I have a sentence with two concepts and two quotations from two different authors. It goes like this

Some is true because of concept one, that is "quotation one", and concept two, that is "quotation two".

Concept one and two are both from Author A while quotation one and two are from Author B.

What would be an elegant way to cite both authors at the end of the sentence making sure:

  • The reader will be able to attribute each concept/citation to the write author,
  • The reader will be able to understand which work (and from which page) the quotation is from
  • 5
    I'm assuming doing 4 citations is out of the question ? Why is it important to add a citation only at the end of the sentence ?
    – Suresh
    Mar 3, 2014 at 3:52
  • 10
    ...Author A's concept one and concept two [A], which Author B respectively describes as "Quotation one" and "Quotation two" [B]....
    – JeffE
    Mar 3, 2014 at 5:02

3 Answers 3


First off, citing papers is not about giving credit to first authors, it is about making literature traceable to readers. This is a key part of scientific writing, providing sources. The format for citations is of course focussing on first authors who may, or may not, be the main contributor (remember that author order varies between disciplines). A secondary aspect is the fact that many evaluations of academic status is based on authorship and as such authors may not be credited as much as they should. This is, however, not the reason for why we reference the way we do. So, from this perspective, I do not see why you necessarily need to emphasize the name of someone other than the first or second author (I am now thinking Harvard-style references where two-author papers have both names listed in the in-text reference).

If there is a scientifically based reason for highlighting the originator, one could write

Concepts One and Two (reference to B) were first developed by A [then I would argue some form of explanation of why this distinction is scientifically important should follow or be included]


A originated the concept one and two (Reference to B) [then I would argue some form of explanation of why this distinction is scientifically important should follow or be included]

Note that this would seemingly take away the importance of B, which in many reference systems would look strange and implicate something may not be right with the articles. I therefore think it is wise to clarify why you feel the work of A is such that it requires highlighting. Clearly, I cannot judge the case since all details are unavailable. As a side point, reviewers will likely pick up on any inconsistencies and ask for clarification in a case such as this, unless the reasons for the formatting is either clear from your writing or well known in the community.


If this is suppose to be a research paper, one can cite both the authors in Chronological manner.

In your case "concept one" is from Author A and "quotation one" is from Author B and those are repeating in the same order, so citing them as \cite{A, B} will work fine.

  • How would you indicate the page for the quotation from the work of author B? Mar 3, 2014 at 4:18
  • If that is the case you can mention page no. of the concepts in references and name of the authors with quotation.
    – RahulGupta
    Mar 3, 2014 at 6:28
  • In some referencing styles, when you cite multiple references in one \cite{} they are ordered according to some rule other than chronology (e.g. numerical order).
    – ff524
    Jul 29, 2014 at 7:13

If the reference is at the end of the sentence and you don't have any other clue in the sentence, then the only connection is the order of appearance in the citation, e.g. [A, B], which means that the first quotation is from A and the second from B.

I would suggest using citations in the sentence and not only at is end. E.g.

From [A] the first is true because [..] and from [B] the second is [...]

  • [A] is not a noun.
    – JeffE
    Jul 29, 2014 at 13:10
  • @JeffE if [A] is referring to the reference number such as [1], in IEEE at least, it can be a noun. ieee.org/documents/ieeecitationref.pdf Jul 30, 2014 at 0:43
  • @JeffE exactly as user1938197 mentions. In addition, even with other reference styles the above example is valid because in text you are referring to the citation, e.g. "From citation [A]" which is "abbreviated" as "From [A]".
    – Xxxo
    Jul 30, 2014 at 6:58

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