In-Text Citations

In-text citations in AMA use superscript numerals rather than the name-date format you may be familiar with from other citation styles.

The Basics

The order of the superscript numerals is sequential based on the first appearance of that citation in your work; your first in-text citation should be 1 followed by 2, 3, and so on. If you use the same reference multiple times in your work, repeat the number used when it was first cited. A specific source will always have the same superscript number each time you reference it in text!

When you have an uninterrupted series of references, use a hyphen to join the first and last number of that series.

Where to place the superscript? The superscript number is inserted into the document immediately next to the fact, concept, or quotation being cited. If citing more than one reference at the same point, separate the numbers with commas and no spaces between. The superscript numerals should appear:

  • Outside (after) periods, commas, and quotation marks
  • Inside (before) colons and semicolons.


As reported previously,1,3-8,19
The deprived data were as follows3,4:
Smith and Jones2 reported

Author Names

When mentioning authors in text, only use surnames. For a 2-author reference list both surnames, and for references with more than 2 authors or authors and a group, include only the first author's surname followed by "et al," "and associates," or "and colleagues."

Number of Authors In-text Format
1 author Jones4 reported...
2 authors Jones and Choi9 reported...
3 or more authors Jones et al5 reported...