Difference Between APA and MLA (With Table)

When writing and formatting a research paper or essay, citation styles are essential. Different citation styles are used in research papers, essay papers, and academic publications. When there is uniformity, things get faster and easier to evaluate. That’s why academic researchers and writers use citation styles. The most often used citation formats are APA and MLA. Both citation styles are nearly identical as there aren’t many differences between these two styles. APA is widely utilized in a variety of fields.


The main difference between APA and MLA is that the APA style is used for science subjects like physics, social science and natural science. On the other hand, the MLA style is used in humanities, arts, and historical literature. While writing a paper, any style can be used. The use of a consistent citation style can greatly simplify the process of comprehension and writing.

The American Psychological Association (APA) style is mostly used for scientific research papers and essays. In the APA in-text citation, the author’s last name and the year of publication are included. Commas are used in APA in-text citations. In APA style, the title is also italicized, and all other required words are capitalized. There are four sections in APA style article. The title page, abstract, main body, and references are included

MLA ( Modern Language Association) is used for humanities and arts. The reference page in MLA is called “works cited”. The title is underlined, and all the major words are capitalised in MLA style format. The author’s name and page number are included in in-text citations. Commas aren’t used in in-text citations of MLA style. Citation, punctuation, and documentation are the key focuses of MLA style. Body paragraphs and work cited are the two primary elements of the MLA format.

Comparison Table Between APA and MLA

Parameter of ComparisonAPAMLA
Full form The acronym APA stands for American Psychological AssociationThe acronym MLA stands for Modern Language Association
Used inThe APA format is used in the social sciences, psychology, criminology, and social work.Humanities, Arts, Language and history papers use MLA format
Source pageThe reference page is referred to as “references” in an APA style paper.The reference page is mentioned as ” work cited” in MLA style paper
TitleTitle in APA style is written in italics In MLA style, the title is underlined.
In- text citationsIn-text citations in MLA papers include the author’s last name and the year of publication.The author’s name and page number are included in in-text citations.

What is APA?

APA is preferred by American Psychological Association and is mainly used for social sciences. APA style was created in 1929. The writings related to Psychology, behavioural sciences, sociology, and history can be written in APA style.

In APA format works, double space should be used; font should be Times New Roman 12 size, and the margins should be one inch. APA style is mainly used for scientific writings, and hence publication year and authors name should be written in APA formats in-text citation. In APA style, the bibliography is referred to as references.

In APA format, the authors should be organized alphabetically and sequentially. Since APA is connected with science; it is mainly used in scientific hypotheses, testing and reporting. The APA style is more widely used by college students and scholars. In an APA style paper, there are four sections. The title page, abstract, main body, and references are included. The title should be in the centre of the page in this format.

What is MLA?

The Modern Language Association, or MLA is a citation style that is commonly used in humanistic areas. At the end of the MLA style article, there is a reference page referred to as ‘works cited’. This type of citation style is mostly used in colleges and universities.

Humanity subject is used for MLA style papers, which covers the English language, cultural studies and much more. Times New Roman should be used in MLA citation format, and the font size should be 12. In an MLA style document, the page number should be listed with the author’s name in the upper right corner of the page. MLA style does not include the Abstract, Headings, or Subheadings.

The Modern Language Association published the 9th edition of MLA in April 2021. MLA is the most often used citation format for writing papers and citing sources. Whenever a resource is used in the article, there should be a citation.

Main Differences Between APA and MLA

  1. The page title, abstract, paragraph, and references are the four components of an APA paper. MLA style, on the other hand, has two sections: body paragraph and work cited page.
  2. In APA format, along with the publishing date, the author’s last name is mentioned. Meanwhile, in MLA format, the author’s name and page number are cited.
  3. In APA style, the reference list is referred to as “references” at the end, whereas in MLA style, it is referred to as “work cited.”
  4. APA format is used for papers in the social sciences, psychology, and social work fields. MLA format is used in humanities, language, history, and the arts.
  5. A title page is required for every paper written in the APA format. Meanwhile, MLA style paper requires a header and a title centred on the first page.


There are different types of citation styles available for any education or scientific paper. These styles are necessary to preserve consistency and make things easier to understand. A particular paper should use a style to convey the messages clear and crisp.

APA and MLA are the most often utilised styles. These citation styles are used in different types of social sciences, humanities, arts and various educational papers and scientific research. It is compulsory to write an essay or any paper in a particular style when you are in University or school. One can write a research paper in any format. Proper citation is necessary for academics as they provide efficient communication.

To cite the sources in a paper, you’ll need to understand a variety of styles and forms. You must learn a variety of styles and forms to achieve professional and academic goals.


  1. http://comp-rhet.net/WRT160/apamlagroup.html
  2. https://okknf.smcebi.edu.pl/orwi07756sdo/11-prof-karina-gutkowski/rxJXL4Lpg4f-the-essentials-of-mla-style-a-guide-to-documenta-doc.pdf