How to cite an article in an essay - MLA and APA In-Text Citation Guide (2023)

Before we get to all the different cases that will change the way you cite an article in your essay, we need to get a few things straight first.

  1. There are more than two styles of dating out there. However, we will only cover APA and MLA as they are the most common.
  2. This article is about in-text citations, so it's not about the reference page and how you should organize your sources there.

To use:For recommendations, you can try our free online tools that support multiple styles: Citation Generators.

Typically, the instructions on the assignment sheet indicate the style you should follow. If not, ask your tutor for help.

Citations in text from MLA (Modern Language Association)

Your citations in the body of the essay should be as short and legible as possible. It's very different from reference pages where you provide a lot of details about the source. Your in-text citation is a link to the Works Cited page at the end of your article.

How to cite an article in an essay - MLA and APA In-Text Citation Guide (1)

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There are two ways to use a citation in an MLA essay. The in-text method only requires the page number of the source used in parentheses at the end of the citation. Brackets require that you include the author's last name and page number.

Using a direct quote

The author's words remain unchanged and are enclosed in quotation marks. Examples:

autumn 1

Use the author's last name before the citation.

Smith states, "Correctly citing an article in your essay is essential if you want to avoid plagiarism" (26).

autumn 2

Do not use the author's last name before the citation.

The account states, “There are two ways of quoting in the text” (Smith 26).

autumn 3

Use a long passage (block quote) without quotes, but indented to the left (half an inch). Also note that you must put a dot before the square brackets. A quote is considered long if it spans four or more lines in your essay.

Smith elaborates further:

All the dating rules might seem too complicated for you, especially if you've never dealt with them. One of the reasons may be that students do not buy the appropriate style manual or consult their tutor. (26)

To use:If you are referring to a web source or article without pagination, do not include the page number.

paraphrase or summarize

Sesource of paraphrase, you don't need to use quotes:

(Video) The Basics of MLA In-text Citations | Scribbr 🎓

According to Smith, you must learn to cite a source in your essay so as not to plagiarize (26).

Sometimes you may choose to paraphrase multi-page single quotes. In this case, you can specify pages or a range of pages separated by a comma like this: (Smith 26, 28, 31-33).

My source has more than one author.

Case 1: From the authors

Just use "e" to separate them. For example:

Moisson and Zakher found that "a 20-minute nap during the day improves information retention by 500%" (127).

"Napping three times a week reduces the risk of dying from heart disease by 37%" (Moisson and Zakher 127).

Case 2: More than two authors

Give the first author's last name followed by "et al." (meaning "and others"). For example:

"A nap has many benefits" (Moisson et al. 127).

the author is unknown

The author's name may be unknown. In that case, use the first few words of the article title, but omit the “A”, “An” or “The” at the beginning. It may be cited or italicized, depending on how it is written in your bibliography. The number of words to use depends on the title. You want to make it as clear as possible for the reader to identify the source of the quote. For example:

(astrophysics221) or ("Global Warming" 310)

What if I have two authors with the same last name?

To avoid confusion, use the authors' initials or their full names (if the initials are also the same), like this:

Some researchers claim that the first signs of global warming in North America were enough to spur action (H. Black 22), others even refuse to recognize global warming as a planetary-scale problem (T. Black 35).

MLA citation examples with references

See some more examples of MLA citations in the text with their respective reference entries.

newspaper article

Im Text

On October 1, 2019, Hanoi (Vietnam) topped the list of cities with the highest levels of air pollution. (Blacksmith 3)

Works Cited

3. SMITH, Thomas. "Hanoi shrouded in clouds".the morning sun[Houston, TX] 1. October. 2019, p. 7.

academic article

Im Text

The features of the child's interaction with his relatives, the degree of reaction of relatives to the signals received from the child and the full satisfaction of his needs in many ways determine the nature of relationships with people formed from the first years of life . (Spenzer 5)

Works Cited

5. Spencer, Laura. "Aggressive Behavior in Adolescents and Parental Identity".Psychological Sciences and Pedagogy, vol. 50, no. 5, 2018, p. 14

magazine article

Im Text

To restore the movement of Qi energy, the practitioner works on specific acupuncture points, areas where the meridians are closest to the surface of the body. (Turno Taurus 5)

(Video) The Basics of APA In-text Citations (6th Edition) | Scribbr 🎓

Works Cited

5. Turnbull, Katarina. "Best practices for your vitality."Health,19th of May. 2018, page

magazine article

Im Text

Construction of the Okayama Castle complex was completed in 1615, and the castle served as a residence for local daimyos (feudal lords) during the Edo period (17th to 19th centuries). (William 2)

Works Cited

1. Gilliam, Szymon. "Cities with Historic Gardens".great in japan3. April 2019, p. 24

investigative article

Im Text

Research on social networking in higher education has generally focused on one of two main groups of participants: faculty or students. (Kent 8)

Works Cited

8. Kent, Oscar. "Student Social Networks: Educational Factors and Influence on Education".Education Today, Vol. 11, No. 2, 2018, p. 31.

APA (American Psychological Association) In-Text-Zitate

This style is most commonly used in health and social sciences. Be sure to include all items you used in references to theend of your essay.

To cite in an APA-style essay, you must include the author's name, the date of publication, and the page number where you found the information.

Using a direct quote

Compared to MLA, the APA style is a bit more complicated and requires the author to provide more details. In addition to the author's last name and page number, you must also include the year of publication.

autumn 1

Smith says (2005): "Correct citation of an article in your essay is essential to avoid plagiarism" (p. 26).

autumn 2

The Manual states: “There are two ways to cite in the text” (Smith, 2005, p. 26).

autumn 3

In the APA, a citation is considered long if it is longer than 40 words. You don't need to use quotes, and the indentation here is five spaces from the left margin. Example:

Smith (2005) develops this issue:

All the dating rules can be pretty confusing, especially if you've never dealt with them. One of the reasons may be that students do not buy the appropriate style manual or consult their tutor. (page 26)

paraphrase or summarize

There are two ways to format the paraphrase:

According to Smith (2005), you need to know the citation rules to avoid plagiarism in your writing.

You must learn to cite correctly in your article to avoid problems related to plagiarism (Smith, 2005, p. 26).

(Video) APA 7th Edition: The Basics of APA In-text Citations | Scribbr 🎓

My source has more than one author.

Case 1: From the authors

Use "e" to separate them in the text, and use an ampersand (&) to separate them in parentheses. For example:

The result of Crompton and Gibson's (2009) research suggests that...
(Crompton & Gibson, 2009, p. 55).

Case 2: 3-5 authors

Mention all authors when citing them for the first time. In all other cases, write only the surname of the first author and add "et al".

(Foster, Peattie, Rajagopalan, Frankfeldt, 2001)
(Foster et al., 2001)

Case 3: 6+ authors

Use the first author's name with "et al." after.

Hanket et al. (2008) suggest that...
(Hanks et al., 2008, S. 43)

the author is unknown

If the author's name is unknown, use the first word(s) of the source title. Report and book titles should be italicized or underlined, while article and chapter titles should be enclosed in quotation marks.

Similar results were obtained after all students learned more about how to cite sources in essays (“Citation Guide”, 2016).

Examples of APA citations with references

See other examples of APA-style in-text citations with appropriate references.

newspaper article

Im Text

Earlier, journalists reported on the British Prime Minister's plan to set up customs clearance centers for goods crossing the Ireland-Northern Ireland border and end up with duty-free food and agricultural products. (Morton, 2019)


Morton, M. (October 11, 2019). New Brexit deal proposals.The day.

academic article

Im Text

This position is quite common in the context of human studies; represents the ideology of the most modern psychological support services and underlies technology and many psychotherapeutic and psychocorrective work methods. (Watts, 2019)


Watt, A. (2019). Three Paradigms in Psychology - Three Psychological Impact Strategies.The Art of Psychology, 9(7), 24.

magazine article

Im Text

Greta, 16, insists that under the 2015 Paris Agreement, the governments of the 195 countries that signed the document commit to immediately reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere. (Islands, 2019)


Iles, V. (September 30, 2019). The Stolen Childhood of Greta Tunberg.generation today, 127(234), 17.

magazine article

Im Text

(Video) MLA In-Text Citations 9th ed. - Complete Guide (2023)

The most accepted ways of responding to conflict by graduates are “competition” (27%) and “cooperation” (24%). (Reid, 2019)


Reide, B. (2019). Psychological characteristics of communication and reaction in conflict situations in the vocational training system.Interscience, 12(5), 36.

investigative article

Im Text

What is surprising is that 78% of respondents neglect sleep and stay up all night on the internet, forgetting to eat, personal hygiene, household chores, study, etc. (Benjamin, 2018)


Benjamin P (2018). Internet addiction in adolescents.Cybercommunity, 7(6), 41.

You'll find many more rules related to the citation style you use, as there are many types of fonts and exceptions to these fonts. So when you get a new style guide, you'll be safe when it comes to quoting and paraphrasing in your essay.

How to cite an article in an essay - MLA and APA In-Text Citation Guide (3)

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the reference list

  1. Research and Dating: Purdue University's Online Writing Lab
  2. Citation Guide (MLA and APA) - Lane Community College
  3. MLA Citation Guide (8th Edition): In-Text Citations – Columbia College

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(Video) In-text citations made easy: APA 7th edition format

How to cite an article in an essay - MLA and APA In-Text Citation Guide (5)


How do you in-text cite an article in an essay APA? ›

When using APA format, follow the author-date method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the year of publication for the source should appear in the text, for example, (Jones, 1998), and a complete reference should appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.

How do you in-text cite an article in an essay MLA? ›

MLA in-text citation style uses the author's last name and the page number from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken, for example: (Smith 163). If the source does not use page numbers, do not include a number in the parenthetical citation: (Smith).

How do you cite an article in-text in an essay? ›

In-text citations point the reader to the sources' information on the references page. The in-text citation typically includes the author's last name and the year of publication. If you use a direct quote, the page number is also provided.

How do you cite in-text MLA APA? ›

APA in-text citations include the author name, date, and page number (Taylor, 2018, p. 23), while MLA in-text citations include only the author name and page number (Taylor 23). The APA reference list is titled “References,” while MLA's version is called “Works Cited.”

Where do you put APA citations in an essay? ›

APA Style (7th ed.) Citations can appear "within or at the end of a sentence", depending on the placement of a quotation or an author's name (American Psychological Association [APA], 2020, p. 263).

How do you in-text cite an online article in an essay? ›

An MLA website citation includes the author's name, the title of the page (in quotation marks), the name of the website (in italics), the publication date, and the URL (without “https://”). If the author is unknown, start with the title of the page instead.


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