Difference Between MLA and APA Citations

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    MLA vs APA Citations

    In writing research papers and other academic papers, it is important to cite references acknowledging sources from which one has gathered information necessary for one’s work. This will provide credibility to one’s work as well as give credit to one’s sources. It will usually contain the name of the author, the title of the work, the date, and the name of the publisher of the works cited. There are two citation systems that are being used today, the MLA and the APA citations.

    The Modern Language Association (MLA) is a citation system which is usually used in high schools, colleges, universities, and graduate schools for their academic literary works. It is also the citation system used when writing about the humanities.

    For the citation of authors and editors, MLA prescribes that the authors and editors’ full names must be stated in the bibliography which it refers to as the “works cited” page. Only the first three authors and editors can be written on it, and the rest can be referred to as “et al.” This is to be followed by the title of the work.

    MLA requires the author’s name and the page cited to be written on the parenthetical citation and for the capitalization of the first letter in the major words of the title. The publication date citation is written at the end of the reference. It also requires that the student’s title and name, the course title, the instructor’s name, and the date be listed on the first page of the essay. In the header information, the page numbers as well as the student’s last name must be written.

    The American Psychological Association (APA) is a citation system which is used in schools, colleges, and universities in writing about business, sociology, and the sciences. It refers to the bibliography as the reference.

    In APA, there is a separate title page wherein the student’s name, course title, instructor name, and date are listed. A summary of the essay must also be written on the header. Unlike the MLA, APA only requires the first letter of the first word of the title to be written in capital letters.
    For the author and editor citation, APA requires listing the names of all the authors and editors even if there are many, but only the last names are to be written in full and the rest can be initials. This is followed by the year of the work.


    1. “MLA” refers to the Modern Language Association citation system while “APA” refers to the American Psychological Association citation system.
    2. MLA is used in academic writings and the humanities while APA is used in writing about business and the sciences.
    3. MLA refers to the bibliography as “works cited” while APA refers to it as the reference.
    4. In citing authors and editors, MLA requires the full names to be written and only the first three can be mentioned while APA only requires the last name to be written in full but all of the authors and editors must be mentioned.
    5. In APA, the year of the work follows the name of authors and editors while the title of the work follows it in MLA.

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