How to write in APA formatYou’ve found the sources, created a perfect outline, developed an argument and came up with unique conclusions…

Your job here is done, did you say? Not quite – you’ll also need to reference your sources in the APA format.

That’s why, the first and foremost thing to do is to find out the answer to the notorious question “What is APA formatting?”

How to write an essay in APA format

  • Write an abstract (about 100 words) telling what you’re going to research;
  • Develop a detailed outline;
  • Add running titles at the top of each page;
  • Use appropriate subtitles;
  • Create a cohesive reference list.

How to Write in APA Format: Learn the Reference Style Mechanism

So, now you know the answer to the question “What is APA format?” and think that you can handle the essay, don’t you? Hold it for a moment. There are a lot of details you need to know to get it right – so listen carefully:

How to Write in APA Format: Reference Your Sources the Right Way

To understand how to write in APA style format, keep in mind the following aspects:

Necessary elements for a reference in the text:

  • Publishing date;
  • Author’s last name;
  • Page number(s).

Direct quotation:

Author says…

You can quote all three elements (last name, date and page) in brackets:

”The only thing we have to fear is the fear itself” (Safire, 2008, p. 482).

However, when using APA formatting, it’s better to paraphrase:

In his book, Safire (2008) quoted Roosevelt, saying that we have nothing to fear but the fear itself (p. 482).

When paraphrasing, don’t use the verb to say too often – keep in mind that there are a bazillion of other verbs meaning “to say”:

Formatting APA Papers: Verbs of Speech
neutral positive negative

Well, one problem is out of the way, yet there’s a bunch of other things to learn – like how to write / reference in APA format. Fasten your seat belts and get ready for a ride with an expert!

How to Write in APA Format: Learn to Make Great Reference Lists

And now, it’s time to list all the authors in your reference list. Check this guide on how to write a reference in APA format:

How to Write a Bibliography in APA Format

Book Journal Online sources
  1. The author’s last name and initials;
  2. The year of publishing (in brackets);
  3. The title of the chapter – if needed;
  4. The title of the book;
  5. The volume (if any);
  6. The editors / translators (if any);
  7. The place;
  8. The publisher;
  9. The database and URL (for online books).
  1. The author’s last name and initials;
  2. The year of publishing (month and day – if any, in brackets) ;
  3. The title of the article;
  4. The journal title;
  5. Volume (italics);
  6. (The issue) (in brackets);
  7. The page range (no p.) signs!
  8. The database and URL (for online journals).
  1. The author’s last name and initials;
  2. The date of publishing – year, month, day (in brackets);
  3. The article title;
  4. The site name (in italics);
  5. The organization name (if any);
  6. The database and URL (for online journals).
Johnson, A. (2010). How to write references in APA format. New York, NY: Wiley and Sons. Peterson, B. (2007). The origins of the APA style. Science Today, 1 (12), 144-150. Strahan, M. (2010). APA reference style guide. Olson Library. Retrieved July 4, 2012 from

That’s pretty much the answer to the question “What is APA style?” APA is all about helping the public understand what works your paper is based on.

How to Write in APA Format: Professional Memorizing Techniques

It sure is hard to remember how to format in APA style at once. Take a look at the memorizing techniques below – they will be of great help!

  • The 4 wh- scheme for a reference list: who, when, what, where from;
  • For in-text citations: learn paraphrasing – find synonyms for the words the authors use;
  • For the structure: single out the introduction, body and conclusion and split them in logical sub-paragraphs.

Pretty basic, that is the format for APA style papers. And now, let’s deal with a couple of other features of the APA format style.

How to Write in APA Format: Remember Some Important Niceties!

Sometimes, important information is missing. In this case, check for these rules on how to format APA style papers:

There’s no author!

Use the title instead. Put the date after the title.

There’s no title!

This happens most often for web documents. Use the title of the window which your browser opens the work in.

There’s no date!

Put the n.d. sign where the date should be.

There are no page numbers!

Use the paragraph number instead (e.g., ”para.1”). If there are too many paragraphs, use only last name and the date.

That’s pretty much all you have to know about how to write a paper in APA format. Try these tips to create really rocking papers!