear weapons in today’s society is strikingly alarming. Though the United States is the only country to employ it in the past, they are at the same time the country that condemns its use the most. While this may seem hypocritical, is it the most proper action for the United States to make as the global leader. (Taparia 9)
Why we include parenthetical / in-text citations:
Researchers include brief parenthetical citations in their writing to acknowledge references to other people’s work. Generally, APA parenthetical citations include the last name of the author and year of publication. Page numbers are also included when citing a direct quote.
If some of this information is included in the body of the sentence, exclude it from the parenthetical citation. In-text citations typically appear at the end of the sentence, between the last word and the period.
Parenthetical citation without author’s name in the text:
Harlem had many artists and musicians in the late 1920s (Belafonte, 2008).
Parenthetical citation when author is mentioned in the text:
According to Belafonte, Harlem was full of artists and musicians in the late 1920s (2008).
Parenthetical citations with multiple authors:
Works with two authors
Include both names, separated by an ampersand (&).
Rallying to restore sanity was a revolutionary undertaking (Stewart & Colbert, 2010).
Works with three to five authors
- Include all names in the first in-text parenthetical citation, separated by commas and then an ampersand (&).
- For all subsequent in-text parenthetical citations, include only the first author, followed by “et al.” and publication year if it is the first citation in a paragraph.
First in-text parenthetical citation:
Rallying to restore sanity was a revolutionary undertaking (Stewart, Colbert, & Oliver, 2010).
All subsequent in-text parenthetical citations:
The event resulted in thousands of participants flocking to the National Mall in support of the cause (Stewart et al., 2010).
Works with six or more authors
Include only the last name of the first author, followed by “et al.” and publication year in all parenthetical citations.
The study did not come to any definitive conclusions (Rothschild et al., 2013).
Citing sources without an author:
If a work has no author, include the first few words of the bibliography entry (in many cases, the title) and the year.
- Use double quotations around the titles of articles, chapters and/or websites.
Statistics confirm that the trend is rising (“New Data,” 2013).
*Note: Unlike in your reference list, parenthetical citations of articles, chapters and/or website should have all major words capitalized.
- Italicize the titles of periodicals, books, brochures or reports
The report includes some bleak results (Information Illiteracy in Academia, 2009).
Citing part of a work:
When citing a specific part of a work, provide the relevant page number or section identifier, such as chapters, tables or equations. Direct quotes should always have page numbers.
One of the most memorable quotes is when he says, “You are going to live a good and long life filled with great and terrible moments that you cannot even imagine yet!” to Augustus (Green, 2012, p. 272).
If the source does not include page numbers (such as online sources), you can reference specific parts of the work by referencing the:
Paragraph number (if given) with the abbreviation “para. xx”
He quickly learned that pandas were not considered good pets (Chan, 2011, para. 3).
- Section or heading and the number of the paragraph in which the information is found. For lengthy headings, use the first few words of the title in the parenthetical citation
The sample population included both red and giant pandas (Chan, 2011, Methodology section, para. 1).
Citing groups or corporate authors:
Corporations, government agencies and associations can be considered the author of a source when no specific author is given.
Write out the full name of the group in all parenthetical citations:
The May 2011 study focused on percentages of tax money that goes to imprisonment over education funding (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 2011).
However, you may abbreviate the group name if the group’s name is lengthy and it is a commonly recognized abbreviation in all subsequent parenthetical citations.
The report found that over a half billion of taxpayer dollars went to imprison residents “from 24 of New York City’s approximately 200 neighborhoods” (NAACP, 2011, pp. 2).
Citing classical works
For classical sources, such as ancient Greek works, cite the year of the translation or version used. Precede this information with “trans.” or “version,” respectively.
(Homer, trans. 1998).
When citing specific content from these sources, include the paragraph/line numbers that are used in classical works. This information is consistent across versions/editions, and is the easiest way to locate direct quotes from classical works.
The Bible extols the virtues of love; “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud” (1 Cor. 13:4 New International Version).
Note: Remember, you do not need to create formal citations in your reference list for classical works.
Citing and formatting block quotes:
When directly quoting information from sources in your writing, you may need to format it differently depending on how many words are used.
If a quote runs on for more than 40 words:
- Start the direct quotation on a new line
- Indent the text roughly half an inch from the left margin
- If there are multiple paragraphs in the quotation, indent them an extra half inch
- Remove any quotation marks
- Double-space the text
- Add the parenthetical citation after the final sentence
…here is some text from the book that clearly defines early on in the novel:
He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced–or seemed to face–the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor.