Student Guide to the Difference between MLA and APA Citation Formats May 15, 2012

Most students confuse the two styles of citation. Knowing the differences between the two will greatly help you in the making of proper citations as per required style when writing academic papers.

The first difference of the APA and MLA is that; the APA is used in the scientific and technical writing and is generally considered to be more complicated than the MLA. The MLA on the other hand is generally believed to be more concise and generally simpler. The MLA can also be used in corporate reports, literary journals and press releases.

Another difference between these two citation formats is in the in-text citations. In the MLA format, the last name of the author and the page number are required while the APA format requires the last name of the author and the date within the parenthesis.

Although both the MLA and APA require the citation of the sources of information and ideas in the bibliography, each uses a different label for those citations. In the MLA format, the term "Works Cited" is used while the term "References" is used in the APA style.

In both the styles, the citations are entered alphabetically according to the last name of the author. However, there is a difference in the listing of the names in each entry. In the APA style, the entry is in the form of the last name then the first initial. In the MLA format, the entry is in the form of last name and then the first initial.

In the MLA format, the entries that have more than three authorizes, you should list only the first author followed by the words "et al". The APA on the other hand requires the listing of authors up to the sixth. If the authors are more than six, it is only then when you are allowed to use "et al".

The other difference of APA and MLA is in the title page. In the MLA format, there is no requirement of title page. In the APA title page is required and it should include paper title, your name, your professor’s, name of institution, etc.

Tags: writing the paper , citation formats

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