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Differences in APA and MLA Formatting and Style Guide

APA is mostly used in the social sciences, but MLA is predominately used in the liberal arts as well as humanities. The APA and MLA Formatting and Style Guide provide the overall formatting for style, content, and references. Although they have some similarities, they also have some differences according to the APA and MLA Formatting and Style Guide.

Paper Formatting
An APA-formatted essay consists of four major parts which include the title page, abstract, body, and references. The MLA paper does not bear a separate title page or even an abstract. It contains two major parts which include the body, and the works cited page.

Title Page
APA papers apply page headers at the top of all pages including the title page. APA’s title page includes the title, name of the author and institutional affiliation. An MLA-formatted paper has the title on the first page that separates the title from the body only by double spacing. MLA style uses a header on the left corner of the first page bearing the author’s name, instructor’s name, course, and the date.

In-Text Citations
MLA and APA papers use slightly different methods for in-text citations. MLA style follows the author-page format while the APA uses the author-date format. An APA paper has the author’s last name together with the year of publication in its parenthesis after the cited work. An MLA paper has the author’s last name as well as the page number in its parenthesis after the content.

Reference Page
APA papers have a separate page at the end of every paper entitled “References,” while MLA papers include the last page entitled “Works Cited.” In an APA paper, if there are several works by the same author, the titles are listed chronologically from the earliest work. However, in an MLA paper, the works are listed alphabetically using a title and three hyphens instead of the author’s name after the first reference. In an MLA’s works cited page, the second line and following lines for every source are indented five times. An APA source is indented one and a half inch from the margin from the first line.