APA vs MLA – Difference and Comparison

What is APA?

The American Psychological Association (APA) is the most common writing style used in psychology and other social sciences. It is important to understand the APA style if you are planning to write a paper for a class in psychology or any other social science.

 The APA style is a set of guidelines for writing and format that is used by writers in these disciplines. The APA style is not a set of rules, but rather a guide that authors can use to ensure that their papers are clear, concise, and easy to read.

There are many different elements to the APA style, but some of the most important include use of clear and concise language, use of short paragraphs, use of headings and subheadings, use of tables and figures, use of references.

The APA style is designed to make papers easy to read and understand. In general, papers written in APA style should be written in a clear and concise manner. Authors should use short paragraphs and break up their paper into smaller sections using headings and subheadings. Tables and figures can be used to help readers understand complex data or concepts.

What is MLA?

The MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This tool contains examples for the typical structure of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page. It has been updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (8th ed.).

The MLA style manual provides standards for writing in English and formatting manuscripts. Authors can also use parenthetical citations in MLA style to list their sources in essays and Works Cited pages. Authors that follow MLA guidelines correctly additionally establish their credibility by showing a commitment to their sources.

The most significant benefit of using MLA style is that it helps shield authors from charges of plagiarism, which is the deliberate or unintentional non-crediting of another author’s work. When a writer doesn’t credit their sources, plagiarism in research writing is all too likely to happen.

Difference Between APA and MLA

  1. APA style is most used in the social sciences, especially in psychology, sociology, and anthropology courses. MLA style is most used in the humanities, especially in English and other language arts courses.
  2. APA stands for the American Psychological Association, which is a professional organization for psychologists and other social scientists. MLA stands for the Modern Language Association, which is a professional organization for scholars of languages and literature.
  3. The APA style guide is published by the APA, and it provides detailed instructions on how to format papers and cite sources in APA style. The MLA style guide is published by the MLA, and it provides detailed instructions on how to format papers and cite sources in MLA style.
  4. The most obvious difference between MLA and APA style is in the way that sources are cited. In APA style, sources are cited using a combination of in-text citations and reference lists. In MLA style, sources are cited using parenthetical citations in the text of the paper.
  5. APA style uses in-text citations with the author’s last name and the date of publication, emphasizes precision and conciseness. while MLA style uses parenthetical citations within the text to point the reader to the full citation in the Works Cited page and focuses on simplicity and clarity.

Comparison Between APA and MLA

Parameters of ComparisonAPAMLA
Full formAmerican Psychological AssociationModern Language Association
Title PageRequires title pageDo not require title page
BibliographyReferencesWork cited
Date formatThe date is followed by the authors name in parenthesesThe date is followed by the publisher’s name but not in parentheses
Most used forAPA style is used for social sciencesMLA style is used to write a paper on humanities and liberal art


  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