When crafting academic papers or research projects, it is crucial to adhere to a particular formatting style to be sure of clarity, organization, and consistency. Two commonly utilized formatting styles are MLA (Modern Language Association) and APA (American Psychological Association).
While both MLA and APA have same functions in terms of conveying research and academic work, there are notable distinction between the two styles in terms of formatting, citation styles, and reference pages.
This blog post will look at the main distinct between MLA and APA formats, and give guidance on when and how to utilize every style successfully each style effectively.
Table of Contents
Every academic paper needs general formatting, and being aware of the variations between the APA and MLA styles will help you make sure your work complies with the rules. Here’s a breakdown of the general formatting differences between MLA and APA style:
Font: In MLA, Times New Roman or another simply readable font is frequently employed, with a font size of 12. APA needs the employ of a sans serif font, like Arial or Calibri, also with a font size of 12.
Spacing: MLA style needs double spacing throughout the whole document, including the bibliography or works cited page. In contrast, APA uses double spacing only for the major text of the paper, but single spacing is utilized in the reference list.
Margins: MLA format needs that All sides of the page must have one-inch margins. APA format needs one-inch margins on all sides as well, but also enables for the use of “running heads” on every page that contain the paper’s title and page number.
Page numbering: MLA needs that page numbers be located in the upper right-hand corner of each page, one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. APA format also needs page numbers to be positioned in the upper right-hand corner of every page, but they need to come before running head and be flush with the right margin.
Title page: MLA doesn’t need a title page; instead, the paper’s title is placed at the center on the first page, above the first line of text. In contrast, APA needs a title page that consist the paper’s title, the author’s name, and the institutional affiliation. You can read more about how to title an essay here.
In-text citations are essential elements of academic writing as they enable readers to find the source of a particular piece of information or quote. While both the MLA and APA citation styles demand in-text citations, they are different in their structure and location.
MLA In-Text Citations: In MLA style, in-text citations normally include the author’s last name and the page number(s) of the source being cited, wrapped up in parentheses. For instance: (Smith 43). If the author’s name is already mentioned in the sentence, only the page number is included in the citation: “According to Smith, the sky is blue (43).”
If there are many authors, list all of them or include “et al.” (meaning “and others”) if there are more than three authors. In addition, if you are citing a source with no named author, you should utilize the title of the work instead.
APA In-Text Citations: When using the APA citation style, in-text references often include the author’s last name, the year of publication, and the page number(s) of the source being cited, wrapped up in parentheses. For instance: (Smith, 2008, p. 43
If there are many authors, list up to five names in the first citation and use “et al.” for subsequent citations.in addition, if you are citing a source with no named author, you need to use the first few words of the title and the publication year.
Another distinct between MLA format and APA in-text citations is the use of signal phrases. In MLA style, signal phrases are optional and frequently include the author’s name and some contextual information, such as “according to” or “as stated by.” In APA style, signal phrases are more popularly used and often include the author’s name, followed by a verb such as “argues,” “states,” or “explains.”
In academic writing, citing your sources is crucial to establish your writing credibility and to acknowledge the authors whose writing you have used to support your arguments.
Related: How to write an argumentative essay.
Both MLA and APA format needs you to include a list of references at the conclusion of your paper, but there are some main distinctions between the two formats.
In MLA style, the reference list is called the “Works Cited” page, and it lists all the sources you have cited in your paper. The Works Cited page is frequently placed at the conclusion of the paper and is organized alphabetically by the author’s last name. Each entry should contain the author’s name, the title of the source, the title of the container (if applicable), the publication date, and the location of publication. For instance, a book reference in MLA format might look like this:
Smith, John. The History of the World. Random House, 2010.
The reference page, commonly known as the “References” page in APA format, includes a list of all the sources you used in your paper. However, the References page is formatted differently from the Works Cited page. In APA format, every reference should include the last name of the author and initials, the publication date, the title of the article or book, the title of the journal or publisher, and the page numbers (if applicable). The references are also organized alphabetically by the author’s last name. For instance, a journal article reference in APA format might look like this:
Jones, J. D. (2019). The impacts of caffeine on sleep. Journal of Sleep Research, 28(2), 1-12.
One main difference between MLA and APA format is the employ of italics and quotation marks. In MLA format, you should use italics for book titles, but you should employ quotation marks for the titles of shorter works, like articles or essays. In APA format, however, you need to use italics for the titles of books, journals, and magazines, but not for the titles of articles or essays.
Another distinction between MLA and APA format is employ of capitalization. In MLA format, you need to capitalize the first word and all other words in the title except for prepositions, blog posts, and conjunctions unless they are the first word of the title. In APA format, however, All words in the title should be capitalized in MLA format, with the exception of prepositions.
Work Citation Page
In MLA style, the list of sources is referred the “Works Cited” page. This page should be placed at the end of the paper, and it need to include full citations for each source that was referenced in the text. Every citation needs to be double-spaced, with a hanging indent used for subsequent lines of each citation. The Works Cited page should be alphabetized by the author’s last name (or by the title if there is no author), and entries need to mentioned in the same order as they occur in the text.
In contrast, APA style needs authors to make a “References” page at the end of their paper. Like the Works Cited page, this list needs to complete citations for each source that was referenced in the text. However, there are many differences in the manner that these citations should be formatted.
For instance, MLA style only employs a “hanging indent” for the following lines of larger entries, whereas APA style utilizes one for every line following the initial line of each citation. Additionally, APA citations should be listed in alphabetical order by the author’s last name (or by the first word of the title if there is no author), and entries needs to be double-spaced with no additional space between entries.
One other main distinct between the Works Cited page and the References page is the manner that they handle formatting for different types of sources. In MLA style, the Works Cited page includes precise formatting specifications for books, articles, websites, and other kind of sources. In APA style, the References page includes particular formatting specifications for books, articles, reports, and other kinds of sources.
It’s vital to keep in mind that there are some subject-specific distinctions between the two citation styles when comparing MLA and APA formatting. While both MLA and APA are frequently used in the humanities and social sciences, respectively, there are several variations that are more frequently utilized in a particular field.
In the social sciences, APA is frequently chosen due to its emphasis on clear and concise communication of research findings.
Related: How to write a research paper.
APA citations are frequently used in psychology, sociology, business, education, and other discipline. One of the key distinct between APA and MLA is the manner in which sources are cited in-text. In APA, the author’s name and the date of publication are often incorporated inside the body of the sentence, while in MLA, the author’s name is included within the parentheses once the quotation or paraphrase.
Another distinction between MLA and APA is the manner in which sources are listed in the reference or works cited page. In APA, the reference list is generally sorted alphabetically by author’s last name, whereas in MLA, the works cited list is sorted alphabetically by the author’s last name, but if the author’s name is unknown, then it is sorted alphabetically by the title of the work.
In conclusion, comprehension of distinct between MLA and APA citation styles is crucial for academic writing. Here are the main differences to keep in mind:
- MLA is general used in the humanities, while APA is frequently used in the social sciences.
- MLA employs parenthetical citations within the text, whereas APA uses both parenthetical citations and signal phrases.
- MLA needs a “Works Cited” page, while APA needs a “References” page.
- MLA entries are mentioned alphabetically by author’s last name, while APA entries are listed alphabetically by the first word of the citation.
- MLA needs the use of italics for book and film titles, whereas APA uses italics only for book titles.
- APA uses the ampersand symbol “&” in in-text citations for many authors, whereas MLA uses “and.”
While deciding which style to use, think about your audience and subject matter. For instance, if you’re writing a paper in literature or the arts, MLA may be more appropriate. If you’re writing a paper in psychology, nursing assignment or another social science, APA may be more appropriate. You can check out our nursing homework help and nursing essay writing services.
In additions, check with your instructor or publisher to see if they have particular specifications for citation style.
Regardless of which format you select, it’s vital to be consistent and accurate in your citations. This not only makes sure that you provide credit where credit is due, but also assists you prevent plagiarism and raise the credibility of your work.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
MLA and APA are two distinct citation styles utilized in academic writing. MLA is often employed in the humanities, like English and literature, while APA is frequently used in the social sciences, such as psychology and sociology. The two styles distinct in terms of formatting, in-text citations, and reference lists.
MLA and APA have different specifications for font, spacing, margins, and page numbering. For instance, APA normally employs a 12-point Times New Roman font, double spacing, and 1-inch margins, while APA generally uses a 12-point Times New Roman or Arial font, double spacing, and 1-inch margins.
MLA and APA use different ways for citing sources within the text of a paper. MLA generally parenthetical citations, where the author’s last name and page number are included in parentheses once the quote or paraphrase. APA employs an author-date system, where the author’s last name and year of publication are included in parentheses after the quote or paraphrase.
MLA and APA have different specifications for the reference list at the conclusion of a paper. MLA calls this page the “Works Cited” page, while APA calls it the “References” page. The two styles differ in terms of the order and formatting of entries, use of italics and quotation marks, and capitalization regulations.
No, using both MLA and APA in the same work is not advised. Keep one style in the whole paper to be sure consistency and clarity for your reader.