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MLA Formatting and Style Guide

Insight into the MLA Formatting and Style Guide

The Modern Language Association style is usually used to write research papers and cite sources in humanities and liberal arts. Here are some of the basic formats of the MLA.

General Format

The MLA referencing style has specific guidelines for formatting in the English language. The style also provides essay writers with a format for referencing their sources using the parenthetical citation in their essays as well as Works Cited pages.

Paper Format General Guidelines

  • Type it on a computer and print it out on a white 8.5 x 11-inch paper.
  • Double-space and use a legible font like Times New Roman with font size 12
  • Leave just one space after periods or other punctuation marks
  • Set the margins of your page to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Indent the first line of every paragraph one and half-inch from the left margin. Use the Tab key instead of striking the Space Bar button five times.
  • Create a header that numbers all pages in the upper right-hand corner, one and a half inch from the top and flush from the right margin.
  • Use italics for all titles of longer works and only when extremely necessary while offering emphasis.
  • If you have some endnotes, write them on a separate page before the Works Cited page. Entitle the section Notes as centered and unformatted.

First Page Formatting

  • Do not write a title page unless specifically requested by your instructor.
  • List your name, your instructor’s, the course and the date in the upper left-hand corner of your first page and double-space your text.
  • Double-space your text again and center the title. Avoid underlining, italicizing or placing your title in quotes. Write your title in Title Case but not in all capital letters.
  • Use quotation marks or italics when referring to other sources in your title as you would in your text.
  • Double space the area between the title and the first line of your text.
  • Create your header in the upper right-hand corner including your last name, followed by a space with a page number. Number all pages consecutively using Arabic numerals. The numbers should be one and a half inch from the top and flushed from the right margin. Bear in mind that your instructor or other readers may order that you omit the last name, page number or header on your first page. Always adhere to your instructor’s guidelines.

How to Cite an Entire in MLA Website (The Purdue OWL website)

The Purdue OWL. Purdue U Writing Lab, 2010. Web. Date of access.

Individual Resources

Contributors’ names. “Title of Resource.” The Purdue OWL. Purdue U Writing Lab, Last edited date. Web. Date of access.

Russell, Tony, Allen Brizee, and Elizabeth Angeli. “MLA Formatting and Style Guide.” The Purdue OWL. Purdue U Writing Lab, 4 Apr. 2010. Web. 20 July 2010.

While the MLA Formatting and Style Guide might have some specific rules and formats, it accommodates unique rules from the instructors. Therefore, you should always follow your instructors’ orders and apply the MLA standards where he doesn’t give special requirements. Log in to for further tutorials on MLA Formatting and Style Guide.