The MLA standards for writing is most commonly followed to format research papers and scholarly articles and cite references. This type of formatting is been seen to be used more in the fields of arts and humanities. Writers who use the MLA style for formatting and citation can be safeguarded from the allegations of plagiarism since they accredit the source material after using it deliberately in their work.
What is MLA style writing?
The MLA format constitutes of guidelines to be followed in formatting manuscripts written in English. The MLA system also has a reference system in which the writes should cite the reference, i.e. the name of the author, shortened title of the book if required and page number from the original source, immediately after the quoted text within the boy of the work. This citation is also complimented by a bibliography or a works cited list where the writer gives the name of the author, title of the book, publisher etc. the citation within the text help a reader to locate the book in the list of works.
MLA format requirements
The standards on how to write an MLA paper are the following:
- The research paper should be typed out in a computer. Post typing it should be printed on an 8.5 inch x 11 inch white paper.
- The font should be readable enough. The most preferred one is Times New Roman. This is to ensure that the font is legible and the regular is distinct from the bold.
- The font size should be 12pt
- Double space the text.
- After every period or punctuation mark leave one space.
- The margins from each side should be one inch each.
- The first line of every paragraph should begin at a distance an inch away from the left margin. This can be achieved if the space key is pressed five times or by pressing once one the tab key. The tab key is more useful.
- The pages should be numbered on the upper right hand corner. A header can be used for this purpose which numbers the pages consecutively. The number should be placed half an inch away from the top and flush with the right margin.
- Use italics when something should be emphasised or when rendering the title of any book.
- Endnotes if any should be given before the works cited page entitled ‘end notes’.
Formatting the first page
- One the top left corner of the page, type your name, instructor’s name, the name of the course and the date in double spaced text.
- Double space and type the title. It should be aligned at the centre. The title should not be italicised or in quotes. Type the title in title case.
- If you are quoting other works in your title then they should be in italics or in quotes.
- There should be double space between the first line of the page and the title.
- Create a header in the upper right hand corner of the page with your last name followed by a space and the page number in Arabic numerals. The pages should be numbers consecutively.
- If the writer wishes to divide the essay into section to improve on its readability then according to the MLA format the each section should be entitled with a proper heading. The section heading should start with an Arabic numeral, followed by a period, then a space and the name of the section. If it is the first section then it should be numbered one and each section following should be numbered.
- The sections can be numbered or unnumbered.
Examples of numbered headings
- 1. Magna Carta
- 1. Soil conservation
- 1.2 Deforestation
Examples of unnumbered headings
- What is MLA style writing (bold, flush left)
- what is MLA style writing (italics, flush left)
- how to write a MLA paper (bold, centred)
- how to write a MLA paper.( italics, centred)
How to write MLA bibliography
For citing references within the text immediately after the author is quoted, paraphrased or made reference to, write the name of the author and the page number of the source within brackets.
When the list of books used as reference are being mention in the list of works cited page the following guidelines should be strictly followed.
Book with one author- author’s last name, first name. Title of the book. Edition. Place of publication: Publisher, year. Medium.
Book with more than one author- last name, first name, name of second author and name of third author. Title of the book. Edition. Place of publication: Publisher, year. Medium.
Book with more than three authors- author’s last name, first name, et al. Title of the book. Place of publication: Publisher, year. Medium.
Edited books- editor’s last name, first name, ed. Title of the book. Place of publication: Publisher, year. Medium. (If there is more than one editor then write eds instead of ed.)
Edited book along with name of editor and author- author’s last name, first name. Title of the book. Ed. Editor’s first name last name. Place of publication: Publisher, year. Medium.
Translated book- after the title ad trans followed by translators first name last name.
Chapter/article from an edited book- includes the name of the chapter or the article before the title of the book.
E book- author’s last name, first name. Title of the book. Edition. Place of publication: Publisher, year. Title of database or website. Medium. Date you accessed it.
Volume of a book- adds the volume number of the book after the title and after the edition.