I want to cite an equation in my thesis that has a minor typo in the cited source (the wrong letter is used for an index). How should I do that? Can I simply correct the typo in my paper without commenting on it, or should I indicate somehow that the equation has been altered? I’m supposed to use APA style.


1 Answer 1


You should indicate what the typo was and that you corrected it. This will prevent your readers getting confused if/when they look up the reference, and related annoyances (e.g., the referee accusing you of making an error, your professor giving you a bad grade, or people generally just thinking you are sloppy). Noting the correction will also create a historical record of the typo, which could be useful for other researchers working on the same topic in the future.

Related discussion for a non-mathematical correction: Quoting a typo: Do I really have to do "sic", or can I just fix the sentence?

  • 13
    Could be a case where a footnote does the job. Cite as usual and explain the correction in the footnote. Mar 10, 2021 at 19:52
  • 4
    @Snijderfrey, footnotes are fine in general, but not permitted with every "style".
    – Buffy
    Mar 10, 2021 at 19:56
  • 8
    Sure, a footnote is an appropriate way to mention it. I think I did exactly that in a recent paper of mine.
    – Dan Romik
    Mar 10, 2021 at 19:56
  • 4
    @Michael I assume that there will be some text introducing the equation, and you can place the footnote there. Mar 11, 2021 at 13:07
  • 3
    @Michael There's an xkcd for that. Mar 11, 2021 at 15:06

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