MLA Essay Formatting is No Rocket Science

MLA writing is not hard, so if you have been assigned a paper to write in this format, don't panic. Here is a quick and easy guide to get you through the basics and your teacher should be able to provide you with additional materials and resources. This academic manual has been prepared by a professional custom essay writing service - WriteForce.com.

General Format

  • This is the general format for the entire paper written in MLA style.
  • Papers are typed on white 8.5 X 11 inch paper.
  • Font should be legible and in 12 point.
  • Double space the entire paper, even the first page and Works Cited.
  • Margins should be at 1 inch on all sides.
  • Use the tab key to indent all paragraphs.
  • There should be only one space after punctuation marks, unless otherwise noted by your teacher.
  • Pages should be numbered in a header in the upper-right hand corner of each page and your last name should appear before the numbers. Each page should go in chronological order. Some teachers will request that the first page not be numbered or that you do not list your last name, and you should always follow your instructor's guidelines.
  • Titles of works should be italicized.

The First Page

  • The first page of the MLA formatted paper should always be a bit different from the rest of the paper, so follow these guidelines for it.
  • Unless instructed to do so you should not make a title page for your paper.
  • The first page of your paper should list your name, the instructor's name, the course you're enrolled in, and the date in the upper left-hand corner, in that order, and it should be double-spaced.
  • After this, double space and put your title at the center of the paper.
  • Use title case and do not underline, bold, or italicize the title.
  • If you reference other works in your title use quotes to separate that title from your own.
  • Double space again to create your first line of text.

Works Cited

The Works Cited lists your references and should be a separate page at the end of your paper. Center the words "Works Cited" at the top of the page.

  • Indent the second and additional lines of the citations by 0.5 inches.
  • List page numbers of sources if you cite certain pages of a work and use a hyphen between a series of numbers.
  • Authors are listed with last name first.
  • Titles should be properly capitalized.

MLA writing is a guideline for essays and other papers and it helps you build credibility because it shows your work and references. Writing in this format isn't hard and a cheat sheet like this is always a good idea to keep handy. You can find more in-depth information online, as well.

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