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APA Style: Writing & Citation

This Research Guide has been created to help students use APA style in their writing.


APA recommends using one space after a period or other punctuation mark at the end of a sentence.  However, follow the guidence of your instructor or publisher. (see page 154, Section 6.2 in the APA 7th edition manual)

Use a period in the following cases:

  • to end a sentence
  • with intials in names  ex: Bazerman, M.H.
  • in the abbreviation for "United States and "United Kingdom" when they are used as adjectives.
  • in identity-concealing labels for study of participants. ex: F.I.M.
  • in Latin abbreviations ex: a.m. p.m. i.e.

Do not use periods in the following cases:

  • in state, province, or territory names ex:NY; CA; Washington DC
  • in capital letter abbreviations and acronyms ex: APA, NDA, NIMH, IQ
  • in abbreviations for academic degrees ex: PhD, PsysD, EdD, MD


Commas are very important for clarifying the meaning of a sentence.  Commas play an important role in academic writing because it helps the authors communicate technical information.  Here are a few tips for using commas in APA style.  These are some of the common problems that students and researches have with commas.  (see page 155, Section 6.3 in the APA 7th edition manual)

1. Use Commas to present items in a list of three or more things:

Correct Incorrect
rabbits, bunnies, and rats rabbits, bunnies and rats
apples, pears, and peaches apples, pears and peaches
by Dewey, Bundy, and Smith (2010) by Dewey, Bundy and Smith (2010)

2. To separate a clause that adds information to a sentence but if removed would leave the sentence grammatical correct.

Example:  Thirty participant, recuited the same way, provided pilot rating value.

3.  To separate two independent clauses joined by a conjunction.

Example: The cages were lined with cedar chips, and a separate water supply was provided for each hamster.

4. To set off the year in exact dates.

Example: April 19, 2010, was the date on the card.


Use a Semicolon: (see pages 155 and 156, Section 6.3 in the APA 7th edition manual)

1. To separate a series of words that already contain commas.

Example: Participants were allowed to select a red, white, and blue flag; a stocking filled with red and white candy; or a pair of red, white, and blue suspenders.

2. To separate two independent clauses that are not joined by a conjunction.

Example: The prisoner shifted uncomfortably in his chair; sweat began to bead his brow.


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