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General Differences between MLA and APA

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:

TypeMLA FormatAPA 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

{ 61 comments… add one }
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