APA Style: English Usage, Latin Abbreviations and Numbers

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APA style, because it is used for reporting scientific studies, calls for language that is precise, straightforward, and unembellished. This handout briefly captures many of the general rules governing language use, Latin abbreviations, and numbers in-text. Additional coverage of grammar and usage can be found in the APA Manual (§3.18-3.23).

For quantitative/experimental reports and meta-analyses, several areas require more detailed information than can be provided here. Please consult the APA Manual for instruction on reducing biased language (§3.11-3.18), numbers in-text (§4.33-4.38), and scientific measurements and statistical abbreviations

(§4.22-4.29).

Selected Rules of Language Use

  • Use the personal pronoun to refer to yourself as author of the report:

Incorrect

Correct

this author

I

the authors

we (for a team of researchers)


  • Prefer the active voice (but use the passive voice when the agent is unimportant):

Incorrect

Correct

individuals were screened

we screened many individuals


  • Use the past tense or the present perfect tense to discuss the work of other authors/researchers:

Incorrect

Correct

LaBelle (1999) finds

LaBelle (1999) found

several studies show

several studies have shown


  • Be concise:

Incorrect

Correct

based on the fact that

because

the fact that

that

in the event that

if


  • Avoid gender-biased language:

Incorrect

Correct

mailman

mail carrier

stewardess

flight attendant


  • Avoid hedging and overstatement:

Incorrect

Correct

did not quite succeed

failed

a perfect method

an effective method


  • Avoid informal expression:

Incorrect

Correct

got

obtained; became

the pokey

prison


  • Avoid jargon and euphemism:

Incorrect

Correct

Spirit-filled singing

enthusiastic singing

women of ill repute

female prostitutes



Latin Abbreviations (§4.26)

Latin abbreviations in the text of your paper should be enclosed within parentheses. The spelled-out versions are not enclosed in parentheses but may need to be set off with commas (i.e., the same ones that require commas in abbreviated form).

Inside parentheses

Outside parentheses

cf.

compare

e.g.,

for example

et al.

and others

, etc.

and so forth

i.e.,

that is

viz.,

namely

vs.

versus

v. (legal cases)

v. (legal cases)


Numbers in-Text (§4.31, 4.32)

In general, use numerals to express numbers 10 and above. Do not, however, use a numeral to begin a sentence; spell out the number or rearrange the wording of your sentence.


Copyright © 2012 Wheaton College Writing Center

APA style, because it is used for reporting scientific studies, calls for language that is precise, straightforward, and unembellished. This handout briefly captures many of the general rules governing language use, Latin abbreviations, and numbers in-text. Additional coverage of grammar and usage can be found in the APA Manual (§3.18-3.23).

For quantitative/experimental reports and meta-analyses, several areas require more detailed information than can be provided here. Please consult the APA Manual for instruction on reducing biased language (§3.11-3.18), numbers in-text (§4.33-4.38), and scientific measurements and statistical abbreviations

(§4.22-4.29).

Selected Rules of Language Use

  • Use the personal pronoun to refer to yourself as author of the report:

Incorrect

Correct

this author

I

the authors

we (for a team of researchers)


  • Prefer the active voice (but use the passive voice when the agent is unimportant):

Incorrect

Correct

individuals were screened

we screened many individuals


  • Use the past tense or the present perfect tense to discuss the work of other authors/researchers:

Incorrect

Correct

LaBelle (1999) finds

LaBelle (1999) found

several studies show

several studies have shown


  • Be concise:

Incorrect

Correct

based on the fact that

because

the fact that

that

in the event that

if


  • Avoid gender-biased language:

Incorrect

Correct

mailman

mail carrier

stewardess

flight attendant


  • Avoid hedging and overstatement:

Incorrect

Correct

did not quite succeed

failed

a perfect method

an effective method


  • Avoid informal expression:

Incorrect

Correct

got

obtained; became

the pokey

prison


  • Avoid jargon and euphemism:

Incorrect

Correct

Spirit-filled singing

enthusiastic singing

women of ill repute

female prostitutes



Latin Abbreviations (§4.26)

Latin abbreviations in the text of your paper should be enclosed within parentheses. The spelled-out versions are not enclosed in parentheses but may need to be set off with commas (i.e., the same ones that require commas in abbreviated form).

Inside parentheses

Outside parentheses

cf.

compare

e.g.,

for example

et al.

and others

, etc.

and so forth

i.e.,

that is

viz.,

namely

vs.

versus

v. (legal cases)

v. (legal cases)


Numbers in-Text (§4.31, 4.32)

In general, use numerals to express numbers 10 and above. Do not, however, use a numeral to begin a sentence; spell out the number or rearrange the wording of your sentence.


Copyright © 2012 Wheaton College Writing Center