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APA Style

Your guide to citing and referencing in APA Style (7th edition)

Citation Basics

When you use someone else's words or ideas in an assignment, you must cite them. By citing them, you are acknowledging that the words/ideas are not your own.

This will make it clear to your instructor what ideas are your own, and what ideas belong to someone else.

It's perfectly okay to use someone else's ideas, as long as you cite them!

There are TWO elements to a citation:

In-text citation: These appear in your paper, and indicate to your reader that the information immediately preceding the citation came from another source.

References: This is the list of sources at the end of your paper that list all of the sources you used in your assignment.

A citation is not complete unless both elements -- an in-text citation, and corresponding References entry -- are present.

Note: You only have to cite sources that you used in your assignment. If you read an article and it was helpful, but you did not use it in your assignment, do not include it in your References.

General Format for References

Creator's name and initials. (Date). Title of source. Publication information or where the source came from.

Your References entry will depend on the source you used -- for example, a book, article, etc. Consult the examples in the left side menu of the Guide to see specific examples for your References entries.

Authors in References

Note: Do not change the order of the authors' names for the sources you list in your References! The order of the authors' names is selected by the authors.

1 Author
List the author in your References.

Blattberg, C. (2008). The scales of injustice. The Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice, 26(1).  


2 Authors
For sources with 2 authors, list both authors connected with an ampersand.

Pike, S., & Page, S. J. (2014). Destination marketing organizations and destination marketing: A 
      narrative analysis of the literature. Tourism Management, 41, 202-227.


3-19 Authors

List all of the authors and connect the second-last author and last author with an ampersand.

Rabelo‐Silva, E. R., Dantas Cavalcanti, A. C., Ramos Goulart Caldas, M. C., Lucena, A. D. F.,
       Almeida, M. D. A., Linch, G. F. D. C., Barragan da Silva, M., & Müller‐Staub, M. (2017).
       Advanced nursing process quality: Comparing the International Classification for 
       Nursing Practice (ICNP) with the NANDA‐International (NANDA‐I) and Nursing Interventions
       Classification (NIC). Journal of Clinical Nursing, 26(3-4), 379-387. 


20+ Authors

List the first 19 authors, then include an ellipsis to represent additional authors’ names, followed by the final author’s name.

Pegion, K., Kirtman, B. P., Becker, E., Collins, D. C., LaJoie, E., Burgman, R., Bell, R., DelSole,
       R., Min, D., Zhu, Y., Li, W., Sinsky, E., Guan, H., Gottschalck, J., Metzger, E. J., Barton, N.P.,
       Achuthavarier, D., Marshak, J., Koster, R., . . . Kim, H. (2019). The subseasonal experiment
       (SubX): A multimodel subseasonal prediction experiment. Bulletin of the American
       Meteorological Society, 100
(10), 2043-2061.



General Format for In-Text Citations

When you quote from other sources in your paper, you can use a Direct Quote (take the author's words exactly) or Paraphrase (when you take the author's ideas and put them in your own words).

Direct Quote example

"Canada is a multicultural country" (Author Last Name, Year, p. 2).


If the quote extends across multiple pages:

"Canada is a multicultural country" (Author Last Name, Year, pp. 2-3).


No Page Numbers
If no page number is available (as is the case with websites), include the paragraph number.

"Canada is a multicultural country" (Author Last Name, Year, para. #).

If there are many paragraphs that are too difficult to count, add a section/heading (if available).

"Canada is a multicultural country" (Author Last Name, Year, Present Day Canada section, para. #).


If the quote extends across multiple paragraphs:

"Canada is a multicultural country" (Author Last Name, Year, paras. 2-3).


Abbreviated Authors
Include the full name in the first mention of the text, then include the abbreviation.

The American Psychological Association (APA, 2017)


If the group name first appears in an in-text citation, include the abbreviation in square brackets:

(American Psychological Association [APA], 2017).


Paraphrase example
Do not include quotation marks if you are paraphrasing.

Canada is a multicultural country (Author Last Name, Year).


Authors in In-Text Citations

1 Author

(Webster, 2018, p. 15).

2 Authors
For sources with 1-2 authors, list the last names of both authors in your in-text citation:

(Jones & Smith, 2010, p. 15).

3 or More Authors
For sources with 3 or more authors, list the first author only and replace the remaining authors with "et al.":

(Jones et al., 2015, p. 47).


The date of publication must be included in your in-text citations and References. 

Which Date Should You Use?

The date may be the year, the year and month, or the year month and day (it will depend on what kind of source you are citing). The examples on this guide will indicate what form of date should be entered for the resource you are citing.

For books: use the copyright date shown on the copyright page.

For journal articles: use year of the volume (even if it is different than the copyright year).

For websites and webpages, use the date that applies to the content you are citing. Do not use the copyright date from the website footer as this date may not apply to the content you are citing. Use the "last updated" date for a webpage if it applies to the content you are citing. If there is no separate date for the work you are citing on the webpage, treat the work as having no date and enter "n.d." in the date field. 


Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. (n.d.). The role of CAMH Foundation.

In-Text Citation

(Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, n.d.).

For more information on dates, please consult the APA Manual, 7th edition, page 289.

More Than One Source

You may cite more than one source in an in-text citation.

List the sources alphabetically by the author's last name and separate the citations with a semicolon.

(Gupta, 2015; Webster, 2018).


Source in Another Language

The language in which the student's paper is written is considered the "main language" and any other language in the paper would be considered "another language".

To cite a work that's in another language, the student should cite the source in the original language, but also translate the title only (in square brackets) for the reader. The translation does not have to be a literal translation.

Piaget, J., & Inhelder, B. (1966).  La psychologie de l'enfant [The psychology of the child].                         Quadrige.


Corporate Author

When a corporate entity is the author of a source, use the corporate name.

Public Health Agency of Canada. (2012). Curbing childhood obesity: A federal, provincial and territorial framework for action to promote healthy weights.

Same Author, Same Year

There may come a time when you have multiple sources that are published by the same author and in the same year. 

In these cases, you will add a References entry for each source. Assign lower case letters in the date field to distinguish them, starting with a. The letters are assigned alphabetically, by title.


Public Health Agency of Canada. (2012a). Biosafety and biosecurity.

Public Health Agency of Canada. (2012b). Food safety.

Include the letters in your in-text citation:

(Public Health Agency of Canada, 2012a, p. 2).

Block Quotes

Quotations longer than 40 words are formatted as block quotations:

  • Start on a new line
  • Omit double quotation marks
  • Indent the entire quotation about half an inch from the left margin
  • Double space the entire quote
  • Place citation after the final punctuation mark in the quotation


The following information pertains to block quotes:

This is a block quotation, longer than 40 words. Notice how there are no quotation marks and the entire quote is double-spaced and indented from the left margin. The citation comes after the closing punctuation. (Jones & Smith, 2010, p. 121)

Your Own Unpublished Work

According to the APA Manual, 7th edition, "self-plagiarism is the presentation of your own previously published work as original."

If you do wish to use work you completed for a previous assignment in a new assignment, please discuss it with your instructor first.

There may come a time when you are required to use information from a previous assignment in a new assignment.

The APA Manual advises to place all of your duplicated work together, when possible (in a single paragraph or a few paragraphs), and include a citation. It's also recommended that you introduce the duplicated work with a phrase such as, "as I have previously discussed". Do not use quotation marks around your own material.

Cite your previous work as an "unpublished work":


Talib, J. (2021). Early childhood education during COVID-19 [Unpublished manuscript]. School             of English and Liberal Studies, Centennial College.

In-text citation

(Talib, 2021).


Video: Citing Books

Parts of a Reference

Wondering how to tell the parts of a Reference? Download this handout, which features the elements of a Reference colour-coded.

Formatting Quotations

For more information on how to format quotations, download this handout!

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