Make clear and logical comparisons in your scholarly writing. Illogical comparisons often result from unparallel sentence structure or the omission of key words.

Consider the following sentence:

You have higher odds of being injured by a vending machine than a cat.

The sentence has two possible meanings:

You are more likely to be injured by a vending machine than by a cat.

You (a human) are more likely than a cat (an animal) to be injured by a vending machine.

To rewrite the sentence with the first meaning, repeat the word “by”:

You have higher odds of being injured by a vending machine than by a cat.

To rewrite the sentence with the second meaning, include a verb for the cat (here, “does”) and move the cat earlier in the sentence to emphasize the comparison with “you”:

You have higher odds than a cat does of being injured by a vending machine.

These examples demonstrate that thoughtful attention to word choice and sentence structure lessens the chance of ambiguity in writing.

Logical comparisons are covered in Section 4.10 of the APA Publication Manual, Seventh Edition

From the APA Style blog

The “no first-person” myth

The “no first-person” myth

Whether expressing your own views or actions or the views or actions of yourself and fellow authors, use the pronouns “I” and “we.”

computer keyboard highlighting a search key

Navigating the not-so-hidden treasures of the APA Style website

This post links directly to APA Style topics of interest that users may not even know exist on the website.

illustration of post-it notes displaying she/her, he/him, and they/them pronouns

Welcome, singular “they”

This blog post provides insight into how this change came about and provides a forum for questions and feedback.

Last updated: July 2022Date created: September 2019