A TF's GUIDE TO TEACHING WRITING FOR PSYCHOLOGY
DON'T use colloquialisms. Your writing should be scholarly, rather than conversational, in tone.
A scholarly tone does not imply pretentiousness of language but rather an avoidance of collo-
quialisms that could interfere with precision and clarity.
DO choose language that is precise, clear, and scholarly.
a whole lot on the mend just around the corner
DON'T substitute synonyms when expressing a given concept or vary sentence structure in an
attempt to make your sentences more interesting. Using different words or phrases for the same
concept will only confuse your readers.
Females tend to display positive affect more readily than negative feelings, whereas
men, contrary to the behavior of the fairer sex, may be in the habit of expressing nega-
tive emotions more easily than positive feelings.
DO attempt to use the same words or phrases each time you express a given concept to promote
clarity. Parallel sentence construction also promotes clarity.
Women tend to express positive emotions more readily than negative emotions, where
as men tend to express negative emotions more readily than positive emotions.
DON'T use passive voice. Passive voice often makes the object of a sentence into the subject and
forces the reader to retrace the action in order to understand it.
Example of passive voice (avoid):
A connection was found by these researchers between creativity and IQ.
DO use active voice whenever possible. Active voice moves the story forward and improves the
flow of the writing.
Example of active voice (preferable):
These researchers found a connection between creativity and IQ.
DON'T write in the first or second person. Avoid reporting first person personal anecdotes, as well
as phrases such as "I feel . . . ." or "I believe . . . ."
"My Aunt Chloe had the same experience with depression .
. . ."
Second person ("you") should not be used in APA style.
DO write in the third person.
"Chloe Johnson (personal communication,April15,1999) reported a similar experience
with depression . . . ."