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APA Style. Grammar. Verbs. Use active rather than passive voice, select tense and mood carefully Poor: The survey was conducted in a controlled setting. Better: We conducted the survey in a controlled setting. Poor: The experiment was designed by Simpson (2001).
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APA Style Grammar
Verbs • Use active rather than passive voice, select tense and mood carefully • Poor: The survey was conducted in a controlled setting. • Better: We conducted the survey in a controlled setting. • Poor: The experiment was designed by Simpson (2001). • Better: Simpson (2001) designed the experiment.
Verbs • Passive voice is acceptable in expository writing and when you want to focus on the recipient of the action. • Use past tense to express action that occurred in the past (e.g. another researcher’s work, reporting results) • Use present perfect tense (has + verb) to express a past action that did not occur in a specific time in the past or that is still continuing to the present. • “Since that time, investigators from several studies have used this method.”
Verbs • Use subjunctive tense to describe conditions that are contrary to fact or improbable • Incorrect: If the experiment was not designed this way, the participants’ performances would suffer. • Correct: If the experiment were not designed this way, the participants’ performances would suffer. • Use would with care. Do not use would to hedge. Example: it would appear that vs. it appears that
Agreement of Subject and Verb • Verb must agree in number (singular vs. plural) with its subject • The plural form of some nouns of foreign origin (e.g. data, phenomena) may appear to be singular when they are plural. • Collective nouns can be singular or plural. If action is on a group as a whole, it is singular. If action is on the members of a group, it is plural. • None can be singular or plural. When the noun following is single, use singular; when the noun following is plural, use plural. If you mean “not one”, use not one.
Agreement of Subject and Verb • When subject is composed of singular and plural noun joined by or or nor, the verb agrees with the noun that is closer. • If the number of the subject changes, retain the verb in each clause. • Example: The positions in the sequence were changed, and the test was rerun.
Pronouns • Pronouns replace nouns. Should refer clearly to antecedent and agree with antecedent in number and gender. • Use neuter pronouns to refer to animals unless animals have been named. • Pronouns can be subjects or objects of verbs or prepositions. Use who as the subject of a verb and whom as an object of a verb or preposition. • If you can use he or she, who is correct. If you can use him or her, whom is correct.
Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers and Use of Adverbs • An adjective or adverb must clearly refer to the word it modifies • Misplaced modifiers illogically modify a word. Place adjective or adverb as close as possible to the word it modifies. • Unclear: The investigator tested the participants using this procedure. • Clear: The investigator tested the participants who were using this procedure. • Clear: Using this procedure, the investigator tested the participants.
Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers and Use of Adverbs • Place the word only next to the word or phrase it modifies. • Dangling modifiers have no referent in the sentence. Can be avoided by using active tense. • Adverbs can be introductory or transitional words. Try to avoid importantly and interestingly. It is more appropriate to use important and interesting instead. • Hopefully means “in a hopeful manner” or “full of hope.” It does not mean “I hope” or “it is hoped.”
Relative Pronouns and Subordinate Conjunctions • Relative pronouns: who, whom, that, which • Subordinate conjunctions: since, while, although • Introduce an element that is subordinate to the main clause of the sentence and reflect the relationship of the subordinate element into the main clause.
Relative Pronouns • That vs. which • That clauses are essential to the meaning of the sentence. Which merely adds further information. • Which clauses are set off with commas • The animals that performed well in the first experiment were used in the second experiment. • The animals, which performed well in the first experiment, were not proficient in the second experiment.
Subordinate Conjunctions • While and since – both of these words have temporal and non-temporal meanings. APA suggests using them only when their temporal meanings are implied. • While and although – Use while to link events occurring simultaneously; otherwise, use although, whereas, and, or but • Since and because – Since is more precise when referring to time, otherwise use because
Parallel Construction • Present parallel ideas in parallel form • With coordinating conjunctions used in pairs, place the first conjunction immediately before the first part of the parallelism