Effective Guide to APA Paraphrase In-Text Citations

Paraphrasing presents another’s idea (or your own previously published idea) in your own words. It typically summarizes, compares, and contrasts essential details. When paraphrasing, acknowledge the sources by including an APA paraphrase citation.

What is a Paraphrase?

A paraphrase is a shorter, less exact version of the original text that restates or summarizes the information or ideas found in it. A paraphrase has the same purpose as the original text but with a different tone or style.

Paraphrasing is one of the ways of avoiding plagiarism. The use of a paraphrase is an indirect way of summarizing a text by briefly restating the key points. It implies replacing a word or phrase in a text with another while retaining the same meaning or original idea.

Paraphrasing is preferable to direct quotes because it conveys information is in your own words and style without changing the text’s meaning.

APA Paraphrase Citation

Attribution markings allow us to credit the author of a paraphrase. The American Psychological Association provides a method for adequately citing authors when paraphrasing. This style is the standard way for people in the academic or professional world to credit paraphrased ideas appropriately. It is written in the form of a parenthesized or narrative citation.

For paraphrased information, APA style in-text citation requires you to include the author’s last name and Year Of Publication for the source. (e.g., James, 2000). The complete reference for the source should appear in the reference section at the end of the piece.


Narrative citation. Mary (2011) noted that virtually all HIV infection in children occurs following mother-to-child transmission during antenatal and postnatal periods.

Parenthetical citation: Virtually all HIV infection in children occurs following mother-to-child transmission during antenatal and postnatal periods (Mary, 2011).

Paraphrase Citation with Page Number

It is not compulsory to include a page number in a citation. However, you may include one when it would help readers locate the relevant passage within a long or complex work.

The page number format varies depending on whether the information is on one page or a range of pages. Use the abbreviation ‘p’ (for one page) and ‘pp’ (for multiple pages) before listing the page number(s).


1. Single page number format (p. 45)

Narrative In-text Citation: Stein (2018) studied whether the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease affected individuals younger than 30. His findings revealed that individuals as young as 20 were affected by the disease (p. 42).

Parenthetical Citation: Individuals as young as 18 displayed symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease (Pierce, 2014, p. 231).

2. Multiple pages format (pp. 30-50)

Narrative In-text citation. Joseph (2002) has observed strategy implementation in most organizations is hindered due to management’s inability to establish control parameters (pp. 15-30).

Parenthetical citation: Strategy implementation in most organizations is hindered due to management’s inability to establish control parameters. (Joseph, 2002, pp. 15-30).

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To Wrap Up

When paraphrasing, you must properly cite the source from which you got the information, so your piece doesn’t count as plagiarism. The APA paraphrase citation is a standard style for citing sources.

With this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know to put a paraphrase citation on your paper successfully.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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