A Complete Guide on APA and MLA Formats

The most stressful part of writing a paper is to decide between the format. A good writing piece needs a lot of research, strong arguments, and proper citation to support the argument. Most of the students get professional assistance from essay writing service to clear their confusions on  both formats.

You are required to follow two specific formats during the citation of your reference list. These include:


  • APA
  • MLA


It is important to know the difference between both before using it in your paper. The complete guide given below provides a detailed comparison between the two.

APA Standard Guidelines

APA style originates from the American Psychological Association. It has some defined set of rules for journals, articles, books, anthologies, and publications.

It enables the writer to structure their work by adding references and citations in a unique way. This formatting is completely different from other formats. You need to pay special attention to the layout and the choice of words.

The following are the APA standard guidelines:

  • All lines should be double spaced
  • Font should 12 Times New Roman
  • One-inch space for all margins
  • Number and work title on the top right corner of every page
  • Footnotes should be double spaced
  • Reference list in the bibliography
  • In-text citations must show the author’s name, publication year and page number
  • Title must be centered
  • The abstract should be included
  • Author’s name in the reference list should be written as follows: Last name + First name + Middle initial

MLA Standard Guidelines

MLA styles are derived from the Modern Languages Association for scientific and literary research work. It focuses more on in-depth work when it comes to referencing.

The following are the MLA standard guidelines:

  • All lines should be double spaced.
  • Font should 12 Times New Roman
  • One-inch space for all margins
  • Follow the Alphabetical order for author and work
  • Direct citations should only have name and page, without a comma
  • Indirect citations should have a single page
  • No extra line-break in between citations
  • The top right corner should have a page number and the author’s name

Differences Between the MLA and APA Formats

Here we have mentioned some differences between these two writing formats.

  1.       Writers and Editors

All the writers, editors and compilers must be cited in an MLA format paper. It also includes a brief description of the work cited list.

On the other hand, the APA format also includes the author, editor, and compiler’s name in the list of references but not in the bibliography.

  1.       Bibliographic List

The referencing in MLA format follows an alphabetical order by the name of the author then title. However, the reference in APA style follows an alphabetical order by author name after work.

  1.       Various Work by the Same Author

If you are listing various works by the same writer in an MLA format paper, you have to list down the work in an alphabetical manner.

Only the first listing will contain the name of the author. Nevertheless, the remaining entries should begin from:

  • Three Hyphens
  • A Period
  • Space
  • Title Name
  • A Period

On the other side, the APA format paper follows the chronological order in such cases.

  1.   Article Titles

In MLA format, titles should be referenced in quotation marks with capital letters.

APA does not include articles in quotation marks and the first word is capitalized only.

Which is Better: APA or MLA?

APA is used for social sciences fields such as sociology, psychology, criminology, Business, and Nursing. MLA is used for humanities such as Philosophy, Religion, Literature, Politics, Law, Religion, and Anthropology.

It completely depends on the writing style. For example, MLA is appropriate for writing fictional literature. It is also used in crafting short publications such as academic articles. Whereas, APA is suitable to use for in-text citations.

This article can help you differentiate between the MLA and APA format. If you are still confused, relying on write my essay is always a good option. 


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