How to cite a government website or report in APA Style

APA Style doesn’t provide a special format for citing government documents. Instead, you should determine what kind of source you’re dealing with—usually a report or a web page—and use the appropriate format.

To cite a government web page that doesn’t list an individual author, use the following format, listing the name of the government organization in the author position. If the name listed in the author position is the same as the website name (as in the example here), only list it once.

Format Organization Name. (Year, Month Day). Page title. Site Name. URL
Reference entry Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (2021, January 29). Protecting workers: Guidance on mitigating and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. https://www.osha.gov/coronavirus/safework
In-text citation (Occupational Safety and Health Organization, 2021)

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How to cite a law in APA Style

To cite federal laws (also commonly referred to as statutes or acts) in APA Style, include the name of the law, “U.S.C.” (short for United States Code), the title and section of the code where the law appears, the year, and optionally the URL.

The year included is when the law was published in the source consulted, not when it was passed, amended, or supplemented.

Format Name of Law, Title number U.S.C. § Section number (Year). URL
Reference entry Anti-Smuggling Act, 19 U.S.C. § 1701 (1935). https://www.loc.gov/item/uscode1958-004019005/
In-text citation (Anti-Smuggling Act, 1935)

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How to cite a court case in APA Style

Legal citations (e.g. court cases, laws) in APA Style look somewhat different from other APA citations. They generally don’t list authors, and abbreviations are used to make them more concise.

Citations for court cases refer to reporters, the publications in which cases are documented. To cite a court case or decision, list the name of the case, the volume and abbreviated name of the reporter, the page number, the name of the court, the year, and optionally the URL.

The case name is italicized in the in-text citation, but not in the reference list. In the reference, specify only a single page number—the page where the coverage of that case begins—instead of a full page range.

Format Name v. Name, Volume number Reporter Page number (Court Year). URL
Reference entry Thorne v. Deas, 4 Johns. 84 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1809). https://www.casebriefs.com/blog/law/torts/torts-keyed-to-dobbs/contract-and-duty/thorne-v-deas/
In-text citation (Thorne v. Deas, 1809)

Format variations for specific levels of court are explained in the sections below.

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How to cite a magazine article in APA Style

To cite a print magazine article in APA Style, list the author’s name, the publication date, the article title, the magazine name, the volume and issue numbers if available, and the page range of the article.

Format Last name, Initials. (Year, Month Day). Article title. Magazine Name, Volume(Issue), page range.
Reference entry Mogelson, L. (2021, January 25). The storm. The New Yorker, 5–12.
In-text citation (Mogelson, 2021)

The same format is used for a magazine found in a database, since APA recommends against including database information in your reference entries.

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How to cite the Constitution in MLA

To cite the Constitution of the United States in MLA style, include information about where you accessed it in the Works Cited entry. In the in-text citation, use article/amendment and section numbers instead of page numbers.

The example below shows how to cite an online version of the constitution. Note that in this case you’d need a separate Works Cited entry if you also cited an Amendment, since these are located on a different page.

Format Page Title.” Website Name, Day Month Year, URL. or URL. Accessed Day Month Year.
Works Cited entry “The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription.” National Archives, https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript. Accessed 21 Jan. 2020.
In-text citation (“Constitution of the United States,” Art. I, Sec. 4)

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How to cite Shakespeare in MLA

The works of Shakespeare, like many plays, have consistently numbered acts, scenes, and lines. These numbers should be used in your MLA in-text citations, separated by periods, instead of page numbers. The Works Cited entry follows the format for a book.

Format Shakespeare, William. Play Title. Edited by Editor first name Last name, Publisher, Year.
Works Cited entry Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Edited by G. R. Hibbard, Oxford UP, 2008.
In-text citation (Shakespeare 5.2.201–204)

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How to cite the Bible in MLA

MLA in-text citations of the Bible differ from other book citations in that they list the book, chapter, and verse rather than the page number.

In the Works Cited entry, it’s important to list the version of the Bible you used, not just “The Bible.” Include a URL if you accessed an online version of the Bible.

Format Bible Title. Edited by Editor first name Last name, Publisher, Year, URL.
Works Cited entry ESV Bible. Crossway, 2001, www.esv.org/.
In-text citation (ESV Bible, Matt. 1.2)

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How to cite a short story in MLA

The format for citing a short story in MLA style varies depending on where it was published.

The citation always starts with the story’s author and its title in quotation marks, followed by the publication details of the container (e.g. a book, magazine or website).

For example, if the story is published in an edited collection, list the book title, editor(s), publisher, year, and the page range on which the story appears.

Format Author last name, First name. “Story Title.” Book Title, edited by Editor first name Last name, Publisher, Year, pp. Page range.
Works Cited entry Ballard, J. G. “Track 12.” A Science Fiction Omnibus, edited by Brian Aldiss, Penguin, 2007, pp. 219–224.
In-text citation (Ballard 221)

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How to cite a TED Talk in MLA

To cite a TED Talk from the TED website in MLA, list the name of the speaker, the talk title, “TED: Ideas Worth Spreading,” the month and year, and the URL.

In an in-text citation, you can use a timestamp to highlight a specific quote where necessary.

Format Speaker last name, First name. “Talk Title.” TED: Ideas Worth Spreading, Month Year, URL.
Works Cited entry Jacobs, A. J. “The Life Cycle of a Cup of Coffee.” TED: Ideas Worth Spreading, Jan. 2021, https://www.ted.com/talks/a_j_jacobs_the_life_cycle_of_a_cup_of_coffee.
In-text citation (Jacobs 3:15)

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How to cite a PDF in MLA

MLA doesn’t treat PDFs as their own source type. When you want to cite a PDF, you should determine what type of source it contains (e.g. a book or journal article) and cite it in the appropriate format.

If you feel it’s relevant, you may mention in your reference that the source was accessed as a PDF by adding “PDF file”.

If you’re unsure about the source type, look for clues in the PDF (e.g. the name of the larger publication it comes from), or ask the instructor who provided you with it. This article gives examples of citations for several source types you might encounter in PDF form.

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