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How to Style Essays Using MLA Format

How to Style Essays Using MLA Format

Students who study language, literature, liberal arts, and other humanities subjects are probably familiar with MLA format. This guide is for you, guys! The overview from EssayPro experts will explain how to do MLA format and how to do a title page, and help you with MLA citation.

Let’s get started with a definition of what exactly the MLA formatting.


Table of Contents

What Is MLA Format

MLA stands for Modern Language Association and is most commonly used to reference liberal arts and humanities. It is an academic style guide extensively used in the United States and Canada. In MLA format a paper typically includes a header, in-text citations, and a Works Cited page at the end of the paper. Find all the MLA formatting details in our interpretation of MLA Style Guide below.

General Format Guidelines

An MLA format follows the listed rules:

  • MLA format font size is 12pt.
  • Recommended (preferred) font is Times New Roman.
  • Your entire paper should be double spaced.
  • MLA margins are 1” on all sides.
  • Indent your paragraphs a half an inch (use the Tab key).
  • Use italics throughout the essay for titles of longer works.
  • Insert your last name and a page number on the upper right-hand corner. Keep in mind, sometimes the page number is omitted on the first page.

In the next section, you will get to know how to create an MLA format heading, which appears at the top of your writing assignment. Before using the instruction, ask if your professor prefers a certain way to format an MLA heading.

MLA Heading

Your MLA heading should include the following in the respective order:

  • Name
  • Instructor's name
  • Course
  • Date

Like the rest of the essay, it should be double-spaced. After this, on the next line, center the title of your paper in the Title Case. Use quotations or italics in your title only if you are referring to other works. As mentioned prior, include your name and page number in the upper right (unless specified otherwise by your instructor). Sometimes instructors require section headings to improve readability.

Section Headings

To improve your essay readability, add MLA subheadings in the following format:

  • Level 1 Heading: bold
  • Level 2 Heading: italics
  • Level 3 Heading: bold with tab
  • Level 4 Heading: italics with tab
  • Level 5 Heading: underlined

MLA Cover Page

Wonder how to do a title page? First and foremost, the MLA format does not require a specific MLA cover page. However, if you don’t receive any specific instructions bar “have an MLA format title page,” then a good template is this:

  • The whole page should be double spaced
  • Skip two lines and include the name of your institution.
  • One-third of the page down include your title and a subtitle if you have one.
  • Skip several lines down and type your full name, your course name, instructor name and the date.

Do you need some help with MLA formatting? Count on the support of our professional writers and editors.


MLA in Text Citation

When paraphrasing or quoting an external source, you must include an MLA in text citation. In text citations are called “parenthetical” citations.

General Guidelines

  • You do not need MLA citation for well-known quotations or common knowledge.
  • Any information that you put as an in-text citation should appear in your Works Cited page.
  • Your parenthetical citations should go directly after the quote.
  • A parenthetical citation is two things: Author’s last name and specific page number separated by a comma.
  • If the author’s last name or page number is mentioned in the body of the sentence, then it can be omitted from the parenthetical citation.

Here are the in text citation examples:

  • Author’s name and page number:
    • As a citation: The coffee bean is believed to be the most influential cash crop (Novak 12).
    • With the author’s name in the text: Novak states that coffee bean was the most influential cash crop (12).
    • With multiple authors: The coffee bean is believed to be the most influential cash crop (Novak, Smith, and Johnson 12).
    • With more than three authors: The coffee bean is believed to be the most influential cash crop (Novak et al. 12).
  • Article title and page number: Citations with no authors or contributors are cited with the titles of the piece. Italicize novels and longer works and put articles in quotes. If the title is too long, abbreviate the title with the same letter.
    • Cited article: Caffeine is incredibly damaging to the nervous system (“Coffee Bean Revolution” 12)
    • Cited novel: “At the bottom of her heart, however, she was waiting for something to happen” (Flaubert 81)
  • Author and no page number
    • No page number: The coffee bean is believed to be the most influential cash crop (Novak).
    • Chapter of a book or subheading of an article: “Coffee was the first step to globalization” (Novak “Globalization”)

MLA Works Cited

An MLA annotated bibliography is titled “Works Cited” in the top center of references list. Keep in mind that your MLA format works cited page should have hanging indents on each citation. The citations are also in alphabetical order and should match your parenthetical citations. Here are formats and examples from our qualified writer of common MLA format bibliography entry types:

  • Web Article (with author): Last, First Middle Initial. “Article Title.”Website Title. Website Publisher, Date Month Year Published. Web. Date Month Year Accessed.

Example:
Quint, Peter. “Turning Screws.” New York Times. New York times. 17.02.2017. Web. 18.03.2017

  • Web Article (without author): “Website Article.” Website Title. Website Publisher, Date Month Year Published. Web. Date Month Year Accessed.

Example: “Turning Screws.” New York Times. New York Times. 17.02.2017. Web. 18.03.2017

  • Books: Last, First M. Book Title. City of Publication: Publisher, Year Published. Print.

Example: James, Henry. The Turn of the Screw. New York: Penguin Publish, 2007. Print

  • Newspaper: Last, First M. “Article Title.” Newspaper Title [City] Date Month Year Published: Page(s). Print.

Example: Quint, Peter. “Turning Screws.” Pittsburgh Press 7 Mar. 1990:12-14. Print.

  • Journal: Last, First M. “Article Title.” Journal Title Series Volume.Issue (Year Published): Page(s). Database Name. Web. Date Month Year Accessed.

Example: Quint, Peter. “Turning Screws.” Journal of Engineering. 28.1 (2012): 41-54. Print.

MLA Example

Click on the button to download the MLA essay example of the Critical Analysis of James Joyce's "Araby".

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