The Key Differences between MLA and APA


As a student, you would understand that there are different formatting styles; each formatting style has proved its value in various fields. Various academic subjects seldom require different approach and techniques to researching, hence developing works are done in different ways. This is why, as a researcher or a student, it is essential to know which field you are working on, to know the approach to take for the used sources.

MLA and APA are two of the most commonly used writing styles. The APA was developed by the American Psychological Association for students and academics in social science and education. In contrast, the MLA was developed by the Modern Language Association for students and academics in the humanities and arts.

Both styles have some similarities like a brief in-text citation enclosed in parentheses (Find out where to use parentheses) and a full reference of the sources used at the end of the paper. They both also have some of their page formatting to be similar, like font type, font size and line spacing. However, there exist a lot of features that clearly differentiate them.

Here are the key differences between MLA and APA

pointing handIn-text citation

MLA in-text citation includes the author’s last name with the page number where the text was gotten from. However, APA in-text citation consists of the author’s last name and the publication year of the source. If you are quoting a text, then you have to include the page number.


Author MLA APA
1 (Moses, 22) (Moses, 2012, p. 22)
2 (Moses and Taylor 22) (Moses & Taylor, 2012, p.22)
3-5 (Moses et al. 22) (Moses, Johnson, & Taylor, 2012, p.22)
6 and more (Moses et al. 22) (Moses et al., 2012, p.22)

MLA versus APA Style

pointing handWorks Cited and Reference List

You are expected to list all cited sources at the end of your paper for both MLA and APA. The page is usually titled Works Cited List in MLA while in APA it is titled, Reference List. Both formats have different ways of citing sources in full, every entry for their full citation must contain the following in this particular order.

Author’s last name. Author’s last name.
Title Date of publication
Container Title
Other Contributors Other Contributors
Version Container
Number Version
Publisher Number
Date of publication Location
Location Publisher

The way each source type is to be cited is different for each source type for both formats. Therefore, only the elements related to the source type should be included in the full citation.



Jones, Tom. Difference between MLA and APA format. Edited by M.O. Moses, 3rd ed., Scientific Editing. 2010.


Jones, T. (2010). Difference between MLA and APA format. (M.O. Moses, Ed.) (3rd ed.). Los Angeles, California: Scientific Editing.

pointing handTitle Page and Header

Papers written in MLA format do not require title pages. However, your instructor may request for one. In place of a title page, MLA requires a four-line heading on the first page of your paper. The heading should be double spaced and left-aligned, it should also list your name, the name of your professor, the course information and the due date of the paper. Followed immediately by the title of the paper, that should be centre-aligned

APA format, on the other hand, requires a separate title page that list the title of the paper, your name, and the name of your institution. All the text should be centred and double spaced



James T. Moses

Professor Taylor

European studies

27 March 2020

The Effect Of Social Media Addiction On The Brain


The Effect Of Social Media Addiction On The Brain

James T. Moses

University of California


pointing handRunning Head

MLA and APA formats both require running heads to be included on every page of the paper. However, for MLA papers, the running head should include the Author’s last name and the page number to be aligned to the right. While, APA papers running head is comprised of the title of the paper in all caps and aligned to the left and page number, aligned to the right.






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By Andy Xavier

Andy is an avid content developer and writer. He is experienced in creating engaging articles that are entirely unique and insightful. He has written lots of articles for Scientific Editing since 2019.

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