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How to Cite Something in MLA Format
MLA formatting refers to the writing style guide produced by the Modern Language Association. If you’re taking a class in the liberal arts, you usually have to follow this format when writing papers. In addition to looking at MLA examples, it helps to know the basics of the style guide.
MLA requires parenthetical citations within the document. This means you must include source information inside parentheses placed after a quotation or paraphrase from a source. Each parenthetical citation must have the page number where you found the information you used. It may also have the author’s or creator’s name. Do not use a comma to separate the name and the date.
The format for in-text citations depends on the format of the source material. For print material like books and journals, you need the author’s name and publication date. If the source has two authors, use and to join them and the term “et al.” if it has more than two authors. You can also reference the authors in the document and include only the page number in parentheses.
Citations for Nonprint Material
If you use nonprint materials as sources, you have to cite them. However, you don’t have to include page numbers with the in-text citations. You do have to include information like the name of the work, the creator’s name and the year of publication on the Works Cited page.
When you complete the Work Cited page, each source requires additional information. For images, you need to include contributors, the reproduction number and URL where you located the image online. Movies must list the director’s name and distributor. A TV series needs the episode title and number, series title, season number and network. Pieces of music should include the title of the track and album and the record label.
Works Cited List
When you use MLA format, you must have a Works Cited page that lists all of the sources you used for the paper. This page goes at the end of the document on a separate page. You list all of the sources in alphabetical order according to the author’s last name. Make sure the page is double-spaced and that you follow the specific guidelines for formatting each entry.
If you don’t have access to printed MLA style guides or don’t understand how to format your sources, you can turn to a citation generator. There are several citation generators available online for free or as part of a subscription service. You can also find them in word processing programs.
To use a citation generator, you enter information about each source. The program automatically formats the sources for the works cited page. You can also select the places in the document to add in-text citations.
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MLA Format | Complete Guidelines & Free Template
Published on December 11, 2019 by Raimo Streefkerk . Revised on June 16, 2022 by Jack Caulfield.
The MLA Handbook provides guidelines for creating MLA citations and formatting academic papers. This quick guide will help you set up your MLA format paper in no time.
Start by applying these MLA format guidelines to your document:
- Times New Roman 12
- 1″ page margins
- Double line spacing
- ½” indent for new paragraphs
- Title case capitalization for headings
Download Word template Open Google Docs template
(To use the Google Docs template, copy the file to your Drive by clicking on ‘file’ > ‘Make a copy’)
Table of contents
How to set up mla format in google docs, header and title, running head, works cited page, creating mla style citations, headings and subheadings, tables and figures, frequently asked questions about mla format.
The header in MLA format is left-aligned on the first page of your paper. It includes
- Your full name
- Your instructor’s or supervisor’s name
- The course name or number
- The due date of the assignment
After the MLA header, press ENTER once and type your paper title. Center the title and don’t forget to apply title-case capitalization. Read our article on writing strong titles that are informative, striking and appropriate.
For a paper with multiple authors, it’s better to use a separate title page instead.
At the top of every page, including the first page, you need to include your last name and the page number. This is called the “running head.” Follow these steps to set up the MLA running head in your Word or Google Docs document:
- Double-click at the top of a page
- Type your last name
- Insert automatic page numbering
- Align the content to the right
The running head should look like this:
The Works Cited list is included on a separate page at the end of your paper. You list all the sources you referenced in your paper in alphabetical order. Don’t include sources that weren’t cited in the paper, except potentially in an MLA annotated bibliography assignment.
Place the title “Works Cited” in the center at the top of the page. After the title, press ENTER once and insert your MLA references.
If a reference entry is longer than one line, each line after the first should be indented ½ inch (called a hanging indent ). All entries are double spaced, just like the rest of the text.
Generate accurate MLA citations with Scribbr
Prefer to cite your sources manually? Use the interactive example below to see what the Works Cited entry and MLA in-text citation look like for different source types.
Headings and subheadings are not mandatory, but they can help you organize and structure your paper, especially in longer assignments.
MLA has only a few formatting requirements for headings. They should
- Be written in title case
- Be left-aligned
- Not end in a period
We recommend keeping the font and size the same as the body text and applying title case capitalization. In general, boldface indicates greater prominence, while italics are appropriate for subordinate headings.
Tip: Both Google Docs and Microsoft Word allow you to create heading levels that help you to keep your headings consistent.
Tables and other illustrations (referred to as “figures”) should be placed as close to the relevant part of text as possible. MLA also provides guidelines for presenting them.
MLA format for tables
Tables are labeled and numbered, along with a descriptive title. The label and title are placed above the table on separate lines; the label and number appear in bold.
A caption providing information about the source appears below the table; you don’t need one if the table is your own work.
Below this, any explanatory notes appear, marked on the relevant part of the table with a superscript letter. The first line of each note is indented; your word processor should apply this formatting automatically.
Just like in the rest of the paper, the text is double spaced and you should use title case capitalization for the title (but not for the caption or notes).
MLA format for figures
Figures (any image included in your paper that isn’t a table) are also labeled and numbered, but here, this is integrated into the caption below the image. The caption in this case is also centered.
The label “Figure” is abbreviated to “Fig.” and followed by the figure number and a period. The rest of the caption gives either full source information, or (as in the example here) just basic descriptive information about the image (author, title, publication year).
Source information in table and figure captions
If the caption of your table or figure includes full source information and that source is not otherwise cited in the text, you don’t need to include it in your Works Cited list.
Give full source information in a caption in the same format as you would in the Works Cited list, but without inverting the author name (i.e. John Smith, not Smith, John).
MLA recommends using 12-point Times New Roman , since it’s easy to read and installed on every computer. Other standard fonts such as Arial or Georgia are also acceptable. If in doubt, check with your supervisor which font you should be using.
The main guidelines for formatting a paper in MLA style are as follows:
- Use an easily readable font like 12 pt Times New Roman
- Set 1 inch page margins
- Apply double line spacing
- Include a four-line MLA heading on the first page
- Center the paper’s title
- Indent every new paragraph ½ inch
- Use title case capitalization for headings
- Cite your sources with MLA in-text citations
- List all sources cited on a Works Cited page at the end
The fastest and most accurate way to create MLA citations is by using Scribbr’s MLA Citation Generator .
Search by book title, page URL, or journal DOI to automatically generate flawless citations, or cite manually using the simple citation forms.
The MLA Handbook is currently in its 9th edition , published in 2021.
This quick guide to MLA style explains the latest guidelines for citing sources and formatting papers according to MLA.
Usually, no title page is needed in an MLA paper . A header is generally included at the top of the first page instead. The exceptions are when:
- Your instructor requires one, or
- Your paper is a group project
In those cases, you should use a title page instead of a header, listing the same information but on a separate page.
Cite this Scribbr article
If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.
Streefkerk, R. (2022, June 16). MLA Format | Complete Guidelines & Free Template. Scribbr. Retrieved March 10, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/mla/formatting/
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Purdue Online Writing Lab College of Liberal Arts
MLA Formatting and Style Guide
Welcome to the Purdue OWL
This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.
Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.
MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.
The following overview should help you better understand how to cite sources using MLA 9 th edition, including how to format the Works Cited page and in-text citations.
Please use the example at the bottom of this page to cite the Purdue OWL in MLA. See also our MLA vidcast series on the Purdue OWL YouTube Channel .
Creating a Works Cited list using the ninth edition
MLA is a style of documentation that may be applied to many different types of writing. Since texts have become increasingly digital, and the same document may often be found in several different sources, following a set of rigid rules no longer suffices.
Thus, the current system is based on a few guiding principles, rather than an extensive list of specific rules. While the handbook still describes how to cite sources, it is organized according to the process of documentation, rather than by the sources themselves. This gives writers a flexible method that is near-universally applicable.
Once you are familiar with the method, you can use it to document any type of source, for any type of paper, in any field.
Here is an overview of the process:
When deciding how to cite your source, start by consulting the list of core elements. These are the general pieces of information that MLA suggests including in each Works Cited entry. In your citation, the elements should be listed in the following order:
- Title of source.
- Title of container,
- Other contributors,
- Publication date,
Each element should be followed by the corresponding punctuation mark shown above. Earlier editions of the handbook included the place of publication and required different punctuation (such as journal editions in parentheses and colons after issue numbers) depending on the type of source. In the current version, punctuation is simpler (only commas and periods separate the elements), and information about the source is kept to the basics.
Begin the entry with the author’s last name, followed by a comma and the rest of the name, as presented in the work. End this element with a period.
Bhabha, Homi K. The Location of Culture. Routledge, 1994.
Title of source
The title of the source should follow the author’s name. Depending upon the type of source, it should be listed in italics or quotation marks.
A book should be in italics:
Henley, Patricia. The Hummingbird House . MacMurray, 1999.
An individual webpage should be in quotation marks. The name of the parent website, which MLA treats as a "container," should follow in italics:
Lundman, Susan. "How to Make Vegetarian Chili." eHow, www.ehow.com/how_10727_make-vegetarian-chili.html.*
A periodical (journal, magazine, newspaper) article should be in quotation marks:
Bagchi, Alaknanda. "Conflicting Nationalisms: The Voice of the Subaltern in Mahasweta Devi's Bashai Tudu." Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature , vol. 15, no. 1, 1996, pp. 41-50.
A song or piece of music on an album should be in quotation marks. The name of the album should then follow in italics:
Beyoncé. "Pray You Catch Me." Lemonade, Parkwood Entertainment, 2016, www.beyonce.com/album/lemonade-visual-album/.
*The MLA handbook recommends including URLs when citing online sources. For more information, see the “Optional Elements” section below.
Title of container
The eighth edition of the MLA handbook introduced what are referred to as "containers," which are the larger wholes in which the source is located. For example, if you want to cite a poem that is listed in a collection of poems, the individual poem is the source, while the larger collection is the container. The title of the container is usually italicized and followed by a comma, since the information that follows next describes the container.
Kincaid, Jamaica. "Girl." The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories, edited by Tobias Wolff, Vintage, 1994, pp. 306-07.
The container may also be a television series, which is made up of episodes.
“94 Meetings.” Parks and Recreation, created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, performance by Amy Poehler, season 2, episode 21, Deedle-Dee Productions and Universal Media Studios, 2010.
The container may also be a website, which contains articles, postings, and other works.
Wise, DeWanda. “Why TV Shows Make Me Feel Less Alone.” NAMI, 31 May 2019, www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/May-2019/How-TV-Shows-Make-Me-Feel-Less-Alone . Accessed 3 June 2019.
In some cases, a container might be within a larger container. You might have read a book of short stories on Google Books , or watched a television series on Netflix . You might have found the electronic version of a journal on JSTOR. It is important to cite these containers within containers so that your readers can find the exact source that you used.
“94 Meetings.” Parks and Recreation , season 2, episode 21, NBC , 29 Apr. 2010. Netflix, www.netflix.com/watch/70152031?trackId=200256157&tctx=0%2C20%2C0974d361-27cd-44de-9c2a-2d9d868b9f64-12120962.
Langhamer, Claire. “Love and Courtship in Mid-Twentieth-Century England.” Historical Journal , vol. 50, no. 1, 2007, pp. 173-96. ProQuest, doi:10.1017/S0018246X06005966. Accessed 27 May 2009.
In addition to the author, there may be other contributors to the source who should be credited, such as editors, illustrators, translators, etc. If their contributions are relevant to your research, or necessary to identify the source, include their names in your documentation.
Foucault, Michel. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. Translated by Richard Howard , Vintage-Random House, 1988.
Woolf, Virginia. Jacob’s Room . Annotated and with an introduction by Vara Neverow, Harcourt, Inc., 2008.
If a source is listed as an edition or version of a work, include it in your citation.
The Bible . Authorized King James Version, Oxford UP, 1998.
Crowley, Sharon, and Debra Hawhee. Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students. 3rd ed., Pearson, 2004.
If a source is part of a numbered sequence, such as a multi-volume book or journal with both volume and issue numbers, those numbers must be listed in your citation.
Dolby, Nadine. “Research in Youth Culture and Policy: Current Conditions and Future Directions.” Social Work and Society: The International Online-Only Journal, vol. 6, no. 2, 2008, www.socwork.net/sws/article/view/60/362. Accessed 20 May 2009.
Quintilian. Institutio Oratoria. Translated by H. E. Butler, vol. 2, Loeb-Harvard UP, 1980.
The publisher produces or distributes the source to the public. If there is more than one publisher, and they are all are relevant to your research, list them in your citation, separated by a forward slash (/).
Klee, Paul. Twittering Machine. 1922. Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Artchive, www.artchive.com/artchive/K/klee/twittering_machine.jpg.html. Accessed May 2006.
Women's Health: Problems of the Digestive System . American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2006.
Daniels, Greg and Michael Schur, creators. Parks and Recreation . Deedle-Dee Productions and Universal Media Studios, 2015.
Note : The publisher’s name need not be included in the following sources: periodicals, works published by their author or editor, websites whose titles are the same name as their publisher, websites that make works available but do not actually publish them (such as YouTube , WordPress , or JSTOR ).
The same source may have been published on more than one date, such as an online version of an original source. For example, a television series might have aired on a broadcast network on one date, but released on Netflix on a different date. When the source has more than one date, it is sufficient to use the date that is most relevant to your writing. If you’re unsure about which date to use, go with the date of the source’s original publication.
In the following example, Mutant Enemy is the primary production company, and “Hush” was released in 1999. Below is a general citation for this television episode:
“Hush.” Buffy the Vampire Slayer , created by Joss Whedon, performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar, season 4, Mutant Enemy, 1999 .
However, if you are discussing, for example, the historical context in which the episode originally aired, you should cite the full date. Because you are specifying the date of airing, you would then use WB Television Network (rather than Mutant Enemy), because it was the network (rather than the production company) that aired the episode on the date you’re citing.
“Hush.” Buffy the Vampire Slayer, created by Joss Whedon, performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar, season 4, episode 10, WB Television Network, 14 Dec. 1999 .
You should be as specific as possible in identifying a work’s location.
An essay in a book or an article in a journal should include page numbers.
Adiche, Chimamanda Ngozi. “On Monday of Last Week.” The Thing around Your Neck, Alfred A. Knopf, 2009, pp. 74-94 .
The location of an online work should include a URL. Remove any "http://" or "https://" tag from the beginning of the URL.
Wheelis, Mark. "Investigating Disease Outbreaks Under a Protocol to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention." Emerging Infectious Diseases , vol. 6, no. 6, 2000, pp. 595-600, wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/6/6/00-0607_article. Accessed 8 Feb. 2009.
When citing a physical object that you experienced firsthand, identify the place of location.
Matisse, Henri. The Swimming Pool. 1952, Museum of Modern Art, New York .
The ninth edition is designed to be as streamlined as possible. The author should include any information that helps readers easily identify the source, without including unnecessary information that may be distracting. The following is a list of optional elements that can be included in a documented source at the writer’s discretion.
Date of original publication:
If a source has been published on more than one date, the writer may want to include both dates if it will provide the reader with necessary or helpful information.
Erdrich, Louise. Love Medicine. 1984. Perennial-Harper, 1993.
City of publication:
The seventh edition handbook required the city in which a publisher is located, but the eighth edition states that this is only necessary in particular instances, such as in a work published before 1900. Since pre-1900 works were usually associated with the city in which they were published, your documentation may substitute the city name for the publisher’s name.
Thoreau, Henry David. Excursions . Boston, 1863.
Date of access:
When you cite an online source, the MLA Handbook recommends including a date of access on which you accessed the material, since an online work may change or move at any time.
Bernstein, Mark. "10 Tips on Writing the Living Web." A List Apart: For People Who Make Websites, 16 Aug. 2002, alistapart.com/article/writeliving. Accessed 4 May 2009.
As mentioned above, while the MLA handbook recommends including URLs when you cite online sources, you should always check with your instructor or editor and include URLs at their discretion.
A DOI, or digital object identifier, is a series of digits and letters that leads to the location of an online source. Articles in journals are often assigned DOIs to ensure that the source is locatable, even if the URL changes. If your source is listed with a DOI, use that instead of a URL.
Alonso, Alvaro, and Julio A. Camargo. "Toxicity of Nitrite to Three Species of Freshwater Invertebrates." Environmental Toxicology , vol. 21, no. 1, 3 Feb. 2006, pp. 90-94. Wiley Online Library, doi: 10.1002/tox.20155.
Creating in-text citations using the previous (eighth) edition
Although the MLA handbook is currently in its ninth edition, some information about citing in the text using the older (eighth) edition is being retained. The in-text citation is a brief reference within your text that indicates the source you consulted. It should properly attribute any ideas, paraphrases, or direct quotations to your source, and should direct readers to the entry in the Works Cited list. For the most part, an in-text citation is the author’s name and the page number (or just the page number, if the author is named in the sentence) in parentheses :
When creating in-text citations for media that has a runtime, such as a movie or podcast, include the range of hours, minutes and seconds you plan to reference. For example: (00:02:15-00:02:35).
Again, your goal is to attribute your source and provide a reference without interrupting your text. Your readers should be able to follow the flow of your argument without becoming distracted by extra information.
How to Cite the Purdue OWL in MLA
The Purdue OWL . Purdue U Writing Lab, 2019.
Contributors' names. "Title of Resource." The Purdue OWL , Purdue U Writing Lab, Last edited date.
The new OWL no longer lists most pages' authors or publication dates. Thus, in most cases, citations will begin with the title of the resource, rather than the developer's name.
"MLA Formatting and Style Guide." The Purdue OWL, Purdue U Writing Lab. Accessed 18 Jun. 2018.
Home / Guides / Citation Guides / MLA Format
MLA Format: Everything You Need to Know Here
Welcome to an overview of “What is MLA Format?” in relation to paper formatting. You’ll find in-depth guidelines, examples, and visual samples to help you easily format your paper. This guide does not serve as a reference for MLA citation format.
For help determining the proper structure for citing, refer to the other guides on EasyBib.com. Here is another informative site which may help with further understanding of MLA citation format.
Guidelines for Formatting a Paper in MLA
- Use white 8 ½ x 11” paper.
- Make 1 inch margins on the top, bottom, and sides.
- The first word in every paragraph should be indented one half inch.
- Indent set-off or block quotations one half inch from the left margin.
- Use any type of font that is easy to read, such as Times New Roman. Make sure that italics look different from the regular typeface.
- Use 12-point size.
- Double space the entire research paper, even the Works Cited page.
- Leave one space after periods and other punctuation marks, unless your instructor tells you to leave two spaces.
These guidelines come from the MLA Style Center’s web page “Formatting a Research Paper.”
MLA Guide Overview
There are various sections in this guide. Each section provides an in-depth overview of the different components to keep in mind when developing an MLA paper.
This guide includes the following sections:
- Format background
- General paper formatting
- MLA heading format & title page instructions
- Running head & page numbers
- Numbers (includes the use of numbers in MLA outline format)
- Images, tables, and musical scores
- MLA works cited format
- MLA citation format (for in-depth citation rules visit this MLA citation guide or MLA in-text citation guide)
- Edits & proofreading
If you need more guidance, a website like EasyBib.com usually has guides and tools to help you out. There’s also resources on other styles, like our guide on “ APA reference page ”, otherwise known as a “References” page.
MLA Format Background
The Modern Language Association (MLA) is an organization responsible for developing MLA format. It was developed as a means for researchers, students, and scholars in the literature and language fields to uniformly format their papers and assignments. This uniform, or consistent, method to developing a paper or assignment allows for easy reading. Today, MLA is not only used in literature and language subject areas; many others have adopted it as well.
The Modern Language Association released the 9th and most current edition of their MLA Handbook in April 2021. The Handbook provides thorough instructions on citing, as well as guidelines for submitting work that adheres to the Modern Language Association’s rules and standards. Although we’re not affiliated with the MLA, our citation specialists bring you this thoughtful and informative guide on the format.
Looking for information about previous editions to the Handbook ? Want to learn more about the origin of “What is MLA format?” Click here to learn about the previous editions to the Handbook .
Actually, are you looking for help on using another style? See how to cite an APA journal , learn to create an APA book citation , and more!
Formatting the Header in MLA
To create a header for your first page, follow these steps:
- Begin one inch from the top of the first page and flush with the left margin.
- Type your name, your instructor’s name, the course name and number, and the date on separate lines, using double spaces between each.
- Double space once more and center the title. Do NOT underline, bold, or type the title in all capital letters. Only italicize words that would normally be italicized in the text. Example: Character Development in The Great Gatsby
- Do not place a period after the title or after any headings
- Double space between the title and first lines of the text
General Paper Formatting
While many professors, instructors, and publications allow electronic submission, some prefer printed, hard copies of papers. This section focuses on the type of paper to use for printed submission.
If you choose to print your paper, use white paper only. Do not use ivory, off-white, or any other shades or colors.
Choose a standard, high quality paper to print your project on. Do not use cardstock. It is not necessary to use resum é paper. Use typical, high quality printer or copy paper.
When it comes to size, 8 ½-by-11-inch paper is the recommended size. If you’d like to use a different size, ask your teacher prior to submission.
Use One-Inch Margins in MLA
Use one-inch margins around the entire page. The running head should be the only item seen in the one inch margin (see below for more on running heads).
Most word processing programs automatically default to using one inch margins. Check the page settings section of the program to locate the margin size.
Indenting Paragraphs in MLA
Indent the first word in every paragraph. Sentences should begin one half inch from the left margin.
It is not necessary to manually measure half an inch. Use the “tab” button on the keyboard to create a half inch space.
Double Space Paragraphs in MLA
MLA research paper format requires that the entire research paper or MLA format essay includes double-spaced lines. Double-spaced lines should be found in between the written body of the work, in the heading, and also on the MLA reference page.
While it may seem tempting to place a few extra lines between the heading, title, and beginning of the paper, lines should all be double spaced.
Font and Font Size in MLA
In an MLA paper, it is acceptable to use any font type that is easy to read. Many source types, such as books and articles, use fonts that are easy to read, so if you’re seeking an appropriate font style, look at other sources for guidance. Two of the most commonly used fonts are Arial and Times New Roman.
It is important for the reader to be able to distinguish the difference between italicized and regular font, so if you choose a font style different than Arial or Times New Roman, make sure the difference between the two type styles is evident.
The use of a 12-point font size is recommended as this is the default size for many word processing programs. It is acceptable to use another standard size, such as 11-point or 11.5-point.
Some professors or instructors will provide guidance on how to secure hard copies of projects. If your instructor does not provide you with any expectations or guidance, a simple staple in the top left corner should suffice. If a stapler is not available, some instructors allow paper or binder clips.
Do not fold the top left corner down to secure the pages together. The page could easily unfold, causing a mess of papers. While binders and plastic holders are cute, in reality, they add bulk to a professor or instructor who may like to take the papers home for grading purposes. Keep the binding simple and clean. Staples work best, and binder and paper clips are the next best option.
As always, follow any instructions your professor or teacher may provide. The guidelines found here are simply recommendations.
MLA Heading & Title Page Instructions
The web page “Formatting a Research Paper” gives two options when it comes to creating the header for your project:
- An MLA format heading can be placed at the top of the first page
- A title page can grace the front of the assignment. If you choose to create a title page, keep in mind that there aren’t any official title page or cover page guidelines in MLA format. See more information below.
If choosing option one, creating an MLA heading, you’ll need to include four main components:
- Your full name
- Your instructor’s name
- The name and number of the course or class
- The assignment’s due date
The first item typed on the paper should be your full name.
- Position your name one inch from the top and left margins of the page.
- Add a double space beneath your name, and type the name of your instructor.
- Below the professor or instructor’s name should be a double space, followed by the name of the course, class, or section number (if available).
- Below it, include another double space and add the assignment’s due date (Day Month Year).
Here’s an example:
The assignment’s title should be placed below the due date, after a double space. Align the title so it sits in the center of the MLA format paper. The title should be written in standard lettering, without underlines, bold font, italicized font, or any quotation marks. Only include italics or quotation marks if your title includes the title of another source.
Here is an example of an MLA header for an MLA format essay, paper, or assignment:
Neal E. Bibdarsh
The Trials and Tribulations of Lincoln’s Reciting of “The Gettysburg Address”
*Note: The quotation marks here are around the title of a speech included in the paper’s title.
Most research papers use a standard MLA format heading, like the one seen above. If your instructor requires you to create a standalone title page, ask him or her for specifications. MLA does not have specific instructions for developing an MLA title page. We recommend you use an MLA header for your project.
If your teacher or professor requires a standalone title page, but has not provided any guidance or specifications, here are a few suggestions from EasyBib.com and this MLA guide :
- Center and double space all of the text on your page.
- Place the name of your school at the top of the page.
- Skip down to about the center of the page and type the title of your paper. Do not bold the title, italicize the entire title, place quotation marks around it, or type the title out in capital letters.
- Use italics for the titles of any sources in the title of your paper. Example: An Analysis of Mythical Creatures in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- first letter of the title
- first letter of the last word
- first letter of any adjectives, adverbs, nouns, pronouns, and verbs
- If your paper has a subtitle, include on the next line below your title.
- Skip down to the bottom third of the page and add your name, the the name of your instructor, the name/number of the course or class, and the assignment’s due date on four separate lines.
- Keep the font size at 12 pt., or a size close to it, to make it look professional.
- Use the same font as the text of the paper. The Modern Language Association recommends any font that is easy to read and has a clear distinction between italics and standard font. Times New Roman and Arial are recommended, but many other fonts work as well.
- Include a page number in the top right corner of the paper. For more information on how to style page numbers, check out the next section, “Running Head and Page Numbers.”
- We do not recommend adding any images or cover art to the title page.
Click additional information about essays to see an example of a formatted header.
You can either create a title page using the EasyBib Title Page creator or omit the title page completely and use a header.
Running Head & Page Numbers in MLA
A running head is a brief heading that is placed in the top right corner of every page in a project. The Modern Language Association Style Center (online) states that the running head consists of:
- Last name of the paper’s author
- Page number
General tips to keep in mind:
- The running head is placed in the upper right-hand corner, half an inch from the top margin and one inch from the right margin of the page.
- Type your last name before the page number.
- The last name and page number should be separated by a single space.
- Do not place the word “page” or use an abbreviation, such as p. or pg., before the page number.
- Quite often, the running head begins on the second page, but your instructor may ask you to include the running head on the first page of the assignment. As always, if your instructor provides you with specific directions, follow his or her guidelines.
Before adding this information manually onto every single page, check to see if the word processor you’re using has the capability to automatically add this information for you. Try looking in the settings area where page numbers or headers can be added or modified.
Google Docs: Adding a header
- Go to the menu section “Insert.”
- Select “Page numbers” and select the option that places the page number in the upper-right corner.
- A page number will appear; your cursor will blink next to it.
- Move your cursor to the left of the page number.
- Type your last name. Add a space between your name and the page number.
- You should now have a properly formatted header on every page!
Microsoft Word Document: Adding a header
- Double-click in the space at the top of the page (where the page number is).
- OR Go to the “Insert” menu, select “Header,” and select “Edit Header.”
- Type your last name next to page number. If it isn’t already right-aligned, go to the “Home” menu and right-align your name.
Quotations in MLA
Quotes are added into assignments to help defend an argument, prove a point, add emphasis, or simply liven up a project.
Quotes should not take up the majority of your paper or assignment. Quotes should be sprinkled sparingly throughout, and quotes longer than 4 lines should be formatted as MLA block quotes . Use direct quotes from outside sources to enhance and expand on your own writing and ideas.
Words from quotes belong to the individual who spoke or wrote them, so it is essential to credit that individual’s work. Credit him or her by adding what is called an “in-text citation” into the body of the project.
There are three ways to add quotes: 1. With the author’s name in the sentence (a citation in prose).
Dan Gutman shares a glimpse into the overall plot by stating, “I didn’t know it at the time, but a baseball card—for me—could function like a time machine” (5).
In the above example, Dan Gutman is the author of the book that this quote is pulled from.
2. Without the author’s name in the sentence (a parenthetical citation).
The main character’s confusing experience is realized and explained when he states “I didn’t know it at the time, but a baseball card—for me—could function like a time machine” (Gutman 5).
In the above example, Dan Gutman’s name isn’t included in the sentence. It’s included in the parentheses at the end of the sentence. This is an example of a proper MLA style citation in the body of a project.
3. In a block quote, which is used when a large quote, of 4 lines or more, is added into a project.
Using footnotes and endnotes
The Modern Language Association generally promotes the use of references as described in the sections above, but footnotes and endnotes are also acceptable forms of references to use in your paper.
Footnotes and endnotes are helpful to use in a variety of circumstances. Here are a few scenarios when it may seem appropriate to use this type of referencing:
- When you are referring to a number of various sources, by various authors, in a section of your paper. In this situation, it is a good idea to use a footnote or endnote to share information for parenthetical references. This will encourage the reader to stay focused on the text of the research paper, instead of having to read through all of the reference information.
- When you are sharing additional information that doesn’t quite fit into the scope of the paper, but is beneficial for the reader. These types of footnotes and endnotes are helpful when explaining translations, adding background information, or sharing counterexamples to research.
To include a footnote or endnote, add a superscript number at the end of the sentence the footnote or endnote refers to. They can be included mid-sentence if necessary, but be sure to add it after any punctuation, such as commas or periods. Find a location that doesn’t distract the reader from the content and flow of the paper.
Within the text example:
Numerous well-known children’s books include characters from a wide range of races and ethnicities, thus promoting diversity and multiculturalism.¹
At the bottom of the page (footnote) or at the end of the section (endnote):
¹See Isadora, Parr, and Velazquez. While Parr’s work features characters of various colors, such as pink or blue, children easily correlate it with individuals of different races and ethnicities.
On the last page of the assignment, the writer includes the full references for the books by Isadora, Parr, and Velazquez.
For more on block quotes and a further, detailed explanation on the use of quotes, including MLA footnotes, refer to our MLA In-Text Citation and Parenthetical Citations Guide. In this guide you’ll find further information including directions for the use of quotes without an author, page numbers, and how to properly credit work from electronic sources.
For guides on citations in another style, check out APA parenthetical citation and APA in-text citation .
Paraphrases in MLA
Paraphrases are created when text or speech from another source are added into a project, but the writer chooses to summarize them and weave in his or her own writing and writing style.
Even though the writer modifies the information from another source, it is still necessary to credit the source using proper format ( Handbook 98). Paraphrased information uses the same MLA reference format as stated in the section directly above this one.
Here is an acceptable paraphrase:
“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs encouraged students at Stanford to continue with their determination, drive, and ambitious behavior. They should never be simply satisfied with the status quo. They should continue to push themselves despite possible obstacles and failures.
To develop a well-written paraphrase, follow these simple, step-by-step instructions.
- Find a phrase, sentence, paragraph, or section of original text you’d like to turn into a paraphrase.
- Read the text carefully and make sure you fully comprehend its meaning. A writer can only develop a well-written paraphrase if the information has been fully grasped and understood. If you’re having difficulty understanding the information, take a few minutes to read up on tricky words and background information. If all else fails, ask a friend to see if they’re able to make sense of the concepts.
- After analyzing and completely understanding the original text, put it to the side. Take a moment to think about what you’ve read and connect the idea to your own assignment.
- Now that the information is completely understood, take a moment to rewrite what you’ve read, in your own words and writing style. Do not simply substitute words in the original text with synonyms. That’s plagiarism! Show off and demonstrate your ability to process the original information, connect it to the content in your paper, and write it in your own individual and unique writing style.
- Include an in-text reference next to the paraphrase. All paraphrases include references, similar to direct quotes. See the “Quotations” section of this guide to learn how to properly attribute your paraphrased information.
- Give yourself a pat on the back! Paraphrasing is an important part of the research and writing process.
Wondering if it’s better to quote or paraphrase?
An essential part of the research process involves adding direct quotes and paraphrases into projects. Direct quotes provide word-for-word evidence and allow writers to use another author’s eloquent words and language in their own projects. When it comes to paraphrases, writers are able to take a block of text and shrink the scope of it into the their papers. Paper writers can also use paraphrases to demonstrate their ability to analyze and reiterate information in a meaningful and relevant way.
If you’re wondering which one is better to consistently use, quotes or paraphrases, there’s a clear winner. Paraphrases come out on top. Sure, direct quotes are incredibly beneficial, but copying and pasting too many of these into a project can cause a reader to lose sight of the writer’s own voice. Mixing your own voice with another author’s too much can make for choppy and disjointed reading.
The ultimate goal of a research project is to have your voice and research merged together as one. Paraphrases allow just that. When you combine information from outside sources with your own writing style, it demonstrates your ability as a researcher to showcase your understanding and analyzation of a topic.
Remember, whether you’re adding direct quotes or paraphrases into a project, both types of additions need references. References are placed after the quotes and paraphrases, and also at the end of an assignment.
If you’re looking for additional help with your punctuation or grammar, check out the EasyBib plagiarism checker !
Using Abbreviations in MLA
Abbreviations are commonly used in many source types including websites, blog posts, books, and journal articles. It is acceptable to use abbreviations in all of these sources.
When it comes to school and research assignments, however, the MLA Handbook states that abbreviations should be used rarely in the prose of your paper (293). Spelling out abbreviations into their full words and meanings is recommended. This ensures understanding and avoids any confusion from your reader.
There are times when you may feel it is perfectly acceptable to use an abbreviation rather than its typed out counterpart in a paper. If you do abbreviate, be sure you are using commonly accepted abbreviations, which you can find in the dictionary. You can also review Appendix 1 in the MLA Handbook .
General Abbreviation Tips
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus can be abbreviated to HIV, not H.I.V.
- United States should be US, not U.S.
- Digital video disc should be DVD, not D.V.D.
- For lower case abbreviations, it is acceptable to include periods between the letters.
- The abbreviation, “For example” = e.g.
- If there is a mix of lower case and upper case letters, do not use periods if the majority of the letters are upper case. Examples include PhD and EdD
Type out entire month names when being used in the body of a research paper or assignment.
She rented out the beach house from May through September
When it comes to references, MLA bibliography format requires months longer than four letters to be abbreviated.
- July = July
- November = Nov.
Other abbreviations that are perfectly acceptable to use in a bibliography (not the body of a project) include:
- p. or pp. for page and page numbers
- ch. for chapter
- ed. for edition
- trans. for translation or translated
- vol. for volume
- no. for number
- rev. for revised
Again, these abbreviations should only be used in the final page(s) of a project, the MLA Works Cited list. They should not be used in the body of a project.
For more information on bibliographies, see our MLA format Works Cited List page.
One of the quirkiest things about this particular style is how publisher names are structured on the final page of references. Certain words are abbreviated, some words are omitted, and other words are written in full.
Words describing what type of business the publisher is are omitted from the works cited. Here’s a breakdown of the words that should be excluded:
- Co. (Company)
- Corp. (Corporation)
- Inc. (Incorporated)
- Ltd. (Limited)
- The (when at the beginning of the name)
If a publisher’s name contains the words “University” and “Press” (or the equivalent in another language), the words should be abbreviated to the letters “U” and “P” in your citation. But if only one of the words appears, it should be written out normally.
Here are a few examples:
- University of Delaware
- U College of London P
All other words related to the names of publishers should be written out in full.
Certain classical and biblical works are abbreviated in a bibliography, but also in any parenthetical references in the text.
The official handbook provides a lengthy list, spanning over multiple pages, of the preferred abbreviations to use for classical and biblical works ( Handbook 295-301), but here’s a quick snapshot of some of the commonly used ones:
Hebrew Bible or Old Testament = OT
- Deut. = Deuteronomy
- Gen. = Genesis
- Lev. = Leviticus
- Num. = Numbers
- Ps. = Psalms
New Testament = NT
- 1 Cor. = 1 Corinthians
- Jas. = James
- Matt. = Matthew
- Ado = Much Ado about Nothing
- 3H6 = Henry VI, Part 3
- JC = Julius Caesar
- Mac. = Macbeth
- MND = A Midsummer Night’s Dream
- Oth. = Othello
- Rom. = Romeo and Juliet
Again, the titles above are allowed to be abbreviated both in references in parentheses in the body of a project and also on the final page of references. If you’re wondering why, it’s because they’re cited often and it’s unnecessary to type out the entire title names.
Formatting Numbers in MLA
Use of numerals.
If the project calls for frequent use of numbers (such as a scientific study or statistics), use numerals that precede measurements.
- 247 milligrams
Other items to keep in mind:
In divisions, use numbers, ex: In page 5 of the study
When including a number in a paper, spell out the number if it can be written as one word (such as six ) or two words (such as sixty-two ). For fractions, decimals, or longer numbers, type them out using digits. For larger numbers, write the number itself ( Handbook 82-84).
- one hundred
If the number comes before a unit of measurement or label, type the number using digits.
- 8 tablespoons
- 3 July 2018
- 25 King Street
More on Numbers
Starting a sentence with a number is generally frowned upon. Try modifying the sentence so that the number, or number word, is found elsewhere.
225 children were found in the warehouse, some malnourished and diseased.
Use this sentence:
A total of 225 children were found in the warehouse, some malnourished and diseased.
If modifying the sentence is not possible or does not work well with the flow of the assignment or paper, type out the written number:
Two hundred twenty five children were found in the warehouse, some malnourished and diseased.
Do not include any ISBN numbers in your paper.
The Modern Language Association does not have any requirements regarding the structure of an outline. If your teacher asks you to create an MLA outline, we recommend using roman numerals, capital and lowercase letters, and numbers.
Here is an example of a recommended outline structure:
In addition to outlines, use roman numerals for suffixes.
- King George IV
Using Images, Tables, & Musical Scores in MLA
Photographs, data sets, tables, graphs, and other images are often added into projects or papers to promote or aid understanding. They provide meaningful visuals for the reader. If the illustration or visual image does not enhance the quality of the paper, do not include it in the project.
Tables and illustrations should be placed as close as possible to the text that they most closely refer to.
For an image to be significant and easily identifiable, place it as close as possible to the text in the project where it is discussed.
It is not acceptable to simply place an image in a project without including identifiable information. All images must include information about its origin.
Here are the directions to properly attribute an image:
- Assign an Arabic number. The image closest to the beginning of the project should be labeled as Fig. 1. The next image in the project should be Fig. 2. and so on.
- Provide a caption. The caption should be a brief explanation or the title of the contents of the image. Place the caption directly next to the label.
- Immediately following the caption, it is acceptable to include attribution information. If the image is not discussed further in the rest of the paper or project, it is acceptable to include the MLA bibliography format citation below the image and omit it from the bibliography or MLA format works cited page.
In the text of the project or paper where the figure is discussed, include the label in parentheses to ensure the reader knows where to find the figure in your paper.
In the text:
Sarah’s tattoo design was filled with two of her favorite flowers: lilies and daffodils along a thinly curved vine (fig. 1).
(Image Would Be Here) Fig. 1. Sarah’s Tattoo. barneyWILLIAMSable, Deviant Art , 2011, barneywilliamsable.deviantart.com/art/Sarah-s-Tattoo-design-193048938.
Fig. 1. White Studio. “Houdini and Jennie, the Elephant, Performing at the Hippodrome, New York.” Library of Congress , www.loc.gov/item/96518833/.
When adding a table or data set into a project, it is formatted a little differently. Above the data set, include the label “Table” with an Arabic numeral, and title it. The table number and title should be located flush left and on separate lines. The first table seen in the project is labeled as Table 1. The second table in the project is Table 2, and so on. The table’s title should be written in title case form (the first letter of each word is capitalized, except for small, insignificant words).
Underneath the table, provide the source and any notes. Notes should be labeled with a letter, rather than a numeral, so the reader is able to differentiate between the notes of the text and the notes of the table.
International Scholars from India Enrolled at Yale University a
Source: “International Scholars Academic Year 2015-2016.” Yale University , Office of International Students and Scholars, yale.app.box.com/v/scholar-2015-2016. a. The numbers reflect students who are enrolled full-time.
The information included above and below any images or table should be double spaced, similar to the rest of the project or paper.
Musical scores need to be labeled as well. When including a musical score in a project, label musical scores with “Ex.” which is short for example. This label should be placed below the musical score. Next to the abbreviation “Ex.”, assign the score an Arabic numeral. The first musical score in the project should be labeled as Ex. 1. The second musical score found in an assignment should be labeled as Ex. 2., and so on.
If possible, provide a caption after to the label. If the caption below the sheet music includes enough information about the source, it is not necessary to include the full reference at the end of the assignment.
Here is an example of a possible label and caption:
Ex. 4. Scott Joplin, The Entertainer, piano, C major.
Here’s more on tables and illustrations.
Using Lists in MLA
It’s appropriate to add lists into an MLA format essay as long as the proper rules are followed.
Lists created using MLA essay format look different than a grocery list or any other type of vertical listing of items. Items in a list are included in your prose, rather than the traditional vertical style.
Often, you will use a colon between the introductory sentence and the list. But you should not include a colon if the first item in the list is part of the sentence.
List Example #1
Here is an example of how a list may look incorporated into the prose of a research project or assignment:
William Shakespeare wrote numerous plays, many of which were considered tragedies: Romeo and Juliet , Hamlet , Macbeth , Othello , Julius Caesar , and King Lear .
List Example #2 Here is an example of how a list may look in a research project or assignment when the list is part of the introductory sentence:
Many of William Shakespeare’s were tragedies. Some of his most popular tragedies include Romeo and Juliet , Hamlet , Macbeth , Othello , Julius Caesar , and King Lear.
MLA Works Cited Format
EasyBib.com has a full, comprehensive guide to creating a proper works cited MLA format , but here are a few items to keep in mind when developing this portion of a project:
- The list of citations should be the very last page of a research project or essay.
- The top of the page should include the running head and the page number.
- All entries should be placed in alphabetical order by the first item in the MLA format citation.
- The entire page should be double spaced.
For more detailed information, make sure to check out the EasyBib guide to MLA format Works Cited pages.
MLA Citation Format
The majority of this guide focuses on MLA formatting in regards to MLA paper format rules and guidelines. If you’re seeking information related to the proper formatting of an MLA citation, refer to our individual pages and posts on various types of citations.
If you’re simply looking for the general structure for full references, which are found on the final pages of projects, here’s the proper order:
Author’s Last name, Author’s First name. “Title of Source.”* Title of Container , Names of other contributors along with their specific roles, version of the source (if it differs from the original or is unique), any key numbers associated with the source that aren’t dates (such as journal issue numbers or volume numbers), Name of the Publisher, publication date, location (such as the URL or page numbers).
*Note: A title may be in italics instead of quotation marks, depending of the type of source. The general rule is that works that are self-contained (like books, journals, or television shows) are formatted in italics. Works that are part of a larger work (like articles, chapters, or specific episodes) are formatting in quotation marks.
MLA Format Citing FAQs:
“What in the world are containers?”
Containers are what hold the source. If you’re creating a reference for a chapter in a book, the title of the chapter is the title of the source , and the container is the title of the book . The book holds the chapter, so it’s the container. If you’re searching for how to cite a website, here’s a tip: the title of the source is the name of the individual page and the title of the container is the name of the full website.
“This seems like a lot of information for a reference. Is it all necessary?”
The short answer is “No!” When citing, only include the components that help the reader locate the exact same source themselves.
It isn’t necessary to go digging for items such as numbers, version types, or names of other individuals or contributors associated with the source if they aren’t applicable. If you think it’s beneficial for the reader, then include it.
Related to citations, here are helpful pages on:
- MLA citation website format
- Citing a book
- Citing a journal
- What is a DOI ?
- More on PDFs
If you’re looking for an MLA citation generator, head to the EasyBib homepage. Our formatter will help you create citations quickly and easily!
Need APA, too? There are also EasyBib tools and an APA citation website reference guide to help you learn the basics.
Edits and Proofreading
Editing and proofreading your assignment prior to submission is an incredibly important step in the research process. Editing involves checking the paper for the following items:
- Spelling : Are all words spelled correctly? Review all proper names, places, and other unique words to ensure correct spelling. When finished, run the project through a spell checker. Many word processing programs, such as Microsoft Word and Google Drive, provide a free spell checking feature. While spell checks are beneficial, they do not always spot every mistake, so make sure you take the time to read through the assignment carefully. If you’re still not sure if your project contains proper spelling, ask a friend to read through it. They may find a mistake you missed!
- Grammar : Check your assignment to make sure you’ve included proper word usage. There are numerous grammar checkers available to review your project prior to submission. Again, take the time to review any recommendations from these programs prior to accepting the suggestions and revisions.
- Punctuation : Check to make sure the end of every sentence has an ending punctuation mark. Also make sure commas, hyphens, colons, and other punctuation marks are placed in the appropriate places.
- Attribution : Do all quotes and paraphrases include a citation? Did you create an in-text citation for each individual piece of information?
Smart idea: running your paper through a paper checker before you turn it in. EasyBib Plus offers a checker that scans for grammar errors and unintentional plagiarism.
Check out our MLA sample papers . Also, check out the EasyBib MLA Annotated Bibliography Guide.
Don’t forget to use the EasyBib citation generator to develop your Modern Language Association style references.EasyBib.com also has helpful guides on APA format and more styles . Lastly, stay up-to-date on what’s coming by following our EasyBib Twitter account.
“Formatting a Research Paper.” The MLA Style Center , Modern Language Association of America, style.mla.org/formatting-papers/.
MLA Handbook. 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021.
Published October 31, 2011. Updated July 25, 2021.
Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Elise Barbeau . Michele Kirschenbaum is a school library media specialist and the in-house librarian at EasyBib.com. You can find her here on Twitter. Elise Barbeau is the Citation Specialist at Chegg. She has worked in digital marketing, libraries, and publishing.
MLA Formatting Guide
- Annotated Bibliography
- Block Quotes
- et al Usage
- In-text Citations
- Page Numbers
- Sample Paper
- MLA 8 Updates
- MLA 9 Updates
- View MLA Guide
- Book Chapter
- Journal Article
- Magazine Article
- Newspaper Article
- Website (no author)
- View all MLA Examples
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The works-cited list provides the reader full information so that a reader can locate the source for further use.
The works-cited list appears at the end of the paper, after any endnotes if they are present.
All margins (top, bottom, left, and right) should be set at 1 inch.
Write the running head in the top right of the page at 0.5 inch from the top. Use the running head “Surname Page #.”
The font should be clear enough to read. For example, Times New Roman font set to 12 points.
Entries should be double-spaced, including a double-space between the heading and the first entry. If any entry runs over more than a line, indent the subsequent line(s) 0.5 inch from the left margin.
Formatting the title
The title should be “Works Cited.” Center the title. Do not bold, italicize, or underline the title. If you cite only one source in the list, the title should be “Work Cited.” If you include sources that you only consulted and didn’t cite directly, the title should be changed accordingly to “Works Cited and Consulted.”
Arranging works cited
Works-cited-list entries are arranged alphabetically by the author’s last name (or the editor’s last name for entire edited collections). Double-space all entries. Begin each entry flush with the left margin. If any entry runs over more than one line, indent the subsequent line(s) 0.5 inch from the left margin (sometimes called a hanging indent).
Example works cited
Damasio, Antonio. The Feeling of What Happens: Body, Emotion and the Making of Consciousness . Vintage, 2000.
Hill, R. T. “Legitimizing Colonial Privilege: Native Americans at a Quincentenary of Discourse.” Text and Performance Quarterly , vol. 16, no. 1, 1996, pp. 92–100.
MacDonald, Shauna M. “Performance as Critical Posthuman Pedagogy.” Text and Performance Quarterly , vol. 34, no. 2, 2014, pp. 164–81.
Zilio, M. “Canada Will Not Move Embassy to Jerusalem, Federal Government Says.” The Globe and Mail . 7 Sept. 2017, www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/canada-will-not-move-embassy-to-jerusalem-federal-government-says/article37219576/ .
An in-text citation is a short citation that is placed in the text. It is styled in two ways: a citation in prose or a parenthetical citation.
The basic element needed for an in-text citation is the author’s name . The publication year is not required in in-text citations. Sometimes, page numbers or line numbers are also included, especially when directly quoting text from the source being cited. When including a page number, do not include a comma or any other punctuation mark between the author’s surname and the page number.
Parenthetical citations usually add only the author’s surname at the end of the sentence in parentheses. Sometimes they include a page number or other locator. An example of a parenthetical citation is given below:
The spiritual geography of the landscape is explained (Cooper).
If you want to cite a chapter number, a scene, or a line number, follow the abbreviation guidelines below:
When including a more specific locator number rather than a page number, place a comma between the author’s surname and the label.
(Cooper, ch. 2).
Here are a few examples of in-text citations for sources with different numbers or types of authors:
Use only the surname of the author in parenthetical citations. If you want to add a page number (or another indicator of the place in a work), add it after the author’s surname without any punctuation between the surname and the page number.
Add only the surnames of the authors. Use “and” to separate the two authors.
(Langmuir and Einstein).
Three or more authors
Add only the surname of the first author followed by “et al.”
(Low et al.).
Shorten the organization name wherever possible, excluding any initial articles and using the shortest noun phrase (e.g., shorten Literary Society of Tamil Culture to Literary Society).
If there is no author for the source, use the source title in place of the author’s surname.
When you add such in-text citations, italicize the text of the title. If the source title is longer than a noun phrase, use a shortened version of the title. For example, the title Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is shortened to Fantastic Beasts .
( Fantastic Beasts 160).
MLA Citation Examples
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MLA Paper Format: Simple Guidelines to Follow
If you’re new to writing research papers, setting everything up can be intimidating. However, breaking the MLA paper format down into the basics makes it much easier to digest. Learn how to set up your paper, cover page, headings, headers, tables, and figures in your MLA paper.
MLA Paper Format General Guidelines
In general, the MLA style formatting guidelines are flexible. That’s why so many teachers and students like to use this writing style for their middle school, high school, and college research papers. However, while MLA is flexible, it still has a few formatting rules students need to adhere to. The fundamental break down for formatting an MLA paper includes:
- Use standard 8.5 x 11 white paper
- Numbering your pages
- 1-inch margins (all sides)
- Readable font
- Indent new paragraphs
- Only one space between sentences
Now that you know the basics, it’s time to look at the different formatting aspects you need for your cover page, headings, headers, text formatting, and tables.
MLA Cover Page
MLA papers don’t typically have a cover page. But, if a teacher asks for one, it’s essential to know how to do it. An MLA cover page includes a few things like:
- University/school’s name
- Title of the paper
- The subtitle, if you have one
- Course name and number, if you need it
And that is pretty much it. Everything is centered on your cover page. The school name or university is at the top, and the title in the middle. Your name, course, professor, and due date are toward the bottom.
MLA Headings & Headers
Rather than a cover page, your paper typically has a heading and title on the first page of your work. Your MLA heading and title include your name, instructor, course, and date aligned to the left. The title is centered before you start the body of your paper. Additionally, each page of your paper has a running header with your name and the page number, including the works cited.
MLA Text and Body Formatting
In the body of your paper, MLA offers recommendations for you when it comes to fonts, spacing, formatting, numbers, and abbreviations.
MLA Paper Formatting: Readable Font
When it comes to writing your paper, you need a readable font. Your teacher doesn’t want to bust out the magnifying glass to see your work. And to make sure of that, MLA recommends a font that is easy to read and distinguishes regular and italicized text like Arial or Times New Roman. Additionally, use a standard font size like 11 or 12 point. Making everything a 14-point font doesn’t make your paper look longer.
Spacing and Formatting for an MLA Paper
When it comes to the spacing and formatting of your paper, stick with double spacing throughout the entire body and works cited and make sure your text is left-justified, so the right margin has a ragged edge. It’s also vital to indent every new paragraph five spaces by hitting the tab on your keyboard. To keep everything neat and tidy, follow the standard punctuation rules for commas and periods.
Numbers in MLA Formatting
Using numbers in MLA isn’t hard, but you must follow a few rules. MLA clarifies when to use Arabic and Roman numerals and when to spell out numbers or just use the Arabic form. For example, if you can spell a number out in a few words, go for it. However, if you need a whole sentence, it’s better to stick with Arabic numerals like 1,345,267. Your fingers might start to hurt writing out that one.
Ten, twenty-six, two million
129, 879, 3 ¾
Abbreviations in MLA Formatting
To keep your fingers from cramping, you can use abbreviations in MLA formatting . But like everything else, rules need to be followed for abbreviations. For example, end abbreviations with a period if they end in a lower case letter, and abbreviate months longer than four letters.
Jan., Feb., ACL
Formatting Tables & Illustrations in MLA
Another crucial part of your MLA paper formatting is the tables and illustrations. Not only do they add color to your work, but some things must be shown rather than read. When it comes to tables and figures, keep the figure as close to the text as possible, and follow MLA formatting rules.
Formatting a Table in MLA
Formatting a table isn’t hard in your MLA paper. And, you can include as many as you want. Just keep these formatting rules in mind.
- Label “Table” is flush left, followed by an Arabic numeral. (Table 1)
- The title is flush left under Table in the title case. (Number of COVID Cases in the US)
- Give the source of your table directly below the table. It needs to be flush left and include a hanging indent for information that goes into a second line. Additionally, all the information should be double spaced.
- Use a dividing line to separate the source from the table.
Figures in MLA Papers
Now, it’s time to look at MLA figure formatting. MLA format is excellent for art and language paper topics. Therefore, images, illustrations, and maps could be a big part of your paper. Formatting an image in MLA is similar to a table, but there are a few distinctions in formatting.
- Label “Fig.” followed by an Arabic numeral is placed directly under the image. (Fig. 1)
- Right next to the label will be the caption. (Fig. 1. Map of Scotland)
- The caption can include source information, and then it doesn’t have to be cited in the text.
Musical illustrations follow the same rules as a figure, but you label them as an example (Ex. 1).
MLA Paper Format Made Easy
Faq mla paper format: simple guidelines to follow, how do you write a paper in mla format.
To write a paper in MLA format, you need a running header with your last name and page number, 1-inch margins on all sides, indents when starting a new paragraph, and a readable font. You'll also cite your sources in-text and on your works cited page using MLA format citations.
What should an MLA paper look like?
An MLA paper has a standard look for every page including 1-inch margins, a readable font, a running header including your last name and page number, and author-page in-text citations. At the end of your paper, you will include a works cited with a list of all the sources used in the paper.
How do you write a MLA research paper?
To write an MLA research paper, you must adhere to the guidelines set for by the Modern Language Association. Therefore, you must include scholarly resources that are cited using the author-date in-text citations. At the end of your paper, include a works cited listing your academic sources. When setting up your paper, use 1-inch margins, a readable font, indents for new paragraphs, and a running header.
How do you properly head a paper?
To properly head a paper in MLA format, include a running header that is right-aligned. Your running header includes the page number and your name.
What is MLA format template?
An MLA format template is created in a word processing software to set up the 1-inch margins, double spacing, and running header for your MLA paper. You can also do this yourself by following MLA page layout guidelines for these areas.
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Citing an Introduction or Afterword in MLA
How to cite a play in mla, mla 7th edition vs mla 8th edition, how to cite a short story from any source.
Please see this Guide to Modified Services for Summer 2021
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MLA Style Guide, 8th Edition
- Formatting Your MLA Paper
- Works Cited entries: What to Include
- Title of source
- Title of container
- Other contributors
- Publication date
- Optional Elements
- Book with Personal Author(s)
- Book with Editor(s)
- Book with Organization as Author
- Parts of Books
- Government Publication
- Journal Article
- Magazine Article
- Multivolume Works
- Newspaper Article
- Other Formats
- Websites, Social Media, and Email
- Works Cited Practice
- About In-text Citations
- In-text Examples
- How to Paraphrase and Quote
- Formatting Your Works Cited List
- MLA Annotated Bibliography
- MLA 8th Edition Quick Guide
- How to Paraphrase
MLA recommends using 12-point Times New Roman font or another readable typeface (e.g. serif ).
Line Spacing & Margins
Use double-spacing throughout the entire paper.
Leave 1 inch margins on the top, bottom, and each side.
Indent the first line of each paragraph half an inch from the left margin.
Quotes longer than 4 lines should be written as a block of text a half an inch from the left margin.
Heading and Title
An MLA research paper does not need a title page, but your instructor may require one. If no instructions are given, follow the MLA guidelines below:
Type the following one inch from the top of the first page, flush with the left margin (double spacing throughout).
Your Instructor's Name
Course Number or Name
Center the title on the next line. Follow the rules for capitalization. Do not italicize, underline, or bold the title. An exception is when your title includes a title. Example: The Attitude toward Violence in A Clockwork Orange
Indent the next line and begin typing your text.
Include your last name and page numbers in the upper right-hand corner of every page. The page numbers will be one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. If your instructor prefers no page number on the first page, begin numbering from 2 on the second page.
Sample Papers from MLA
There are three sample papers available in the MLA Style Center. Check them out to see the correct formatting.
Sample MLA Paper
- MLA Research Paper Template Properly formatted MLA Style research paper. Download and save to your computer so that you will always have the correct format for writing.
MLA Format Setup in Word 2013
- << Previous: How to Paraphrase and Quote
- Next: Formatting Your Works Cited List >>
- Last Updated: Nov 9, 2022 1:39 PM
- URL: https://guide.unwsp.edu/MLAstyle
How to Write In MLA Format In Google Docs
Whether you are a student trying to deliver your next A+ paper or an aspiring scholar looking to share your ideas with the world, you can utilize the MLA format to establish credibility behind your content while also bringing order to even the most complex concepts. Thankfully, Google Docs contains everything you need to make the grade when it comes to perfecting the MLA format. Ready to get fancy with your formatting?
Tip : this guide follows standard MLA formatting rules according to the widely-used Purdue OWL guidelines . It is strongly recommended that you clarify the formatting requirements with your instructor, publisher, department, etc.
MLA Format at a Glance
1. one-inch margins, 2. times new roman, 3. doubled-spaced, 4. additional mla format requirements, 5. works cited, frequently asked questions.
The easiest way to interpret MLA format, short for Modern Language Association format, is to think of it as a style guide for research and academic papers. Much like the way social media templates or distinct company branding can bring uniformity to content, the goal of MLA format is to optimize written works for maximum readability and optimal reference. Listed here are the key aspects of MLA format that you will need to remember:
- One-inch margins on all sides
- Times New Roman font (12 pt.)
- Double-spaced body text
- Centered title text
- Left-aligned name, instructor name, and due date at the top of the first page
- Indent the first word of every paragraph by half inch
- Indent block quotes by one inch
- Llast name and page number aligned to the top-right corner of every page
- Separate Works Cited page using hanging indentation
Tip : this guide covers MLA formatting instructions for tools that are accessible via the Google Docs website and not the Google Docs app. Accessing Google Docs via the Web enables more versatile and straightforward formatting options that will save you considerable time.
Before you start typing in Google Docs, you will need to make sure to toggle one-inch margins for the bottom, top, left, and right sides of your paper. Follow these steps to get started:
- Select “File” from the list of menu options in the task bar.
- Click on “Page setup” in the drop-down menu.
- Ensure that the margins for the top, bottom, left, and right side are set to “1” and apply to the “Whole document.”
- After you are finished adding these specifications, select “OK.”
Tip: would you prefer to handwrite your text first? Read on to learn how to convert your handwriting to typed text on Android .
Technically, MLA format only requires that you use a “legible” font, which debunks the myth that Times New Roman is the only font allowed in MLA format. Nonetheless, Times New Roman remains a popular choice for writers, as it is a serif typeface.
Studies show that using serif-clad typefaces, aka typefaces with small lines or strokes attached to the ends of each character, can optimize long passages of text for optimum readability. Follow these steps to get started:
- Click on the font menu highlighted below. The default font called “Arial” is a sans-serif font, so you will need to change it before you can start writing your MLA document.
- Scroll down to the bottom of the font list and select “Times New Roman.”
- Use the -/+ icons to the right of the font tool to set your point size to 12.
Tip: learn how to add a text box in Google Docs .
MLA format requires that all of your body text be double-spaced. If the idea of tediously jamming away at the space bar enough times to send your thumbs into a spasm has you dreading your next term paper, rest assured that you can automatically double-space your text in just a few clicks with Google Docs, as you will see in the below instructions.
- Select “Format” in the taskbar.
- From the drop-down list of items, select “Line & paragraph spacing,” then choose “Double.”
Once you have added headers and a title, writing your next essay will feel like clockwork. Documents written in MLA format must include your last name printed before each page number in the top-right corner of every page. You can have Google Docs number and initial each page for you. Follow the instructions below to add your surname and page numbers, as well as other requirements.
- Select “Insert” from the taskbar.
- Click on “Page numbers” and select the upper-left corner option.
- Type your last name on the first page in front of the page number. You will only have to do this once, as Google Docs will automatically label each subsequent page for you.
- Locate the alignment options (left, center, right, justify) highlighted below and ensure that your text is aligned to the left before you construct your main header, which should read as follows from top to bottom: Your full name , your instructor’s name , the name of the class , and the current date .
Tip : note that some instructors will ask you to write the due date of the assignment and not the date it was assigned in your header.
- Use the text alignment toggle to add a centered title for your paper.
- For each new paragraph, including your very first paragraph, use the tab key to automatically add the required half-inch indent.
Good to know: learn how to improve your writing with OneLook .
Before you wrap up your document, a crucial element of the MLA format is a separate Works Cited page that displays the sources that you referenced throughout your essay. In addition to listing your sources in alphabetical order, the Purdue OWL guide for MLA Works Cited Page: Basic Format describes how each citation should be formatted based on origin, source, and media type. Follow these general rules:
- Use the alignment tool to center the Works Cited header.
- Add hanging indents by indenting every subsequent line of text following the first line of each entry.
Is there a way to automatically add hanging indents in Google Docs?
Yes. Highlight the body text on your Works Cited page, then select “Format -> Align & Indent -> Special Indent: Hanging -> Apply.” You can also use the built-in Ruler tool to change margins on Google Docs .
Does Google Docs include any other built-in tools for students?
Yes. You can follow our comprehensive guide to discover how to edit Google Docs and other tips , with everything from how to monitor word count to how to find and replace text. You can learn how to add graphs, watermarks, and custom backgrounds for your documents.
How can I be more productive when writing in MLA format in Google Docs?
Perhaps the best way to speed up your workflow is to study our Google Docs Keyboard Shortcuts Cheatsheet . While practicing keyboard commands may seem cumbersome at first, you will spend more time writing and less time using your cursor to dip in and out of menus once you have committed just a handful of these shortcuts to memory.
Does Google Docs offer a built-in template for MLA format?
Yes. If you are in a pinch, you can save some time by navigating to the “Google Docs homepage -> Template Gallery -> Education -> MLA [Add-on].” While using Google’s MLA template may save you a few steps, note that it is easy to overlook several formatting cues without a manual checklist to go through as you construct your document. The Google Docs template for MLA format additionally overlooks a number of common requirements set by most professors. When using any template, something as simple as adjusting the font can offset key spacing parameters.
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How to MLA Format a Google Doc (Step-by-Step)
You don’t want to lose points for silly mistakes in your papers, assignments, or essays. You might think that a little formatting mistake here and there doesn’t matter. But that might not be the case if the person who is grading your essay is particularly strict.
Even established academics need to brush up on their formatting skills sometimes. This is especially true if you’re new to using Google Docs. Or if it’s the first time you’re using Google Docs for a formal piece of work.
Now, there are various style guides for academic work. So, the first thing to do is check, double-check and triple-check what your institution, department, publisher, etc. requires.
If the format is MLA and you’re creating your work in a Google doc, we’ve got you covered:
What Is MLA Format?
MLA style, or MLA format, is a set of guidelines for formatting academic or research papers. It was originally introduced by the Modern Languages Association and used in the fields of literature and language.
Its purpose is to ensure the consistency and uniformity of submitted works. Nowadays, students and scholars of various disciplines use the MLA style.
Here are the basic MLA standards you need to adhere to:
- One-inch margins on the top, bottom and sides
- Indent the first word in every paragraph by one half inch
- Times New Roman font, size 12
- Indent block quotations by one inch
- Double-space the entire paper
- Your last name and the page number in the top-right of the header of every page
- Your full name, instructor’ name, course name and due date at the top of the first page
- The title centralized on the first page
- A Works Cited page at the end of the doc (with sources correctly formatted)
There are quite a few items to check off the list here. But we’ll guide you through:
Step 1: Apply One-Inch Margins
Your Google doc should be set to one-inch margins by default. But, you may wish to check to be on the safe side.
1. Go to File > Page setup.
2. Ensure all margins are set to 1 and this is applied to the whole document.
Step 2: Change the Font and Size
1. Choose Times New Roman from the dropdown font menu.
2. Click on font size and select 12.
Step 3: Insert a Header
1. Go to Insert > Headers & footers > Header.
2. Click the right align button.
3. Enter your last name and hit space.
4. Go to Insert > Page numbers and click the first option.
If your font defaults back to the original go ahead and highlight your last name and the page number and change them to Times New Roman, size 12.
Step 4: Change the Line Spacing
1. Click the line spacing button in the toolbar.
2. Select Double.
Step 5: Enter Your Details and the Title on the First Page
1. Type in the following on separate lines:
- Instructor’s name
- Course name
2. Hit the return key then click the center align button.
3. Type in the title of your paper.
Step 6: Add Indentations
1. Press the tab key to indent the first word of every paragraph.
Indent Block Quotations
1. Highlight the text.
2. Go to Format > Align & indent > Indentation options.
3. Next to Left, type in 1 and click Apply.
Step 7: Add the Works Cited Page
The Works Cited page has some unique formatting details. Therefore, there are a few steps you need to complete to format it correctly.
Add a Page Break
After the final paragraph of your paper, you must add a page break to ensure your Works Cited page appears on a separate, new page.
1. Go to Insert > Break > Page break.
Add the Title
As with the main title, the title for this page needs to be centrally aligned.
1. Click the central align button.
2. Type in Works Cited.
Add Your List of Sources
There are a few points from the MLA guidelines you need to incorporate here. First, each of your sources must be listed alphabetically. Ensure you cite your sources in the proper format , for example:
Pinker, Steven. The Sense of Style . Penguin Random House, 2014.
And finally, each source must have a hanging indentation. Here’s how to do it:
1. Go to Format > Align & indent > Indentation options.
2. Click the dropdown menu under Special indent and select Hanging.
3. Set the indent to 0.5 and click Apply.
How Do You Cite in Google Docs?
Google Docs has a citations tool that will help you cite your sources in the proper format as you go along. You can also use this tool to automatically create a Works Cited page when you’ve finished your paper. Naturally, this is super useful as it will help you get the formatting correct every time and save you some time and energy.
1. Go to Tools > Citations.
2. Select MLA from the dropdown menu in the sidebar. (Other options are APA and Chicago.)
3. Click + Add citation source.
4. From the dropdown menu select a source type, e.g. book or journal, then select how you accessed the source, e.g. print or website.
5. Enter the details of your source into the form. (Click + Contributor if there are multiple contributors.)
6. Click Add citation source.
This will now be added to your list of sources in the citations tool.
7. Place your cursor where you want to cite the source, then click Cite next to the source in the sidebar.
You’ll now see an in-text citation in MLA format. Change the # to the appropriate page number.
8. When you’ve finished your paper, create a new page by adding a page break as mentioned above. Go to the citations tool and click Insert bibliography.
You’ll now see that Google Docs has automatically generated a list of sources in the correct MLA formatting based on the information you entered. You will need to change the title from Bibliography to Works Cited.
You may wish to double-check the formatting of the page for yourself. But, apart from the title, everything should be formatted correctly. Docs even adds in the hanging indentation which, of course, you need for your Works Cited page in MLA format.
How to Use the MLA Template in Google Docs
By far the simplest and quickest way to format your paper is to use a pre-formatted template. Google Docs has a number of templates in different academic styles, including MLA.
The template comes with some text as a placeholder. You just need to replace it with your own details and writing. Here’s how to find and open up the template:
1. Open a new Google doc.
2. Go to File > New > From template.
3. Under the header Education, you’ll see a template entitled Report with MLA written underneath it.
4. Simply click on this template and alter it as necessary.
Note that you may still need to go to the checklist above and double-check that everything is formatted correctly. For example, there isn’t a placeholder for your last name in the header of the template. Thus, you may forget the little things like this if you don’t check through the doc.
More Essay Writing Tips for Google Docs
1. try voice typing.
The voice typing tool is a useful tool for students with accessibility needs.
Furthermore, ideas flow quicker than you can get them down on the page sometimes. It might help to use voice typing on such occasions. You can go back to the text to work it into nice, neat sentences for your paper later.
To access voice typing, go to Tools > Voice Typing. Click on the microphone in the small window that appears to start dictating your text.
2. Speed Up Editing
Got a paper due tomorrow and need to make edits fast? It happens. Thankfully, there are ways to speed up the editing process in Google Docs.
First, if you want to reorganize your draft, you don’t need to copy and paste sections or paragraphs. You can simply highlight the text and drag it to its new location in your essay.
Moreover, when formatting your essay, you don’t need to do everything manually. Rather, you can use the paint format button to copy your formatting quickly.
This would be useful, for instance, if you have a lot of block quotations in an MLA style essay and you don’t want to manually indent the text every single time.
Similarly, if you realize you’ve made a recurring mistake in your document, you don’t have to go through your paper and correct the mistake every time. For example, you may have referenced the wrong author or failed to capitalize a word.
Fix it with the Find and replace tool. Go to Edit > Find and replace. Enter the correction and click Replace all.
3. Make Your Doc Available Offline
There are many instances where offline editing may come in handy. For example, if the wi-fi in your dorm goes down, it doesn’t mean you have to stop working on your essay. Or if you need to make a few quick changes to your doc while you’re on the train.
To turn on offline editing, go to File > Make available offline.
Any changes you make offline will be saved locally on the device you’re using. Then the changes will be synced to Google Drive the next time you go online.
4. Use Bookmarks
Bookmarks are a useful way to draw attention to a part of your essay. You can create bookmarks for yourself. Perhaps you want to come back to a section later and add more.
You may also want to leave bookmarks for an advisor. Say they’re checking your first draft before you submit the final piece.
To add a bookmark in Google Docs, first place your cursor where you want your bookmark to appear. Then go to Insert > Bookmark.
5. Consider Add-Ons
You can do a lot in Google Docs. However, if there’s a tool you need that Google doesn’t offer yet, there’s likely an add-on you can use instead. You may want to add a plagiarism checker or thesaurus to your arsenal, for example.
To browse add-ons, simply go to the Add-ons tab and select Get add-ons.
6. Share or Save Your Doc in the Right Format
There are tons of ways you can share, save or submit an essay using Google Docs. The first thing to do is check with the course advisor how they would prefer you to submit your essay.
To send it directly to them, click the share button in the top-right corner and enter their email address.
Note that you can add a message alongside your submission. You can also change the permissions of the recipient using the dropdown menu next to their email.
Alternatively, you may wish to create a shareable link which you can also do via the share button. To adjust the permissions here, click where it says Change to anyone with the link.
If you don’t want to send the doc but rather save a copy, go to File > Download. Here you have the option of saving your document in various formats, including .docx and PDF.
This is useful if your advisor wants you to send a copy in a certain format using a file attachment.
Correctly formatting a paper or essay in Google Docs may feel like hard work at first. But, soon enough, it will become second nature. This guide will help you get the fundamentals of the MLA style guide right.
It’s up to you whether you wish to use the MLA template for your paper. But, we’d recommend manually formatting your work in the MLA style if you have the time. This way you know for sure there are no formatting mistakes.
Finally, don’t forget that Google Docs is rich in useful features that could help you during the writing, editing and formatting processes. Go explore what Google Docs can do.
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How to Write in the MLA Format With Google Docs
If you need to apply MLA formatting to your academic or business paper, here's how to meet all the requirements in Google Docs.
If writing a paper wasn't complicated enough, you often have to contend with specific formatting requirements. Have you been told that your paper must use the MLA format? Do you have any idea what that means or how to apply it? Don't worry, we're here to help.
We're going to explain what the MLA format is and how to apply it to your documents in Google Docs, both through a template and manual set-up.
What Is the MLA Format?
MLA stands for Modern Language Association. According to the MLA website , it's a group that established itself in 1883 with the aim to "strengthen the study and teaching of language and literature". As part of the group's work, it publishes a style guide that many educational establishments and businesses adhere to.
If you're asked to use the MLA format, you should clarify the specific expectations. Though MLA sell a handbook, your school or organization may have slightly different requirements.
When it comes to setting up a Google Docs document to use the MLA format, these are the key formatting points to account for, as taken from the MLA Handbook :
- A one-inch margin on all sides of the text.
- A readable typeface, between 11 and 13 points in size, where the regular style contrasts clearly with the italic. Times New Roman is a good choice, though not a requirement.
- Double-space the entire document.
- Indent the first line of every paragraph half an inch from the left margin.
- On the right side of the header, enter your surname, followed by a space, and then consecutive page numbers. This should be half an inch from the top and flush with the right margin.
- Also on the first page, beneath the details above, place and center your title. It doesn't need any formatting, like bold or underline.
- Cite your works at the end of the paper on a new page. Title it "Works Cited", centered and an inch from the top of the page. Each entry should be flush with the left margin, with additional lines indented half an inch from the left margin.
How to Apply the MLA Format in Google Docs With a Template
Google Docs offers a range of templates so that you don't have to manually set up common formatting rules. Handily, one such template is for the MLA format. Here's how to use it:
- With a Google Doc document open, go to File > New > From template .
- This opens the template gallery. Scroll down and look for the Education header.
- Click Report MLA . This opens a document in the MLA format, with dummy text for you to replace.
- On the right-hand sidebar, you'll see information about the EasyBib add-on , which is an automatic bibliography citation generator compatible with the template. Click Add to Docs if you want to use it, otherwise dismiss the sidebar with the X in the top-right.
Remember, you may need to follow slightly different MLA rules than what the template provides, so double-check everything is in order before submitting your document.
How to Apply the MLA Format in Google Docs Manually
Alternatively, you can apply the MLA formatting yourself. This is a good option if you have slightly different requirements from what the template offers, or if you want to be completely certain that you've applied all necessary formatting rules.
1. One-Inch Page Margin
Google Docs uses a one-inch margin on all sides of the document by default. However, you can double-check this:
- From the top menu, click File .
- Select Page setup .
- Within Margins , ensure everything is set to 1 . If Google Docs is using centimeters, it should be 2.54 .
2. Readable Typeface
By default, Google Docs uses Arial at size 11. Remember, MLA requires a readable type face, not necessarily Times New Roman at size 12, but many people prefer this. As such, to change the font in Google Docs :
- Click the Font dropdown in the top toolbar and select Times New Roman .
- Click the Font size dropdown in the top toolbar and select 12 .
To apply double-spacing to all your text:
- Click the Line & paragraph spacing button in the top toolbar. It's to the right of the alignment buttons and to the left of the list buttons.
- Select Double .
4. Page Numbers
You need your surname and page numbers in the right of the header:
- Double-click at the top of the document to edit the header.
- Your header is separate from the rest of your document, so you will need to apply your font face and size again.
- In the top toolbar, click Right align or press Ctrl + Shift + R .
- Type your surname followed by a space.
- From the top menu, go to Insert > Page numbers and select the diagram that shows the page numbers in the top-right.
5. Course Information and Title
The information about yourself, your course, and the title of your document should appear on page one:
- In the body of the document, select Left align from the top toolbar or press Ctrl + Shift + L .
- Type the necessary course details, pressing Enter after each to insert a new line.
- Press Enter after the final detail (usually the date) to insert a line break, then enable Center align from the top toolbar (or press Ctrl + Shift + E ).
- Type your title using title case, remembering to apply no extra formatting.
6. Indent Paragraphs
The first line of every paragraph needs to be indented by half an inch:
- Press Enter to place a line break after your title, if you haven't already, and return to Left align ( Ctrl + Shift + L ).
- From the top toolbar, select Format > Align and indent > Indentation options .
- Use the Special indent dropdown and select First line .
- Input 0.5 inches or 1.27cm.
7. Works Cited
Finally, your list of cited works must be on a new page, with a half-inch indent for overflow lines:
- From the top toolbar, go to Insert > Break > Page break or press Ctrl + Enter .
- Enable Center align from the top toolbar (or press Ctrl + Shift + E ) and type the header Works Cited .
- Return to Left align ( Ctrl + Shift + L ) and enter all your citations.
- Highlight all the citations and, from the top toolbar, select Format > Align and indent > Indentation options .
- Use the Special indent dropdown and select Hanging .
Turn In Your MLA Formatted Paper With Confidence
Now that you've applied all the necessary formatting, the only thing left to do is write. Google Docs saves automatically, so you don't need to worry about losing your work. Just remember to keep track of everything that you want to cite at the end. Good luck on your paper!
MLA formatting refers to the writing style guide produced by the Modern Language Association. If you’re taking a class in the liberal arts, you usually have to follow this format when writing papers. In addition to looking at MLA examples, ...
When writing in MLA format, use block quotes for quotes that are more than four lines long by introducing the quote with a colon and indenting the entire quote 1 inch from the left margin and flush to the right margin.
When citing a speech, it may help writers to see the speech as a written work with a title and an author. The author is, of course, the speaker, and like MLA citations of written works, the speaker’s name is listed first, with surname first...
Frequently asked questions about MLA format · Use an easily readable font like 12 pt Times New Roman · Set 1 inch page margins · Apply double line
General Guidelines · Type your paper on a computer and print it out on standard, white 8.5 x 11-inch paper. · Double-space the text of your paper and use a
Begin the entry with the author's last name, followed by a comma and the rest of the name, as presented in the work. End this element with a period. Bhabha
MLA research paper format requires that the entire research paper or MLA format essay includes double-spaced lines. Double-spaced lines should be found in
To write a paper in MLA format, you need a running header with your last name and page number, 1-inch margins on all sides, indents when starting a new
Use double-spacing throughout the entire paper. Leave 1 inch margins on the top, bottom, and each side.
MLA Format at a Glance · One-inch margins on all sides · Times New Roman font (12 pt.) · Double-spaced body text · Centered title text · Left-aligned
How to use MLA format in Word · 1. Change the font. Open your document and select the "Home" tab. · 2. Verify the margin settings. Standard MLA
Key moments. View all · place a one-inch margin on all sides · place a one-inch margin on all sides · place a one-inch margin on all sides · choose
What Is MLA Format? · One-inch margins on the top, bottom and sides · Indent the first word in every paragraph by one half inch · Times New Roman font, size 12
What Is the MLA Format? · A one-inch margin on all sides of the text. · A readable typeface, between 11 and 13 points in size, where the regular