in APA 7, How do I cite works that have text cited previously.

For example:

Author Smith (2020) has a sentence in published works:

This is an important sentence (Jones, 2010; Franks, 2011; & Gates, 2014)

I want to use this sentence.

I'm a little confused on APA 7 rules. Does it mean that this is correct?

This is an important sentence (Smith, 2020)


This is an important sentence (Jones, 2010; Franks, 2011; & Gates, 2014)


This is an important sentence (Smith, 2020; Jones, 2010; Franks, 2011; & Gates, 2014)

and if I have to include Jones, Franks, and Gates, does that mean they go in the reference section as well? Does a reference section grow because of this, even though I didn't actually refer to them directly?


2 Answers 2


You are focussing on a secondary issue. The primary issue is that you must use quotation marks because you are not paraphrasing.

"This is an important sentence (Jones, 2010; Franks, 2011; & Gates, 2014)" (Smith, 2020)

You can decide to omit the citations from the quote but I would not advise it.

However, I would probably not make the citations part of the quote:

Smith (2020) highlighted "This is an important sentence" and cited studies by Jones (2010), Franks (2011) and Gates (2014).

Or maybe:

Based on the work of Jones (2010), Franks (2011) and Gates (2014), Smith (2020) concluded "This is an important sentence".

  • 2
    I would probably not make the citations part of the quote --- Nice fix (+1), which also allows for a way of including the quote when you don't want to include Smith's references in your bibliography (perhaps because Smith's references are too tangential to merit including), for instance "... and cited three studies from the previous ten years." Nov 12, 2021 at 8:03
  • Thanks much! This helps alot. I'm still wrapping my head around the intricacies of sourcing. Appreciate it.
    – arcee123
    Nov 12, 2021 at 14:47
  • 3
    (As a non-academic) I think the "Smith (2020) highlighted..." version is much clearer than "Based on the work...". Separating "Jones (2010), Franks (2011) and Gates (2014), Smith (2020)" at the right place ("Jones (2010), Franks (2011) and Gates (2014)" and "Smith (2020)") needs careful parsing.
    – TripeHound
    Nov 12, 2021 at 14:54
  • if I used the "highlighted' version, does that mean I have to pull the other sources into my references? My Concern is whether or not I can get access to them.
    – arcee123
    Nov 12, 2021 at 17:37

If the sentence is important, then (Jones, Franks, Gates) should also be explored as additional sources. Roland's answer is great, but if that comes up frequently, then consider reading all the sources and forming your own opinion instead of citing another author's opinion on other sources.

  • 1
    This. Some papers incorrectly interpret work (or even cite the wrong source!), and citing them instead going to the original source just propagates the issue. Also, imagine you publish a work, someone cites it, and then everyone else cites their work in lieu of yours, leaving you with only a single citation for your efforts. You've lost a lot of direct recognition that could otherwise be of benefit to you. Don't do that to others if you can avoid it.
    – anjama
    Nov 12, 2021 at 16:53

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