How Do Chicago, MLA, APA, and AP Differ?






So, you’re a proofreader or editor who is familiar with the Chicago style. However, now you’re required to adhere to AP. You’re a student, and you’ll require MLA for one assignment in addition to Chicago (or Turabian) for the next one and APA following that.

What are the main differences, and how can you get more information about these differences?

Each style comes with its own book, each with guidelines regarding everything from punctuation rules to citations of sources. One of the best ways to find out about these guidelines is to read the book (or, in the event that it is available online, the edition). This short overview will aid you in finding the information you require. (We begin with two of our favorite items, but we also like the rest.)

Note: In certain instances, the style you choose to follow is your choice. In some cases, your editor or instructor might have specific requirements.

  • Chicago style paper format is the source of Chicago style (CMOS for short). Many book publishers rely on the CMOS manual for guidance. It is frequently used by authors and editors in a range of academic disciplines, notably in the humanities and social sciences. It includes everything, including references, the process of proofreading and editing, and the style and usage of texts. It is the most thorough reference for a number of genres and media, including novels, short stories, blogs, and even creative non-fiction, due to its wide range of coverage.
  • A manual for writers of research papers, theses, and dissertations by Kate L. Turabian is known as Turabian, and it is related with Chicago style. Students in the humanities and social sciences, as well as those studying history and the arts, use the Turabian manual, which is based on The Chicago Manual of Style. The Turabian manual not only offers Chicago style, which contains Chicago-style citations, but it also gives students writing and research advice, starting with topic selection and concluding with finished papers.
  • MLA Handbook is a source of inspiration for the MLA style. (Modern Language Association, abbreviated as MLA.) The manual’s most current revision focuses only on source citation. a website that provides information on difficulties relating to writing. Students who write papers on literature and other similar topics, including film or theater, frequently employ the MLA style.
  • The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association served as an inspiration for the APA style. The APA manual places equal emphasis on source citations and writing style. Professionals and students who edit or write in the area of behavioral and social sciences are its main target audience. Writing about data and afterwards presenting qualitative and quantitative conclusions in figures and tables are of particular relevance.
  • AP style is an adaptation of The Associated Press Stylebook. The majority of the AP Stylebook consists of a set of glossaries that cover the most commonly used abbreviations and spellings, as well as how to select the correct word (and beware of using the wrong one) to fit the situation. Since journalists and other professionals who deal in the field of news and other current events rely on it, the book is updated every year.

Beyond that, it’s an issue of fashion

For instance, the serial comma is recommended by Chicago, MLA, and APA. AP declines (except when ambiguity could be a threat). “Planes, trains, and automobiles” is AP style, for this reason. However, in order to adhere to Chicago, MLA, and APA formatting styles, you must add a comma after “trains”.

Another example of where Chicago and MLA lowercase prepositions, regardless of length, is in titles. Both APA and AP uppercase all words with four letters or more, including prepositions. For more information on titles visit

Possessives also vary. Chicago, MLA, and APA usually add an apostrophe to proper names in addition to an s, even if the name already has a s: the TV scripts of Shonda Rhimes. You’ll talk about Shonda Rhimes TV scripts in AP.

The majority of the variations follow a pattern of principles that, when combined, give the look of a.

Chicago provides two techniques for citing sources: (1) notes and bibliography, and (2) the author’s date. While MLA uses a condensed version of author-date, frequently referred to as author-page, APA uses its own variant of the author-date style. Without an accompanying bibliography, sources are frequently named or mentioned in AP style documents.

There are many other distinctions, but these are just a few of the best.

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