MLA vs. APA: The Complete Guide To Choosing The Right One

by Maria

Colleges, libraries, and even employers require you to follow certain style guidelines in your academic writing. The two most popular styles are MLA and APA. This article compares the differences between these two styles, what they’re used for, and which one you should use based on the preference of your instructor.

The Basics: What Are MLA and APA?

MLA (Modern Language Association) and APA (American Psychological Association) are two of the most common academic writing styles. They are both widely used in the humanities and social sciences, and they have some similarities. However, there are also some key differences that you should be aware of before choosing which one to use for your paper. 

Here are the basics of MLA and APA:

MLA is typically used for papers in the humanities, such as English, History, or Religion. It uses a system of parenthetical citations and a Works Cited page at the end of the paper to list sources.

APA is typically used for papers in the social sciences, such as Psychology or Sociology. It also uses a system of parenthetical citations, but it includes a separate Reference List at the end of the paper instead of a Works Cited page. APA also has specific guidelines for formatting headings and margins, as well as rules for how to abbreviate certain terms. You can also use online resources and get your write my essay queries answered by experts

MLA vs. APA: What’s the Difference?

The two most common academic writing styles are MLA and APA. So, what’s the difference between them?

MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used in the humanities, such as English and History. It uses parenthetical citations within the text to point to sources, rather than footnotes or endnotes. The Works Cited page at the end of the paper provides full bibliographic information for all sources cited.

APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used in the social sciences, such as Psychology and Sociology. It uses a system of in-text citations and a reference list at the end of the paper to provide full bibliographic information for all sources cited.

Both MLA and APA styles require you to use double spacing throughout your paper and include a header with your last name and page number on each page. Other than that, there are some key differences that you should be aware of when choosing which style to use.

MLA Formatting Guidelines for Papers

There is no one correct way to format a paper in MLA style. However, there are some general guidelines that you should follow:

-Your paper should be double-spaced and have one-inch margins on all sides.

-The first line of each paragraph should be indented half an inch from the left margin.

-You should use in-text citations whenever you quote or paraphrase material from another source.

-Your Works Cited page should list all the sources you used in your paper.

If you’re not sure how to format your paper in MLA style, ask your instructor for help.

MLA Formatting Guidelines for Citations

In MLA style, citations are placed in the body of the paper and use parentheses to enclose the author’s last name and the page number(s) from which you are quoting.

For example, if you were quoting from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, you would include a parenthetical citation like this: (Austen 123).

If you were quoting from multiple works by Austen, you would include the author’s last name and a shortened version of the title of the work being cited, like this: (Austen, Pride 123).

If you were quoting from an anthology or other collection of essays, your citation would look like this: (Smith 1-2). The 1-2 refers to the number of the essay within the collection.

APA Formatting Guidelines for Papers

There are two main types of formatting for academic papers: MLA and APA. Both styles have their own specific guidelines that must be followed in order to create a correctly formatted paper. So, how do you know which style to use?

The answer depends on the subject matter of your paper and which style is most commonly used in your field of study. For example, papers in the humanities are typically formatted using MLA style, while papers in the social sciences are usually formatted using APA style.

Once you’ve determined which style is most appropriate for your paper, you need to make sure that you understand all of the specific formatting guidelines. This can seem daunting at first, but luckily there are plenty of resources available to help you out.

The best place to start is with the official guidelines from the MLA or APA website. These websites provide detailed information on how to format your paper according to each style’s specific requirements.

Another great resource is a writing guide that includes information on both MLA and APA formatting. These guides can be found online or in many college libraries. Consult your professor if you’re unsure where to find a writing guide.

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the basic formatting guidelines, it’s time to start putting them into practice. The best way to do this is by finding some sample papers that have been properly formatted according to MLA or APA standards.

APA Formatting Guidelines for Citations

There are two main citation formats used in academic writing: MLA and APA. Both formats have their own unique rules and guidelines for how to format citations. So, how do you know which one to use?

Here is a quick guide to help you decide which citation format is right for your paper:

MLA Formatting Guidelines

MLA style is most commonly used in the humanities, such as English, History, and Art.

Here are the general MLA formatting guidelines:

  • Include a Works Cited page at the end of your paper that lists all the sources you used.
  • Use brief parenthetical citations in your text to point readers to the full citation in your Works Cited page. ● Citations should be listed alphabetically by the author’s last name.
  • If there is no author listed, start with the title of the source.

APA Formatting Guidelines 

APA style is most commonly used in the social sciences, such as Psychology, Sociology, and Education. 

Here are the general APA formatting guidelines: 

  • Include a Reference list at the end of your paper that lists all the sources you used. 
  • Use in-text citations to point readers to the full citation in your Reference list. 
  • Citations should be listed alphabetically by the author’s last name. 
  • If there is no author listed, start with the title of the source

Conclusion

Now that you know the differences between MLA and APA style, it’s time to choose the right one for your project. If you’re not sure which style to use, ask your instructor or consult a style guide. In general, MLA is used for humanities projects and APA is used for social science projects. However, there are exceptions to this rule, so be sure to check with your instructor before choosing a style.

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