Everything You Need to Know About MLA Format and Citations

Imagine yourself in class while the teacher goes over the most recent assignment. They mention that the assignment must be in MLA format as they are wrapping up their discussion.

MLA style. You’re quite sure you’ve heard that phrase before, but you’re not exactly sure what it means. Do not be alarmed; MLA format is nothing more than a set of style and citation rules that specify how your work should be written.

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There are several guidelines to follow in order to use MLA format correctly, but you can quickly locate them online. We’re here to explain how to utilize them, where to get them, and why some tasks demand this format.

What is MLA format?

The Modern Language Association created the MLA style to give scholars in the humanities and arts a uniform manner to write their papers and credit their sources. Like other referencing styles, MLA format has precise rules for headings, in-text citations, works cited pages, quotes, abbreviations, and even margin sizes.

This format (like other academic formats) removes the uncertainty from formatting your academic writing and guarantees that your sources are mentioned and credited correctly, freeing you and your readers to concentrate on the substance of your paper.

10 key points about MLA format:

The sources page is referred to as the works cited page

2  The entire paper should be double-spaced, including block quotations and the references on the works cited page

3  Use block quotes for quotations that are four lines or longer

4  Abbreviations do not include periods between the letters (i.e., US instead of U.S.)

5  The paper should be printed on 8.5 x 11 inch paper

6  There should be a one-inch margin along all sides of the paper

7  The paper should be written in size 12 Times New Roman, Arial, or Helvetica font

8  Each page must include the author’s last name and the page number in the top right corner

9  A title page is not required

10  The heading should be left-justified on the first page and include the following:

  • The author’s name
  • The instructor’s name
  • The course number
  • The date the paper is due
  • When to use MLA format

  • For the final draft of any academic writing assignment you complete for your courses in the arts and humanities, including essays, reports, and research papers, use MLA format. This includes all of your classes in English, history, drama, and related subjects.

    Ask your instructor if you are unsure whether you should use MLA or whether a particular formatting style is even required for a given assignment.

    For every section of an assignment you turn in, use MLA formatting. Included in this are any essay outlining, research proposals, literature reviews, or source lists that your professor may require you to turn in ahead of time or with your final work. Although you should format any additional documents that don’t reach your professor, there’s no need to format your first draft.

  • How to write MLA citations, with examples

  • How citations are formatted is one of the fundamental distinctions between MLA style and other academic styles, as we have already mentioned. This applies to all citations—in-text and those found on your works referenced page.

    The citation must be formatted as follows in order to appear on your works cited page according to MLA guidelines:

    Author’s first and last names. Case of the title. Publisher and publication year

    Here’s an illustration:

    Tanehisi Coates. Spiegel & Gray, 2015. Between the World and Me.

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