The academic world likes what to be uniform, because uniformity means faster communication. That’s why there are a few writing styles that you must adhere to, to get full marks. In this specific article, we’ll be looking at the strict differences between the APA and MLA writing styles — and how to utilize them.

The Difference Between APA and MLA

The format preferred by the present day Language Association, MLA, is principally for subjects in the humanities: history, literature, and so on

The format preferred by the American Psychological Association format, APA, is for social science-oriented subjects: psychology, criminology, etc .

They're citation styles, i. e. the preferred method to cite your source for the point of view in your paper. Proper citation is extremely important as it prevents the academic crime of plagiarism. Find below a comparison of the principles with examples for citing using MLA and APA formats. Follow these strictly and watchfully to avoid losing marks and also to ensure having a professional paper.

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The Bibliography

When writing your bibliography, arrange the set of authors and editors you cited in your paper.

  • The MLA style prefers to call it: Works Cited.
  • The APA style calls it: References.

For connecting these citations to what’s in your paper, put in a brief citation in parentheses beside your sourced statement.

Organizing Entries in your Bibliography

Organizing your entries differs between APA and MLA. The MLA style wants you to arrange your authors and titles alphabetically.

Example: Dedicated to Bobby Jameson.
The Joy of Letting Go.
Hi, How Are You?.

The APA style asks you to arrange your authors alphabetically, but chronologically for their work.

Citing Multiple Works by the Same Author

The MLA style cites exactly the same author’s functions by first listening all the works alphabetically, and only stating the author’s name once.

Every listing of another work by the author begins with the next formula: three hyphens, an interval, a space, the name of the title, a period.

Example: Jones, Duncan. Dedicated to Bobby Jameson. 1984
---. The Joy of Letting Go. 1969
---. Hi, How Are You?. 1999

The APA style simply lists the works chronologically (according to release date), and includes the author’s name in every listings of this author’s work.

Example: Jones, D. (1969) The Joy of Letting Go.
Jones, D. (1984) Dedicated to Bobby Jameson.
Jones, D. (1999) Hi, How Are You?.

The Titles of Articles

  • In the MLA style, place all of the article titles in quotation marks, and capitalize all major words.
  • In the APA style, only capitalize the very first word. There's no necessity to use quotation marks for titles.

In-text Parenthesis

  • When citing in your actual text in the MLA style, place the author’s last name and page number in parentheses.
  • When citing in the APA style, insert the following structure into your parentheses: the author’s last name, a comma, the publishing year, a comma, and then a “p. ” and the page number.

Sample Citations

Below are a few more types of how APA and MLA citation styles differ.

When Citing a Book

Structure your MLA book citation in the following way:

  • The author’s Last Name, their First Name;
  • the Title of the Book in italics;
  • the town of Publication, the Name of the Publisher and the Year of Publication;
  • the Medium of Publication;
  • other citations (if you’re citing multiple books);
  • and any additional information.
MLA Citation Example: Jones, Duncan. The Joy of Letting Go. Scottsdale, AZ, Penguin Books, 1969. Print.

Your APA book citation must follow this structure:

  • The author’s Last Name, the initials of the First and Middle Name;
  • the Publishing Year in parentheses;
  • the Title of the Book in italics;
  • the town and State where it had been published, a colon, and the Name of the Publisher.
APA Citation Example: Jones, Duncan. Jones, D. (1969) The Joy of Letting Go. Scottsdale, AZ: Penguin Books.

When Citing an Article

Cite your article in MLA format according to this formula:

  • The author’s Last Name, their First Name;
  • the Article Title in quotation marks;
  • the Journal Title in italics;
  • the volume;
  • the release number;
  • the Date;
  • the Page(s);
  • the Name of the Database;
  • the doi number (if available – otherwise use a URL/permalink);
  • the Day Month Year when the article was accessed.
MLA Citation Example: Jones, Duncan. Wilmshurst, Peter. “Diving and oxygen”. BMJ. 317. 7164. https://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/10/27/diving-and-oxygen. doi: 10. 1136/bmj. 317. 7164. 996. 27 October, 2011.

Cite your article in the APA format according to these rules:

  • The author’s Last Name, their First Initial;
  • the Publication Year in parentheses;
  • the Article Title and subtitle;
  • the Journal Title in italics;
  • the volume;
  • the release number in parentheses;
  • the Page(s);
  • the doi number.
APA Citation Example: Wilmshurst, P. (1998). Diving and oxygen. BMJ. 317 (7164): 996–9. doi: 10.1136/bmj.317.7164.996.

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What's the Huge difference Between APA and MLA: Comparison Dining table

The next is a dining table summarizing the differentiations between APA and MLA formats.

APA> /strong> MLA
Spacing/Font/Margins Double-spacing;
Citations use a hanging indent

Times New Roman 12
1” margins
Double-spacing;
Citations use a hanging indent

Times New Roman 12
1” margins
Title page
First page
Header
(Although universities may
require specialized title page)
Title page is required:

Theories of Behavioral Psychology
Loretta M. Brassell

The University of California
Header is required on the first page, then centered title at the beginning of the essay:

Loretta M. Brassell
Professor Terry Mason
Psychology 101
25 June 2016
Bibliography Name References

Shotton, M. A. (1989). Computer addiction? A report of computer dependency. London, England: Taylor & Francis.
Works Cited

Mathy, Jean-Philippe. French Resistance: The French-American Culture Wars. Minnesota UP, 2000.
Order of citations Alphabetical for authors
Chronological for works
Alphabetical for authors and works
Section headings Headings and Subheadings are used to organize the paper No Headings or Subheadings
Direct in-text citation (Burrell, 2017, p.16) (Burrell 16)
Indirect in-text citation (Burrell, 2017) Based on Moran, it is a controversial case (16).
Running headers On every page; the title of paper flush left, and page number flush right.

On title page:
Running head: THEORIES OF DEVELOPMENT

On all other pages: THEORIES OF DEVELOPMENT 4
On every page; author name and page number both flush right:

Connor 3
Short quotations In accordance with Vonnegut (1982), "if you scribble your ideas any which way, your readers will certainly feel that you care nothing about them" (p. 150). Arendt writes that “we must turn to Roman antiquity to find the first justification of war... ”(13)
Long quotations/Long quote rule Quotes 4 lines or longer are blocked, meaning indented 2 tabs.

Computer users usually disagree about which operating-system is best: Mac or PC. Oyler (2010) stated any particular one operating system isn't better than another, but that one can be better suited for different purposes compared to the other. She explained by saying that

Macs are often your best option for users who wish to use video or picture manipulation. Macs may also be very user-friendly, which may benefit consumers that are new to computers. PCs, but run Microsoft Office Suite the best. Consequently , students will dsicover that a PC is their finest option since it can run Microsoft Word and PowerPoint the smoothest. (Oyler, 2010, p. 48)

Conversely, Jones (2010) disagreed with the statement that Macs work with graphics such as video and images better than PCs, stating that PCs could be modified to work as well as Macs.
Quotes with 40 words or more are indented one tab.

Chinese-American historian Iris Chang provides the following statistics in her effort to illustrate the total scope of the Nanking massacre:

One historian has estimated when the dead from Nanking were to link hands they would stretch from Nanking to the town of Hangchow, spanning a distance of some 200 miles. Their blood would weigh a dozen hundred tons, and their health would fill twenty-five hundred railroad cars. Stacked along with each other, they'd reach the height of a seventy-four-story building. (Chang 5)
Subjects where citation style is common Social sciences - Psychology, Sociology, Social work; Medical Sciences - Nursing Humanities - English, Speech, Theater
Author names in citations Author names are listed last name, first initial (Banner, B. ) Author names are listed last name, first name (Banner, Bruce)
DOIs DOIs are a part of citations on the references list. doi: 10. 1111/j. 1471-8847. 2007. 00193. x DOIs are a part of citations on the works cited list. doi: 10. 1111/j. 1471-8847. 2007. 00193. x

As we’ve seen above, you will find essential differences in the minor details between the two formats when it comes to citation. Listed here are the rules (and examples, where applicable) for formatting the writing of your paper.

Spacing:

Both MLA and APA styles have their particular approach to spacing text on top of a paper. The principles are the following:

  • MLA: Double-spacing on header and in body text
  • APA: Double-spacing on title page and in body text

Font and Margins:

A very important factor MLA and APA acknowledge is the using font and margins.

  • MLA: 12-pt. font, 1” margins
  • APA: 12-pt. font, 1” margins

Parenthetical Citation:

Parenthetical citations are for citing sources betwixt your paper.

  • This is the preferred method in MLA format:
    (Name[Space]Page Number) or: According to XXX, abc is definitely an xyz (Page Number).
MLA Example: Based on Jones, Bobby Jameson failed to make Techno music (169).

These are APA:

  • paraphrased idea: (Name [Comma] Year)
APA Example: (Jones, 1984)
  • direct quote: (Name[Comma]Year[Comma} p. #) or: According to XXX (Year), abc is an xyz.
Example: (Jones, 1984, 169)
or:
In accordance with Jones (1984), Bobby Jameson is not a Techno musician.

Short Quotations:

Short quotations are those which feature three lines or less. If you need to quote an author in your paper, MLA and APA have these approaches:

  • The formula and example used with MLA: Author Name says that Topic can “quotation” (page number).
Example: Jones says that the joy of letting go can “thrill you in more ways than one” (25).
  • The formula and example used with APA: Based on Author Name (Year), Topic can “quotation” (p. #).
Example: Based on Jones (1969), the joy of letting go can “thrill you in more ways than one” (p. 25).

Long Quotations:

Both styles have differing methods to adding long quotations.

  • MLA: If you’re quoting more than four lines, utilize the following format and make a one-inch indent on the quoted text:
Example: Jones discusses the joy of letting go:

Letting go is just a concept that grasps the impermanence of existence, yours and mine. The past physically does not exist, neither does the future. The former could be the precursor to the present chemical (material) state, while the latter is an unpredictable transformation — all in perpetual motion. The poetry of this shows that embracing change is beneficial. We see the rewards of this all throughout nature. (56)

  • APA: For quotations with 40 words and more, indent the quoted text ½ inches – also known as creating a block quote:
Example: Jones (1969) discusses the joy of letting go:

Letting go is really a concept that grasps the impermanence of existence, yours and mine. The past physically does not exist, neither does the future. The former could be the precursor to the present chemical (material) state, while the latter is an unpredictable transformation — all in perpetual motion. The poetry of this suggests that embracing change is beneficial. We see the rewards of this all throughout nature. (p. 56)

Title Page / First Page Header:

Both styles have contrasting positions on how to introduce a paper. To use a title page, or just add a header on the initial page?

The MLA identifies its first page while the First Page — no Title Page required. You'll need a header on the first page. After, put in a centered title at the beginning of the essay.

  • Name
  • Lecturer/Professor
  • Subject
  • Date
Example: Joseph Biersehn
Professor Tom Hong
Progress Theory
31 February, 2020

The APA style states that you need a different Title Page, written similar to this:

  • Title
  • Author’s Name
  • University
Example: Hypotheses of Progress
Joseph Biersehn
Brigham Young University

MLA vs. APA – Which to Choose?

In elementary and high school, teachers prefer to assist the MLA style. For them, MLA now is easier to teach as it is not created for advanced subjects which require in-depth scientific research.

Because APA is advanced and scholarly, most students wont come across it until they attend university. The APA style relates to scientific papers, and students use it for subjects associated with hypothesizing, testing, and reporting.

In university as well as other places working with referencing, the pros checking the sources worry about whether you’re using MLA or APA because it increases their grading or research process.

conclusion

The academic world thrives on efficient communication. Academics recognize other academics by how well the others follow rules like proper citation. This is the reason it is crucial to master the different formats and styles used for citing sources for the claims. The greater you understand these styles, the more sophisticated and credible your papers will be, enabling you to pursue bigger academic and professional goals.

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