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Posted: admin in: Essay Writing Tips
November 12th, 2007

Using the MLA and APA for Essay Format

Essay format is not only about content and organization, but also entails formatting the paper according to the specified documentation style. Different academic streams have different formatting styles. The Arts and Humanities follow the MLA (Modern Language Association) style while APA or (American Psychological Association) is more commonly used for the social sciences. Both MLA and APA have typical specifications with some common ground in between.

The MLA style: (i) in-text citations and (ii) Works Cited. The in-text citation has two parts signal phrase and parenthetical citation. The signal phrase introduces the quotation and helps establish a sources credibility. Example: (1) Shakespeare was a great playwright. OR (2) According to Bradley, the respected Shakespeare critic and scholar, Shakespeare was a great playwright. Notice how the first hangs in vacuum whereas the second creates immediate interest by referring to the sources credentials.

The parenthetical citation refers to the author and page number of the source in brackets at the end of the sentence. Example: Shakespeare was a great playwright (Bradley, 33). If you refer to the author in the signal phrase, the parenthetical citation will include only the page number. Notice how the period appears after the parenthetical citation, not at the end of the quote.

The Works Cited Page lists the sources used in the text in an alphabetical manner, beginning with last names of authors. In the absence of names, refer to the title of the text. The list should begin on a fresh page at the end of the document with each line (barring the first) of each entry indented.

Your last name and page number should appear on each page. The document should be double spaced and each fresh paragraph should be indented.

APA also has in-text citations and a list of sources, titled References at the end of the document. The in-text citation consists of the author’s last name along with the year of publication. If you refer to the author within the sentence, mention the year of publication in brackets immediately after the name. Example: According to XX (year of publication), symptoms of the paranoia could.

Where the author is not mentioned, refer to both author and year in the parenthetical citation. Here, you also refer to the page number preceded by the initial or (Author, Year, pp.).

The References list appears at the end of the document on a fresh page and is arranged alphabetically according to the authors last names. The list is double spaced and each part of the entries on this list is separated by a period and single space. Depending on what your instructor specifies, the list will use either hanging or paragraph indents.

The title page consists of a running head, the paper title, writer’s name, and institution name.

MLA and APA are the most commonly used essay format styles for school and college essays. For more details on these formatting styles, you could visit the official websites.

P.S. Please read the article about argumentative essay.

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