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APA Citation Style 7th Ed. (other styles too)

Author Name Format

Author Names

The APA citation style comes from the American Psychological Association and therefore uses Western naming conventions. That is, an author citation will start with the family name or surname or last name, followed by the initials.
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton ---> Clinton, H. R.
  • Thomas Harris ---> Harris, T.
  • Hugo Carrington III ---> Carrington, H., III.
  • David Ashton Blake Jr ---> Blake, D. A., Jr.
  • Yvonne Fry-Johnson ---> Fry-Johnson, Y.
  • Davis, John Thomas ---> Davis, J. T.
  • Daniel Nilsson De Hanas ---> De Hanas, D. N.
  • Riaan van der Westhuizen  ---> van der Westhuizen, R.
  • Lady Gaga ---> Lady Gaga.
  • bell hooks ---> hooks, b. (this author prefers lower case)


Western naming conventions place the family name AFTER the given name(s), so the given name usually comes first. If you see a comma, this will mean the family name has been written first...

  • Hilary Rodham Clinton - Clinton is the surname or family name

  • Davis, John Thomas - Davis is the surname or family name

Using the Western way also applies easily to Chinese and Vietnamese names, although you will need to take note of the different formats a Chinese name can take. 

  • Ong Seow Ling ---> Ong, S. L.
  • Huang Keng-Yen ---> Huang, K.-Y.
  • Xiaowei Li ---> Li, X.
  • David Koh Thong Bee ---> Koh, D. T. B. (English initial first)
  • Stephen H. Chen ---> Chen, S. H.

  • Nguyen Thi Dieu ---> Nguyen, T. D.
  • Trieu Thi Choi ---> Trieu, T. C.

Other Non-Western Names

Please note that the APA Citation Style rules do not make specific provision for non-Western names

This can make things very confusing, especially when you consider:

  • Some people, like many from Indonesia, only have one name
  • Names from India can include a family name, a village name, a middle name, or even a pet name; and the order in which the names are written can also vary
  • Muslim names may or may not include a family name
  • People from Myanmar usually only have given names and these can consist of two to three syllables. Aung San Suu Kyi, however, uses her father's name Aung San


Sometimes an author will use the Western way of writing a name, probably to try and make things easier. If you are not sure which format to use, try finding other works that cite the author, or check the author's website or resume. 


If you cannot find an appropriate example, our advice in the case of most non-Western names is to write them as they appear even though the reference managers like Mendeley will cite them according to the Western naming style. Do not include the bin and binti

  • Sulaiman Abdullah Saif Al Nasser ---> Sulaiman Abdullah Saif Al Nasser
  • Mahathir bin Muhammed ---> Mahathir Muhammed
  • Aung San Suu Kyi ---> Aung San Suu Kyi
  • S. Lakshmy Anantha Krishnan ---> S. Lakshmy Anantha Krishnan