Citing sources is crucial in academic writing. If you use material or ideas from a source, you must add a citation that gives credit to the original author (such as a book, article, or web page).

There are several different citation styles, each with their own set of formatting requirements. The most used citation styles are APA and MLA.

The Scribbr Citation Generator, which is free, is the most efficient way to cite sources in these formats. Simply enter the URL, DOI, or title, and we’ll locate the information you require.


Newspaper ArticleWebsiteBook Article





Wikipedia entry


Conference papersConference proceedings


public notification










When should you use citations?


Citations are necessary in all scholarly texts (such as essays, research papers, and dissertations). Every time you use a source to draw on ideas, summarize facts, make arguments, or give examples, you must cite it.


To cite a source, you can quote or paraphrase the original text:




Whether you quote or paraphrase, you must always include a citation to avoid plagiarism. Citing also assists your reader in locating the original source, boosting your article’s authenticity.


In addition to scholarly materials like books and journal articles, remember to cite any other sources you use for ideas, examples, or evidence. This includes websites, YouTube videos, dictionaries, seminars, and social media posts.


What citation style should you use?


Many university departments and academic journals require a specific citation style, so check the criteria beforehand. If no citation style is specified, you must choose one and use it consistently throughout your paper.


Your field and discipline will determine the best solution for you. APA is the most prevalent style in the social sciences, whereas MLA is the most popular in the humanities. Medicine and engineering, for example, have their own particular styles.


You can learn about your instructor’s preferred writing style by asking them or reviewing past papers in your field.


Scribbr’s Citation Checker




The AI-powered Citation Checker helps you avoid common mistakes like:






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In-text citations and complete references


Every source citation has two key components:




Use the interactive tool to examine examples of references and in-text citations in APA and MLA.


In-text citations


Citations in the text are normally written in parenthesis and include the author’s last name as well as a year or page number (depending on the citation style). Some styles include footnotes, endnotes, or bracketed numerals to match reference entries.


Each citation style has its own set of citation requirements:







In-text citation standards are thoroughly described in our style-specific instructions.


APA citations | MLA citations | Chicago citations in the text


Bibliography in full


A page at the conclusion of an article called References, Works Cited, or Bibliography lists all of the references.


Full references usually contain the source’s author, title, and publication date. They also include other information that aids in the source’s identification.


The source type determines the format of a reference. For example, a book reference includes the publisher and, on rare occasions, the edition, whereas a journal article reference includes the volume and issue numbers, as well as the page range where the piece appears. Here are some examples of references for various types of sources.


Video on YouTube | Interview | Lecture | Image


Using a citation generator


Because each style has so many small variations in things like italicization, capitalization, and punctuation, it may be difficult to get every detail exactly right. The simplest option is to use a citation generator.


The generator will generate an in-text citation and reference entry in the correct manner if you enter the source details manually or use a URL or DOI. You can save your reference list as you go and download it after you’re finished.


Scribbr’s Citation Generators are 100% free, with no advertisements or registration required.


APA Citation Generator MLA Citation Generator


Performing a reference check


There are automatic programs and services that can help you double-check your work if you’re unsure about referencing sources. A plagiarism checker verifies that you’ve included citations where they’re needed, whereas a citation checker ensures that your citations are formatted correctly.


Software that detects plagiarism


Universities use plagiarism detection software to check your paper for similarities to other texts.


It’s simple to make mistakes that could be deemed plagiarism while working with a large number of sources, such as failing to include a citation after a quote or paraphrasing a source too closely to the original text.


You can avoid this by conducting a plagiarism check on your paper before submitting it. Based on the results, you can fill in missing citations and edit your text as appropriate.


Because there are various free and commercial plagiarism checkers available online, we conducted a thorough evaluation of the solutions in terms of accuracy and security.


Citation inspectors


Scribbr’s Citation Checker is a one-of-a-kind tool that double-checks your in-text citations for errors and inconsistencies. It also suggests a fix for each problem. This is the quickest and easiest way to make sure your citations are formatted correctly, and it’s only available for APA Style for now.


If you need additional help with your reference list, we also provide citation editing services. Our experts double-check your in-text citations and reference entries, as well as your source material and the layout of your reference page.