Any experts at APA style out there? Q. re "pro se"

When using the term “pro se” in a term paper using APA style, should the phrase be italicized? I’m editing a paper on the Walter Hill death penalty case and need answer fast. (As does Mr. Hill.)

My WAG (as someone who has some experience with using APA style, but is far from an expert) is that you should italicize it, since it is a non-English phrase. I think that would be true in most styles and do not see why APA would differ.

However, especially as this is a term paper, I would also say “don’t sweat it”, it probably does not matter. Whoever is going to grade your paper probably does not have the APA rule for this in their head either, and will not care. They are going to be worried much more about the content of your paper than about APA style, and the style issues they do look for are going to concern things like structure, sub-headings and citations.

If you do not already have it, here is the official APA Style Help page, but I rather doubt whether you will find your answer there. They want you to buy their expensive manual. Google may be able to find you better APA style help, but maybe still nothing explicit on this rather obscure point.

Thanks! I’m actually editing the paper for another poor soul, as I have for the past three years of her social work degree, so I’ve gotten somewhat used to the quirks of the APA style. And yes, that site’s been a blessing, as has the Purdue OWL APA Formatting Style Guide. :slight_smile:

It probably doesn’t matter, I just want to be as thorough as possible as an editor. That said, I only just realized court cases should be italicized, duh, so now I have to go back 20 pages and wear out my CTRL + I buttons.

I would say “no.” Though when articles get to press the Latin phrase are often typeset as italics, I’ve never had a publisher require you to do this in a submission.

When evaluating student work, I would never be that nitpicky. That’s just me though. My big things are title page, numbering, and citing aptly.

I’ve published four academic books and over a dozen articles in peer-reviewed journals. All were written in APA (5th and 6th manual).

Thank you very much! Had to make a judgment call earlier and italicized it, alas, but I appreciate your taking the time to respond – and now I’ll know whom to call on next time I’ve got an APA question. (Grins evilly…)

Luckily my sister’s getting her MSW in a few weeks and only a few more papers will require this level of angsting over such editorial choices. APA is really quirky, especially for someone who hasn’t done an actual term paper in 20 years!

Thanks again guys.