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Spelling errors have a dramatic impact upon the total impression of a paper. Although Microsoft Word does have a spell-checker function, don't rely on a tool that cannot intuitively decide when you have mistakenly typed a correctly spelled word that isn't right for the sentence (e.g. where art you going?).

APA Note

Make sure that you are consistent with the spelling style that you use (e.g. Canadian versus American spellings). For your information, according to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2010), "spelling should conform to standard American English as exemplified Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (2005), the standard spelling reference for APA journals and books" (p. 96). Since the American Psychological Association is an American organization, it prefers American spellings; however, since RRU is a Canadian institution, most RRU professors prefer that learners use Canadian spellings. The key is to be consistent within the chosen system of spelling. For more information on APA spelling rules, please see pages 96-100 in the APA manual.

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary and thesaurus are located at If you do choose to use Canadian spellings, the Cambridge Dictionaries Online is a good source:

For more information regarding how to change MS Word spell-check settings, please refer to the information located within the "Help from MS Word" topic. 

To search for additional information, please visit WriteAnswers and search the FAQs. If you're a RRU student, you can also use the WriteAnswers contact form to send your questions directly to the Writing Centre. We'll send you a private reply as soon as we can, which is typically within one business day of receiving the message.