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May 04, 2017

What’s in a Name? Two-Part Surnames in APA Style

Chelsea blog 2 by Chelsea Lee

This post is part of a series on author namesOther posts in the series will be linked at the bottom of this post as they are published.

The APA Style format for author names in reference list entries is to provide the author’s surname(s) followed by the initials of their given name(s). 

  • Example: Lee, C. L. (2017).

In the in-text citation, provide only the surname(s) along with the year. (Note: The author's full name can be included in the in-text citation in limited circumstances, such as if the author is famous or if the whole purpose of the paper is to give an in-depth discussion of an author's work.)

  • Example: (Lee, 2017) or Lee (2017)

Many different name formats are possible; for example, authors might have two surnames (with or without a hyphen), names with particles, and names with suffixes. Sometimes it might be difficult to determine whether a name is a given name or a surname.

However, in all cases, the name in the reference list entry and in-text citation should match the name on the work being cited. Your task now is just a matter of figuring out the proper format. 

 

Formatting Names With Multiple Parts

  • If the surname is hyphenated, include both names and the hyphen in the reference list entry and in-text citation.
  • If the surname has two parts separated by a space and no hyphen, include both names in the reference list entry and in-text citation. Many Spanish names follow this format. 
  • If the surname includes a particle (e.g., de, de la, der, van, von), include the particle before the surname in the reference list entry and in-text citation.*
  • If the surname includes a suffix (e.g., Jr., Sr., III), include the suffix after the initials in the reference list entry but do not include it in the in-text citation.

Here are some examples:

Full Name

Name in Reference List

Name in In-Text Citation

Diego J. Rivera-Gutierrez

Rivera-Gutierrez, D. J. (2016).

(Rivera-Gutierrez, 2016)

Rena Torres Cacoullos

Torres Cacoullos, R. (2012).

(Torres Cacoullos, 2012)

Ulrica von Thiele Schwarz

von Thiele Schwarz, U. (2015).

(von Thiele Schwarz, 2015)

Simone de Beauvoir

de Beauvoir, S. (1944).

(de Beauvoir, 1944)

Ashley M. St. John

St. John, A. M. (2016).

(St. John, 2016)

Herbert M. Turner III

Turner, H. M., III. (2013).

(Turner, 2013)

 

*Note: In German and Portuguese, the particle is usually dropped when only the surname is used; for example, Ludwig van Beethoven is usually referred to in English as Beethoven and so would be credited as Beethoven, L. van, in the reference list entry and as Beethoven in the text. If you are writing in English, include the particle as part of the surname unless you know that the name is one of the famous German or Portuguese exceptions like Beethoven.

 

Is the Middle Name a Surname or a Given Name?

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell whether an author has two surnames without a hyphen or two given names and one surname—for example, is Maria Perez Garcia cited as Garcia (2017) or Perez Garcia (2017)? Here are some techniques to help you determine what name format to use:

  • Follow the format shown in the database bibliographic record for the work you are citing.
  • If the author has cited their own work in their own reference list, follow the same format they have used.
  • Look at how other authors have cited the author’s name and follow the most common presentation.
  • Look at your article to see if the surname is written in a distinguishing font (e.g., all-capital letters). If the surname is in all caps, convert it to title case for your reference (e.g., Peter Chen WANG becomes Wang, P. C., not WANG, P. C.).
  • Search for the author’s website or curriculum vita (CV) and follow the format they have used there.

Other Questions

Do you have more questions on author names in APA Style? See these other posts, or leave a comment below (links will become live as the posts are published):

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