ChatGPT, the popular AI language model, is quite new. Educational institutions and style guides are still working out their policies on when and how content from the tool can be used and cited in academic writing.
Guidelines are still evolving, so we provide formats based on what the different style guides have said about the issue so far. This article will be updated over time to reflect the latest guidelines as different authorities develop their recommendations.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hotly discussed topic right now—especially with the release of AI writing tools like ChatGPT. It’s a field that more and more people are interested in, but it involves a lot of terminology that can be intimidating to a non-expert.
To help you get to grips with various commonly used AI terms, we’ve prepared a glossary covering a wide variety of acronyms, technical language, and big names in the world of AI.
Check the table below for a quick definition of the term you’re interested in, and click on the term to navigate to a more in-depth explanation below.
Glossary of AI terms
Algorithm: A finite sequence of instructions followed by a computer system
Alignment: The extent to which an AI’s goals are in line with its creators’ goals
AI detectors (also called AI writing detectors or AI content detectors) are tools designed to detect when a text was partially or entirely generated by artificial intelligence (AI) tools such as ChatGPT.
AI detectors may be used to detect when a piece of writing is likely to have been generated by AI. This is useful, for example, to educators who want to check that their students are doing their own writing or moderators trying to remove fake product reviews and other spam content.
However, these tools are quite new and experimental, and they’re generally considered somewhat unreliable for now. Below, we explain how they work, how reliable they really are, and how they’re being used.
April 28, 2023
November 16, 2023.
ChatGPT is a chatbot powered by artificial intelligence (AI). It works like any chatbot: users type in text-based prompts, and it responds to them with its own text. What makes it unique is how fluent, extensive, and human-sounding its answers are, as well as the wide variety of topics it can discuss.
ChatGPT was developed by a company called OpenAI. It was released in November 2022. It’s currently free to use, although it was released as a “research preview,” so it may not be free forever.
It can be used for a wide variety of tasks, including writing, brainstorming, researching, coding, and feedbacking existing text. ChatGPT’s ability to quickly generate large amounts of convincing text has significant implications in a variety of areas, such as academia, business, politics, and the internet.
April 24, 2023
November 21, 2023.
Educators are in the process of working out how to respond to AI writing tools like ChatGPT, and many students (and instructors) are unsure exactly what is allowed right now.
Our research into the current guidelines of 100 top universities indicates that most don’t have definitive guidelines yet and that individual instructors ultimately decide what’s allowed in their classes. Specifically, we found four responses to AI writing tools from universities:
At 27% of universities, there seem to be no clear guidance or policy so far.
At 51% of universities, individual instructors decide their own policy for now.
At 18% of universities, the tools are banned by default unless instructors say otherwise.
At 4% of universities, the tools are allowed (with citation) unless instructors prohibit them.
A plural noun is a noun that refers to more than one of something (as opposed to a singular noun, which refers to just one). Like singular nouns, they may refer to people, animals, things, concepts, or places.
Plural nouns are normally formed by adding -s to the singular noun (e.g., the singular “cat” becomes the plural “cats”). With certain nouns, you need to add or change some of the other letters. The rules are explained in the table below.
There are also some irregular plurals that don’t end in -s at all. The following section explains them.
How to form regular plural nouns
How to form the plural
Add s to form most plurals that don’t fall into the categories below and to form the plurals of names.
A preposition is a word such as “to,” “between,” “after,” or “for” that’s used to show the relationship between different elements in a sentence. They can express ideas related to time and location, as well as more abstract connections.
You may have been taught the rule that it’s wrong to end a sentence with a preposition, suggesting that it’s wrong to say, for example, “What are you preparing for?” and that you should say “For what are you preparing?” instead.
As you might guess from the fact that the “corrected” sentence reads much less naturally than the first, this “rule” is a superstition with no basis in reality. There is no problem with ending a sentence with a preposition, and it’s often better to do so than not.
April 11, 2023
November 27, 2023.
An apostrophe followed by an “s” is used in English to create possessive nouns. For example, the noun dog becomes dog’s when you refer to something belonging to the dog, such as “the dog’s ball.”
With plural nouns ending in “s,” you add the apostrophe after “s” and do not add an additional “s.” For example, the plural noun parents becomes parents’ (not “parent’s” or “parents’s”) in a phrase like “my parents’ car.”
An apostrophe can also be used to indicate a contraction (shortening of a word or phrase). So an apostrophe “s” may instead be short for the word “is” or “has,” as in “it’s” (“it is” or “it has”). In this context, it doesn’t indicate possession.
April 3, 2023
September 18, 2023.
A compound word (sometimes just called a compound) is a series of two or more words that collectively form a single word. There are three types of compound words, which differ in terms of how they are written:
It’s illogical to use “comprise” in the passive voice with the same meaning that it already expresses in the active voice—just like it wouldn’t make sense to write, for example, “is bought of” in place of “buys.”
The correct phrase is composed of. The phrase “is comprised of” can also be replaced with comprises, consists of, or is made up of. All of these are valid alternatives; “comprised of” is never correct.