Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association

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Verbs and Pronouns in APA Style

For students who write essays and scientific publications, several styles have been developed that set specific rules for publication. Writing an article in the APA style is different from other formats, which mainly cover topics such as literature, language, and other subjects of composition. A scientific article should always be short, clear and direct, so special care must be taken when it comes to the use of words and verbs in an APA essay.

First of all, it is necessary to consider the rules and criteria regarding verbs in style. The creation and analysis of data to test hypotheses form the basis of scientific research, and the success of all observations and research experiments depends on them. Researchers use different types of verbs to explain and share their research methods and results. A rule of thumb is that the writer should use the same tenses throughout the entire section. Here’s an example: “We tested the solution to identify possible contaminants.” Notice here that the second form of the verb “test” is used in the above sentence. Therefore, it does not make sense to use the first form of that particular verb in the same section or paragraph, as shown in the following sentence: “Scientists often test solutions with a microscope.” Thus, the APA guidelines recommend using verbs in several formats. So, past or present perfect tense to explain methods. At the same time, the past tense is used to explain results and conclusions. Finally, the present tense is for explaining the conclusion and future implications.

Further, it is necessary to analyze in more detail the rules and requirements for the sphere of pronouns, which are dictated by the APA style. First of all, it should be noted that the word “they” is used to characterize unknown persons referred to in the third person. At the same time, the pronoun “they” is also used for queer people at will, as well as for non-binary individuals, in order to avoid potential mishaps. Separately, it is necessary to note the prohibition on the use of pronouns of the 1st and 2nd person in order to maintain the officiality of the article (American Psychological Association, 2020). In other words, one of the principles of an APA-style article is the objectivity of information and its scientific nature. In the case when the writer uses the pronoun “I” or “we”, then the provided text is subjectivized, since knowledge is extrapolated to personal experience and thoughts.

Both in the sphere of verbs and in the sphere of pronouns, there is a clear position of style to maximally formalize the student’s text. This suggests that scientific thoughts and works should be understandable and objective in such a way that it is impossible to offend anyone with their help or not be taken seriously because of emotionality. In addition to everything else, the style of the language used in the description and study of information is capable of clearly dividing knowledge into areas. So, following from all of the above, essays and works written in the APA style can be designated as a separate area – scientific-literary, psychological or linguistic. In turn, this helps researchers to search for the necessary knowledge among a certain group of scientific literature. In addition, this contributes to the development of a unified style of writing, which significantly speeds up both the analysis of works and interaction with sources.

Bias in the Works of Psychology

With some degree of certainty, we can say that all people like to be right. At the same time, it is far from always possible to remain objectively right, but you can always resort to subjective judgments, which, if interpreted correctly, will play into your hands and confirm your opinion. In addition, bias is often found in scientific papers in psychology, which negatively refers to the quality of the information provided. It is necessary to consider this problem in more detail and understand how to deal with it.

Confirmation bias is commonly referred to as a person’s desire to prove their own opinion. The structure of this cognitive distortion is rather complicated: within its framework, three mechanisms of biased judgment about reality operate, separately or jointly. The first is a biased search for information, among those who are prone to such a search, a prominent place belongs to conspiracy theorists. Thus, supporters of the so-called “lunar conspiracy” are sure that the Apollo space program was completely falsified, the moon landing was never carried out, and all existing evidence materials were filmed on Earth. The second aspect of confirmation bias is interpretation bias. It is clear that almost any information, as well as the outcome of any event, can be interpreted in two ways: it is worth remembering, for example, the well-known incident with blue curtains that “symbolize the protagonist’s deep depression” for a literature teacher, but in fact, according to the author’s idea, it’s just blue.A person who has his own fixed opinion on a certain issue, under the influence of confirmation bias, will interpret new information in favor of what he thinks.

As an example of this situation, we can take a recent study in which scientists studied the influence of information about the work of the opposition party on the political mood of Americans. For a month, Republican participants read tweets that Democrat bots add to their feed, while Democrats, on the contrary, received information about the work of the opposition Republican Party. At the end of the experiment, the political views of each side did not change, but, on the contrary, intensified: when receiving information about how things are with the political opposition, the participants, apparently, were convinced that their views were the only correct ones, interpreting any, even positive information in a negative way. Curiously, the opposition bots had a stronger influence on the Republicans, who became even more conservative (American Psychological Association, 2020). From this it can be concluded that the frequency of occurrence of confirmation bias may be due to some factors, for example, personality characteristics, such as self-confidence and self-righteousness.

The third aspect is memory bias: people seeking to prove their point will recall and use the evidence to their advantage. An example is a study conducted by American researchers Mark Snyder and Nancy Cantor in the late 70s. In their experiment, the participants were given a detailed description of the life of a girl named Jane, and then – divided into two groups of volunteers – they were asked to present arguments for and against the girl being hired as a librarian or realtor. Those who needed to “settle” Jane in the library noted that the girl is a quiet introvert, and those who needed to make Jane a successful realtor more often noted the qualities that make her a sociable extrovert.

In most cases, however, bias is expressed through the words used and the tone of the author. In other words, the presence of 1st person pronouns, emotional coloring and the lack of neutralization of any point of view gives rise to the subjectivity of any information. However, there is one of the most effective ways to get rid of such errors. The use of APA-style, designed specifically to increase the objectivity and formality of the text. An important advantage of the style is that it specializes in psychological thematic, which most closely matches the type of research described above.

Punctuation in APA

Punctuation is one of the most important points of any language, indicating both the literacy of the text and creating ease of reading. However, punctuation rules often depend not only on the language in which the work is written, but also on the style used in the text. One such style is APA, which needs to be analyzed in the context of punctuation to identify its features and strengths.

The main punctuation difference in style is the rules for quoting within the text. In the APA, inline citations are given in the author-date format, such as (Lennon, 1989). It should be noted that when mentioning a thought from another work or linking to a source, the page number in brackets does not need to be indicated. However, if another work is cited, then the page from which the phrase was taken must be indicated in brackets. Use “p.” for one page and “pp.” for the page range, for example, (Lennon, 1989, p. 168) or (Lennon, 1989, pp. 168-171).

An important point that is often overlooked is quotation marks, capital letters, and italicization of titles in references to sources within the text. There are also a number of APA-style quoting rules for such cases. Unlike References, where only the first word in the source name and proper names are capitalized, within a scientific work all words, except for the service parts of speech, are capitalized. This applies both to two parts of a word separated by a dash, and to two parts of a name separated by a colon, for example: Natural-Born, “Translation: The Rules and Mistakes”. If the title of a work is italicized in the References, it is also italicized in the text. The title of a work that is not italicized in the list of references is highlighted in the text with double quotation marks.

Finally, long quotations need to be considered as a phenomenon in APA. A quotation that consists of more than 40 words must be formatted in a separate block after the signal phrase from a new line without quotes and indented to the left as for a red line. The line spacing in the quote is double. A quotation is followed by a dot and in parentheses indicate the page number from which it was taken. In addition, APA is the style of References that is most often used in the social sciences, such as psychology, anthropology, sociology, as well as in education and other humanities fields of knowledge. When compiling a list of references, special punctuation norms are also relevant, for example, when compiling books: Author’s surname, initials. (The year of publishing). Title of the book (in italics, with capital letters for proper names, for the first word of the title, the first word after “:” or “-”) (edition if the book was published more than once) (American Psychological Association, 2020). Place of publication: Publisher. This allows to quickly navigate in the list of references, and researchers – to work with the source.

To facilitate understanding of the various jobs, a group of people whose professions were anthropologists, psychologists, and business administrators created standards to meet this requirement. His goal was to find a set of precepts that could be fulfilled in all scriptures and could be broad and could be adapted to any subject. That is why we emphasized important aspects related to the fields and formats that the document should have, and also noted their punctuation and abbreviations that they should have. Thus, the APA style creates clear punctuation rules that allow punctuation marks to delimit the ideas of the text as effectively as possible.


American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition. Web.

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ChalkyPapers. (2023, January 6). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Retrieved from


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ChalkyPapers. 2023. "Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association." January 6, 2023.

1. ChalkyPapers. "Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association." January 6, 2023.


ChalkyPapers. "Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association." January 6, 2023.