Grammar Corner: APA Formatting


(This article was originally published in the November 2019 issue of Paper Jam; make sure to always for updates to APA and other formatting guidelines)


The American Psychological Association, better known as the APA style, serves as the most favorable formatting option among the social sciences. The APA style boasts of its ability to allow the reader to focus on the content of the paper rather than its formatting. Similar to the MLA (Modern Language Association) format, APA requires the essay be typed, double spaced, with one-inch margins, and recommends the use of twelve-point Times New Roman font.


The major difference between MLA and APA formatting is APA’s running head and title page. For the page header, right justify the page number, and left justify the running header. To create the running header, type “Running head:” in the header section of the first page of the paper followed by a shortened version (less than fifty characters) of the title in all capital letters. On the following pages, only include the shortened version of the title and delete the “Running head:” portion of the page header. To generate a title page in APA format, start with the full title of the work, then the author's name, and the institution of which the author is affiliated with. After this, center justify the text and place it in the middle of the title page. In-text citations within APA format are simplistic, following an author-date technique, mentioning only the author's last name and the publication year.


The reference page should fall at the end of the paper under the title “References.” All lines of the reference page should be indented one-half inch from the left margin in a hanging indentation manner. The entries should be in alphabetical order by the first letter of each source. It is also important to capitalize the more important words within journal titles and to italicize the titles of longer works such as books. In an identical manner to MLA, Chicago, and other formats, there are different methods for citing different types of sources. As a result, it is important to research the specific citation needed for each individual work. The Purdue Owl website serves as an essential tool in this process.

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