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APA Style: Basics

This guide is intended to help you cite sources in APA style, avoid plagiarism, learn what APA style is and includes, find examples of APA style, lead you to campus resources that can help you cite sources in APA, and more.

Citations for Direct Quotations


A direct quotation is a verbatim reproduction from another work. The APA recommends paraphrasing when possible. The format of the quotation and the in-text citation depends on the length of the quotation. The in-text citation will include the author, year, and page number(s). The page number format is different for single pages, a page range, and non-consecutive (discontinuous) pages. The APA formats direct quotations into short quotations (fewer than 40 words), and block quotations (40 words or more). 

Page Numbers

Page Number Format
Page Numbers Format Narrative Citation Example Parenthetical Citation Example
Single page number p. 43 Smith (2017) wrote that..... (p. 23). (Smith, 2017, p. 25)
Page range pp. 29-32 Smith (2017) wrote that..... (pp. 11-17). (Smith, 2017, pp. 19-21)
Discontinuous Pages pp. 62,68 Smith (2017) wrote that..... (pp. 25,32). (Smith, 2017, pp. 7,12,18)

No Page Numbers? Check out the APA Style's section on Direct Quotation of Material Without Page Numbers This link opens in a new window. You can use section names, paragraph numbers, time stamps (for audiovisual works), and more. 

Short quotations contain fewer than 40 words. To incorporate this type of quotation into your work enclose the words in quotation marks. Do not add an ellipsis unless one is used in source. Add a full in-text citation in the same sentence.

Parenthetical Citation

General Format

A parenthetical citation can be either immediately following the quotation or at the end of the sentence.

Text "quote" (Author, Year, Page).

Text "quote" (Author, Year, Page) more text.

For Example

Mental health care for veterans and active duty military needs to be greatly improved. One tool that is used is the Combat Exposure Scale (CES) this is a "seven-item self-report measure that assesses wartime stressors experienced by combatants" (Lawhorne-Scott et al., 2012, p. 36).

Narrative Citation

General Format

A narrative citation typically includes the author and year before the quotations and the page number(s) after the quotation.

Author (Year) text "quote" (Page).

However if the quote begins the sentence, the author will follow in a narrative form with the year and date in parentheses afterwards.

"Quote" text Author (Year, Page) more text.

For Example

Chen et al. (2019) noted that "an increased patient–nurse ratio would induce nurses’ intention to leave their job" (p. 12).

"Workforce staffing and scheduling for clinical units in healthcare system is a formidable challenge" wrote Sedeh (2018, p. 1) in their review of nurse staffing in emergency room departments.

Block quotations contain 40 words or more. To incorporate this type of quotation into your work you will need to begin the quotation on a new line, indent the left margin for the entire quotation, and double-space the quotation. Add a full in-text citation either in the narrative while including the page numbers at the end after the quotation's final punctuation, or a parenthetical citation after the last punctuation.

Parenthetical Citation

General Format

A parenthetical citation is placed after the quote's final punctuation.

For Example

The symptoms of anxiety can be debilitating:

As the body prepares to deal with a threat, blood pressure, heart rate, perspiration, and blood flow to the major muscle groups are increased, while immune and digestive functions are inhibited (the fight-or-flight response). External signs of anxiety may include pallor, sweating, trembling, and pupillary dilation. Someone who has anxiety might also experience it subjectively as a sense of dread or panic. (Lawhorne-Scott et al., 2012, p. 95)

Narrative Citation

General Format

A narrative citation typically includes the author and year before the block quotation and the page number(s) immediately after the quotation's last punctuation.

For Example

Chen et al. (2019) detail how hospitals are in the business of saving lives and those in charge have a lot to take into account when planning their nurse-patient ratios:

Given that direct labor costs are the major budget items, hospitals face the dilemma between reducing or limiting direct labor costs and providing better care quality. Although some hospitals reduce nurse staffing to minimize cost, nurse staffing has been reported to be influential not only in hospitalized patients’ prognoses and safety but also in hospitals’ financial performance. (p. 1)