How to Convert MLA Sources to APA Format

MLA is an acronym that stands for "Modern Language Association." This is an organization that sets the standards for MLA formatting. One of the standards set by the MLA is the way that sources are cited in the bibliography of a paper. Another organization that has created a set of standards for the citation of sources is the APA, or the "American Psychological Association." Although the formatting standards for both organizations are similar, there are some key differences. If you want to convert MLA sources to APA formatting, there are a few changes you must make.

Change the way the author or authors are displayed. In MLA formatting, author's names are listed with the full last name followed by the full first name, such as "Smith, John." In APA style, however, author's names are listed as the full last name followed by initials of the first name, "Smith, J."

Move the order that content is displayed. MLA formatting is displayed as the following: "Last name, First name. Title (in italics). Place of publication: Publisher. Year of Publication. Medium of Publication." APA, on the other hand, orders content differently: "Last name, Initials. (Year of publication). Title (in italics). Location: Publisher."

Change capitalization. MLA formatting capitalizes all words, except for articles, in the title of a publication. APA formatting only capitalizes the first word of the title.

Modify punctuation for displaying dates. MLA formatting does not put the year of publication in parentheses, while APA formatting does.

Rearrange the way multiple authors are handled. MLA formatting displays multiple authors with the word "and," and inverts the order of subsequent authors by displaying the first name first. For example, MLA would look like this: "Smith, John and Jane Doe." APA formatting uses the "&" symbol to connect multiple authors like this: "Smith, J. & Doe, J."

  • Proofread your bibliography multiple times, as small details can easily be overlooked.
About the Author

Art Corvelay is a freelance writer for demand studios who has been writing and editing for five years. He holds a Ph.D. in technical communication and teaches courses in writing and editing at the university level.

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