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MLA Guidelines

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By Robyn Unrau October 28, 2023 - 10:41pm Comments (1)

Well, the time has arrived - our first major assignment is due in the next few days...

I have always used MLA format for my papers; in fact, in only one AU course did I ever have to use APA, and I didn't find it too difficult to transition to that style for those few months. I believe this is because they are fundamentally very similar, with both using in-text citations. I really just needed to study up on the minor differences between the two styles. 

Being an online tutor, most of my students also use MLA for their assignments, so I feel pretty lucky that I have the MLA style engrained in me at this point.

However, our second assignment is the APA style! Although, I have to say, I don't mind the prospect of a challenge; I've been using the MLA style for 7 years now, and to push myself will not be a bad thing.

One main difference between MLA and APA is that MLA is used mostly for the Humanities where references are mostly literature based, so readers need to see a line number in the citation so that they can easily find the exact quotation in the reference.

On the other hand, APA is used more often in the Social Sciences, where research is more focused on outcomes, experiments and quantitative data, so the in-text citation includes the year the paper was published instead of the page number, because the writer is more often referring to a whole paper instead of one specific line. 

Of course, what I have written is based on my limited knowledge and experience of the different styles, so I am looking forward to reading every one else's posts here, as I am sure there are others in our course that have a much different background in writing than I do. 

I have never used a formatting style that uses footnotes, and I think that would be a pretty daunting shift to make! I know the Chicago Style uses footnotes, and I would be very happy if I never have to learn this style :)

As you can see, my knowledge of the different writing styles is very limited, and I am looking forward to more practice of the APA style in the coming weeks.

Blessings to all



  • James Yeats October 30, 2023 - 12:33am

    Hey Robyn, thanks for your post. It's nice to hear another person's perspective on preferences regarding style guides to formatting. Unlike you, I was used to APA, until the last couple of courses in my BA. I got to learn how to do Chicago style, and yes, that was a daunting transition for sure. But, like everything, it's pretty cool once you get the hang of it.
    You are right about the APA and not needing the page number, only the date and last name. However, if you are directly quoting, then of course there needs to be a page number.

    You know, one thing that really blew me away today, was the fact that if you are writing a reference in MLA, and there is more than one author, you write the last name of the author, and then the first, and then vice-versa for the second author. That's just crazy to me lol
    Anyways, take care.
    James Yeats