Essay Format: APA Versus MLA
College and university students are often required to complete their essay or writing assignment using the APA (American Psychological Association) or MLA (Modern Language Association) format. Each formatting style presents different aspects that help writers organize and present their written data. Such elements include quotations, punctuations, and citations.
Sometimes depending on the area of study this helps in determining which formatting style to use. For the most part, as a student your instructor will tell you which one you need to use. There are similarities and differences of each format and once you understand them, you will have a better idea which one you should use and when to do so.
Understanding MLA Formatting
This format is often used with manuscript writing but also provides details on how to cite sources for proper credibility. This also helps reduce plagiarism risk or being accused of taking someone else’s ideas. Most of the time an assignment is type using fonts such as Courier or Times New Roman. Content is double-spaced on an 8.5 x 11 page. Paragraph indentations are set for one inch or tab from the left side of the page.
On the page the margins all around are set to approximately one inch. Endnotes appear toward the last page before works cited page if they are required. In the upper right hand corner page numbers and headers are inserted. Sometimes this is where a student’s name appears depending on instructor guidelines.
Understanding APA Formatting
Writings in relation to social science often use this format. Yet, this formatting procedure includes more focus on paragraph structure. Similar to MLA, the page should be double-spaced while the page is measured at 8.5 x 11 inches. The title page includes a number of details including running headers, titles and bylines.
Headings may not be necessary depending on the content written, but they may help in displaying your content easier to readers. Figures and tables may be included as a visual aid for displaying content. Yet, they should be numbered using Arabic roman numerals. References are often displayed toward the end on their own page. This content is centered, double-spaced, and appears alphabetically.
Other Details to Remember
You can learn more about each format through your educational institution and what they required for their students. There are also handbooks available for each style that provides examples of how they are used.