Skip to main content
NYMC HSL Banner
Ask a Librarian

AMA (10/e) Style Guide

Use AMA Style (American Medical Association Style) to format papers.

General Formatting

 

For more detailed information about acronyms, see section 10.6 of the AMA Manual.

For more detailed information about abbreviations, see section 14 of the AMA Manual.

Acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms are discouraged from use, except for well-known and accepted units of measurement and some well-recognized terms. 

  • If used, spell out at the first use, even if the acronym or initialism is well-known.
  • Do not place periods between the letters of an acronym, abbreviation or initialism.
  • State names should always appear as full names in the text of a manuscript. If included in references, use the two-letter abbreviation.

Do not capitalize the words from which an acronym or initialism is derived.

  • prostate-specific antigen (PSA)
  • enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)

Exception: When the words that form the acronym or initialism are proper names, use capitals. See example: ,

  • National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

For even more detailed information on the proper use of numerals, see section 19.2 of the AMA Manual.

Numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.) should be used in all writing, except when:

  • Use words to express numbers that occur at the beginning of a sentence, title, subtitle, or heading. However, it may be better to reword the sentence so that it does not begin with a number.
    • Example:
      • Okay: Three hundred twenty-eight men and 126 women were included in the study.
      • Better: The study population comprised 328 men and 126 women.
  • Common fractions are expressed with hyphenated words.
    • Example: Of those attending, nearly three-fourths were members of the association
  • Spell out numbers in quotations or titles of works cited.
  • One number may be spelled out, if the sentence requires multiple numbers to be placed next to each other. e.g., "If 12 16-year-olds had this reaction..." should be changed to "If twelve 16-year-olds..."
  • When spelling out numerals, hyphenate twenty-one through ninety-nine when these numbers occur alone or as part of a larger number.
  • Numbers greater than 100 are spelled out. Also do not use commas or and.
    • Example: one hundred thirty-two

 

  • Measures of time are usually expressed as numerals.
  • To indicate a time of day, use AM or PM in small capitals. 
  • Conventional 12-hour clock time is preferred. 

EXAMPLES:

  • At 5:45 am, October 15, 1994, the researchers completed the final experiment.
  • The 21st century officially began just after midnight on January 1, 2001.

 

However, 24 hour or military time convention MAY also be used to convey precise timing when needed, such as when describing drug dosage regimens or a 24-hour experiment.

See 19.1.3 of the AMA Manual for further information.

  • When dates are provided in the text, use numerals for day and year, and write out the month.

EXAMPLE: April 2, 2010

  • If using dates in a table, you may use numerals for the month.

EXAMPLE: 4/2/2010

  • But, use the forward slash in dates only in tables and figures to save space (month/day/year). Avoid this presentation of dates in the text.
  • Use SI (Le Système International d'Unités) standards for writing measurements. Numbers are always written in plain text, there is a space after the number and prior to the unit, and never a period after the unit (unless it ends a sentence).
  • Do not include commas in longer numbers.

EXAMPLE:  1600 km, not 1,600 km.

For more specific information on the correct use of units of measure, see 18.1 in the AMA Manual.

But: When a unit of measure follows a number that begins a sentence, it too must be written out, even if the same unit is abbreviated elsewhere in the same sentence. Rewording the sentence may be preferable (see 18.3, Units of Measure, Format, Style, and Punctuation).

EXAMPLES:

Okay: Two milligrams of haloperidol was administered at 9 pm, followed by 1 mg at 3:30 am.

Better: At 9 pm, 2 mg of haloperidol was administered, followed at 3:30 am by 1 mg.

  • BOOKS
    • In book titles, capitalize all major words and put in italics.
      • Do not capitalize the, an, a, in, for, or but, unless this word begins the title.
    • In book chapter titles, capitalize only the first word of the title.
  • ​​JOURNALS
    • Journal titles are abbreviated and in italics. 
      • Use PubMed abbreviations for journal titles. See Journals referenced in the NCBI Databases.
      • If no PubMed journal abbreviation exists, use standard abbreviations in the AMA Manual of Style to construct an abbreviated title. 
      • Single word titles, such as Pediatrics, are not abbreviated.
      • Capitalize all major words. 
        • Do not capitalize the, an, a, in, for, or but, unless this word begins the title.
    • In journal article titlescapitalize only the first word of the title. 

 

Do not include “personal communications” in the list of references. The following forms may be used in the text:

EXAMPLES:

  • In a conversation with H. E. Marman, MD (August 2005).…
  • According to a letter from H. E. Marman, MD, in August 2005.…
  • Similar findings have been noted by Roberts6 and by H. E. Marman, MD (written communication, August 2005).
  • According to the manufacturer (H. R. Smith, oral communication, May 2005), the drug became available in Japan in January 2004.

The author should give the date of the communication and indicate whether it was in oral or written (including email) form. Highest academic degrees should also be given. If the affiliation of the person would better establish the relevance and authority of the citation, it should be included (see the example above, where H. R. Smith is identified as the drug’s manufacturer).

Loading ...

Commonly Used Rules

  • Use superscript arabic numbers to cite material, e.g., 1
  • The superscript number is inserted into the document immediately next to the fact, concept, or quotation being cited.
    • Use superscript numerals outside periods and commas, inside colons and semicolons.
  • When more than 2 references are cited at a given place in the text, use hyphens to join the first and last numbers of a closed series; use commas without spaces to separate other parts of a multiple citation.
    • EXAMPLEAs reported previously,1,3-8,19
  • If a reference is used several times throughout your paper, use the same number assigned to the citation.
  • See the Creating In-Text Citations tab for more information.
  • GENERAL
    • Number references consecutively with arabic numerals in the order in which they are cited in the text.
    • Two references should not be combined under a single reference number.
    • If the citation extends to a second line, do NOT indent (as in APA).
  • BOOKS
    • In book titles, capitalize all major words and put in italics.
      • Do not capitalize the, an, a, in, for, or but, unless this word begins the title.
    • In book chapter titles, capitalize only the first word.
  • JOURNALS
    • Journal titles are abbreviated and in italics. 
      • Use PubMed abbreviations for journal titles. See Journals referenced in the NCBI Databases.
      • If no PubMed journal abbreviation exists, use standard abbreviations in the AMA Manual of Style to construct an abbreviated title. 
      • Single word titles, such as Pediatrics, are not abbreviated.
      • Capitalize all major words. 
        • Do not capitalize the, an, a, in, for, or but, unless this word begins the title.
    • Title of Journal Articlecapitalize only the first word.
    • When citing an online journal, the DOI number is preferred over the URL link.
    • Journal page numbers and dates: 
      • Format is the year followed by a semicolon; the volume number and the issue number (in parentheses) followed by a colon; the initial page number, a hyphen, the final page number followed by a period and are set without spaces.
      • Example:
        Hunter RH, Sykes K, Lowman SG, Duncan R, Satariano WA, Belza B. Environmental and policy change to support healthy aging. J Aging Soc Policy. 2011;23(4):354-371. doi:10.1080/08959420.2011.605642

Loading ...

Direct Quotations

 

For quoting material longer than 4 lines, use a block quote.

In this case the material should be set off in a block, ie, in reduced type and without the quotation marks. Paragraph indents are generally not used unless the quoted material is known to begin a paragraph. Space is often added both above and below these longer quotations.

EXAMPLE:

It is important to keep in mind:

       Raw food diets are extreme dietary regiments that have not been investigated

         extensively. For those that have been investigated the benefits are still considered

         controversial. There is also little information about the effect of consuming a raw

         vegan diet on the immune system. Extra caution is suggested when studying vulnerable

         populations and assessment of the nutritional adequacy of the diet is most reliably made

         on a case-by-case basis.6

If the block quotation appears in a section to be set in reduced type, do not reduce the type size of the quoted material further. 

If another quotation appears within a block quote, use double quotation marks around the contained quotation, rather than setting off in blocks, regardless of the length.

 

Use quotation marks to enclose a direct quotation of no more than 4 lines from textual material or speeches.

Brackets are used to indicate your own editorial changes or additions within a quotation. 

 

EXAMPLES:

“Enough questions had arisen [these are not described] to warrant medical consultation.”

Thompson stated, “Because of the patient’s preferences, surgery was absolutely contraindicated [italics added].”

“The following year [1947] was a turning point.”

Loading ...