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Simplified Difference between APA 7th Edition and MLA 8th Edition

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Simplified Difference between APA 7th Edition and MLA 8th Edition

APA and MLA are the frequently used citation formats. The APA citation style is mainly used in education fields, such as Anthropology, Business, Communication, Education, Political Science, and Psychology, while the MLA format is used in humanities. In APA and MLA formats, a citation source has a short parenthetical citation in between sentences and a complete reference at the end of a paper. Though, these citations formats seem a bit different. They have different guidelines for things like author's name, capitalization of the title, and date placement. This article will discuss some differences in formatting and layout in APA 7th edition and MLA 8th edition.

What are APA and MLA Styles?

APA and MLA style forms criteria of written communication involving: writing styles, organization of the content, citing references, and how to prepare publication in specific disciplines. APA and MLA formats make it easier for writers and readers to understand a text by giving a familiar structure they can follow. As a writer, APA and MLA standards will allow you to:

  • Give readers the hints they will use to follow your idea and get more information on their interests.
  • Allows the reader to focus more on your idea.


APA and MLA formatting

APA and MLA overall formatting is similar. These styles recommend the use of:

  • 12 point Times New Roman font
  • Double spacing
  • One-inch margins

Your APA format section should have four main sections: the Cover page, Abstract, Main Body, and References.

The Cover Page

APA 7th edition cover page should have the title of the paper, the institutional affiliation and author's name. In addition, a student's academic paper should have the instructor's name, course number, and assignment submission date.

Your title should be on the upper and lowercase letters and at the center of the upper part of the page. You should write the title in bold letters. Also, APA titles should not have abbreviations or fluffy words. In addition, all texts on the cover page and the whole paper should appear double spaced.

On the other hand, MLA does not require a cover page. In MLA format, the heading is aligned on the upper left side of your paper. The heading should be double spaced your full names included, instructor's name, course number, and the due date. The title in this paper should be centered below the heading.

APA cover page sample






MLA first page sample

Page headers for APA and MLA styles

Next, an APA header includes a page number aligned on the upper right side of the paper. Also, you should include APA running head for publication purposes. A running head should be a summary or a short version of the title of your paper. Finally, in MLA research paper Australia format, your last name and page number should be at the header of all pages, both on the upper right side of your paper.

In-text citation in APA and MLA

In-text citations state the source of all your data in the body. APA and MLA styles use parenthetical format to cite sources in the text. But, they are both cited differently.  APA in-text citation comprises the last name of the author and the publication year. You should also add a page number if you are paraphrasing or quoting a particular paragraph. For example, (Johnson, 2017, pp. 39–41) or (Parker, 2020, p. 67).

An MLA in-text citation has the first name of the author and page number. When you have two authors from your source, name them both. When the source has two or more authors, use the first author followed by “et al.” MLA in-text is placed directly after the relevant paraphrase or quote. In case you name the author in a sentence, always add the page number only to parentheses. Again, when citing a source with three or more writers outside parentheses, use “and colleagues” or “and others” instead of “et al.” Below are some examples of MLA in-text citations.

  • MLA is the second most used citation style (Williams and Morrison 16–19).
  • Conferring to Williams and Morrison, MLA is the second most used citation format (16–19).
  • APA is by far “the most used citation style in the US” (Moore et al. 84), but it is not superior author's in the UK (Williams 16).

APA reference list vs. MLA cited reference list

When you are writing your paper, both APA and MLA styles require you to make a complete list of every cited source on a new page at the end of your paper. In APA, it is referred to as the reference list and in MLA, it is known as Work Cited.

In APA, all lines that come after the first line should be indented, one-half inch from left margin of the paper. It is known as hanging indentation, the same applies to MLA citations. The author's name must be inverted, meaning the last names should appear first. You should write the first and middle names of the author in initials.  For example (Smith, J.M). All entries in a reference list should be in alphabetical order. In papers written by the same author, write the entries from the earliest to the most recent. Titles should be italicized for lengthier works such as newspapers, books, etc. Do not place quotes, underline or Italicize titles for short works.

APA references sample

In MLA, the title Work Cited should be at the top center of a new paper after your essay. All citations should be double spaced. Page numbers of the source should be listed. If the source is derived from one page, mark it with the abbreviation "p" before writing the page number. If you source information from more pages, the abbreviation will be "pp." For the new Edition MLA, you should include the location to tell the reader where you found the source. Some databases use a digital object identifier (DOI) or URL. Thus, they are the last elements to appear in a citation. All entries end with a period.  You should capitalize every word in the titles of books and articles. Finally, more significant works use italics to write the title, while shorter works such as articles and poems use quotation marks.


MLA work cited sample

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