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The difference between APA and MLA

Differences in citation and formatting.

APA and MLA are two different styles of citation that commonly used around the globe. The APA manual publishes by the American Psychological Association and people who belong to social sciences and education fields use it.  Whereas The MLA handbook is published by the Modern Language Association and is mostly used in humanities fields.

The source of citation in both styles consists of:

  • A short-term parenthetical citation in the text
  • A complete reference at the end of the paper

Though, citations look a little different in each style, with dissimilar rules for things like title capitalization, writer names, and placement of the date. There are also some variances in layout and formatting. An APA in-text citation contains the author’s last name and the year of publication. If someone is quoting or paraphrasing a particular passage, they need to add a page number as well. In contrast, An MLA in-text citation embraces the last name of the author along with the page number.

If there are two authors, APA Style will split their names with an ampersand (&), though MLA uses “and.” However, to represent three or more authors, it is compulsory to list the first author followed by “et al.” in both styles.

Examples of APA Citation Difference between apa and mla

  • If there is 1 author then the citation will written as (Taylor, 2018, p. 23)
  • Citation for 2 authors will (Taylor & Kotler, 2018, p. 23)
  • However, 3+ authors can represent as (Taylor et al., 2018, p. 23)

Examples of MLA Citation

  • Citation for one author can written as (Taylor 23)
  • Two authors will represent as (Taylor and Kotler 23)
  • For three authors we can write (Taylor et al. 23)

Difference between APA reference and MLA Works Cited list

  • In both styles, it is mandatory to list full particulars of all cited sources on a separate page which must be attached at the end of your paper. In APA this is generally called the reference list. However, in MLA it is popular as the Works Cited. The formatting of all the source entries is different in each style. 
  • The overall formatting rules for APA and MLA are analogous. Both styles recommend new roman in 12 font sizes with Double spacing and 1-inch margins. 
  • The chief variances between APA format and MLA format include the title page, running head, and block quoting guidelines. In APA, there is a requirement to attach a separate cover page. It lists the title of the paper, full name, institution and department, name of the instructor, and due date. There must be double spacing while writing all these things. However, in MLA, no title page is required but it compulsory to add a four-line heading on the first page.
  • In MLA, the last name and the page number must appear in the header of every page. An APA header also contains a right-aligned page number. For documents that will submit for publication, it is mandatory to include an APA running head with a condensed version of the paper’s title in capitals and it must left-aligned.
  • In APA, all those quotes which exceed the word limit of 40 must format as a blockquote. In MLA, blockquote formatting will be applicable for quotes of more than four lines. However, in both styles, the in-text citation will add after the period at the end of a blockquote.

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