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Rose Library - Cleveland Community College


How to Cite


APA Style requires that you cite an author within the body of your paper in addition to having a full citation on the references page. You can directly quote an author or paraphrase an author.

Paraphrasing versus Quoting

It is highly preferred that you use your own words to describe someone else's work, findings, etc. Although paraphrasing is preferred, you can directly quote from an author as long as you include the author's name and the date of publication.

One Author: 

  • Paraphrasing: Cite author's last name and publication year.
  • Quoting: Cite author's last name, publication year, and the page number(s)*.
    *On a website? Then cite the paragraph number after para.



Paraphrasing: Flight is an ability many birds have (Smith, 2011).

Author’s Name is Part of a Sentence: According to Smith (2011), many birds have the ability to fly.

Quoting: "Many birds can fly" (Smith, 2011, p. 265).

Institutional Author: "For an institutional author, spell out its entire name" (Center for Institutional Authors, 2016, para. 2).

Two Authors:

Use the word 'and' between the authors' last names when citing within the text, and use the ampersand (i.e., &) when citing within the parentheses.

  • Paraphrasing: Cite authors' last names and publication year.
  • Quoting: Cite authors' last names, publication year, and the page number(s).


Paraphrasing: The research indicated that weather temperature is positively correlated with crime incidence (Davis & Brown, 1995).

Authors’ Names are Part of a Sentence: David and Brown (1995) suggest that weather temperature is positively correlated with crime incidence.

Quoting: Davis and Brown (1995) stated, "higher temperatures are correlated with an increase in criminal activity" (p. 180).

Three or More Authors: 

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 citation, unless doing so would create ambiguity. 

  • Paraphrasing: Cite first author's last name and publication year.
  • Quoting: Cite first author's last name, et al. and publication year in parenthesis                


Lee et al. (2015) suggest that librarians often have difficulty creating examples of fake quotes to use in Libguides.

Librarians often have difficulty creating examples of fake quotes to using in Libguides (Lee et al., 2015).



How do I cite it when...?


1. A work Has No Author

If there is no author (be sure it's not an institutional author, like Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), cite the first few words of the reference list entry (usually the title) and the year. Use double quotation marks around the title or abbreviated title. For example: ("All 33 Chile Miners," 2010). Note: Use the full title if it is short.

2. Authors Have The Same Last Name

If two or more of your sources are written by authors with the same surname, include the first author's initials with the surname in every in-text reference.

Example:  Among studies, we review M. A. Light and Light (2008) and I. Light (2006) ... 

3. No Page Numbers Are Available for a Quotation

If a resource contains no page numbers, as can be the case with electronic sources, then you cannot include a page number in the parentheses. However, provide readers with another way of locating the quoted passage. Any of the following approaches is acceptable; use the approach that will best help readers find the quotation:

a. Provide a heading or section name.

Example: For people with osteoarthritis, "painful joints should be moved through a full range of motion every day to maintain flexibility and to slow deterioration of cartilage" (Gecht-Silver & Duncombe, 2015, Osteoarthritis section.)

b. Provide an abbreviated heading or section name in quotation marks to indicate the abbreviation if the full heading or section name is too long or unwieldy to cite in full.

Example: To prevent kidney failure, patients should "get active," "quit smoking," and "take medications as directed" (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017, "What Can You Do" section).

c. Provide a paragraph number (count the paragraphs manually if they are not numbered).

Example: People planning for retirement need more than just money-they also "need to stockpile their emotional reserves" to ensure adequate support from family and friends (Chamberlin, 2014, para.1).

d. Provide a heading or section number in combination with a paragraph number.

Example: Music and language are intertwined in the brain such that "people who are better at rhythmic memory skills tend to excel at language skills as well" (DeAngelis, 2018, Musical Forays section, para. 4).


How to Quote

A quote is generally more than three words borrowed from another source. The basic rules for quoting vary depending on the size of the quote. See accompanying tabs for more info.
Please note:
  1. When you need to leave out part of a quotation to make it fit grammatically or because it contains irrelevant/unnecessary information, insert ellipses like this . . . to indicate the truncation.
  2. If you must add or slightly change words within a quotation for reasons of grammar or clarity, indicate the change with square brackets. Exception: It is acceptable to change double quotation marks to single ones when you have a quotation within a quotation; it is also fine to change the first word of a quotation to upper case when needed.
Fewer than 40 Words
Fit quotations within your sentences, enclosed in quotation marks, making sure the sentences are grammatically correct. When citing, the parentheses begin after the quotation marks butbefore the punctuation.

Because they are an avenue to communicating a specific point, "quotations are effective in research papers when used selectively" (Gibaldi, 2003, p.109).

40 Words or More

For these longer quotes, be sure to use the following steps:
  1. Omit the quotation marks.
  2. Start a block quotation on a new line.
  3. Indent the entire quotation a half inch from the left margin (but not from the right margin).
  4. Double space the quotation.
  5. Place punctuation mark immediately after the quotation.



Flores et al. (2018) described how they addressed potential researcher bias when working with an intersectional community of people of color:

Everyone on the research team belonged to a stigmatized group but also held privileged identities. Throughout the research process, we attended to the ways in which our privileged and oppressed identities may have influenced the research process, findings, and presentation of results. (p. 311)

Quoting - Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I quote when there are no page numbers?
    If the page numbers are not provided, use paragraph numbers in your citation with abbreviation para.
    Research has clearly shown that "dogs drool often" (Jones, 2009, para. 2).

  2. How do I indicate I have omitted part of the text?
  • Use three spaced ellipsis points like this . . . within a sentence when you omit material from the original work.
  • Use four points like this . . . . when you have omitted material between two sentences.