What are in-text citations?

Need a hand with your in-text citations? Find out exactly what’s expected and how to write them, or use our free in-text citation generator, available in whichever style you need.

What is an in-text citation?

An in-text citation is a reference made within the body of text of an academic essay. The in-text citation alerts the reader to a source that has informed your own writing.

The exact format of an in-text citation will depend on the style you need to use, for example, APA. Check with your academic institution to ensure you provide the in-text citations in the format they are expecting and use RefME’s citation generator to create them for you, automatically.

How to write an in-text citation

In most cases only the author’s last name, date of publication and page number from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken needs to be included, with the complete reference appearing in your bibliography (or works cited) page at the end of your essay.

The in-text citation should be presented in brackets directly after the text you have quoted or paraphrased so it’s easy for the reader to identify. In some cases, in-text citations are presented as a superscript number, with the corresponding number listed in your bibliography.

Looking for an easier option? Why not let RefME do the hard work for you by using our mobile app or free web tool. We’ve got over 7,000 styles in our books and are constantly adding new ones, so we’re sure to have the style you need.

In-text citation examples

APA format example:

The sky is blue (Cottrell, 2013).

ACS format example:

The sky is blue.1

IEEE format example:

The sky is blue [1].