MLA Writing Format

03/05/10 9:12 AM

MLA is an abbreviation of “Modern Language Association of America”. Some scholars have developed writing standards for academic documents and have been widely accepted and adopted by different scholars and students for writing research papers, journals, term papers etc.


The font size should be 12 –pt and entire paper be double-spaced. It should be professional, so do not make it decorated. Margin must be set to one inch all sides (top, bottom, right and left). It is recommended that indent the first line of each paragraph half inch from left side.

Paper Sections:

MLA format Paper is divided into four major sections. Starting with title page, then abstract, body and last but not least; references. The main part of MLA format is citation style. This MLA writing format guides the researchers and writers with referencing sources. Citation and referencing is imperative to protect your writing from plagiarism. It also demonstrates accountability to research work.

Title Page

In MLA writing format, title page is not necessary unless you are being told to do so by your instructor. If instructed, your title page must not exceed one page.

Your title page will contain your name, instructor name, course and date on upper left corner of page, and then comes title of your paper aligned at the center. Remember do not make your title bold, italic, quotation mark or underlined.


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Body of the paper would start from a new page but subsections will be continued from same page. Must remember that do not leave extra space between paragraphs and write is professionally. In-text citation must be used to make reader aware of author and date of publication.

Example of In-text Citation:

  • The first gambling Web site appeared in 1992, and online gambling has since become the most lucrative Internet business (Will 92)
  • Change is inevitable – except from a vending machine. (Robert 2009)

Body of your paper will include headings and subheadings. There are two types of headings in MLA writing format. These are numbered and formatted headings and unnumbered headings.

Examples of Numbered formatting

  1. Soil Protection

1.1 Medication

1.2 pesticides

  1. Energy Conservation

2.1 Traditional Energy Sources

2.2 Alternative Energy Sources

  1. Water Conservation

Examples of formatted and unnumbered headings:

Level 1 Heading: Bold, Flush Left

Level 2 Heading: Italicized, Flush Left

Level 3 Heading: Bold, Centered

Level 4 Heading: Italicized, Centered

Level 5 Heading: Underlined, Flush left

Guidelines for References:

  • References should be given at the end of paper, you are allowed to use underlined or italic in your citation.
  • If you have gathered data from internet, you have to provide URL from where you have picked the data if required by the instructor.
  • If you have taken data from published sources like journals, magazines or articles containing many pages, you must mention the starting and end of page numbers in your references for example (Pg: 285-360)
  • Sometimes there is more than one author, so you have use comma to separate them. But must include all of them.
  • References should be placed alphabetically
Posted by Janele Frederick | in Writing Styles | Comments Off on MLA Writing Format

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