General Differences between MLA and APA

by Stephen on January 6, 2013 · 41 comments

Many students ask for a list of the main differences between MLA and APA. Please see below. This list was obtained from Bellevue University’s Writing Center.

The main differences between MLA and APA are as follows:

Type MLA Format APA Format
Date: The date follows the publisher in the citation and is not in parentheses. The date follows the author and is in parentheses.
Author’s Name: The author’s full name (first and last) is spelled out. The author’s last name is spelled out and the first name is reduced to initials.
Capitalization: All major words in the title are capitalized and the title is underlined. Only the first word of the title, the first word of a subtitle, and any proper nouns (like names) are capitalized. Everything else is lowercase. Also, the title is written in italics.
Source Page: The source page is called a “Works Cited”. The source page is called a “References”.
In-Text Citations: MLA uses the last name of the author and the page number. APA uses the last name of the author and the date.
MLA does not uses commas to separate the material, or p. pp. before the page numbers. APA does use commas and, if a page is mentioned, uses p. and pp.

Differences between MLA and APA Examples:

MLA: (Burns 101)
APA: (Burns, 1999, p. 4)

Here are two comparison examples:

Klaphake, Elizabeth. My Life as an English Professor. Bellevue,
Nebraska: Bellevue University Press. 1999.

Klaphake, E. (1999). My life as an English professor. Bellevue,
Nebraska: Bellevue University Press.


– Writing Center

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tonya Elms April 1, 2013 at 11:19 am

APA has a few things that will be hard for me to remember, like the year in the second place, not cap all words, putting the wed site.

2 Kalu isaac August 25, 2013 at 4:39 pm

This is really interesting, but what of a work cited by a cooperate authors in the same year?

3 Austine Boakye Gaskoni December 7, 2013 at 6:15 am

Very interesting.

4 Cosy February 9, 2014 at 6:24 pm

Thanx it’s helpful to my studies.

5 Zoubir May 3, 2014 at 10:05 am

Thank you for your helping

6 Tochukwu July 30, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Tnx for the one provided, but what about Chicago style of writting.

7 Lauren September 26, 2014 at 7:10 pm

Thank you!

8 Charway james Niiclient September 28, 2014 at 10:10 am

Things very clear. Thanks.

9 Lucy gembe November 21, 2014 at 3:07 am

Thank you so much it has helped me

10 Yung_Sezzy November 25, 2014 at 11:39 am

Aye Thanks

11 Vicks January 23, 2015 at 6:55 am

Really came in handy…tnx for your help

12 olumide February 26, 2015 at 7:36 pm

Thanks….it helps me alot

13 Amanu Victor Brabi March 4, 2015 at 5:06 pm

So clear…. Thanks

14 Acker Bear March 24, 2015 at 10:39 am

Forgot my book, using this instead.

Thanx awesome

15 AKPARA SAMUEL May 12, 2015 at 4:23 pm

Yes, it has helped with a better understanding.

16 Bilawal hussain June 8, 2015 at 2:34 am


17 Willy August 3, 2015 at 1:20 pm

Thanks for posting this information 🙂

18 Lynette September 11, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Thanks this was very helpful. It seems the Universities are using the APA format as opposed to the MLA.

19 Keith October 8, 2015 at 10:00 am

Thank you so much..!! 🙂 😀

20 Ehsan Ullah November 15, 2015 at 1:02 am

It is very helpful and easy to understand

21 Faith November 18, 2015 at 3:50 pm


22 Robeyz November 29, 2015 at 2:03 am

beneficial to learners, awesome

23 OPAI ISAAC December 11, 2015 at 5:49 am

This is very educative. It has helped clear my mind just like it has with a lot of my mates. thank you.

24 Dawood Naik December 16, 2015 at 1:55 am

Thnks ….cleared my all doubts …really very interesting….

25 tariq January 4, 2016 at 1:43 am

A very perfect distinction is made here between apa and mla.
So thanks a lot.

26 Zahra khan January 23, 2016 at 10:31 am

Thans for sharing this information… i was searching for this and finally i got..

27 mustaha haaji February 8, 2016 at 12:06 pm

Thx alot ,it improves my understanding

28 Rooso March 21, 2016 at 1:41 pm

Thank You!!

29 Anne March 22, 2016 at 11:10 pm

Thanks alot

30 Victor April 11, 2016 at 7:32 am


31 Sara June 2, 2016 at 6:56 pm

Thank you so much !!! well explained

32 SustenusWright August 2, 2016 at 2:34 am

So clear and easy to understand. Thanks

33 Ouma Eric Odhiambo November 2, 2016 at 6:04 am

Wonderful short and precise comprehensible explanation. Thank you so much !

34 evans November 4, 2016 at 1:48 am

so helpful thank you

35 Hostense November 22, 2016 at 9:47 pm

Thanks so much that piece of information. It has really added more to my knowledge. God bless you.

36 Jov Michael Terhemba February 1, 2017 at 4:57 pm

I have learnt a lot. May God increase your knowledge the more

37 Mighty Eli April 12, 2017 at 2:28 am

Thanks so much

38 Abderrahman aouani April 16, 2017 at 12:13 pm

Thank you so much

39 Hari May 3, 2017 at 4:10 am

Thank u

40 Abdul May 13, 2017 at 10:20 am

Thanks a lot

41 Maana May 16, 2017 at 10:37 am

Thanx very helpful.

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