How are verbs used most effectively?

This page reflects guidance from the sixth edition of the Publication Manual.

Go to 7th edition guidelines

 

Verbs are vigorous, direct communicators. Use the active rather than the passive voice, and select tense or mood carefully.

  • Preferred:
    We conducted the survey in a controlled setting.
  • Nonpreferred:
    The survey was conducted in a controlled setting.
  • Preferred:
    Simpson (2001) designed the experiment.
  • Nonpreferred:
    The experiment was designed by Simpson (2001).
  • Preferred:
    Participants sat in comfortable chairs equipped with speakers that delivered the tone stimuli.
  • Nonpreferred:
    The participants were seated in comfortable chairs equipped with speakers that delivered the tone stimuli.

(adapted from the sixth edition of the APA Publication Manual, © 2010)

Last updated: August 2020Date created: May 2009