Whenever you directly quote or paraphrase from one of your sources, follow the quotation or paraphrase with an in-text citation, also called a parenthetical citation. According to APA guidelines, the in-text citation includes the author’s last name, the year of the source’s publication, and the page number on which the quoted or paraphrased material appears in the source text. Example:
Linguists agree that “one thing we build with language is significance” (Gee, 2014, p. 98).
However, it is generally better to use a signal phrase, which includes the author’s last name, the year of publication in parentheses, and a past tense verb such as wrote, found, and pointed out. A signal phrase can also take the form of “According to (author).” If you use a signal phrase, you only need to put the page number in the in-text citation. For more about signal phrases, see Embedding Quotations. Examples:
Gee (2014) indicated that “one thing we build with language is significance” (p. 98).
According to Gee (2014), “One thing we build with language is significance” (p. 98).
What if my source doesn't have page numbers?
Buford (2008) noted that language is constantly changing (para. 3).
If the source does not have numbered paragraphs but does have sections with headings, cite the heading and the paragraph. Example:
Daniels (2006) argued, “We would be wise to adapt our attitudes” (What it Means for Us, para. 4).
Otherwise, cite only the author’s name and year of publication, or use a signal phrase to eliminate the need for an in-text citation. Examples:
An article in The Guardian claimed that 1,000 new words appear in the dictionary each year (Bodle, 2016).
Bodle (2016) claimed that 1,000 new words appear in the dictionary each year.
What if I want to use a quotation found in a source other than the original?
John Buford wrote, “Language is a living, breathing organism” (as cited in Gee, 2014, p. 136).
What if I have more than one author?
Buford and Collins (2008) claimed that “the meanings of words constantly change” (p. 36).
We must acknowledge that “the meanings of words constantly change” (Buford & Collins, 2008, p. 36).
If you have three or more authors, use all the authors’ names in the first citation; for subsequent citations, use the first author’s name only and substitute “et al.” (which means “and others”) for the other authors. Example:
Buford, Collins, and Holt (2008) observed that dialects change along with languages (p. 73). Based on their research, Buford et al. (2008) recommended different attitudes toward dialects (p. 82).
What if I don't know my author's name?
No one knows what English will look like in a thousand years (“Examining the Process,” 2001, para. 13).
According to “Examining the Process” (2001), no one knows what English will look like in a thousand years (para. 13).
Note: Put book titles in italics; put article titles in quotation marks.
What if my source was written by an organization, company, or group?
According to the group’s Policies and Procedures manual, each meeting begins with a song and a dance (League of Linguists [LoL], 2006, p. 18). The manual also stipulated that members must learn a new word every day (LoL, 2006, p. 19).
What if I use more than one source by the same author?
Buford (2008) concluded that language is always evolving. Based on his research, Buford (2010) argued for a more descriptive rather than prescriptive approach to teaching language.
If you use more than one source written by the same author in the same year, use lowercase letters after the year of publication to differentiate between the two sources. Example:
Daniels (2006a) observed that infants’ linguistic abilities are more sophisticated than previously thought (p. 113). It appears that more research is needed in this area (Daniels, 2006b, p. 22).
You can also eliminate the confusion by using each source’s title (or a shortened version of it) in your sentence. Example:
In Between the Lines, Daniels (2006) observed that infants’ linguistic abilities are more sophisticated than previously thought (p. 113). Linguists have called for further research in this area, as indicated in “A Call for Action” (Daniels, 2006, p. 22).
What if I don't know the year of publication?
Immersion results in a faster rate of fluency than other forms of language acquisition (Collins, n.d., p. 4).
What if I use a very long quotation?
Gee (2014) examined the ongoing debate over the “official English” movement, summarizing each side’s perspective:
In several states in the United States, bilingual education has become controversial. Some people argue that immigrant children should be allowed to learn school content (such as science and math) in their native language while they are also learning English. Others argue that immigrant children should learn English immediately and quickly and then be exposed to school content only in English. (p. 146)
In other words, the debate seems to center on the question of whether immigrants to the United States have a duty to acclimate themselves to the dominant language or the United States has a duty to accommodate the immigrants.
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