4 Key Rules To Consider While Citing an Essay in APA Format

Teachers like uniformly organised essays that follow a unique and single style throughout. There are different styles used for citing an essay. The most famous styles are APA, MLA, and Harvard styles. However, in today’s article, we will talk about the APA format in detail. Most students are accustomed to using styles other than the standard ones. If you are one of them, surely citing and writing an essay in the APA format is a daunting task for you.

Well, there is no need to worry about this anymore. In today’s article, we will look at the 4 fundamental rules to consider when citing an essay in APA format. After learning those rules, you will be able to cite the essay in this format correctly. However, before going to the rules, let’s describe what an APA format is.

What is the APA format for citing an essay?

APA is a formatting style developed by American Psychological Association in 1929. This association has set some rules that are mandatory to follow for each researcher, whether he is writing an academic essay, book, research paper, or any other scholarly document. The guidelines and rules to follow are provided through the APA publication manual. Currently, the 7th edition of the APA guidelines is in use. It means all the academic documents are formatted using this format.

4 key rules to consider for citing an essay in APA

When using the APA format for citing different sources in your essay, it is mandatory that you follow the key rules set up by the APA. Do you know what those rules are? Most probably not, because if you knew, you would not be here. Hence, a brief description of the top and the key 4 rules is as follows:

1. Single author citation rule

For citing an essay in the APA style, you only need to include the surname of the author and the data of publication of the source material. This is the general rule for citing in APA format. This changes when there is a change in the number of authors. If there is a single author of the essay, you only use his last name and the source’s publication year. For example, “The author described that the mice disappeared immediately (Smith, 2020).”

2. Citation rule of two authors

The basic rule remains the same in this kind of citation too, which is giving the last name of the authors and the publication year. However, there is a slight change. As in this kind of citation, there are two authors involved; you should use the last names of both authors, followed by the publication year. For example, “The authors stated that the mice disappeared after seeing the cat (Jones and Smith, 2020).” Jones and Smith are the last names of the two authors who have concluded this. Hence, this is how you carry out citing an essay when there are two authors of the source material.

3. Citation rule for three or more authors

If authors of the source are three or more than three, the citation rule changes a bit. APA suggests you write the last name of the first author and represent all other authors using et al. The proper and full names come in the references section at the last of the essay. An example of this is as follows: “It appears that the punishment is not based on the testimonials of arrested people (Green et al., 2020). So, this is how you cite more 3 or more than three authors. However, if you still have doubts about it, go to the essay writing service and clear them.

4. Rules for the references list

The reference list is the place where there are the details of the citations you have used in the essay. There are certainly some rules for creating reference lists, just as there are rules for citing an essay. The rules are as follows:

  • The list of references is arranged in alphabetical order. It means the author’s last name, starting from A, comes before the names starting from B.
  • Arrange the reference by giving the last name of the first author first and then followed by the names of the second and third authors.
  • If the work you have cited in the essay has no author, list it alphabetically according to the title of the source. Ignore the words A, An etc.


Citing an essay in the correct format is extremely important. The reason is that it makes the essay look more professional and gives it an organised look. However, to cite an essay in the correct way, learn all the rules discussed above with all your heart. The rules discussed above will pave the way for your success. Hence, learn and follow them.

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