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University of Phoenix

Writing Style Handbook

Revised January 5, 2007

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Accreditation Statement
University of Phoenix is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a
member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

30 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2400


Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 263-0456
www.ncahigherlearningcommission.org

©2007 University of Phoenix. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The text of this publication, or any part thereof, may not be reproduced or transmitted in
any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording,
storage in an information retrieval system, or otherwise, without prior permission of
University of Phoenix.

Edited in accordance with The Apollo Group editorial standards and practices.

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Table of Contents
Formatting........................................................................................................................... 4

Sample Title Page ............................................................................................................... 6

Sample First Text Page ....................................................................................................... 7

Sample Reference Page....................................................................................................... 7

Reference Page Examples................................................................................................... 9

Writing Style..................................................................................................................... 11

Grammar Mechanics......................................................................................................... 13

Glossary of Grammatical Terms....................................................................................... 18

Disclaimer

This handbook provides basic clarifications of APA style according to the 5th edition of
the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2001). The purpose
of this writing style handbook is NOT to provide detailed answers to every question that
could arise about style, mechanics, or APA formatting. To comply with specific
academic requirements, all students are encouraged to purchase the style guide
recommended for their specific programs. However, in all classes, the instructor's
syllabus is the final authority on acceptable style and formatting. Please note that some
types of communications prepared in class, including discussion question responses and
journal entries, are intrinsically less formal than academic papers. While these informal
communications do not require APA formatting, there is still a responsibility to cite any
sources of information used.

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Formatting
Formatting refers to the layout of a paper and is an important tool for successful
academic papers. This section contains University of Phoenix requirements for
formatting written papers. Properly formatted papers are easier to read and demonstrate a
level of professionalism.
Font
ƒ Use 12 point Times New Roman or Courier font.
ƒ Use italics for emphasis instead of bold, underlining, or all capital letters.
ƒ Eliminate all capital letters in text except acronyms (initials used to abbreviate a
term: DOD for Department of Defense)
ƒ Eliminate bold throughout.

In-Text Citations
ƒ Use citations within the text for any information that is not common knowledge.
ƒ Place the citation in parentheses.
ƒ Include the author’s last name (or title of the work when no author is listed), year,
(and page or paragraph number for a direct quotation) within the parentheses.
ƒ Include the year in an in-text citation.
ƒ Always use p. for page numbers or para. or ¶ for paragraph numbers with direct
quotations.
ƒ Capitalize all major words of a title (if used in an in-text citation).
ƒ Place the punctuation after the final parenthesis of the citation unless it is a block
quote.
ƒ Never use the first or middle initials of the author(s) in an in-text citation.
ƒ Never use the URL in an in-text citation.
Margins
ƒ Use one-inch margins throughout the paper (top, bottom, sides).
ƒ Use a ragged right-hand margin (no right justification).
Page Numbers
ƒ Put the page number and any other information required by the instructor in a
header at the top of each page: If using MS Word, click View, then Header and
Footer. A header block will open. Click Insert, then Page Numbers. Open the
drop-down menu for Alignment, and click Right. The page number should appear
at the right margin on all pages.
Pagination
ƒ Use automatic pagination. Be sure to have at least two lines of a paragraph at the
bottom of a page or at the top of a page. When headings are used, place at least
two lines of text with the heading at the bottom of a page. (Do not put a heading
at the bottom of the page with no other lines of the paragraph.)

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References
ƒ Create a separate list of references at the end of the paper.
ƒ Include only references mentioned in the paper.
ƒ Center the title—References.
ƒ Alphabetize references by author’s last name or by title when no author is listed.
ƒ Use enough information so that the reader can locate the source.
ƒ Include the minimum following information: Author, title of the source, (title of
the journal). Date of publication, publisher or website, and retrieval information
for an electronic source.
Spacing
ƒ Use double spacing throughout, including title page (if used), References, and
indented quotations).
ƒ Use one or two spaces after each end punctuation mark. Be consistent throughout
the document.
Title Page
ƒ Include a title page as directed by the instructor. The title page should include the
title of the paper, the name of the student, and any other information required by
the instructor.
ƒ Center the title on the first page of text.

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Sample Title Page
Be sure the title page includes a header with page number in the upper-right hand corner
of the page. In addition, center the title of your paper, your name, and University of
Phoenix with double spacing. Refer to the APA sample paper in the Center for Writing
Excellence for another example of a properly formatted title page.

Title 1

Title of Paper

Student's Name

University of Phoenix

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Sample First Text Page
Place the title of the paper at the top-center of the first page of text. Do not use the word
"introduction" to begin your paper. Be sure to use one inch margins throughout the entire
paper. Refer to page three of the APA sample paper in the Center for Writing Excellence
for another example of the first page of text.

Adult Education 2

Philosophy of Adult Education


[Notice that the title is repeated at the top-center of the first page]

Adults have been "educated" in one form or another for centuries, and the modern

philosophy of teaching adults has developed into formalized practices of higher education and

more informal techniques such as employee-training sessions at the local supermarket. In order

to develop adult education programs and teach them effectively, developers must consider the

unique characteristics of adult learners and the theories of adult education. The adult student, too,

should understand his or her own motivations. Adult education requires careful consideration by

developer, facilitator, and learner.

The primary purpose of any education is the acquisition of knowledge, but adult learners

often face real-life situations that require additional skills, so their purposes for education

become more pragmatic. According to Chris Lee (1998) in an article regarding the Father of

Adult Learning, Malcolm Knowles, “…adults tend to have a problem centered orientation (to

learning)… adults seek the skills or knowledge they need to apply to real-life problems they

face" (p. 3).

Technology

In today’s fast-changing environment, many adults find themselves overwhelmed with

advances in technology, so many of today’s adult learning programs address the need for training

and instruction in technological advances. Tom Nesbit (1999) describes how adult education

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Sample Reference Page
List references in alphabetical order by author's last name, title, or institution, depending
on the source being referenced. Refer to the reference page examples in the next section
for source examples. Please refer to the APA sample paper in the Center for Writing
Excellence for an additional sample reference page.

Title 3

References

Cleckley, B. (1997). Strategies for promoting pluralism in education and the workplace.

Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.

Daniels, C. (2004, July). 50 best companies for minorities. Fortune 149(13), 136-141.

Retrieved October 19, 2006, from ProQuest database.

Paul, R., & Elder, L. (2002). Critical thinking: Tools for taking charge of your

professional and personal life. [University of Phoenix Custom Edition e-text].

Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Retrieved November 24, 2004, from

University of Phoenix, rEsource, GEN480— Interdisciplinary Capstone Course

Web site.

Subaru. (2004). Subaru previews all-new. Retrieved November 4, 2004, from

http://www.subaru.com

University of Phoenix. (2004). Week two overview. Retrieved November 4, 2004, from

University of Phoenix, Week Two, rEsource. GEN480—Interdisciplinary

Capstone Course Web site.

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Reference Page Examples
The following examples provide information on how to format a source on the reference
page. The examples are for commonly used sources in University of Phoenix programs.
For a complete list of sources and samples, please visit the Tutorials and Guides section
of the Center for Writing Excellence and click the APA References & Citation Samples
link.

Books
With One Author

Cleckley, B. (1997). Strategies for promoting pluralism in education and the

workplace. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.

With Two or More Authors


Mandelbrot, B., & Hudson, R. L. (2004). The misbehavior of markets. New York:

Basic Books.

Journals
Hardcopy

Walker, J., & Schutte, K. (2002, January). Practices and processes in wraparound

teamwork. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorder 12(3), 182.

From an Online Database

Daniels, C. (2004, July). 50 best companies for minorities. Fortune 149(13), 136-

141. Retrieved October 19, 2006, from ProQuest database.

University of Phoenix e-texts


Authored by Individuals

Paul, R., & Elder, L. (2002). Critical thinking: Tools for taking charge of your

professional and personal life. [University of Phoenix Custom Edition e-

text]. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Retrieved November 24,

2004, from University of Phoenix, rEsource, GEN480— Interdisciplinary

Capstone Course Web site.

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Compilation Edited by University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix (Ed.). (2002). Lifespan development and learning.

[University of Phoenix Custom Edition e-text]. Boston: Pearson Custom

Publishing. Retrieved November 26, 2003, from University of Phoenix,

rEsource, PSYCH/538—Lifespan Development and Learning Web site.

University of Phoenix rEsource Materials

University of Phoenix. (2004). Week two overview. Retrieved November 4, 2004,

from University of Phoenix, Week Two, rEsource. GEN480—

Interdisciplinary Capstone Course Web site.

University of Phoenix Simulations

University of Phoenix. (2004). Keeping information confidential [Computer

Software]. Retrieved September 26, 2004, from University of Phoenix,

rEsource, Simulation, COM525—Advanced Communications

Websites
With an Author
Copeland, L. (2003). Managing a multicultural workforce. California Job

Journal. Retrieved October 19, 2004, from http://www.jobjournal.com

Without an Author

Subaru. (2004). Subaru previews all-new. Retrieved November 4, 2004, from

http://www.subaru.com

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Writing Style
Style refers to the way to express ideas. Academic writing challenges students to be
concise and eliminate words and phrases that are informal. The writer’s responsibility is
to write so that the reader understands the meaning on the first reading.

Active Voice. Using active instead of passive voice verbs makes writing more vibrant
and concise. In active voice, the subject performs the action. In passive voice, the action
is performed upon the subject.
Active Many scholars use the Internet for research.
Passive The Internet is used for research by many scholars.
Biased Language. Avoid language that contains social stereotypes, gender-specific
words, and demeaning terms.
Stereotypes Women are irrational
Revised Some people, in spite of gender, are irrational
Gender The male nurse inadvertently gave the patient the wrong
medication.
Revised The nurse inadvertently gave the patient the wrong medication.
Demeaning Dr. David Lewis and Marci Smith operated on the twins for nine
hours.
Revised Dr. David Lewis and Dr. Marci Smith operated on the twins
for nine hours.
Clichés, Colloquial Language, and Jargon. Clichés are tired, overused expressions.
Colloquial language is informal phrasing that is used when speaking, but it is not
acceptable in academic writing. Jargon is specific words for a profession or field that are
not understood by a general audience.
Clichés. Clichés are overused expressions.
Cliché Example This is more fun than a barrel of monkeys.
Colloquial Language. Colloquial language is informal phrasing that is used when
speaking but should not be used in academic writing.
Colloquial Language The bottom line is that a solution is needed.
Example
Jargon. Jargon consists of specialized terms of a specific industry.
Jargon Example Although words such as catalepsy, elapid, and helminth might
be appropriate for a technical audience, they should not be used
for a general audience.
Concrete, Specific, and Concise Language. Clear, exact writing balances abstract and
general words with concrete and specific words. Writing concisely means making every
word count toward your meaning.
Vague Sentence Our vehicle isn’t working.
Correct Sentence The company van will not start.
Wordy Sentence Many unskilled workers without training in a particular job are
unemployed and do not have any work.
Correct Sentence Many unskilled workers are unemployed.

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Redundant Words. Cut empty words and expressions that add nothing to the meaning of
the sentence. The following expressions should be deleted because they are meaningless:
first and foremost, each and every, or terrible tragedy.
Redundant First and foremost, we should research the topic.
Revised Sentence First, we should research the topic.
Redundant I exercise each and every day.
Revised Sentence I exercise every day.
Redundant The hurricane was a terrible tragedy.
Revised Sentence The hurricane was a tragedy.

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Grammar Mechanics
Mechanics refers to the application of grammar rules to writing. See What’s the Rule in
the Writing and Publishing Resources of the university's library resources section for
more instruction. Be sure to use the WritePointsm system or the Tutor Review services in
the CWE to have your paper reviewed for grammatical errors.

Apostrophes. Use the apostrophe to indicate possession. In plural nouns, first make the
word plural, then add the apostrophe to make it possessive. (Caution—do not use an
apostrophe with a possessive pronoun: The dog found its bone.)
Incorrect Bill Larsons house is small.
Correct Bill Larson’s house is small.
Incorrect The babies blankets are dirty.
Correct The babies’ blankets are dirty.
Use a possessive pronoun before a gerund (a noun form of a verb ending in ing).
Incorrect Do you mind me borrowing the green sweater?
Correct Do you mind my borrowing the green sweater?

Colons. A colon ( : ) is mainly a mark of introduction. Use a complete sentence before a


colon that introduces elements. Many times, a semicolon ( ; ) is mistakenly used in place
of a colon. Colons can also be used in the following ways:
A list of items following a complete sentence
Incorrect Soul food has one disadvantage fat.
Correct Soul food has one disadvantage: fat.
A sentence that summarizes or explains the sentence before it
Incorrect The speaker concluded with an important thought pay yourself first.
Correct The speaker concluded with an important thought: pay yourself
first.
A formal appositive (a word that further explains another word)
Incorrect Tonight, we present a well-known and talented chef Rachel Ray.
Correct Tonight, we present a well-known and talented chef: Rachel Ray.

Commas. Commas are used to define relationships of various parts of a sentence and to clarify
meaning for the reader. Overuse of commas can make sentences choppy and confusing, while
eliminating necessary commas can result in incorrect meaning.
One meaning without comma Woman without her man is nothing.
Different meaning with comma Woman, without her, man is nothing.
Use a comma before AND, BUT, SO, or another coordinating conjunction between main
clauses.
Incorrect Interest rates are low so people are buying more homes.
Correct Interest rates are low, so people are buying more homes.
Use commas to set off nonessential elements from the rest of the sentence.
Incorrect The company which is located in Ohio has a good reputation.
Correct The company, which is located in Ohio, has a good reputation.
Use a comma between items in a series of three or more, and always place a comma before
the conjunction separating the final element.

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Incorrect She worked as a cook a babysitter and a crossing guard.
Correct She worked as a cook, a babysitter, and a crossing guard.
Use a comma to set off introductory elements.
Incorrect When her husband died Clarice inherited sixty million dollars.
Correct When her husband died, Clarice inherited sixty million dollars.
Use a comma between two or more adjectives that equally modify the same word.
Incorrect Sarah has dreams of a sleek shiny car.
Correct Sarah has dreams of a sleek, shiny car.
Use commas in dates, addresses, and place names.
Incorrect Phoenix Arizona is the location of the corporate offices.
Correct Phoenix, Arizona, is the location of the corporate offices.
Use commas in long numbers.
Incorrect Conservationists planted 2900 trees in Sherwood Forest.
Correct Conservationists planted 2,900 trees in Sherwood Forest.
Use commas with quotations according to standard practice.
Incorrect “Knowledge is power” wrote Francis Bacon.
Correct “Knowledge is power,” wrote Francis Bacon.

Comma Splices. A comma splice occurs when two main clauses are separated with only
a comma. Correct a comma splice by changing the comma to a period to create two
sentences, by changing the comma to a semicolon, or by adding a conjunction after the
comma.
Incorrect The ship was huge, its mast stood 80 feet high.
Correct The ship was huge. Its mast stood 80 feet high.
Correct The ship was huge; its mast stood 80 feet high.
Correct The ship was huge, and its mast stood 80 feet high.

Consistency in Pronoun Person and Number. The three classes of person in pronouns
are as follows: first person (the person speaking), second person (the person spoken to),
and third person (the person spoken about). Pronouns are either singular or plural in
number. Be consistent in the use of person and number.
Incorrect Person She [third person] does not believe in balancing your [second
person] checkbook.
You [second person] should always know our [first person]
correct bank balance.
Correct Person She [third person] does not believe in balancing her [third person]
checkbook.
You [second person] should always know your [second person]
correct bank balance.
Incorrect Number One [singular person] should place their [plural person]
backpacks on the hooks before entering the bookstore.
Correct Number All students [plural person] should place their [plural person]
backpacks on the hooks before entering the bookstore.

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Consistency in Verb Tense. Verbs should remain consistent in tense. Verb tense
indicates that an action occurs.
Incorrect John is [present tense] at the store. Since John was [past tense] at
the store…
Correct John is [present tense] at the store. Since John is [present tense] at
the store…

Correct Agreement Between Subjects and Verbs. A subject and its verb should agree in
number and person.
Incorrect A catalog [singular subject] of courses and requirements often
confuse [plural verb] students.
Correct A catalog [singular subject] of courses and requirements often
confuses [singular verb] students.

Correct Pronoun Case. A pronoun must be used correctly in a sentence. Forms of


pronouns are called pronoun case. Case indicates how a pronoun is used in a sentence.
Subjective case (I, he, she, we, they) is used for the subject of a sentence (the person or
thing performing the action). The subjective case is also used after a verb that links the
subject to an adjective that comes after the verb. Objective case (me, him, her, us, them)
is used after a verb. Possessive case (my, mine, his, hers, ours, theirs) is used to show
ownership.
Subjective Case She wanted to attend the play on Saturday.
Objective Case The play on Saturday featured Niles Coleman and him.
Possessive Case Norma bought her ticket to the play on Saturday.

Dashes. Use a dash or dashes to emphasize an element or to indicate a shift from one idea
to another. Create a dash with two hyphens, and do not space before or after the dash.
Incorrect The opera singer if you can call her that used to sing with a rock
band.
Correct The opera singer—if you can call her that—used to sing with a rock
band.

Faulty Pronoun References. A pronoun should agree with the word it refers to.
Incorrect A homeowner [singular noun] frets over their [plural antecedent]
tax bills.
Correct Homeowners [plural noun] fret over their [plural antecedent] tax
bills.

Fragments. A sentence fragment is a group of words that does not express a complete
thought. Sentence fragments can be turned into sentences by adding words that will
complete the thought.
Incorrect Since it is raining outside.
Correct Since it is raining outside, I am going to bring an umbrella.

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Incorrect Modifiers. A modifier should be placed as close as possible to the word it
modifies. A misplaced modifier appears to modify the wrong word in the sentence. A
dangling modifier appears to modify the wrong word in a sentence or no word at all.
Incorrect Kevin told the students about riding the bucking bronco in the
auditorium. [Because of the misplaced modifier, Kevin is riding in
the auditorium.]
Correct Kevin told the students in the auditorium about riding the bucking
bronco.

Numbers. Write numbers correctly.


Spell out the following numbers:
Numbers from one to nine, including I have five tickets to the football game.
street names and ages
Numbers that begin a sentence Forty cars waited in line for gas.
Short fractions that are used alone The disaster left one-fourth of the city’s
residents homeless.
Ordinal numbers expressed as one word The team finished third in the tournament.
Large numbers that are rounded, such as More than one million people have cell
million or billion phones.
Times before o’clock Be at the hospital at three o’clock.
Use figures for numbers above nine, and use figures for the following numbers:
Dates January 16, 2006
Amounts of money $6 or $4.23
Dimensions 4 X 8 feet
Decimals and percentages 2.3 liters or 6%
Degrees of temperature 40 degrees
Street numbers 6 Woodchuck Court
Pages and divisions of a book page 4 or chapter 3
Numbers following nouns Suite 9
Time when followed by a.m. or p.m. 6:30 a.m. or 7:45 p.m.
Mixed number (whole number & fraction) 6 ½
Ages expressed in years and months 3 years and 6 months

Parallel Structure. Parallelism is the repetition of grammatical patterns within a


sentence or among sentences.
Incorrect My husband enjoys cooking dinner, raking leaves, and he likes to
watch TV. [The last element is not parallel: cooking, raking, and to
watch.]
Correct My husband enjoys cooking dinner, raking leaves, and watching TV.

Quotation Marks. Use double quotation marks before and after a direct quotation. (Do
not use quotation marks in a long direct quotation that is indented.) Use single quotation
marks only for quotes within other quotations.
Incorrect John F. Kennedy said, The torch has been passed to a new generation.
Correct John F. Kennedy said, “The torch has been passed to a new generation.”

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Run-on Sentences. A run-on sentence contains two main clauses without any
punctuation between them. Correct a run-on sentence by adding a period to create two
sentences, by adding a semicolon, or by adding a comma and a conjunction.
Incorrect The ship was huge its mast stood 80 feet high.
Correct The ship was huge. Its mast stood 80 feet high.
Correct The ship was huge; its mast stood 80 feet high.
Correct The ship was huge, and its mast stood 80 feet high.

Semicolons. A semicolon ( ; ) is a mark of punctuation that is stronger than a comma.


Use a semicolon to separate the following elements:
Rule 1 Two complete sentences that are closely related when there is no
conjunction (and, but, or, nor, for, yet, so) between them
Rule 2 Items in a series when one or more of the elements already contains
commas
Rule 3 Two complete sentences joined by a conjunctive adverb (however,
moreover, etc.)
Incorrect Interest rates were at an all-time low consequently more
people bought homes.
Correct Interest rates were at an all-time low; consequently, more people
bought homes.

Spelling. Spell words correctly. Use spell check, and be aware of misspellings that spell
check will not catch. Read over documents carefully to locate spelling errors that might
not have been flagged by the spell checker.
Example they’re, there, their
Example to, too, two
Example affect, effect
Example loose, lose

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Glossary of Grammatical Terms
Learning grammar terms is the first step for students at any level to improve their writing
skills. Understanding basic grammar terms will help you understand feedback provided
by your instructor and incorporate those grammar principles into future papers.

Comma Splice. A comma splice occurs when two main clauses are separated only by a
comma.
Incorrect Jody won the marathon, it was her first time in the race.
Correct Jody won the marathon. It was her first time in the race.

Conjunction. A conjunction connects other words or phrases in a sentence (and, but, or,
nor, so, for, yet).
Example We walked on the beach and picked up seashells.

Main Clause. A main clause (or independent clause) is a complete sentence that consists
of a noun and a verb. A main clause can stand by itself as a complete thought.
Example Marcia saw the Parthenon when she was in Greece.
Incomplete Thought When Marcia was in Greece. [This cannot stand alone as a
sentence.]

Modifier. A modifier describes or limits the meaning of other words in the sentence. A
modifier should be placed as close as possible to the word it modifies. Modifiers can
consist of one word (known as adjectives and adverbs) or a group of words that function
as adjectives or adverbs.
Single Word The brave fireman saved the child.
Group of Words The fireman who saved the child was honored by the city.

Pronoun. A pronoun replaces a noun in order to eliminate repetitive use of nouns. A


pronoun must refer to a specific element in the sentence.
Example Kari brought Kari’s backpack to school.
Correct Kari brought her backpack to school. [Her refers to Kari.]

Run-on Sentence. A run-on sentence consists of two or more sentences run together with
no punctuation between them.
Run-on Example Harvey wasn’t hungry he had already eaten.
Correct Harvey wasn’t hungry. He had already eaten.

Sentence Fragment. A sentence fragment is a group of words that does not express a
complete thought.
Fragment Adolf Hitler in the First World War.
Complete Thought Adolf Hitler was a corporal in the First World War.

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