APA, WRITING, EDITING, and PROOFREADING GUIDE

Lee Bowman
ELearningProf.net
lbowmanprof@yahoo.com
© 2006
updated August 2007


Please note that everything included in this guide will be graded in your paper. Take the time to proofread and edit your paper according to all the APA formatting and graduate level writing information included in this resource.

PAPER FORMAT: All written papers must be formatted as follows:
DO NOT:
**type page headers or page numbers.
Use the MS Word page header feature
**hit enter to double space.
Use the MS Word formatting feature for
double spacing.
**use space bar to indent. Use the MS Word formatting feature

HOW TO WRITE A THESIS STATEMENT, INTRODUCTION, & CONCLUSION
The thesis statement is part of the introduction and not a separate part of the paper.

LEO Thesis Statements

OWL: The "SO WHAT" Test

 

UNC Handout Thesis Statements

DO NOT ANNOUNCE the thesis of your paper with phrases such as “I will discuss……” or “This paper will…...”

A thesis sentence should both identify the topic of the paper and indicate the author's attitude toward the topic or position on the topic. Thus, it should do more than announce a topic. Announcements take the form of This paper will do such-and-such or In this paper I will . . . ..
Alice L. Trupe, 2001, Bridgewater College

From University of Madison-Wisconsin Writing Center:
A thesis statement is a sentence that makes an assertion about a topic and predicts how the topic will be developed. It does not simply announce a topic: it says something about the topic.

X: In this paper, I will discuss how ABC……..

OK: ABC has made a significant impact on the teenage population due to its . . .

A thesis statement makes a promise to the reader about the scope, purpose, and direction of the paper. It summarizes the conclusions that the writer has reached about the topic. A thesis statement is focused and specific enough to be proven within the boundaries of the paper. Key words (nouns and verbs) should be specific, accurate, and indicative of the range of research, thrust of the argument or analysis, and the organization of supporting information.

ThIS APA RESOURCE will help you use source properly in your writing.
If you do not follow these guidelines, your work will be in violation of the University Academic Honesty Policies and will be considered to be plagiarized.

USING SOURCES IN YOUR WRITING
This information explains how to use sources and citations in your work

Strategies for Writing Introductions

MIT Online Writing Lab

UNC Handouts


Strategies for Writing Conclusions

Leo

UNC Handouts

IMPORTANT WRITING TIPS

STYLE and ACADEMIC WRITING
Academic writing is FORMAL, not casual or informal.

 

Point of view
No first and second person points-of-view (e.g., I, you, we) are used in academic writing.
Always write from third person point-of-view. Third person points-of-view (e.g., he, she, it, and they) should not be used unless writing a reflective paper.

Verb/Subject Agreement
: main verbs agree with the subject in person and number


Verb Tense
: writing does not shift inappropriately back and forth from present to past

Noun Plurals: regular plurals ending in "s" and irregular plurals

Articles: articles should be properly place ("a," "an," and "the")

Punctuation: Commas, semi-colons, colons; ending punctuation INSIDE quotation marks

Pronoun Reference: every pronoun has a clear referent; do not use "he," she," "they," etc. more than twice per paragraph.

Vague Pronouns: Make sure that pronouns such as "it" and "this" refer to something specific.

  • In the report it suggests that moderate exercise is better than no exercise at all. X
  • The report suggests that moderate exercise is better than no exercise at all. OK
  • The group wanted to meet in January, but this didn't happen until May. X
  • The group wanted to meet in January, but the conference didn't take place until May. OK
  • PRONOUNS SHOULD BE REPLACED WITH PRECISE NOUNS to improve clarity. Use precise language.  Avoid “it.”  "You" and other personal pronouns are never used in an academic report.  "This" and "these" need a noun referent for clarity.  "One" is generally a formal and acceptable pronoun. 

    Modifiers: A word or phrase describing something.

    Make sure the modifier clearly refers to the element you want it to modify.

  • The council advises physicians at regular intervals to administer the drug. X
  • The council advises physicians to administer the drug at regular intervals. OK
  • At regular intervals, the council advises physicians to administer the drug. OK
  • Make sure that a modifying phrase or clause has something to modify.

  • By manipulating the lower back, the pain was greatly eased. (X--implies the pain was doing the manipulating)
  • By manipulating the lower back, the therapist greatly eased the pain. OK
  • When not going to school, my hobbies range from athletics to automobiles. (X--implies the hobbies go to school)
  • When I am not going to school, my hobbies range from athletics to automobiles. OK
  • Parallelism (Examples)

            X: Boy Scouts at the camp can learn cooking, canoeing, swimming, or how to make ropes.
           
    OK : Boy Scouts at the camp can learn cooking, canoeing, swimming, or rope-making. 

    X: I enjoy biking and to walk down by the pier.
    OK:   I enjoy biking and walking down by the pier.

           X: Non-traditional students often study long hours, get limited sleep, and up again with the sunrise.
           
    OK: Non-traditional students often study long hours, get limited sleep, and are up again with the sunrise. 

    Using That and Who
    In academic writing that refers only to things. Who (or its forms whom and whose) refers only to people.
    Examples:

    These are the books that I need for the class.
    He is the man who will be teaching the class.

    Use "it" "they" and "you" carefully

            X In Chapter four of my autobiography it says that I was born out of wedlock.
           
    OK: Chapter four of my autobiography states that I was born out of wedlock.

             X In the restaurant they gave me someone else's linguini.
           
    OK In the restaurant, the server gave me someone else's linguini. 

             X In the fourteenth century, you had to struggle to survive.
           
    OK In the fourteenth century, English peasant farmers had to struggle to survive.

    Antecedent Agreement
    The antecedent of a pronoun is the word which the pronoun stands for. In the first sentence on this page the pronoun which is taking the place of word. Therefore, word is the antecedent.

             X Every student must have their pencils.
            (Both every and student are singular; therefore, his, her, or his or her must be used. Their is plural and cannot refer to a singular noun.)
             
    OK Every student must have his or her pencil.

     X: I never go to that place because they have stale bread.
    (What does they refer to? Both I and place are singular.)
     
    OK: I never go to that place because it has stale bread.

     X: He ought to speak French well. He lived there for twenty years.
     
    OK: He ought to speak French well. He lived in France for twenty years.

     X: The suitcase was on the plane, but now it's gone.
    (What is gone? The suitcase or the plane?)
     
    OK The suitcase was on the plane, but now the suitcase is gone.
    OR
    The suitcase was on the plane, but now the plane is gone.
    (Depends on which you mean...)

    Punctuation: Use a semicolon as well as a conjunctive adverb to join two independent clauses.
  • Much of the literature advocates stretching preparatory to exercise, however, the mechanisms are not well understood. X
  • Much of the literature advocates stretching preparatory to exercise; however, the mechanisms are not well understood.  OK
  •     These are the most common conjunctive adverbs:
    however        
    therefore          
    then

    therefore       
    nevertheless     
    accordingly

    as a result     
    moreover          
    even so

    rather           
    indeed              
    for example

    Comma, Semi-Colon, Colon

    a. Use a comma after each item in a series of three or more.

  • Many studies indicate favourable results in function, decreased pain and range of motion. X
  • Many studies indicate favourable results in function, decreased pain, and range of motion. OK
  • b. Use a comma when you join independent clauses with one of the seven coordinating conjunctions (and, or, nor, but, so, yet , for).
  • Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. X
  • Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. OK
  • c. Use a semicolon when you join independent clauses without a coordinating conjunction.
  • Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. OK
  • Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. BETTER
  • d. Do not use a comma to separate subject and verb.
  • His enthusiasm for the subject and his desire to be of help, led him to volunteer. X
  • His enthusiasm for the subject and his desire to be of help led him to volunteer. OK
  • e. Use a colon after a complete statement in order to introduce one or more directly related ideas, such as a series of directions, a list, or a quotation or other comment illustrating or explaining the statement.

    WORDINESS

  • Omit the filler phrases "it is," "there is," and "there are" at the beginning of sentences; these often delay the sentence's true subject and verb.
    X  It is expensive to upgrade computer systems.
    OK Upgrading computer systems is expensive.
     
  • Omit "this" from the beginning of a sentence by joining it to the preceding sentence with a comma.
    X   Chlorofluorocarbons have been banned from aerosols. This has lessened the ozone layer's depletion.
    OK Chlorofluorocarbons have been banned from aerosols, lessening the ozone layer's depletion.
     
  • Change "which" or "that" constructions to an "-ing" word.
    X  The committee, which meets monthly, oversees accounting procedures and audits.
    OK The committee, meeting monthly, oversees accounting procedures and audits.
     
  • Omit "which" or "that" altogether when possible.
    X Because the fluid, which was brown and poisonous, was dumped into the river, the company that was negligent had to shut down.
    OK Because the brown, poisonous fluid was dumped into the river, the negligent company had to shut down.
     
  • Replace passive verbs with active verbs. In passive constructions, the subject of the sentence is being acted upon; in active constructions, the subject is the actor.
    X Rain forests are being destroyed by uncontrolled logging.
    OK Uncontrolled logging is destroying rain forests.
     
  • Change "is" or "was" when they occur alone to a strong verb.
    X  A new fire curtain is necessary for the stage.
    OK The stage needs a new fire curtain.
     
  • Replace "is," "are," "was," "were," or "have + an -ing word" to a simple present or past tense verb.
    X   The South African government was undergoing significant changes.
    OK The South African government underwent significant changes.
     
  • Replace "should," "would," or "could" with strong verbs.
    X   The environmental council could see several solutions.
    OK The environmental council saw several solutions.
     
  • Substitute strong verbs for "-tion" and "-sion" words whenever possible.
    X   I submitted an application for the job.
    OK I applied for the job.

    Redundant Pairs: Many pairs of words imply each other. Finish implies complete, so the phrase completely finish is redundant in most cases. So are many other pairs of words:


    past memories
    various differences
    each individual _______
    basic fundamentals
    true facts
    important essentials
    future plans

    terrible tragedy
    end result
    final outcome
    free gift
    past history
    unexpected surprise
    sudden crisis
    very unique

    large in size
    often times
    of a bright color
    heavy in weight
    period in time
    round in shape
    at an early time
    economics field

    of cheap quality
    honest in character
    of an uncertain condition
    in a confused state
    unusual in nature
    extreme in degree
    of a strange type

    X   Before the travel agent was completely able to finish explaining the various differences among all of the many very unique vacation packages his travel agency was offering, the customer changed her future plans.

    OK Before the travel agent finished explaining the differences among the unique vacation packages his travel agency was offering, the customer changed her plans.

    X   During that time period, many car buyers preferred cars that were pink in color and shiny in appearance.
    The microscope revealed a group of organisms that were round in shape and peculiar in nature.

    OK During that period, many car buyers preferred pink, shiny cars.
    The microscope revealed a group of peculiar, round organisms.

    From:
    http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/general/gl_concise.html
    http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/grammar/grammarcondensed.html