APA Common Feedback Corrections
1.10 Plagiarism “Each time you paraphrase another author (i.e., summarize a passage or
rearrange the order of a sentence and change some of the words), you need to credit the source in
the text” (p. 15).
1.10 Self-Plagiarism “They [authors] do not present their own previously published work as
new scholarship” (p. 16).
When to Cite “Cite the work of those individuals whose ideas, theories, or research have
directly influenced your work. They may provide key background information, support or
dispute your thesis, or offer critical definitions and data. Citation of an article implies that you
have personally read the cited work. In addition crediting the ideas of others that you used to
build your thesis, provide documentation for all facts and figures that are not common
knowledge” (p. 169).
6.03 Direct Quotation of Sources “When quoting, always provide the author, year, and specific
page citation or paragraph number for the nonpaginated material in the text and include a
complete reference on the reference list” (p. 170).
6.22 Abbreviation for page or pages “Acceptable abbreviation…”(p. 180).
(p.) or pages (pp.)
3.03 Levels of Heading “…APA consists of five possible formatting arrangements, according to
the number of levels of subordination” (p. 62).
L1: Centered, Boldfaced, Uppercase and Lowercase Heading.
L2: Flush left, Boldface, Uppercase and Lowercase Heading.
L3: Indented, boldface, lowercase paragraph heading ending with a period.
L4: Indented, boldface, italicized, lowercase paragraph heading ending with a period
L5: Indented, italicized, lowercase paragraph heading ending with a period.
3.04 Seriation “…itemized conclusions or steps in a procedure, are identified by an Arabic
numeral followed by a period buy not enclosed or followed by parentheses.” (p. 63).
3.04 Seriation “Separate sentences in a series are also identified by an Arabic number followed
by a period; the first word is capitalized, and the sentence ends with a period or correct
punctuation” (p. 63).
3.04 Bullet Lists “The use of “numbered lists” may connote an unwanted or unwarranted ordinal
position (e.g., chronology, importance, priority) among the items. If you wish to achieve the
same effect without the implication of ordinality, items in the serious should be identified by
bullets. Symbols such as small squares, circles, and so forth, may be used in creating a bulleted
list” (p. 65).
3.04 Series in a Paragraph “Within a paragraph or sentence, identify elements in a series by
lowercase letters in parenthesis” (p. 64). Example: On the firefighting crew there is, (a) one
captain, (b) one engineer, and (c) two firefighters, that work together on the scene.
APA Common Feedback Corrections
3.08 Economy of Expression “Say only what needs to be said…you can tighten long papers by
eliminating redundancy, wordiness, jargon, evasiveness, overuse of passive voice,
circumlocution and clumsy prose. Weed out overly detailed descriptions of apparatus,
participants, or procedures…elaborations of the obvious and irrelevant observations or asides”
Wordiness. “Wordiness can also impede the ready grasp of ideas. Unconstrained
wordiness lapses into embellishment and flowery writing, which are clearly inappropriate
for scientific style” (p. 67).
Redundancy. Writers often use redundant language in an effort to be emphatic. Use no
more words than are necessary to convey your meaning” (p. 67).
3.09 Precision and Clarity “Make certain that every word means exactly what you intend it to
mean. In informal style, for example, feel broadly substitutes for think or believe, but in scientific
style such latitude is not acceptable” (p. 68).
Colloquial expressions. “Avoid colloquial expressions (e.g., write up for report), which
diffuse meaning. Approximations of quantity (e.g., quite a large part, practically all, or
very few) are interpreted differently by different readers or in different contexts.
Approximations weaken statements, especially those describing empirical observations”
Jargon. Jargon is the continuous use of a technical vocabulary, even in places where that
vocabulary is not relevant. Jargon is also the substitution of a euphemistic phrase for a
familiar term (e.g., monetarily felt scarcity for poverty), and you should scrupulous avoid
using such jargon. Federal bureaucratic jargon has had the greatest publicity, but
scientific jargon also grates on the reader, encumbers the communication of the
information, and wastes space” (p. 68).
Pronouns. “Pronouns confuse readers unless the referent for each pronoun is obvious;
readers should not have to search previous text to determine the meaning of the term” (p.
Attribution. “Inappropriately or illogically attributing action in an effort to be objective
can be misleading. Examples of undesirable attribution include the use of the third
person, anthropomorphism, and use of the editorial we” (p. 69).
Third person. “To avoid ambiguity, use a personal pronoun rather than the third
person” (p. 69).
Anthropomorphism. “Do not attribute human characterisitics to animals or to
inanimate sources” (p. 69).
Editorial we. “For clarity, restrict your use of we to refer only to yourself and
your coauthors (use I if you are the sole author of the paper)” (p. 69).
APA Common Feedback Corrections
3.10 Linguistic Devices “Devices that attract attention to words, sounds, or other
embellishments instead of to ideas are inappropriate for scientific writing. Avoid heavy
alliteration, rhyming, poetic expressions, and clichés” (p. 70).
3.11 Reducing Bias in Language “Constructions that might imply bias against persons on the
basis of gender, sexual orientation, racial or ethnic group, disability, or age are unacceptable” (p.
3.12 Gender “Avoid ambiguity in sex identity or gender role by choosing nouns, pronouns, and
adjectives that specifically describe you participants. Sexist bias can occur when pronouns are
used carelessly, as when the masculine pronoun he is used to refer to both sexes or when the
masculine or feminine pronoun is used exclusively to define roles by sex (e.g., “the nurse…she).
The use of man as a generic noun or as an ending for an occupational title (e.g., policeman
instead of police officer) can be ambiguous and may imply incorrectly that all persons in the
group are male” (p. 73).
3.15 Disabilities “Avoid language that objectifies a person by her or his condition (e.g., autistic,
neurotic), that uses pictorial metaphors (e.g., wheelchair bound or confined to a wheelchair), that
uses excessive and negative labels (e.g., AIDS victim, brain damaged), or that can be regarded as
a slur (e.g., cripple, invalid). Use people-first language…(e.g., person with paraplegia, youth
with autism)” (P. 76).
3.18 Verbs “Use the active rather than the passive voice, and select tense or mood
carefully…The passive voice is acceptable in expository writing and when you want to focus on
the object or recipient of the action rather than on the actor” (p. 77).
3.19 Agreement of Subject and Verb “A verb must agree in number (i.e., singular or plural)
with its subject, regardless of intervening phrases that begin with such words as together with,
including, plus, and as well as” (p. 78).
3.20 Pronouns “Each pronoun should refer clearly to its antecedent and should agree with the
antecedent in number and gender” (p. 79).
3.21 Misplaced modifiers “Because of their placement in a sentence, misplaced modifiers
ambiguously or illogically modify a word. You can eliminate misplaced modifiers by placing an
adjective or an adverb as close as possible to the word it modifies” (p. 81).
4.07 Quotation Marks (Scare Quotes) “Use double quotation marks to introduce a word or
phrase used as an ironic comment, as slang, or as an invented or coined expression. Use
quotation marks the first time the word or phrase is used; thereafter, do not use quotation marks”
4.08 Double or Single Quotation Marks “Use double quotation marks to enclose quotations in
text. Use single quotation marks within double quotation marks to set off material that in the
original sources was enclosed in double quotation marks” (p. 92).
APA Common Feedback Corrections
4.08 In Block Quotations (any quotations of 40 or more words). “Do not use quotation marks to
enclose block quotations. Do use double quotation marks to enclose any quoted material within a
block quotation (p. 92).
“Start such a block quotation on a new line and indent the block about a half inch from the left
margin (in the same position as a new paragraph.) If there are additional paragraphs within the
quotation, indent the first line of each an additional half inch. Double-space the entire quotation.
At the end of a block quotation, cite the quoted source and the page or paragraph number in
parentheses after the final punctuation mark” (p. 171).
Quotations: Direct quotations are to be used very sparingly. The chief drawback is that the
text becomes choppy and difficult to read. Using the author's own words in a direct quote is
usually justified for only the following reasons:
credibility, an argument gains credibility by quoting a known authority;
power, an argument gains power by the skillful weaving-in of knowledge into the text;
eloquence, an argument gains eloquence by using a direct quote that illuminates the
“to set off structurally independent elements” (p. 93).
“to introduce an abbreviation” (p. 93).
Do not use parentheses
“To enclose material within other parentheses…[Use brackets to avoid nested
“back to back” (p. 94).
4.21 Use of Italics “In general, use italics infrequently” (p. 104).
Use italics for
“introduction of a new, technical, or key term or label (after a term has been used once,
do not italicize it)” (p. 105).
“a letter, word, or phrase cited as a linguistic example” (p. 105).
“words that could be misread” (p. 105).
4.22 Abbreviations “To maximize clarity, use abbreviations sparingly. Although abbreviations
are sometimes useful for long, technical terms in scientific writing, communication is usually
garbled rather than clarified if, for example, an abbreviation is unfamiliar to the reader” (p. 106).
4.23 Explanations of Abbreviations “…a term to be abbreviated must, on its first appearance,
be written out completely and followed immediately by its abbreviation I parentheses.
Thereafter, use the abbreviation in text without further explanation (do not switch between the
abbreviated and written-out forms of a term)” (p. 107).
APA Common Feedback Corrections
4.26 Latin Abbreviations “Use the following standard Latin abbreviations only in parenthetical
material; in non-parenthetical material, use the English translation of the Latin terms; in both
cases, include the correct punctuation that accompanies the term:”
cf. - compare
e.g., - for example
, etc. - , and so forth
i.e., - that is,
viz., - namely,
vs. - versus, against
4.31 Numbers Expressed in Numerals
Use numerals to express
a. “numbers 10 and above” (p. 111).
b. “numbers in the abstract of a paper or in a graphical display within a paper” (p. 111).
c. “numbers that immediately precede a unit of measure” (p. 111).
d. “numbers that represent statistical or mathematical functions, fractional or decimal
quantities, percentages, ratios and percentiles and quartiles” (p. 111).
4.32 Numbers Expressed in Words
Use words to express
a. “any number that begins a sentence, title, or text heading. (Whenever possible, reword
the sentence to avoid beginning with a number)” (p. 112).
b. “common fractions” (p. 112).
5.07-5.19 Tables Formatting See APA Style Guide (pp. 128-150)
6.25 Order of References in the Reference List
Alphabetizing names. “Arrange entries in alphabetical order by the surname of the first
author followed by initials of the author’s given name…” (p. 181).
Order of several works by the same first author. “When ordering several works by the
same first author, give the author’s name in the first and all subsequent references, and
use the following rules to arrange entries:
One-author entries by the same author are arranged by year of publication, earliest
One-author entries precede multiple-author entries beginning with the same
surname (even if the multiple-author work was published earlier).
References with the same first author and different second or third authors are
arranged alphabetically by the surname of the second author or, if the second
author is the same, the surname of the third author, and so on.
References with the same authors in the same order are arranged by the year of
publication, the earliest first.
References by the same author (or by the same two or more authors in the same
order) with the same publication date are arranged alphabetically by title
(excluding A or The).