While in college you will be given assignments, essays, a research paper to write and submit for review. Usually, your professor will provide an outline of the structure that your paper should follow and other times; you are left to decide on your own.

Standard document formatting styles include the APA (American Psychological Association), and MLA (Modern Language Association) styles of formatting. You may choose to format the assignment by yourself or seek the help of a professional apa editor.

The two styles may be similar in some areas, but they also have distinct features that separate one from the other. They include:


The major differences between apa and MLA are in how you record your “references” as in the APA format, and “Works Cited” in MLA format. For a better grasp of the differences, we will cover each style separately.

MLA Citations

You have to write the full names of the author whose work you have cited. That is the author’s full, first and last name.

You also have to specify the role of the persons included in your citation; a compiler’s name is followed by a comma and the abbreviation “comp.” whereas an editor’s name is followed by a comma and “ed.”

The way you order your entries should follow the alphabetical order according to the name of the author, then the title of the work cited.

The date of publication follows the name of the publisher. It should, however, not be recorded in parenthesis.

APA Citations

In APA format, you have to list down your sources beginning with their last name, followed by the first, then the last initial.

You have to include the name of the author, compiler or editor under your reference section, and not the Bibliography.

The list of references should follow the alphabetical order according to the author’s name and chronologically according to work cited.

Date of publication of the works cited should be in parenthesis after the name of the author.

In Text Citations

Using the correct APA format example to cite works within your paper, you will have to include the name of the author (last name) and year of publication of the source material in parenthesis.

For the MLA style format, in-text citations follow the author-page format. That is the last name of the author followed by the page cited.

Title Page Format

In APA formatting, one has to include a header on every page, the Title Page inclusive. You need to include the title of the work, the name of the author, and institution that you are affiliated with, in the Title Page.

The title of the paper should be flushed left whereas the date is flush right.

When using the MLA formatting style, the header is positioned on the left side of the first page. The subsequent pages will have a header on the right side. The header should include the last name of the author of the paper and number of the page.

As for the First page in MLA style, you should include the name of the author, name of your instructor, course name, and date, on the left side of the paper.

Use of Capitalization

When using the MLA format in your assignment, the Title of your work needs to be underlined, and every significant word capitalized. However, in the APA format, your title should be italicized. Also, the first word in your title or subtitle and other pronouns (e.g., names) should be in uppercase.


Understanding the rules that apply to every formatting style will make your work easier as the research you need to conduct may be more tasking than having to wonder how to present your findings.