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Common Errors in APA Format

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U of U format items that take precedence over APA format

  • Citations cannot be used in the abstract. 
  • Permissions for adaptations are not required.
  • Headings and subheadings must conform to U of U guidelines. (Subheadings may be numbered.)
  • Running heads cannot be used.
  • References are single spaced within entries and double spaced between entries.

Common errors made in using APA style

Page references to the 6th Edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association are in parentheses ( ). 


Citations and References

  • Spell out "and" with multiple author references in text
    • e.g., Smith and Jones (1995), but use "&" with parenthetical citations, e.g., (Smith & Jones, 1995) (p. 175). 
  • Alphabetize multiple author citations in a parenthetical list in the text
    • e.g., (Adams, 1990; Jones & Downs, 1994; Zimner, Bland, Edwards, & Carlucci, 1995) (p. 177). 
  • In text cite all authors the first time they occur if the work has more than two authors and fewer than six. Subsequent 
    citations include the first author's last name followed by et al. (p. 175). 
  • In the reference list use lower case letters for book titles and journal article titles except for the first letter of the first 
    word, the first letter of proper nouns, and the first letter following a colon.
    • Book example: Smith, D., & Jones, P. (1995). Capitalization using APA style: A guideline. City and state of publication: Publisher. Journal example: Smith, D. (1994). Title of journal article. Name of Journal Using First Letter Capitalization, 38, 151-162. URL example: Sick, L. (Ed.) (2009). Record structure for APA databases. Retrieved from: 
  • For references in the reference list with greater than seven authors, list the first six, followed by three ellipses and the 
    name of the last author (p. 184).


Numbers and Symbols

  • Italicize all letters used as statistical symbols or algebraic variables in text, tables, and figures
    • e.g., t test, r, n, N, p, F, SD, M, d, a/b=c/d, SEM (p. 101)[p. 105].
    • Place spaces around mathematical symbols (=, +, <, >, etc.) 
  • Use figures for numbers 10 and above unless the number begins the sentence (p. 111). 
  • Use figures for numbers under 10 in certain instances (pp. 111-112): 
  • If the number immediately precedes a unit of measurement
    • e.g., min, hr, weeks, years, cm, in. 
  • If the number represents statistical or mathematical functions, fractional or decimal quantities, percentages, 
    ratios, and percentiles and quartiles (pp. 111-112 for examples.). 
  • Use the page number on which a direct quotation is found in the citation in text
    • e.g., "Assume this material is quoted" (Jones, 1995, p. 44) (p. 171). 
  • Cite the page number for a block quotation at the end of the quotation; no period follows the parentheses (p. 171). 
    Quotations over three lines (block quotes) are single-spaced and indented (U of U format). 



  • Form the plural of numbers by adding "s" only
    • e.g., 2010s, 2020s (p. 114). 
  • Form the plural of acronyms and abbreviations by adding "s" only
    • e.g., RNs. Do not use periods with capital letter abbreviations or acronyms, e.g., PhD, IQ, UNESCO (p. 110). 



  •  Do not hyphenate the prefixes anti, inter, multi, non, over, post, pre, re, semi, sub, under, etc. Spell words with these 
    prefixes as one word, e.g., nonsignificant, pretest, posttest, with these exceptions:
    • if the root begins with a capital letter, e.g., non-LDS;
    • if there is a possibility for mispronunciation, e.g., non-native;
    • if the word promotes confusion, e.g., recreate, re-create;
    • if the prefix is self, e.g., self-report (pp. 99-100)
    • {See 6th ed. regarding prefixes that are not hyphenated.}.  
  • e.g. and i.e. are always followed by a comma. Use e.g., i.e., or etc. only inside parentheses. Otherwise use their 
    English translations.
    • For example, this sentence demonstrates correct usage (i.e., using the abbreviations inside 
      parentheses and the English translation in the regular text) (pg. 108). Do not italicize them. (p. 105) 
  • Do not place parentheses back to back
    • (e.g., defensive pessimism) (Norem & Cantor, 1986) instead use a semicolon (e.g., defensive pessimism; Norem & Cantor, 1986). (p. 94). 


Last Updated: 4/15/22