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Term paper formats: differences between APA and MLA


Any college student will be asked to write any number of essays or research papers. They will receive all sorts of instructions and advice regarding the writing of these papers including the structure of introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion as well as the importance of answering the question or sticking to the topic, and finally of knowing how to edit and proofread their final draft.

But one major aspect of the instructions they receive will be the announcement of which format they need to use in creating their research paper. Generally speaking, it could be the MLA format or the APA format.

These formats are simply a set of rules which dictate how you should set out your research paper or essay. It refers to the layouts of the document, with such things as headings, size of margins and most importantly the way you quote writers whose work appears in your material. There are a few differences between the two formats and here are those differences.

The date

In the MLA format the date comes after the name of the publisher in any citation and is not in parenthesis. In the APA formats the date comes after the name of the author and is placed in parenthesis.

The author’s name

In the MLA format the author's first and last name is listed in full whereas in the APA format only in the author's last name is listed in full and the first name is represented by an initial.

The source page

In the MLA format the source page is known as the Works Cited page. In the APA format it is known as the References page.

Capital letters

In the MLA format all the significant words in the title are written with the Caps Lock key engaged in the entire title and with a line underneath it .In the APA format only the first word in the title and any subtitles or names are written in capital letters. Everything else is in lowercase and the title is written with the italics key engaged.

In text citations

In the MLA format you use the last name of the author and the page number whereas the APA format uses the last name of your server but instead of the page number, the date. And the MLA format doesn't separate materials or references with a comma whereas the APA format does use commas.

These are the major differences between the two sets of requirements. They seem like relatively minor issues but you will find that a college will choose one of these formats so it is only necessary for you to learn the requirements of the format which is in place.

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