This page will show you how to cite common types of sources within the text of your APA Style papers.  Remember that everything cited in-text should also be cited on the References page.

How to cite sources in-text when you paraphrase:

An in-text citation is a short citation that you make when you mention any information from one of the sources you are using for a paper.  You need to do in-text citations even when you paraphrase by putting the words of an author into your own words.  The in-text citation consists of the author’s last name and then the year the source was published, all inside parenthesis.

For example, if I’m citing the book Skeleton Crew by Stephen King published in 1985, my in-text citation for the book would be:

Example: The short story The Raft features four protagonists trying to survive when stranded on a raft while a monster hunts them (King, 1985).

You may also integrate the in-text citation into the sentence.

Example: In Stephen King’s 1985 short story The Raft  he uses haunting locations as a way to instill fear into his reader.

See how the in-text citation information is written right into the sentence?  This way makes the parenthesis unnecessary.

Citing in-text sources with two authors

In this case, just take both author’s last name and join them together with an & symbol.  

(Kirby & Smith, 2008)

You may also write their names into the sentence like this.

Kirby and Smith’s (2008) original work on alternative diabetes treatments is still widely used in their field.

Citing in-text sources with three or more authors

If there are three or more authors, instead of writing each name, just include the last name of the first author, then the words et al., followed by the publication date.  Et al is a Latin phrase meaning “and others”. 

(McDevitt et al., 2001)

Citing in-text with no known author or no date:

Many internet sources will not include an author or date.  In that case, use the title of the source in the place of the author, and the letters n.d., these letters stand for “no date”.

Example: (“Penguins Return to Local Zoo”, n.d.)

In-text Short Quotes:

If you take an author’s words directly you need to put them in quotations marks and cite them in-text with the author’s last name, year of publication, and the page number of the quote.  For example, the novel Moby Dick begins with the lines,

Example: “Call me Ishmael” (Melville, 1851, p. 1).

In-text Long Quotes:

Quotes of 40 words or longer must be cited differently from short quotes.  Instead of putting them into quotation marks you must indent the entire quote half an inch inside the the left margin.  Make sure to include the in-text information at the end.  This includes the author last name, date of publication, and page number. You may also integrate that information into a sentence that introduces the quote.

The Associate of Science (A.S.) degree in Business Administration is designed to provide the foundation necessary for optimal transfer to bachelor degree  programs and beyond, while also simultaneously preparing students for immediate employment in a wide range of business environments requiring  advanced business skills. In addition, this program will enhance the skills of those already employed in the field and those interested in starting or building their own business (Schrum, 2020, p. 67).

Citing Images that are included in your paper

If you use an image within your paper you need to label those images in order Figure 1, 2, 3, etc.  Images posted online where the author is entirely unknown, the title isn’t known, and the date the image was made isn’t known will be the most common type of image.  However, you may also find some images where the original creator is known.  This could be an image by a famous photographer or a major art work.  Let’s go over examples of each.

Online images with no author, title, or date

APA requires images used in a paper to be noted as Figures and numbered in the order they appear in a paper.  Below the Figure is the title of the image, if it has one, or a short description if the image has no official title.  This image of wind turbines has no title, so it was labelled wind turbines.

Figure 1

Wind turbines.


Online image with author, title, and date

In the case of art works or photographs with known authors and titles we use this format.

Figure 3

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer.


Dictionary or Encyclopedia Entry

Since dictionaries and encyclopedias don’t have authors we will instead cite them using the name of the dictionary or encyclopedia itself.

(Britannica, n.d.)

Citing AI In-Text

Only use AI tools for coursework if you have permission to do so from your professor.  Since AI doesn’t have a true author, we will instead cite AI in-text using the company that made it, followed by the year you used the IA.  So, if you have parts of your paper that are based on information gathered from AI you would cite them in-text like this, 

Dolphins have been noted to display aggressive behavior towards porpoises that stray into their feeding areas (OpenAI, 2023).

The American Psychological Association has more details on citing AI here.

These are the most common kinds of in-text citation you will have to do on college papers.  For more details about in-text citation consult the official APA Style Website, the APA Style Publication Manual book held in the Library, or contact [email protected]