A wide range of writing styles is followed across the world by different institutions. When you try to make content or essay for a specific institution or a specific department, ensure that you know what citation writing styles are and its use. These writing styles indicate a lot of differences in the essay’s foundation. 

It is essential to know about the writing styles because they are the guide to spacing, citation, and a lot more. The most popular ones are MLA (Modern Languages Association), APA (American Psychological Association), and Harvard. Let us find out more about them in this writing style guide:

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What is a citation writing styles?

How a citation appears is completely dependent on the citation style. It is a set of established conventions and rules for documenting sources.

Citation styles can be decided by an association, publisher, or journal.

The citation style that you make use of is highly dependent on the discipline in which you write, where you write, who is going to publish your work, and who will be the readers.

In case of doubt, you can always ask your institution if there are any specified styles that the institution wants you to follow. Some of the top writing styles will be discussed in this writing guide.

The MLA system

Citation Writing Styles
The MLA system

The MLA writing style is a parenthetical system. It means there exist bracketed references in the essay’s body and are linked to the full-length citations within the bibliography at the essay’s end. The bracket that lies in the essay’s body consists of only the surname of the author and the page number to which you are referring.

If the essay you are crafting contains quotes from more than two works by the same author, the bracketed reference must contain the title’s shortened version for indicating the book that is being referred to.

A bibliography must be composed of the last name of the author, according to the MLA conventions. Every entry must follow the given-below order:

The full name of the author, the book’s title, publication’s place, publisher name, and the current date.

The MLA style is followed by some of the universities, and in most cases, it is put to use in the liberal arts humanities. On all sides, you will have to use one inch for the margins. Also, it is very important to make use of double space. 

The font size needs to be kept at 12. This style is very easy to follow because there are no limitations. Also, there are no definite or precise guidelines if it is about the primary sections. The page citation and the author need to be written for paraphrasing or in-text citation.

  • For instance, Wordsworth 276. For using the direct citation, you need to write the author’s name and the name of the particular page. For example, “According to Pennis, … (185).” For the long-direct citation, more than four lines are required. The quotation marks need to be removed, and they must contain a free-standing text block.
  • If there is more than one author, you need to do like this; Yang, Smith, and Moore… (87). Suppose there are more than three authors; the page and the work’s title need to be shortened. For instance, “impact on Climate Change.” To write the reference list, it is essential to make use of the cited page and double space at the research’s end.

The APA system

The APA system
The APA system

The APA writing style is also a parenthetical system similar to the MLA system. However, the bracketed references in the essay’s body will be the surname of the author, the publication date, and the page number or page to which you are referring. The reference will always go at the sentence’s end before the full stop.

According to the APA conventions, the bibliography must contain the last name of the author. Every entry must contain in the given-below order:

The surname of the author, the first initial, publication date inside the brackets, the book’s title, the publication place, and the name of the publisher.

Before making use of APA writing styles, you will need to be sure where to make use of it. Generally, APA’s format style is put to use in social sciences. It is necessary to make use of double space for spacing, and on every side, a one-inch margin needs to be used. Times New Roman is preferred and uses 12 as the font size.

For the major sections, you will need a title, abstract, body, and references. And for paraphrasing or in-text APA citation, the last name of the author needs to be written along with the publication year.

  • An APA citation example is Jones, 2000. Also, you need to know about direct citation. Here the name, year, and page number need to be written, for example, According to Smith (2000, p.200). A few things need to be kept in mind for the long-direct citation. Here, you will have to write 40 or more words. The quotation marks need to be omitted, and 2 authors must be there. For example, Petty and Wegener, 1995. While writing three or more three authors, the author’s first name should be written together with et al. word, along with the year.
  • For instance, Smith et al., 1994. In a few cases, you may identify the unknown author. In such situations, the first word or the title is needed to be written in the parentheses.
  • For instance, American Psychological Organization, 1990. While writing the reference list, you must make use of the double space, and with a centered heading, it is to be written on a new page.

You can make use of an APA citation generator for crafting your own bibliography in the best APA style.

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The Harvard system

This Harvard referencing is another parenthetical system. All the bracketed references with the essay’s body are the surname of the author and the publication’s date. The work’s list at the essay’s end is termed “References.” The works that are listed in it are displayed in alphabetical order by the surname of the author and follow a similar format to the APA system.

If you need to make use of the Harvard style, you must know that it is one of the most commonly used styles and is highly disciplined. Double-space needs to be used for spacing. And there are no other restrictions.

Times New Roman is the most preferred font style, and no other limitations are there. The good this is that there exist no precise guidelines that need to be followed in crafting the primary sections. In the paraphrasing and in-text citations, you will need to craft the author-date system.

  • Example: Bruce and Smith, 2000.
  • While writing the direct citation, you need to write the author’s name, date, and page, for example, Smith, 2000, p.78. For the long-direct citation, you need to make use of a free-standing text block. If you need to write two authors, you need to follow this: Jones and Smith, 1978. For writing more than three authors, you will have to write like this; Smith et al., 1998.
  • It is better to make use of anonymous or anon while writing an unknown author. Ensure that the title is included, for instance, Climate Change (Anon., 2000).

Also Read about Harvard Style of Referencing for Perfect Research Paper: Harvard Style of Referencing for a perfect Research Paper

Chicago format style

Chicago format style

There is nothing hard with the Chicago writing style. It is also called as Turabian referencing style. It is highly utilized in the bibliography system, history courses, notes, and the author-date system. 

Talking about the space, it is necessary to make use of double-space. It must not be less than a one-inch margin and not more than 1.5 margins. For the font size, use 12 and choose Times New Roman or Palatino. 

If you want to write the primary sections, you need to write the title, body, references, and footnotes. If it is about paraphrasing or text citation, you will have to write the author-endnote like, James D. Jones….” Ensure that you are matching 12 to the endnote 12 at the page’s bottom.

  • For Example:

James D. Jones’

World Hypothesis 

(California: University of California Newspaper, 2000)

  • For the direct citation, you will have to include quotation marks and address to the bottom’s footnote. In the case of long-direct citation, you will have to make use of free-standing blocks of footnotes and text. In case you need to write more than one author, write it like this: John Urry and Scott Lash.

Economies of Space and Signs

(Canada: Sage Publications, 2000), 223-33.

  • If you need to write more than three authors, you need to do like the below given an example.

For instance, The Impact of the Climate Change… Besides, the reference list includes a bibliography by keeping the references, the notes style, and the bibliography intact.


Becoming a powerful writer, for fun or work, is not as simple as sitting down and putting some words together on paper. Different writing styles serve different purposes. You need to follow the protocols of the institutions thoroughly before commencing with the writing. So, choose the correct style mentioned above in this writing style guide based on your university’s rules and write accordingly.

Refer this for more: Citation Styles: APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian, IEEE