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ENGLISH FOR ACADEMIC & PROFESSIONAL PURPOSES

APA vs. MLA Citation Style

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Depending on the instruction of your teacher, you may use either the MLA or the APA citation styles. Some teachers designate a particular documentation style. Some, however, allow their students to choose the citation style they would like to use for their academic paper.

The following table illustrates some of the basic differences between the APA and MLA citation styles:

Type APA Citation Style MLA Citation Style
Title for reference listing
"References"
"Works Cited"
Capitalization
Only the first letter of the title of the work is capitalized
Proper names, first word of title, and first word appearing after a colon or semicolon are capitalized
Abstract
Required
Not required
Headings in Main Body
Has headings to indicate important sections (e.g. "Method" or "Results")
No such headings

Regardless of which style you are using, it would be an ideal practice to list down important information about who wrote the publication; what is the title of the publication; which publishing firm, agency, or website published it; and when it was published.

Nowadays, citing sources has been made easy through technological advancement. With the click of a button you can get the information you need, including the reference materials for your chosen topic. Still using technology, you can command the computer to create the citation for you, as well as the appropriate title for your list of sources—whether Bibliography, Works Cited or References. Access the links in the Equip section of this lesson for more information about referencing.

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