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APA Citation Style

Style and Grammar

Proper grammar and usage are important to all writing, including papers written in APA Style. Incorrect grammar and careless construction of sentences distract readers, introduce ambiguity, and impede clear communication.

The grammar and usage guidelines in the Publication Manual represent only the most common areas of concern for writers—verbs, pronouns, and sentence construction.

If you have questions regarding grammar and usage that are not covered on the APA Style website or in the Publication Manual, consult a trusted grammar reference work or website. If you are student, also consider visiting your university writing center to receive individualized help with your work.

The American Psychological Association emphasizes the need to talk about all people with inclusivity and respect. Writers using APA Style must strive to use language that is free of bias and avoid perpetuating prejudicial beliefs or demeaning attitudes in their writing. Just as you have learned to check what you write for spelling, grammar, and wordiness, practice reading your work for bias.

The guidelines for bias-free language contain both general guidelines for writing about people without bias across a range of topics and specific guidelines that address the individual characteristics of age, disability, gender, participation in research, racial and ethnic identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and intersectionality. These guidelines and recommendations were crafted by panels of experts on APA’s bias-free language committees.

Tables and figures enable writers to present a large amount of information efficiently and to make their data more comprehensible.

A table usually shows numerical values (e.g., means and standard deviations) and/or textual information (e.g., lists of stimulus words, responses from participants) arranged in columns and rows. A figure may be a chart, graph, photograph, drawing, plot, infographic, or any other illustration that is not a table.

The goal of any table or figure is to help readers understand your work. The best tables and figures are also attractive and accessible to all users. The APA Style guidelines for tables and figures help ensure your visual displays are formatted clearly and consistently, thus contributing to the goal of effective communication.