Verbs are direct, vigorous communicators. Use a chosen verb tense consistently throughout the same and adjacent paragraphs of a paper to ensure smooth expression.

Use the following verb tenses to report information in APA Style papers.

Paper section

Recommended tense


Literature review (or whenever discussing other researchers’ work)


Martin (2020) addressed

Present perfect

Researchers have studied


Description of procedure


Participants took a survey

Present perfect

Others have used similar approaches

Reporting of your own or other researchers’ results


Results showed

Scores decreased

Hypotheses were not supported

Personal reactions


I felt surprised

Present perfect

I have experienced


I believe

Discussion of implications of results or of previous statements


The results indicate

The findings mean that

Presentation of conclusions, limitations, future directions, and so forth


We conclude

Limitations of the study are

Future research should explore

Verb tense is covered in Section 4.12 of the APA Publication Manual, Seventh Edition

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Last updated: July 2022Date created: September 2019