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MLA Format Paper: All That You Have to Know Before Starting Your Essay

Posted on 17 Jan 2019

7 min read
MLA Format Paper: All That You Have to Know Before Starting Your Essay

Writing different 500 word essays and taking into consideration all academic requirements is a must for any student. However, it’s not always easy to learn everything about numerous styles and ways of formatting a text.

Why? The first thing is often a lack of information and absence of classes, where the difference between styles could be explained. The second thing is a lack of time and opportunities that would allow a student reading about each style carefully and practicing new knowledge later. As a result, many scholars make mistakes and can’t write essays in certain styles.

That’s why we’ve created this detailed guide with illustrative examples and absolutely clear explanations that will make you learn what an MLA style is.

MLA Format Paper: Main Features and Spheres Of Use

MLA is a popular and short abbreviation for Modern Language Association. The style reflects the main rules and principles that are set by the organization and are connected to the formatting of special parts of a text.

Lots of students start to panic when they are asked to format some of their persuasive writings using this style. However, there’s no reason to worry. The style is not used very commonly and that’s why some people may think it is connected with complicated rules. In fact, MLA is one of the most student-friendly styles. There are no difficult elements and nothing that could force you to make many mistakes.

The style is often used for humanitarian, social, and philological sciences texts.

Where it’s usually used:

  • Statistics;
  • Abbreviations;
  • Manuscripts;
  • References;
  • Presentations;
  • Punctuation;

MLA style is comfortable, when using citations and phrases that belong to other authors. If you want to protect your own author’s rights on your unique essays, you shall also get familiar with the style and its main principles.

MLA Format Paper Examples

This is only a sample,
if you need your own paper you need to:
MLA Format Paper

View sample

MLA Format Paper

This is only a sample,
if you need your own paper you need to:
MLA Format Paper Example

View sample

MLA Format Paper Example

This is only a sample,
if you need your own paper you need to:
MLA Format Paper Heading

View sample

MLA Format Paper Heading

This is only a sample,
if you need your own paper you need to:
MLA Format Paper Outline

View sample

MLA Format Paper Outline

This is only a sample,
if you need your own paper you need to:
MLA Sample Paper

View sample

MLA Sample Paper

MLA Format Paper Short Guide

Often, when writing an essay, you may need to cite an extract of an article, a book you read or a popular movie. In this case, MLA style is the most comfortable and one of the easiest ways to format your essay correctly and not to violate the copyright borders of other authors.

There are some tips for the most common cases and situations you can meet, while preparing your essay:

  1. You can easily use different quotes and extracts of other texts in your essay. However, don’t forget to note them all in the list of your annotated bibliography alongside with a correct source they were taken from.
  2. Use parenthetical citation style. This means placing some information about the original source of each quote inside parentheses after each citation. This method is often used for journal articles, some research paper topics and educational publications.
  3. The way of presenting the information about the source may slightly differ depending on which source of data you write about. Each source, like a book, an article, an internet site or a video record has its own ways of presentation.

MLA Format Paper In-Text Citation

If you are going to format in-text citations, you may be surprised how simple the method is. The MLA style dictates using author-page way of indicating your citations. That means you only need to use a surname of a creator and a page of a book the quote was taken from.

Rest of the details will only be mentioned in a Cited Works page. Such way of formatting allows you to save lots of time by writing shorter information about the source and still giving your readers some useful understanding about the source without breaking the reading process. In-text information about the source is written in parentheses.

If you mention main ideas or statements of a book, use an author’s surname only. However, if you mention a very concrete phrase, word, quote or definition, you must also mention a page or several pages, where you found it.

MLA Format Paper Main Principles

If you think about formatting your text due to main principles of MLA style, you must set a plan before starting formatting. A list of actions with clear and understandable steps will help you not to miss anything important.

  • Start your work with writing a thesis statement. Don’t forget that thesis is a must. It should be written in capital letters in your plan and reflected in an outline.
  • Writing an outline, check if it is laconic and informative. Avoid using any unnecessary information there. Be sure that each statement written in the outline has a direct connection with the thesis of the essay itself.
  • There are no clear rules about the structure and size of each line: you can use a single word, a phrase or a sentence. It shall only be informative and reflect the idea you plan to convey. It’s better to use similar size for each statement to make lines look more organized.
  • Avoid making your outline very simple. It’s ok to use a more complex plan and text structure, and use semi-paragraphs to make the structure clearer. This will also improve readability of your essay.

General Tips For MLA Format Paper

Even while most tips, aimed at writing your excellent essay in MLA style, are quite general it’s better to discuss some of them with your teacher. This will allow avoiding certain misunderstanding and being sure you and your teacher have a similar concept of how your future essay should look.

  • Margins

Margins allow each page to look better-organized. Formatting your text, make 1-inch margins from all document’s sides.

  • Spacing
    Officially, MLA format requires double spaces all over the essay, including a list of references, notes, etc. However, it’s allowed making your text single-spaced if your teacher advises. Most teachers are also quite compliant, allowing you to decide which size of spacing is better for your essay.
  • Title
    You don’t need to spend much time creating a complicated title page. It is necessary to type your name, the name of your teacher, name or number of your course and date when your essay was written. Be sure that the information is written clearly and is logically separated into lines. This information is placed to the left top of the frontal page. The topic of your essay shall be written in the center of the paper.
  • Numbers of pages
    Each page number must be indicated with a numeral without a word ‘page’ or any abbreviation. Place a page number on the right upper corner of each page. Type your surname on every page before its number.You can put a page and a surname separately on every page; however, it’s more useful to apply an in-built function of Word that will add a number to each page automatically. Settings may differ according to the program version you use on your device but you can always find useful guidelines for your version on the internet.
  • Additional Materials
    When writing an essay, you are encouraged to use additional materials that will make your text more understandable and informative. Images and similar objects like charts, drawings and photos should be indicated as ‘Figures’. However, if you use tables, they should be labeled as ‘Tables’. All additional materials must have a number.

Necessary Skills For Writing Your MLA Format Paper

A lot of students spend much time developing their writing skills but pay no attention to formatting skills. The situation when a student creates an informative essay but gets a lower mark due to poor formatting is very common.

It’s very important to learn more about different styles that can be required for your essays. However, not only knowledge but also your experience plays a great role in developing your formatting skills. It’s very recommended to learn more information about academic styles, to browse through bright examples and also to use different tools that help to practice in formatting as well as to check and to edit your ready texts.


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