Style Guides

(MLA, APA, etc.) What they are, why they’re used, how they change, why it matters.

My video lesson for this is available here.

As you’re progressing as a writer, at some point, you’ll learn about style guides. Maybe you already have; they’re generally introduced in high school. The two most common for academic writing are the MLA style guide, from the Modern Language Association, and the APA style guide, from the American Psychological Association. This is not the same as AP style, which is not so much a formatting guide as guidelines for journalistic writing, created by the Associated Press. 

There’s also Chicago and Turabian Style, which are very similar, the Council of Science Editors Documentation Style, the American Medical Association Style, Bluebook 101, the Linguistics Society of America’s Unified Style Sheet, and several others – but MLA and APA formats are the most widely used. 

Because I teach English, and like most of the humanities, literature and language courses use MLA style, this series is going to focus on some of the particulars of MLA. But before we get to that, I want to address a question that many (if not most) students have when they are introduced to the concept of standardized formatting for document setup and references:

Why do we have to do this?

Continue reading