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MLA Format Writing and Citation Guide

23 Aug 2017Essay Writing Guides

We all need guidelines to learn new formats and styles of writing. Our website is the place where you can find everything you need for your academic papers. This MLA handbook will teach you how to deal with very popular and important MLA citation style.

Essay formatting is not the easiest thing to deal with. The rules for different papers are almost common, but you should explore few main points to focus on. The best choice for you would be the outline composing. Normally outline is optional for an essay or paper which follows MLA essay formatting. Still, some instructors may require it too.

Thus, what is MLA style and how you can use it in your academic papers for college and university? And another important question is about how to do MLA citation. Let’s learn and clear everything up in this very article.

What is MLA formatting?

MLA stands for Modern Language Association. You can meet this tough style type dealing with humanities, language, and literature. Some can describe it as a simple style, but, it is not as simple as it seems. Yes, it has some less complex guidelines. It is simpler than APA, Chicago, and Oxford, but, not too simple enough to deal with it without preparation.

You have the clear instruction of regarding areas with MLA guidelines:

  • Manuscript elements
  • Tables presentation
  • Referencing
  • Punctuation
  • Statistics
  • Headings
  • Abbreviations
  • And even more.

With MLA format you will protect yourself from accusations of plagiarism. For that purpose, you should have clear and legal other works citing format in your own text. MLA format is very helpful in a situation when you borrow for your academic writing.

MLA Citation Guide

If you decide to cite a book in MLA, you need to learn a few critical points about this format. While this style is the most commonly used in various sources, you should have been already met this format before. Here are some basic in text citation points:

  • All the sources that were provided in your text must be represented on the list of citations. Just note every single citation after placing it into your text and then just double it on the bibliography list.
  • In MLA format cite sources are presented in parenthetical citation style. It is about placing info about the source inside parentheses just after the citation. It is very easy and often is used by scholarly journal articles.
  • The info required for the citation source depends on the format of the source (print, the Internet, CD) and the works cited list that is also known as a bibliography.

In-text citations: Author-page style

Let’s also look at those in-text citations closer in details. MLA style uses the author-page method for all in-text citations. What does it mean? Everything is extremely easy. You need to need to include into your text author’s last name and the number of the page where the quotation was taken from. Then, of course, you should do a complete info link in your Cited Works page. To include author’s name you can use parentheses or just simply write it in your content. But what you should learn well is that the number of pages should always go within parentheses.

In this simple way, you are telling your reader that the quotation you did was taken from a certain page number and was written by a certain writer. That is the main purpose of citations, and MLA format offers the simplest way of writing them into your text.

For example, if you are creating in-text citation about the entire work with no pages included, you may mention the name of the work directly in text like this:

  • In his article “How to Become Crazy While Taking too Much Hard Drugs,” Syd Barrett talks about his early shows with Pink Floyd and the secret of “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” album title.
  • The book demonstrates how the legendary founder of Pink Floyd became crazy after a few years of experiencing heavy drugs addiction. (Barrett)

If you have to disclose a specific episode of the book or article, you should include the page number in brackets. Or in case the name of the author was mentioned in the citation, show just the number of the page.

  • He didn’t consider himself crazy and blamed Gilmour for his retiring from the band. (Barrett 70)
  • But David Gilmour was not too happy about losing a friend and taking his place in the legendary band. (70-75)

Essay Formatting in MLA Style

So, when you are formatting an essay and outline for it, it is similar to creating a plan. And can check out few points about it below:

  • The thesis statement is obligatory for MLA essay formatting. Not only this core statement serves a starting cape for your essay, but it also has to be mentioned in the outline. Normally, it will go first to your plan and will be written in all capital letters
  • While formatting an essay, the outline will include only those ideas that relate to thesis statement directly. No details should be written there.
  • The best outline suggests two possible structure patterns. These are either full sentences for every paragraph or short phrases or even words
  • As a rule, cheap outlines have no completed structure. And it is an absolute failure. The structure for your outline and essay should be complicated and has a complex of ideas.

Independent Researchers MLA Style

We offer you to learn various tips on how to deal with your paper in this very format and not to fail. Those recommendations, we must say, are a little bit different from those your tutor gave you. Thus, be careful while working on your masterpiece.

  • Margins

Leave 1-inch margins everywhere (right side, left the side, bottom, and top) on the pages of your paper. Every paragraph should have a half an inch space from the left edge.

  • Spacing

Traditionally, every MLA paper is double-spaced, however, sometimes professors require students to make it single-spaced. The spacing is used for the whole text of your paper including notes, quotes, and the list of references.

  • Title and heading

If you are formatting your research paper in MLA style, you don’t need to include a separate title page. Type your name, your professor’s name, course number, and name, and the date at the top of the first page left a margin. All the information should be typed separately in double-spacing. Then move to the center and include the title of your work (if your title takes more than one line, use double-spacing as well).

Do not use underlining or bold letters for your title. Capitalize the first and principal words only. If your title sounds like a question, include a question mark in the end. If your title is in a foreign language or includes foreign words, it might be capitalized in accordance with different rules and students is recommended to ask for professor’s recommendations.

  • Page numbers

The numbering should be in the upper right-hand corner of every page. Your last name should be typed on every page before the number. Microsoft Word has a function of a “running head,” which automatically includes formatting details like page numbering. Use it for more convenience.

A page number should be a one-inch from the right edge. Include a double-space between the top of the text and the page number. Do not use the word “page” or abbreviation “p.” before the page numbers.

  • Figures and tables

Additional materials like images, photos, drawings, and charts should be marked as “Figures” and numbered properly. If you are going to include tables, label them as “Tables” and use Arabic numerals for the points.

Improve Your Writing Skills 

Students should learn that correct formatting is as important as the coherent content of the research paper. We all have been there: you produce a great piece of writing, answer all the required questions, but fail to meet the formatting instructions. As a result, you get a lower mark and feel frustrated. To avoid this problem, learn from our MLA format guide or get formatting help for all types of academic papers.

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