As you climb the academic ladder and continue publishing research in your field, it is important to step back from the content every once in a while and review basic punctuation rules that can enhance, or hinder, your writing. This blog serves a refresher of some basic APA punctuation rules for those writing and publishing in the social sciences. Please also note that APA follows the American Style of punctuation, which often differs from the British style.
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Punctuation with Quotes
Example Paragraph: Smith (2010) noted three factors are important for health: “quote” (p. 4). The researcher added that in addition to exercise, “quote” is equally necessary for optimum health (p. 5). According to Smith, “quote less than 40 words . . . and other things” (p. 5). Tyler (2015) extended on this argument:
Block quotation format used for quotations longer than 40 words. No double quotation marks are used and the entire quote is set .5” in from the left margin. The page numbers are placed in parentheses outside of the final period. (p. 5)
Comma Use and Lists
The APA Style Blog has detailed explanations of punctuation use and seriation (lists) for additional examples.
Basically, avoid use of the slash as it creates ambiguity and therefore unclear writing. For example:
There are three different types of dashes: the hyphen, em dash, and en dash.
Remembering to follow proper grammar and punctuation rules, particularly according to the style guide the research must comply with, will enhance your writing and make you a better, more credible author in the field. Although it is important to avoid punctuation errors when creating content, the brain has a tendency to look over these types of mistakes and focus on the content instead. For that reason, most universities or journals require work to be submitted to an editor before submission or publication. In short, do your best to understand and follow punctuation rules, but do not be afraid reach out to an editor for assistance when needed—that is what we are here for!