How to Cite Multiple Authors in APA style
  • 3-minute read
  • 18th June 2023

How to Cite Multiple Authors in APA style

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the highest number of authors to work on a single peer-reviewed academic paper is 15,025. While you may not ever encounter a source with that many authors during your own research, you’ll probably come across works with more than one author.

In this post, we’ll show you how to cite multiple authors in APA style, both in the text and on the reference page.

Creating a Reference List Entry for Two Authors

To write a reference list entry for a work with two authors, follow this basic format when listing the authors:

Last Name, A. & Last Name, B.

List the authors by their last names and initials, and use a comma followed by an ampersand to separate the two names. Here’s an example of what this might look like for a book entry:

Cook, L. & Greene, C. (2016). The New Literary Theory. Wakefield Publishing.

Citing 3–20 Authors on a Reference Page

APA 7 differs from APA 6 on how to cite 3–20 authors on a reference page. APA 6 requires listing up to six names in full, followed by an ellipsis and the final author’s name. APA 7 requires that you list all the authors’ names, with an ampersand separating the last two. Follow this basic format for up to 20 authors in APA 7:

Last Name, A., Last Name, B., Last Name, C., & Last Name, D.

Here’s what this might look like for a book on the reference page:

Smith, A., Jones, R., Cook, C., & Greene, C. (2016) The New Literary Theory. Wakefield Publishing.

Citing More than 20 Authors on a Reference Page

In APA 7, if a work contains 21 or more authors, list the surnames and initials of the first 19, followed by a comma, an ellipsis, and the name of the final author. Follow this basic format:

Author, A., Author, B., Author, C., Author, D., Author, E., Author F., Author, G., Author, H., Author, I., Author, J., Author, K., Author, L., Author, M., Author, N., Author, O., Author, P., Author, Q., Author, R., Author, S., . . . Author, Z.

Note that you should not use an ampersand in this scenario, only an ellipsis.

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How to Cite Multiple Authors in the Text

When writing a narrative citation for a work with two authors, use “and” between the authors’ names rather than an ampersand. Immediately follow the authors’ names with the year of publication in parentheses. For example:

Gretzky and Smith (2016) criticized this widely held theory in their previous work.

However, for a parenthetical citation, use an ampersand between the authors’ names, followed immediately by a comma and the year of publication. For example:

The theory has recently been criticized for its misleading claims and outdated information (Gretzky & Smith, 2016).

When citing a work with three or more authors, include the first named author, followed by “et al.” and the year of publication. In a narrative citation, this will look like:

Gretzky et al. (2016) showed consistent results in their latest study.

And here’s an example of this in a parenthetical citation:

The results of the study appeared to be consistent (Gretzkey et al., 2016).

For direct quotations, you should also include the page number(s) along with the names and year.

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