How to Format MLA-Style Papers
Let’s take a look at another style guide this week: The MLA style. It is generally used in English and humanities courses. Along with the formatting guidelines, MLA also provides citing rules in two places: within the paper at the end of sentences and on a Works cited page at the end of the essay. The in-text citations are to be kept brief with the author’s name and the page number. Citations on the Works Cited page give full information about the source. This article will help you understand the citation techniques for all major style guides.
In the following sections, you will learn the common practices of MLA formatting and citations. Be sure to check with your instructor or assignment guidelines to ensure that this version is in line with what your instructor expects you to use, there can be minor changes in what they expect from you in each assignment.
#1 The first page of your paper
– Make a title page only if specifically requested.
– The upper left-hand corner of the first page, list your name, your instructor’s name, the course, and the date. It’s always best to use double-spaced text for this section.
– If the title is required, place it in the center without an underline, italics or in quotation marks. Standard capitalization only.
#2 Running Head and Page numbers
– A running head is a brief heading placed at the top right corner of every page in a project. It consists of the writer’s name and then the page number.
– A typical running head I the top right corner of a research paper should look like this:
– To avoid doing this manually, set your word processor to automatically add the last name and page number to each page.
– Place the running head half an inch from the top margin and one inch from the right margin of the page.
– Don’t place p. before the page number.
– Maintain one-inch margins around the entire page. The running head should be the only item within the one-inch margin.
– Align the running head half an inch from the top margin and one inch from the right margin of the page.
– Again, you could set the word processor to do this for you by default on each page.
#4 Font and font size
– The MLA style guide allows you to use any font type that is easy to read. It’s best if you stick to one of the typical two: Arial and Times New Roman.
– Recommended font size is 12-point standard font which is the default size for many word processing programs.
#5 Editing and proofreading
Editing and proofreading your assignment is a must before you turn it in no matter what style guide you adhere to. Editing involves checking your paper for the following items:
Maintaining the consistency in the style and word usage along with grammar affects the readability of your paper.
Here are some quick grammar tips which will help you enhance the final piece:
– To know where to place commas, read out your paper aloud and see where you pause naturally and where you draw a breath. Unleash the comma at such points.
– Check your dashes and hyphens.
– Always identify abbreviations before you use them unless you’re sure that the readers would readily identify the acronym.
– Be careful about this. We often end up throwing in a lot of “this” when writing in a flow. If the reader is lost for context this will leave them confused. So ask yourself, what does “this” refer to? What words can I replace it with?
Typing errors sneak in when you least expect them to and the autocorrect can’t detect synonyms, so that’s a common trap you can fall into. Run your paper through any one of the hundreds of free online grammar checkers online, which will fix spelling those errors for good.
You must ensure that the end of every sentence has an appropriate ending punctuation marks like commas, hyphens, colons, and other punctuation marks.
Make a check of these two things:
- Do all quotes and paraphrases include an MLA format citation?
- Is there an in-text citation for every individual piece of information?
If you face any difficulties in formatting or citing your papers in MLA style, you can always consult one of our expert editors.
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