MLA (Modern Language Association) and APA (American Psychological Association) are two common citation styles used in academic writing to properly credit sources and provide consistency and clarity in research papers, essays, and other scholarly works.

Here’s a basic explanation of each style along with examples:

MLA Format:

MLA format is commonly used in the humanities, including literature, languages, and the arts.

  1. In-text Citations: In MLA style, in-text citations typically include the author’s last name and the page number(s) from which the information was taken. If the author’s name is mentioned in the sentence, only the page number is needed in parentheses. Example:
    • (Smith 45)
    • According to Smith, “quote here” (45).
  2. Works Cited Page: At the end of your paper, you should include a Works Cited page listing all the sources you cited in your paper. The entries should be alphabetized by the author’s last name (or title if no author is provided).Example: Smith, John. The Art of Writing. Publisher, Year.
  3. Web Page: Example –  Smith, J. (2024). The Art of Writing. Retrieved from https://grace.com

APA Format:

APA format is commonly used in the social sciences, such as psychology, sociology, and education.

  1. In-text Citations: In APA style, in-text citations include the author’s last name and the publication year. If the author’s name is mentioned in the sentence, only the publication year is needed in parentheses. Example:
    • (Smith, 2019)
    • According to Smith (2019), “quote here.”
  2. References Page: Similar to MLA’s Works Cited page, APA uses a References page at the end of the paper. Entries are also alphabetized by the author’s last name (or title if no author is provided), but the format for each entry is different from MLA.Example: Smith, J. (2019). The Art of Writing. Publisher.
  3. Web Page: Example – Smith, John. “The Art of Writing.” Publisher (if applicable), 2024, grace.com.

Key Differences:

  • Authors’ Names: MLA format typically uses full author names, while APA format uses initials for the first and middle names.
  • Publication Year: MLA uses page numbers for in-text citations, while APA uses the publication year.
  • Works Cited vs. References: MLA calls it a Works Cited page, while APA calls it a References page.
  • Formatting: There are other formatting differences, such as how titles are styled, the use of italics, punctuation, and more. These differences extend beyond citations to the overall formatting of the paper itself.

Remember, while these are the basic formats, both MLA and APA have specific rules for citing different types of sources (books, articles, websites, etc.), so it’s essential to consult the official style guides for detailed information.