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APA (7th ed.), Citation Style: Formatting Author Information

Citing Authors

The APA Manual (7th ed.) offers a great table on basic citation styles (see APA, Table 8.1, p. 266).   Author formatting is not always limited to basic styles.  Scroll down for additional examples.


  • For a work with one or two authors, include the names of the authors in every citation.
  • For a work with three or more authors, include the name of only the first author plus "et al." in every citation, including the first one.


Two citations with same author and same year

When two sources have the same author surname and publication year, use this format for in-text citation:


Brown, (2007a)

Brown, (2007b)

Taylor, in press

Taylor, in press

Author/Date separate

Brown (2007a)

Brown (2007b)

Taylor (in press-a)

Taylor (in press-b)

Parenthetical citation

(Brown, 2007a)

(Brown, 2007b)

(Taylor, in press-a)

(Taylor, in press-b)



Two works within the same parentheses

(Brown, 2007a, 2007b)

(Taylor, in press-a, in press-b)

(Brown, 2007a, 2007b; Taylor, in press-a, in press-b)


Two references that have the same year and several of the same authors
(see APA, sections 8.18-8.19 , p. 267)

Example Bischoff, Frey, Hoeferkamp, and Wienhorst (2011) 
Bischoff, Frey, Smith, and Holmes (2011)
Subsequent citations in text   Bischoff, Frey, Hoeferkamp, et al. (2011)
Bischoff, Frey, Smith, et al. (2011
Parenthetical citation   (Bischoff, Frey, Hoeferkamp, & Wienhorst, 2011) 
(Bischoff, Frey, Smith, & Holmes, 2011)
Subsequent parenthetical citations (Bischoff, Frey, Hoeferkamp, et al., 2011)
(Bischoff, Frey, Smith, et al., 2011)



Group Authors

APA recognizes that corporations, associations, government agencies, and study groups can serve as authors (see APA, section 8.21, p.268). Group authors with abbreviations are spelled out the first time, and then referred to by their abbreviations after that. With groups of three authors, the first group is mentioned, then "et al." after in every citation.

General rule: always give enough information about the group name in the citation so that the reader can locate it in the reference list.

Examples (taken from APA, Table 8.1, p. 266):

Type of Citation Narrative format, First citation in text Subsequent citations in text Parenthetical format, first citation in text Parenthetical format, subsequent citations in text
Groups (readily identified through abbreviation) as authors National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH, 2020) NIMH (2020) (National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 2020) (NIMH, 2020)
Groups (no abbreviation) as authors Standford University (2020) Standford University (2020) (Standford University, 2020) (Standford University, 2020)

No Author(s)/Anonymous)

No Author(s)

When you cannot identify the author(s) of the source, use the first few words of the reference list entry, usually the title, and the year for the in text citation.  Titles of articles, chapters, and web pages need double quotation marks.  Italicize titles of periodicals, books, brochures, and reports (see APA, section 8.14, pp. 264-265)


dark chocolate prevents heart disease ("Chocolate Lovers," 2007)

the report Chocolate and Your Heart (2007)


Anonymous Author (see APA, section 8.14, p. 265)

If a work is credited to an "Anonymous" author, cite the word Anonymous and the date in the text citation:

(Anonymous, 2012)

Multiple Authors for Separate Sources

Different sources may be cited when referring to several representative sources used for a key point. For in text citations, list authors in alphabetical order within the same parentheses, and separate names with semicolons.  If a work is in press, put that after the years of publication (see APA, section 8.18, p. 267).


Multiple works by same author

Arrange by year of publication and place in-press citations at the end.

Sleep deprivation causes nausea (Rogers, 2001, 2005)

Studies (Johnson, 2001, 2002, in press) indicate that

Same author, same publication date

Arrange same publications with suffixes a, b, c, etc. after each year.  These suffixes are mentioned in the reference list as well.

Multiple reports (Stein, 2005a, 2005b; Weinberger & Adams, 2007a, 2007b, in press-a, in press-b).

Multiple works, different authors in the same parentheses

Arrange in alphabetical order by first author's surname.

Writing in APA style is difficult at first (Meyer, 2007; Robinson, 2009)

See also

A major citation can be separated from other citations within a parenthetical citation by inserting the phrase see also

(Johnson, 2001; see also Rogers, 2005; Weinberger & Adams, 2007)