Difference Between APA and MLA (With Table)

The writing work of a person should be formatted well for reaching the professional standard. There are many formatting ways that people can use for their writing work.

MLA and APA writing formats can be used by people for their research papers, books, and reports. The students are always asked to follow the formats MLA and APA for their academic works or writings.

The association renowned for its focus on the education or study of literature along with the language is known as Modern Language Association. This association always prefers the MLA style or format for presenting the writing works.

On the other hand, the APA style or format is taken by the American Language Association.

APA vs MLA              

The main difference between APA and MLA formatting is that both of these are introduced by two different associations. The APA is used by people who would have to give a more precise and accurate structure to their writing works as people can divide their writing work into four sections. On the other hand, MLA is used by people that want to divide their writing work into only two sections.


The APA formats are very often used for academic writing works. The APA formats are extremely simple if the student would be able to learn them correctly. For preventing plagiarism, the APA formats are extremely beneficial as they are great at organizing and structuring the writing work. If someone wants to go for giving proper structure to their books and articles, then APA can be a good option. Most of the time, people would have to follow the APA formats as they are considered worldwide.

There are many scholars or publishers that require a professional formatting style for their writing works. MLA formatting style is used by publishers and scholars for focusing mainly on the body of the content along with the citations. The people who are entirely involved in the field of literature and language are only allowed to use the MLA formatting style. The MLA formats are great for maintaining the quality and uniformity of the writing work.

Comparison Table Between APA and MLA

Parameters APAMLA
Introduction                              The formatting style whose usage is restricted to the social and behavioral sciences is tagged as APA formats.   The format used by scholars or research professionals mainly in the liberal arts or humanities field is the MLA format.
Parts             The APA formatting style has 4 parts or sections in total.     The MLA formatting style prefers very less sections and it has only 2 parts.
Title Page           In APA formatting, people would see a specific page given to focus the title of the writing work.       In MLA formatting, the writing work would not have any specific title to catch the attention of readers.
Abstract             The APA formatting style requires the writers to write a specific abstract for their writing work. The MLA formatting style doesn’t require any abstract for the writing work.
Source    In the APA format, the sources used for the writing work are given as references on the last page.In MLA formatting, the sources used for writing work are cited on the end page.

What is APA?

All the research work or articles should be well structured or formatted for increasing readability. There are many publishers and journals that look for articles that satisfy their guidelines.

In the APA publication manual, the researchers or authors can find many rules and guidelines to be followed for writing the articles in APA format.

If an author wants to make their writing work more authentic and different from others, then APA can be a good way to structure the writing work. The value of the content comes when the articles, research papers, and reports are well structured.

There are many publishers or journals that ask for notable titles and headings. In such a situation, every author can use the APA formatting style, as it would make your writing work more remarkable.

What is MLA?                                                                                    

The MLA formatting style would be preferred by people that prefer dividing their writing work into two sections. People that want to follow the MLA formatting style would have to follow the rules and guidelines set by the Modern Language Association.

The guidelines and rules for following the MLA formats would keep on changing from time to time. Everyone should have to follow the latest guidelines given by Modern Language Association for structuring their articles, book, and papers.

In MLA, everyone should focus on the writing style and punctuation. There are many schools and colleges that follow the MLA format style for their research work or articles.

Main Differences Between APA and MLA

  1. APA formatting is a good way to write research papers and articles. The MLA formatting styles are more convenient to be used by the scholars for formatting writings works and citing the sources used for the work.
  2. Following the MLA formatting style would be more convenient for people that want to keep their writings in just two sections. People that follow APA would give a better structure to their writing work as it has to be done in four sections.
  3. In MLA, the authors have to write or mention their name along with the page number. The APA follows a different format in which the author has to mention its last name along with the date in the parenthesis. In APA, the date to be mentioned should be the year in which the source has been published.
  4. Capitalization is done in both formats, but in a different manner. In APA, the first letter of the proper nouns should be capitalized along with the titles and subtitles. For MLA formatting style, the authors should not skip capitalizing the significant words used in the title, and the title should be highlighted by underlying it.
  5. The author’s names are mentioned in MLA, but only the first and last name is mentioned. The APA formatting style doesn’t allow the authors to write their names fully. The last name of the authors is given in initials, whereas the first name is mentioned properly.


Formatting, citing the sources, and structuring are extremely pivotal for making your writing work faultless. These formatting styles are great for keeping your articles, books, research paper, and reports free from plagiarism. There are many publishers and journals that don’t accept articles without formatting or citations.

People can refer to guidelines given by the journals or publishers for choosing the best formatting style that would work for them. Both APA and MLA, are good in their way.

The main difference found in both MLA and APA is that they are adopted and developed by two different associations. People before choosing their formatting style should learn about the question that they want to answer with the help of their writing work. The type of research work and the process of writing would decide the best format to be used.