I am writing a paper for a literature review in a masters course. As part of it I need to include a list of the terms I used in the search engine to find previous papers on my subject.

The list is something like: spoons, fork*, "knife and fork", "knives and fork*", sporks.

Normally the commas would be put on the inside of the quotations marks but I feel like this different because the quotation marks are not indicating that the phase is a quotation, they are actually part of the term that I put into the search engine.

I am supposed to follow the APA style for this article but I think that this is such an odd case that it doesn't really have a definite answer for me.

Am I correct in thinking this?

  • You may want to use italics to avoid ugly nesting of quotation marks.
    – DyingIsFun
    Oct 21, 2016 at 3:09

2 Answers 2


You may wish to use an APA approved bullet list.

The list is something like (punctuation as entered into search engine)

  • spoons,
  • fork*,
  • "knife and fork",
  • "knives nad fork*", and
  • sporks.

I use CMoS, not APA, but the idea by @jimm101 of a bullet list seems workable. Check that this is allowed, but I don't think you will need the commas, comma plus and, or period at the end of each line.
I was going to suggest this quote from CMoS 6.9 may help you:

This [the British alternative] system or a variation may be appropriate in some works of textual criticism.

You are certainly correct it is crazy to use "knife and fork," in your paper.

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