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APA Citation Quick Guide

Sample citations for many of the most frequently used sources in APA.


Always ask your professor if the sources you’ve chosen are appropriate, and if s/he has any special instructions or requirements for citation.

When should I cite?

If an idea wasn't yours, you should cite it in-text.  This includes:

- Direct quotations

- Paraphrasing (putting someone else's ideas into your own words)

- Using an idea that someone else gave you in a conversation, email, class, etc.

- Describing an idea that influenced your work

- Expert opinion or lending authority to your own opinion

- Giving any information that isn't common knowledge

*Please see the Parenthetical (In-text) Citations section of this guide for more information about in-text citing. 

What is Paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing is taking someone else's idea or statement and putting it into your own words.  It is still considered plagiarism if you paraphrase without an in-text citation.

For example:

Correctly Paraphrased:

Montoya greets, informs his foe of the reason for his anger, and immediately issues a threat (Lear & Reiner, 1987). 

*note that Lear and Reiner are the producer and director of the film The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride - Hello my name is Inigo Montoya Face T-shirt [image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from

APA?! What the...

APA, being used for sciences mostly, is very interested in the currency of your sources. This is why they ask for the date to be given in text along with the last name(s) of the author(s). 

If you are quoting directly, you should also include a page or paragraph number, or a section title where page numbers are not available. 

If you are paraphrasing (or putting someone else's idea into your own words), you still have to cite!

For More Information

American Psychological Association.  (2009).  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.).  Washington, DC. 

APA Online

The Purdue APA Online Writing Lab (OWL)

The College at Brockport Writing Center

Drake Memorial Library

Full Document

If you would like to print out the full Citation Guide, please feel free to use this PDF version:

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