29th January 2023
How To Format a Parenthetical Citation in an Essay
Parenthetical citations are used in many referencing styles. They allow you to credit a source when paraphrasing another author’s work. They include the author’s name in parentheses along with other information, depending on which style guide you’re using.
MLA, Chicago, and APA are some of the most common referencing systems that use parenthetical citations. In today’s blog post, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide for each format.
In-text citations in MLA style are known as author–page citations. As the name suggests, you include the author’s last name and the relevant page number(s). This applies whether you’re paraphrasing or directly quoting a source. Here are a few examples:
Research by Harrison (22) shows that airplane ticket prices are higher in the summer.
According to Harrison, “Airplane ticket prices increase in the summertime” (22).
If the source has two authors, include both last names with “and” between them. If there are three or more authors, only include the first author’s last name and follow it with “et al.” And if no author is named, you can include the title of the work instead.
Chicago style has two formats: a) notes and bibliography and b) author–date. If you’re using the author–date style, you’ll need to include parenthetical citations.
These citations include the author’s last name and the year the work was published. If you include a direct quotation, you’ll need to add a comma after the year, followed by the page number(s) of the source.
Thomas (2021) found that black and white cats are usually friendlier than all-black cats.
Generally, “all-black cats are not as friendly as black and white cats” (Thomas 2021, 3).
If a source has two or three authors, include all the last names: (Brown, Jacobs, and Smith 2013); (Darren and Hoffman 1999). For four or more authors, only include one last name followed by “et al.”
APA 7th Format
APA style uses author–date in-text citations, so your parenthetical citations will include the author’s last name and the year of publication separated by commas. If you directly quote a source, include the page number(s) after the year. Page numbers should be indicated using “p.” or “pp.” For example:
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Lewis (2018) found an association between the color pink and increased endorphins.
Seeing the color pink “boosted endorphins for 80% of participants” (Lewis, 2018, p. 12).
If a source has two authors, include both last names separated by an ampersand (e.g., Lewis & Stephens). If there are more than two authors, include only the first author followed by “et al.”
Tips for Using Parenthetical Citations
As with other elements of your essay, make sure your citations are consistent. Stick to one referencing style, and make sure you include all necessary information. To be safe, double-check your instructions and style guide, as referencing requirements can vary between institutions.
It’s also important to avoid over-citing your sources. This means including too many parenthetical citations, which can muddy up the text and distract the reader. Some referencing styles have guidelines on this, such as APA. As a rule of thumb, though, you only need to provide one in-text citation each time you paraphrase another author’s work.
How do I format a parenthetical citation in MLA style?
In MLA style, in-text citations include the last name of the author and the page number(s) of the source: (Smith 12).
How do I format a parenthetical citation in Chicago style?
In Chicago author–date style, parenthetical citations include the last name of the author followed by the year of publication. If there is a direct quote, the page number(s) should also be included: (Smith 2016, 12).
How do I format a parenthetical citation in APA?
In APA 7th style, parenthetical citations include the last name of the author followed by the year of publication. If there is a direct quote, the page number(s) should also be included: (Smith, 2016, p. 12).
Proofreading and Editing
We hope this post helps you to correctly add parenthetical citations to your essay. However, to make your work really shine, be sure to have it proofread! Our expert editors will check your citations and reference lists, as well as grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice, and more. Try it out for free!
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