Chicago Style In-Text Citations


          How’s it going, Marauders? We’re already in Week 6, and that means papers are rolling in and midterms are coming up. With papers and midterms come writing – MLA! APA! References! In-text citations! A Works Cited page! These are words that college students are well acquainted with, and today we’ll be talking about none other than in-text citations. 

          APA and MLA are the two citation formats that many are probably the most familiar with (check out our other blog post about In-Text Citations: APA and MLA for more information!). But there’s another one that occasionally pops up here at the Writing Center that’s far less common. Have you ever heard of Chicago, or needed to use it? What is it, and how and when do you use it? Chicago format is typically found in Business, History, and the Fine Arts (Pitt LibGuides). There are two main styles of citations that fall under Chicago: The Notes-Bibliography System, and the Author-Date System. 

The Notes-Bibliography System 

          The first citation system we’ll talk about is the Notes-Bibliography System. The following information is from Purdue OWL: Books and Purdue OWL: Periodicals. In the Notes-Bibliography System, the in-text citation does NOT go directly into the text. Instead, you put a little number at the end of your quote. The footnote or endnote (in other words, the in-text citation) for a book would look like this, and would go at the very bottom of the page: 

“Outside, the thunder growled. There was no sign of the sun; the wind had dragged the clouds across the entire sky. It was going to be a wild night.”

1. First name Last name, Title of Book (Place of publication: Publisher, Year of publication), page number.

1. Maggie Stiefvater, The Raven King (New York: Scholastic, Inc., 2016), 118. 

          For a journal article found online in a database or something similar, the in-text citation would look like this: 

1. First name Last name, “Article title,” Journal Title, volume, issue # (month year): page number(s), date accessed, retrieval information (DOI or URL).

1. Henry E. Bent, “Professionalization of the Ph.D. Degree,” The Journal of Higher Education, 30, no. 3 (March 1959): 140-146, accessed September 25, 2023,

The Author-Date System

          The second citation system is the Author-Date System. In this system, you put the information (author’s last name, year of publication, and page number if available) directly in the text in parentheses, which is very similar to APA. The in-text citation for a book would look like this: 

“Outside, the thunder growled. There was no sign of the sun; the wind had dragged the clouds across the entire sky. It was going to be a wild night” (Stiefvater 2016, 118). 

          What would a journal article look like? Scribbr: Chicago In-Text Citations reports that the Author-Date style of in-text citations “looks the same for every type of source” (Caulfield 2019, under “Option 1: Author-date in-text citations”). For instance, if we take the journal article example in the Notes-Bibliography section and format it in the author-date style, the in-text citation would look like this: 

“The most important single factor obscuring the nature of the Doctor’s degree arises from the large number of degree-holders in the teaching profession” (Bent 1959, 141). 

          So, if you’re using the Author-Date System, the in-text citation would look the same no matter what kind of source you use. A book, a journal article, a website, etc. would all follow the same format: (Author last name year of publication, page number). 

Missing Information 

          Sometimes, there’s no author, no page number(s), or no publication date, which is all important information you want to include if it’s there. But if it’s not there, then what do you do? How does this change the citation? 

  • If there’s no page number, you can either omit it or you can specify where the information came from by using chapters, headings, or paragraphs (see above for example). 
  • If there’s no author, you can cite the organization’s name. For example: (Scribbr 2022).  
  • If there’s no publication date, write n.d. (which stands for “no date”) in the place where the publication year would go. For example: (Stiefavter n.d., 118). 


          Well, there you have it, folks! That’s a brief crash course on how to format citations in Chicago style. We talked about when Chicago format is used (most common in History, Business, and the Fine Arts). We also discussed the two different styles of in-text citations: The Notes-Bibliography System and the Author-Date System. Finally, we learned what to do if there’s missing information. For more helpful information about Chicago style, in-text citations, and references, visit Purdue OWL. For now, good luck and happy writing! You got this!

In-Text Citations: MLA and APA

Picture this: you’re writing something for a class and you need to look at outside sources for it. Finding the sources was easy, but your teacher wants you to cite those sources—not just in a bibliography or reference page, but in an in-text citation. You might be wondering, How do I do that? Well, that’s why for this week’s post, we’re going to talk about the in-text citations and how they work for two common citation styles. Let’s get into it!

First, a definition: an in-text citation is when you use an outside source to directly support a claim in your essay. They lead readers to sources that’ll help them understand whatever is being talked about in the text. In-text citations are less tricky than most people think, but the hard part is figuring out how to format them for a specific citation style.

The two citation styles that use in-text citations the most are MLA and APA format. MLA format is popular in English and other humanities courses. When you have an in-text citation for MLA, you want to cite your source by listing the name of the author in parentheses after the claim or quote, and then following it with a page number. Of course, that’s assuming you haven’t mentioned the author already. Here are a couple of examples of this in action:

And if you’re doing a quote that is four lines or longer, you want to give it its own paragraph:

APA format, on the other hand, is used for courses in the social sciences like psychology and social work (which makes sense, because it was created by the American Psychological Association). APA format works similarly to MLA format, except instead of listing the page number after the author/title, you want add a comma and list the date of publication:

Of course, that’s only if you’re not directly quoting the source. If you are, you also need to include the page number. Also, the date needs to go after the person who said it:

And just like last time, if you’re doing a quote that is four lines or longer, it gets its own paragraph:

And that’s how you do an in-text citation! Including them will only make your project stronger and your research more credible. Not to mention, it automatically makes you the coolest person in the classroom (Vitti 5). 

Joking aside—good luck, and happy writing!