Give us feedbackX

Parenthetical Citation Guidelines (Examples in APA and MLA)

What Is Parenthetical Citation In Academic Writing? 

It may sound a bit complex if you have never used this type of citation before. Yet, once you see some examples, things become easier. It is also known as the "in-text" citing, which means that it is used when you provide a direct quote or paraphrase a bit of text that is being used. In simple terms, a parenthetical citation is used for those cases when you are referring to something encountered in another source by inserting a part of text right in your paper. In the majority of cases, you must summarize, paraphrase, or provide a quote from another source. When you are using an in-text citation in your paper, always provide a corresponding entry that is mentioned and reflected in your Works Cited or References list. 

As you might have already guessed, it is essential to provide your parenthetical citations in an accurate way without altering the meaning if it is a direct quote. Alternatively, paraphrase things accordingly to keep the original idea. The purpose here is to provide your target audience with information regarding whose work is being cited, tell about the creation date, and provide a page number if and when available. This way your readers will be able to find the original source easier by turning to your References page. 

The Rules of Parenthetical Citation In APA & MLA Formats

MLA Parenthetical Citation:

When you have a single author, here is how to do a parenthetical citationr: 

(Last Author’s Name Page Number) 

  • Two authors in MLA: 

(Last Name and Last Name Page Number) 

  • Three and more authors: 

(Last Name et al. Page Number) 

  • When you have no author known, you should use: 

(Organization's Name Page Number)
("Title of the article" Page Number) 

  • Corporate Authors: 

(The National Museum 23)
(United States, Taxation Dept. Report 224) 

  • A source with the editor: 

(Last Name Page number) 

  • Different sources: 

(Last Name Page Number; Last Name Page Number) 

APA Parenthetical Citation: 

Here is how to parenthetically cite the different types of sources in APA 7th edition: 

  • One Author: 

(Last Name, Year) 

  • Two Authors: 

(Last Name & Last Name, Year) 

  • Three to Five Authors: 

You must cite all authors for the first time, yet when using all your upcoming citations, use "et al.". 

  • Six And More Authors: 

(Last Name, et al, Year) 

  • Group author with abbreviation: 

(Ministry of Education [MOE], Year) for your first citation

(MOE, Year) for all the subsequent citing. 

  • Group Author (Organization) Without Abbreviation: 

(HealthTimes, Year) 

  • No Author

(Title of the article, Year) 

The Parenthetical Citation Examples (MLA & APA) 

Now let us proceed with the actual examples on how to cite in parentheses: 

MLA Parenthetical Citation Examples: 

  • No Author 

If you have some text from a larger source where it is included:

("The Paradise Lost" 223)  

If it is only a title of some article, a citation will look this way: 

(Strange Things 27) 

  • A Single Author: 

(Jones 12) 

  • Two Authors 

(Stipe and Mills 79)

  • Three And More Authors 

(Lange et al. 34) 

  • Corporate Authors 

(The Aviation Museum 300)
(United Arab Emirates, Habib Dept. 210)

  • Source With An Editor Parenthetical Citation Example:  

(King 26) 

  • Two Different Sources For Same Citation

(Samick 13; Downes 98) 

APA Parenthetical Citation Examples: 

  • One Author

(Thomas, 2021)

  • Two Authors: 

(Kane & Lord, 2009, p.32) 

  • Three to Five Authors

(Wade et al., 2004) 

  • Six or More Authors

(Lakewood et al., 1995) 

  • Group Author With Abbreviation 

First citation: 

(Ministry of Defense [MOD], 2019) 

Cite parenthetically for all the subsequent occasions: 

(MOD, 2019) 

Group Author Without Abbreviation 

(Henriksen Corp, 2018) 

  • No Author 

(Why do we know the way, 2009) 

Remember that you must add italics in APA parenthetical citations only when they are italicized in your References list, too! The in-text citation must use the title case as in the example above. 

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!

Related Blog Posts

Receive regular updates, discounts, study guides and more

By clicking “Subscribe”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We’ll occasionally send you promo and account related emails.