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Citing Guide for Business (APA 7th ed.): Narrative & Parenthetical Citations

The research guide is a concise resource to help you implement APA Style 7th ed. guidelines. It covers formatting in-text citations and reference lists, providing clear examples for both.


Narrative & Parenthetical Citations

In APA 7th edition, there are two ways to present in-text citations: narrative citations and parenthetical citations. The main difference between the two is how they are incorporated into the text. The choice between narrative and parenthetical citations depends on your preference, sentence structure, and how smoothly the citation can be integrated into the text.

A narrative citation weaves the author's name(s) into the sentence itself, with the publication year appearing in parentheses immediately after the author's last name. The author's name becomes part of the sentence, and the citation appears more like a natural part of the text. For example:

Smith (2021) argues that exercise has numerous benefits for mental health.

In this case, the author's last name, Smith, is integrated into the sentence, making it a narrative citation.

A parenthetical citation places both the author's last name and the publication year in parentheses at the end of the sentence just before the closing punctuation. For example:

Exercise has numerous benefits for mental health (Smith, 2021).

Here, the author's last name and publication year are enclosed in parentheses followed by a period, making it a parenthetical citation. Notice that there is only a period after the citation, not after the last word of the sentence.


Want more information? Visit the Parenthetical Versus Narrative In-Text Citations webpage from APA.

Important Terms

In-text citations: In-text citations appear within the body of the paper and briefly identify the cited work by its author and date of publication. 

Narrative citations: In narrative citations, the publication date appears in parentheses immediately after the author’s last name when it is mentioned in a sentence. 

Parenthetical citations: In parenthetical citations, the author name and publication date appear in parentheses together, usually at the end of a sentence.