MLA vs Chicago: Difference and Comparison

MLA (Modern Language Association) style is primarily used in the humanities and emphasizes author-page citation in parentheses within the text, along with a detailed works cited page. Chicago style, on the other hand, offers two citation formats: notes and bibliography (used in literature, history, and the arts) and author-date (common in sciences and social sciences), providing more flexibility in citation styles and formats.

Key Takeaways

  1. MLA and Chicago are academic citation styles that format and document sources in research papers and essays.
  2. MLA is commonly used in humanities and literature, while Chicago is used in history, social sciences, and some humanities fields.
  3. MLA uses in-text citations and a Works Cited page, while Chicago uses footnotes or endnotes and a Bibliography.

MLA vs Chicago

MLA and Chicago citation styles are common in academic writing. MLA is primarily used in the humanities and contains in-text citations, including the author’s name and page number. Chicago style is employed in history and social sciences; it includes footnote or endnote citations and a bibliography.

MLA vs Chicago

Comparison Table

FeatureMLAChicago
Citation SystemAuthor-page numberNotes-bibliography or author-date
In-text CitationsAuthor’s last name and page number (Smith 12). Parenthetical citation for consecutive page references (Smith 12-14).Author’s last name and short title (Smith, The Wealth of Nations). For subsequent citations, use author’s last name and page number (Smith 10).
Endnotes/FootnotesNot usedUsed for additional information, not citations.
Reference ListWorks Cited list with full publication information, alphabetized by author’s last name.Bibliography, alphabetized by author’s last name, with shortened publication information. May also use a list of notes at the end of the text.
Commonly Used DisciplinesLiterature, Languages, HumanitiesHistory, Fine Arts, Business, Law, Social Sciences

What is MLA?

MLA, or Modern Language Association, is a widely used style guide for writing and documentation in the humanities, especially in disciplines such as literature, languages, and cultural studies. It provides guidelines for formatting papers, citing sources, and creating a Works Cited page.

Citation Style

MLA style uses parenthetical citations within the text to refer to sources, including the author’s last name and the page number(s) from which the information was taken. For example, (Smith 123). These citations are brief and allow readers to easily locate the corresponding entry in the Works Cited list at the end of the paper.

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Works Cited Page

The Works Cited page is a separate section at the end of the paper where all sources referenced in the text are listed alphabetically by the author’s last name. Each entry includes essential bibliographic information such as the author’s name, title of the source, publication date, and other relevant details. The format varies depending on the type of source, such as books, articles, websites, and more.

Formatting Guidelines

MLA also provides specific formatting guidelines for the overall layout of the paper, including margins, font size and style, spacing, and headers. Papers in MLA style are double-spaced and formatted with a legible font such as Times New Roman in 12-point size. Additionally, MLA recommends using headers with the author’s last name and page number at the top right corner of each page.

Updates

MLA style is periodically updated to reflect changes in research practices, technology, and publication standards. It is essential for writers to consult the latest edition of the MLA Handbook or refer to reputable online sources for the most current guidelines and examples.

mla

What is Chicago?

Chicago style, also known as The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS), is a comprehensive style guide that provides rules and guidelines for writing and citation in various disciplines, including history, literature, and the arts. It offers two main citation formats: notes and bibliography and author-date. Chicago style is widely used in academic writing, publishing, and professional fields.

Citation Formats

  1. Notes and Bibliography:
    • This format uses footnotes or endnotes to cite sources within the text, providing additional information or commentary.
    • Each citation corresponds to a superscript number in the text, which links to a footnote or endnote containing bibliographic details.
    • The full citation is then listed in a separate bibliography section at the end of the paper, arranged alphabetically by the author’s last name.
  2. Author-Date:
    • In this format, parenthetical citations are used within the text, including the author’s last name and the publication year.
    • These citations direct readers to a corresponding entry in the reference list, which is placed at the end of the paper and organized alphabetically by the author’s last name.

Usage and Flexibility

Chicago style offers flexibility in citation styles and formats, allowing writers to choose between the notes and bibliography format or the author-date format based on the requirements of their discipline or publication. This versatility makes Chicago style adaptable to various academic and professional contexts.

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Additional Features

  • Chicago style provides guidelines for manuscript preparation, including formatting rules for margins, spacing, font size, and headings.
  • It also offers guidance on grammar, punctuation, and style, addressing issues such as hyphenation, capitalization, and the use of abbreviations.
  • The manual includes instructions for citing a wide range of sources, including books, journal articles, websites, multimedia, and unpublished materials.

Updates

The Chicago Manual of Style is regularly updated to reflect changes in language usage, citation practices, and technological advancements. Writers should consult the latest edition of the manual or online resources for the most up-to-date guidelines and examples.

chicago

Main Differences Between MLA and Chicago

  • Citation Style:
    • MLA primarily uses parenthetical citations within the text, indicating the author’s last name and page number(s).
    • Chicago style offers two main citation formats: notes and bibliography (using footnotes or endnotes) and author-date (parenthetical citations with author’s last name and publication year).
  • Works Cited vs Bibliography:
    • MLA requires a “Works Cited” page at the end of the document, listing all sources referenced in the text.
    • Chicago’s notes and bibliography format includes both footnotes or endnotes within the text and a separate bibliography section, while the author-date format incorporates a reference list.
  • Formatting Guidelines:
    • MLA provides specific guidelines for paper formatting, including margins, font size and style, spacing, and headers.
    • Chicago style offers formatting guidelines for manuscript preparation, including margins, spacing, font size, and headings, but it is less prescriptive than MLA in terms of layout.
  • Usage Flexibility:
    • MLA is primarily used in the humanities, especially literature, languages, and cultural studies.
    • Chicago style is widely used across various disciplines, including history, literature, the arts, and social sciences, offering greater flexibility in citation styles and formats.
  • Citation Location:
    • In MLA, citations are placed within the text, in parentheses, immediately following the cited information.
    • In Chicago style, citations can be located either within the text (notes and author-date) or in footnotes/endnotes, providing additional context or commentary.
References
  1. https://www.okanagan.bc.ca/sites/default/files/2020-03/mla_citation_style.pdf
  2. https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=fqkgAgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR5&dq=info:-MHUcz3IUjcJ:scholar.google.com/&ots=lHDrmzbiFt&sig=rQeBHjsZabZf1pMYZAz3iGEEE-M&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

Last Updated : 03 March, 2024

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20 thoughts on “MLA vs Chicago: Difference and Comparison”

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