Main Difference – APA vs MLA
APA and MLA style are two main citation styles used in papers, reports, and academic essays. MLA (Modern Language Association) is typically used in the Humanities whereas APA (American Psychological Association) is typically used in the social sciences. This is the main difference between APA and MLA style. While some similarities can be seen in these two styles, many differences can be also noted between them based on the structure, content, style and referencing.
This article looks at
1. APA Citation Style – Referencing, In-text Citation and Format
2. MLA Citation Style – Referencing, In-text Citation and Format
3. Difference Between APA and MLA Citation Styles
What is APA
APA or American Psychological Association citation style is predominantly used in the social sciences. The reference page at the end of a document which is written in APA style is titled ‘Reference’. Given below are some examples of APA references for different kinds of publications and sources.
Author, A.A.. (Publication Year). Article title. Periodical Title, Volume(Issue), pp.-pp.
Nevin, A. (1990). The changing of teacher education special education. Teacher Education and Special Education: The Journal of the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children, 13(3-4), 147-148.
Author, A.A.. (Year of Publication). Title of work. Publisher City , State: Publisher.
Hymes, D. H. (1974). Foundations in sociolinguistics; an ethnographic approach. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Author, A.A.. (Year, Month Date of Publication). Article title. Retrieved from URL
Simmons, B. (2016, July 29). The tale of two Flaccos. Retrieved from http://grantland.com/the-triangle/the-tale-of-two-flaccos/
Author, A.A.. (Year, Month Date of Publication). Article title. Magazine Title, pp. xx-xx.
James,H.(2015, June 29). Birds of Paradise. Daily News, pp.2-4.
As seen from the above examples, the reference starts with the author’s last name. The first name is reduced to initials. The author’s name is also immediately followed by the date of publication.
If you want to use in-text citations, only the last name of the author and the year is used. This information is separated by commas. Page numbers can be also used, if available. For example,
(Hexum, Martinez, & Sexton, 1994)
What is MLA
MLA or Modern Language Association citation style is predominantly used in the humanities. The reference page at the end of a document which is written in MLA style is titled ‘Works Cited’. Given below are some examples of MLA references for different kinds of publications and sources.
Last Name, First Name. “Article Title.” Journal Name Volume Number (Year Published): Page Numbers. Medium.
Nevin, Ann. “The Changing of Teacher Education Special Education.” Teacher Education and Special Education: The Journal of the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children 13.3-4 (1990): 147-48. Web.
Last Name, First Name. Book Title. Publisher City: Publisher Name, Year Published. Medium.
Hymes, Dell H. Foundations in Sociolinguistics; an Ethnographic Approach. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1974. Print.
Last Name, First Name. “Page Title.” Website Title.Sponsoring Institution/Publisher. Publication Date: Page Numbers. Medium.
Simmons, Bill. “The Tale of Two Flaccos.” Grantland. N.p., 2015. Web. 09 Aug. 2016.
Last Name, First Name. “Article Title.” Newspaper Name Publication Date: Page Numbers. Medium.
Sooriyagoda, Lakmal. “Four EX-officials under probe.” Daily News 9 Au. 2016: 7. Print.
As seen from the above examples, the MLA style uses the full name of the author. The publication date is also at the end of the reference. In addition, the medium of the source is specifically listed.
The in-text citations in MLA style consist of the last name of the author and the page number. Moreover, commas are not used to separate the information. For example,
(Hexum, Martinez, & Sexton 213)
Difference Between APA and MLA
APA: APA style is used in social sciences.
MLA: MLA style is used in humanities.
APA: Only the necessary words (first word of the title, proper nouns, etc.) are capitalized and the title is in italics.
MLA: All major words in the title are capitalized and the title is underlined.
APA: Source page is titled as “References”.
MLA: Source page is titled as “Works Cited”.
Author’s name in Reference list
APA: Only the last name of the author is used; the first name is reduced to initials.
MLA: The full name of the author is used.
APA: Publication date, given inside parenthesis, follows the author’s name.
MLA: Publication date is written after the publisher.
APA: APA uses the author’s last name and year of publication. Page numbers are added if available.
MLA: MLA uses the author’s name and page numbers for in-text citation.
Commas in in-text citation
APA: Commas are used in in-text citation.
MLA: Commas are not used in in-text citation.
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