Answered By: Jonathan Faerber
Last Updated: Feb 01, 2020     Views: 4490

APA 6th Edition (scroll down for APA 7th edition)

Cite all the authors in the first reference citation, but “in subsequent citations, include only the surname of the first author followed by et al. (not italicized and with a period after al)” (American Psychological Association, 2010, p. 175).

First citation of source: The study concluded that the sky is not actually blue (Smith, Robertson, & White, 1999, p. 14).

Second citation of source: Smith et al. (1999) further concluded that clouds are not actually white (p. 16).

Reference list entry:

Smith, A., Robertson, B., & White, C. (1999). What colour is your sky? Victoria, Canada: Authors.

For other information regarding citing works by multiple authors, please see "How do I cite a resource by two authors in APA Style?" and "How do I cite a resource with six or more authors in APA Style?".


American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. 

APA 7th Edition

Cite the first author plus “et al.” in every citation; include all author names only if using "et al." in the in-text citation does not provide sufficient information to locate the author in the references (such as when "Patterson et al." refers to two different groups of authors). For example, include only the name of the first author listed in the reference, followed by et al., to format an in-text citation for the following resource:

Patterson, K., Grenny, J., McMillan, R., & Switzler, A. (2012). Crucial conversations: Tools for talking when the stakes are high (2nd ed.). McGraw-Hill.

  • Parenthetical citation: (Patterson et al., 2012)
  • Narrative citation: Patterson et al. (2012)

If an additional reference also begins with the same last names, such as: Patterson, K., Grenny, J., McMillan, R., Switzler, A., & Maxfield, D. (2018), citations to both resources should list all authors up and including any name which the two citations do not share:

  • (Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, & Switzler, 2012)
  • (Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler, & Maxfield, 2018)

In cases where more than three authors are included in a parenthetical citation, use an ampersand before the last author (American Psychological Association, 2020, p. 266).


American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).

Patterson, K., Grenny, J., McMillan, R., Switzler, A., & Maxfield, D. (2018). Crucial accountability: Tools for resolving violated expectations, broken commitments, and bad behaviour (2nd ed.). McGraw-Hill.