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APA In-Text Citations and References for Multiple Authors

Figuring out how to format your work with just one author was hard enough. Now, you have a book that has three different authors and one with eleven different authors. You know all those names are just going to clutter up your APA 7 essay. Learn the right way to source multiple authors using APA citations.

Citation generator

Creating a Parenthetical Citation

Whether you have a book or magazine with multiple sources, the way that you cite them in your essay in an in-text or parenthetical citation is the same.  The only thing you really need to know is how many authors there are. Examine how APA 6 breaks down multiple authors.

Two Authors

A source with only two authors will list both sources’ last names in the text. You’ll also list them every time you discuss the source. For example:

  • Beetle & Bard (2010) stated…

Three or more authors

Now things are getting crazy. You’ve found yourself with a book that has 11 authors. Just because the book is getting complicated doesn’t mean your citation needs to be. Use the first author’s last name followed by et al. from the beginning to the end.

  • Johnson et al. (2010) stated …

Two of the Same

In the instance that two different sources with more than six authors shorten to the same parenthetical citation, you’ll need to differentiate. To do this, you can add a, b, c, etc.

  • Johnson et al. (2010a) once described…
  • Johnson et al. (2010b) showed…

APA Reference List Entries for Multiple Authors

Student citing multiple authors in bibliography

Now comes the time for creating your References page. Reference citation a bit different than the parenthetical citations. You can list all the authors unless you have more than twenty. In addition to the last name, you’ll include the first and middle initial and separate the names by commas.

2 to 19 Authors

If you have fewer than twenty authors, add the names with a comma before the ampersand (&). This will look like:

Bard T. S., & Petty, R. S. (2010). Mood management. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 1034-1048.

Bard T. S., Turner R. V., Kelly S. Q., & Petty, R. S. (2010). Mood management. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 1034-1048.

Twenty or More Authors

It might not seem possible, but some large studies or scholarly books can have 27 different authors. Listing all of them would take up your entire reference page. Instead of spending 20 minutes typing out all those names, APA format has simplified it for you. You’ll follow the same format as twenty or less but after the nineteenth name you include ellipses and then list the last author’s name, like so:

Brown, C., Johnson, A. N., Bold, T. P., Fairy, N., Cann, L. J., Leland, K., Fran, J., Ritz, R. B., Burger, B. C., Gold, N. D., White, R. E., Brown, F. T., Smith, J. M., Johnson, H. H., Stevens, N., Williams, S. T., Terry, N., Jones, T. R., Garrett, J.,…Wirta, N. (2017). Technical issues for MP software. Technical Communication, 51, 210-223.

Note: The names are all that change. The rest of the formatting will be the same as usual.


A Multitude of Writers

Trying to remember all the rules for citing one author can make your eyes cross, but now there are two or six. Citing those authors doesn’t need to induce panic. Just count them up and follow the rules. And if you have no author, you’re covered there too.

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