Guidelines for Parenthetical Citation (Examples in APA and MLA)

What Does Academic Writing’s Parenthetical Citation Mean?
If you have never used this style of citation before, it might sound a little complicated. However, things get simpler once you see some examples. It is also referred to as “in-text” citing, and it is utilized whenever you directly quote or paraphrase a passage of text. To put it simply, a parenthetical citation is used when you are quoting directly from another source by inserting a passage of text into your paper. Most of the time, you’ll need to summarize, paraphrase, or quote from another source. Always include a corresponding entry that is mentioned and reflected in your Works Cited or References list whenever you use an in-text citation in your paper.


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As you might have already guessed, it is crucial to accurately cite any direct quotes in parentheses without changing their meaning. Alternately, phrase things appropriately to maintain the main idea. The goal is to inform your target audience of the author of the work being cited, the date it was created, and, if and when available, the page number. By turning to your References page, your readers will have an easier time locating the original source.


The APA & MLA Parenthetical Citation Guidelines

APA Parenthetical Reference:

Here is how to cite in parentheses when there is only one author:


(Page Number, last name of author)


In MLA, there are two authors:

Page number: (Last Name and Last Name)


additional three authors:

Last Name, etc., Page No.


If you don’t know the author, you should use:

(Name of Organization, Page Number)

(Page Number: “Article Title”).


Business Authors:

23) The National Museum

Report 224 from the US Taxation Department


a source the editor is aware of

Page number: (Last Name)


various sources

(Last Name, Page Number; Last Name)


APA Paragraph Citation:

The various types of sources should be parenthetically cited in APA 7th edition as follows:


Single Author:

Final Name, Year


two writers:

Name, Year, and Last Name


Three to five writers

For the first citation, you must list all authors; however, for all subsequent citations, you must use “et al.”


Six Authors and More:

Year (Last Name, et al.)


group author using an acronym:

For your first citation, please use (Ministry of Education [MOE], Year).


(MOE, Year) will be used for all upcoming citations.


Without an acronym, group author (organization):

Year (HealthTimes)


Zero authors

(Article’s title, Year)


Examples of Parenthetical Citations (MLA & APA)

Let’s move on to the actual illustrations of how to cite in parentheses:


Examples of MLA parenthetical citations

Zero authors

If you possess a passage from a bigger source where it is present:


(223 in “The Paradise Lost”)


A citation will appear as follows if all there is to cite is the article’s title:


(Unusual Things 27)


a solitary author

(Jones 12)


Two Writers

(Mills and Stipe 79)


Three Authors and More

34) Lange et al.


Business authors

(300) The Aviation Museum

Habib Department 210 in the United Arab Emirates


Example Of A Parenthetical Citation From A Source:

(King 26)


Two Sources for the Same Citation

(Downes 98; Samick 13)


Examples of APA Parenthetical Citation

Single Author

By Thomas in 2021


two writers:

Kane and Lord (2009), p. 32


Five to Three Authors

Wade and others (2004)


at least six authors

(1995; Lakewood et al.)


group author using an acronym

Initial citation


(2019, Ministry of Defense [MOD])


Cite parenthetically for each of the following instances:


(MOD, 2019)


Without a Phrase Group Author


2018 (Henriksen Corp.)


Zero authors

2009’s “Why Do We Know The Way”


Keep in mind that you can only italicize APA parenthetical citations if you also italicize your References list. As in the preceding example, the title case for the in-text citation is required.

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