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Do you need help writing your research paper in MLA format?
Are you confused what a MLA format is?
What are the steps you need to follow for your MLA format paper?
Following a particular format to write your research paper may seem irrelevant and tedious, but that is not the case. The formatting styles make your work coherent and help produce a uniform text, making it much more presentable and understandable for the readers.
1. What is MLA?
Modern Language Association abbreviated to MLA is an organization which focuses mainly on the English language and literature, under which the MLA format, also known as MLA style is developed.
MLA format is developed to specify guidelines to follow for formatting manuscripts and for writing with respect to the English language. Under the MLA format writers are also provided with a specific system to use parenthetical citation to provide references in their Work Cited pages, research papers and essays.
An MLA format paper, with proper use of MLA style, helps build your credibility as you are showing accountability by referencing your sources.
Moreover, the use of MLA essay format can save you from being accused of plagiarism, which is the practice of using someone else’s work and passing it as your own both on purpose or by accident.
Before using the MLA style, make sure to refer to the MLA Handbook (8th edition), if you are a graduate student or publishing your work, you must also go through the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (3rd edition).
You can get access to the MLA handbook quite easily, as it is available in different libraries, writing centers, bookstores, also at the MLA website.
Check out the additional resources provided in the MLA Handout to find a list of helpful books and websites for more information on the MLA style and its usage.
Continue reading to understand what the MLA format is, how to practice it for your research paper and MLA format template! If you need topic ideas for your research paper, here are “168 Research paper topics and ideas” for you.
2. What is MLA format used for?
MLA format/style is developed for scholars, researchers, and students working in the field of literature and languages to provide them with a uniform way for formatting papers and other assignments. This ensures that your paper is uniform and increase the readability level for your readers.
The MLA format is widely used for literature, language, human studies and liberal arts, but other disciplines have also adopted this style to ensure consistency.
Along with the MLA format, other styles like APA format, Oxford and Chicago citation style are present, but the MLA format is found to be the easiest of them all. However, some effort is required to understand it properly before starting to use it.
MLA format has different requirements specific to the different parts of your paper.
There can be different requirements depending on the type of your paper, as it is the most commonly used format for all kinds of your academic work. Because it protects you against plagiarism and allows you to correctly use the work of other writers.
3. MLA Format
Step one for implementing the MLA format is to create an outline, although it is optional but some professors might ask you to do it.
Are you wondering how to write a paper in MLA format?
There are several components to keep in mind when writing MLA format paper. This section discusses all the components of the MLA paper format in depth.
Following are a few components of MLA paper format discussed below.
3.1 Paper choice for your document
Nowadays, most of the documents are submitted electronically or via email. If that is the case, you don’t have to worry about the paper.
If your teacher has asked you to submit your paper in hard copy, make sure that you choose the correct type of paper.
If you are going to print your MLA format research paper, use a plain white paper. Don’t go for any other color like ash, ivory or off-white. Choose a typical printer paper but of high quality.
The recommended paper size for the MLA research paper format is 8 ½-by-11-inch. If you decide to go for a paper of different size, seek the permission of your instructor before doing so.
3.2 MLA Format Heading
There are 2 options you can follow for the MLA heading format when you are writing your MLA paper.
If you are going to write a heading on your first page, this is how you need to write the heading according to the MLA format.
Here is an MLA header format example you can follow while writing your paper.
Your full name
Assignment’s Due Date
3.3 Running Head
A running head is placed on the top right corner of the page that consists of the last time of the writer, followed by a space and page number.
The running head should be written half an inch below from the top margin and about one inch from the right corner of the page.
Type your last name before the page number.
Don’t add p. before writing the page number.
Ask your professor his requirements and whether you should add page number on the front page or not.
Create a one-inch margin around the entire page. No content other than the running head should be seen outside the one-inch margin.
It is not possible to manually check and calculate one inch. Set your page setting according to your requirement.
Your paragraphs should start one and a half inch from the left margin. Don’t forget that the paragraphs should also be double spaced.
When you are quoting someone else’s saying, you need to give them credit for it. There are different ways to quote in the body paragraph.
You can use the name of the person in the sentence while writing his quotation.
You can write the name in brackets at the end of the sentence.
You can use quotations to strengthen your argument or prove your point but keep the usage of outside sources to the minimum extent. They should not occupy the majority of your page.
Generally, the above-mentioned pattern is used to give reference to outside sources. However, you can also use footnotes in your paper.
You can use footnotes in the following scenarios.
When there are a number or sources or authors you need to refer to, it is better to use a footnote in this situation. This will help the readers to stay focused on the written content rather than getting distracted by the reference information.
If you are writing any information that does not fit according to the context of your paper, but it can be beneficial for the readers, you can add that information in the footnotes.
You can add the superscript number that refers to the footnotes at the end of the sentence. It is better to add the superscript number after a punctuation mark or at the end of the sentence to avoid distraction for the readers.
A research paper MLA format requires double spacing throughout the paper. Double space should be used in the body of your paper, in the introduction, the heading page and the reference page as well.
3.8 Font Size
You can use any font you like when you are writing a MLA format paper that is easy to read. The two most commonly used fonts are Arial and Times New Roman.
Make sure that the readers can differentiate between regular font and the italicized font. Therefore, choose a font with a visible difference between the two.
The recommended font size is the default size 12. You can also use other font sizes such as 11 or even 11.5.
Make sure that you use correct and proper punctuation when writing MLA format paper.
Use proper commas and punctuation marks where needed. Use a comma if the reader needs to pause for a moment while reading.
Make sure that there is no double spacing between the sentences.
When you are using a quote in your paper, make sure that the full stop is at the end of the entire sentence.
Here is an example for you.
“Have more than you show, speak less than you know” (Shakespeare).
You can see that the full stop is used at the end of the entire sentence.
It is recommended to avoid using abbreviations when writing a paper using MLA format so that there is no confusion. However, it is okay to use abbreviations for some words. If the abbreviation has all capital letters, do not use a period between the alphabets.
As an example,
United States will be US, not U.S
United Kingdom will be UK, not U.K
Sexually Transmitted Disease will be STD, not S.T.D
If the abbreviation has all small letters, you can use a period between the alphabets.
As an example,
i.e. stands for id est, that means, “that is”
When you are writing the names of months, you can use the abbreviation for months longer than 4 alphabets.
June = June
September = Sept
You can add list in your paper, but proper rules should be followed according to the MLA format. Listing for MLA format is different from regular listing.
In MLA format, items are listed horizontally as opposed to the regular vertical list.
Here is an example to clarify this further.
Shakespeare has written a lot of classics that are: Macbeth, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, The Winter’s Tale.
Use a colon between the first part of the sentence and the list. If the list is a part of a sentence, don’t use a colon before the first item of the list.
4. Checklist of MLA format
Here is a basic guideline to summarize the MLA formatting to help you write a MLA format sample paper.
Writing quality content in your research paper is as important as writing it according to one format. Dive into “How to write research paper step by step” and get your hands on writing a perfect research paper.
5. Citation guide
What is a citation?
Citation is a way of appreciating and informing your readers that a certain piece of text, quote or any other material has been taken from the work of another writer both published and unpublished by giving due credit.
Relevant Post :THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CRAFT A PERFECT ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY
6. MLA Format Citation
When citing your paper, there are some basic components that need to be included according to the works cited MLA format.
7. Core Elements of MLA Citation
Following are the core elements of MLA format citing.
7.1 Name of Author
Author’s name is the first thing that is included in the citation.
If there is one author, write the last name of the author first, add a comma after that and then write down the first name.
If there are two authors, write their names in the same order as it is shown on the source. Write the name of the first author is reverse order, place a comma afterward and use the word “and” and then write the name of the second author in the standard way.
Shakespeare, William, and Harper Lee.
If there are more than two authors, then use the name of the first listed author in reverse order. Add a comma afterward and then add the Latin phrase “et al.”
Shakespeare, William, et al.
7.2 Title of the Source and Container
If you are citing a book or a movie, write down the name of the title in italics.
Shakespeare, William. Macbeth.
If you are citing a source like an article from the journal or one chapter from the book, then write down the title of the piece in the quotation form and add a period after that. Write down the name of the full source in italics after the title of the piece and then add a comma.
The second portion is called a container that contains other sources.
Aku, Hanjat. “I’m Drifting.” An Anthology of Modern Indonesian Poetry,
7.3 Other Contributors
If there are other individuals that play a significant role in your research, you can also include them in the citation. You can add the names of as many contributors as you want.
Start this part of the citation with the word “by”. If the names are written after a period, capitalize the first alphabet. If they are written after a comma, use small characters.
Aku, Hanjat. “I'm Drifting.” An Anthology of Modern Indonesian Poetry, edited by Jane Doe,
There can be different versions of sources. If a source is different from other versions, then include that information in the citation as well.
Bernard, Alison, and Amanda Hale. The Nightmare of Wolf Street. 2nd ed., Pearson, 2010.
If there is any number related to the source which is not the publication date or version, then it should also be written in the citation part. It includes volume and issue numbers. You can use the abbreviation vol. for volume and no. for number.
Alina, Beatrice, and Keats M. Richard. “Fate of Earth in Next Ten Years: The Dying World,” vol. 3, no. 1, 3 March. 2010, pp. 85-90.
Publication of the source is done by the publishers. The publisher is cited before the date of publication. The publisher for the website is the same as the name of the website.
Aku, Hanjat. “I’m Drifting.” An Anthology of Modern Indonesian Poetry, edited by Jane Doe, State University of New York Albany,
7.7 Publication Date
Write the date of publication at the end of the citation. Display the entire information of the source including date, month and year.
Aku, Hanjat. “I’m Drifting.” An Anthology of Modern Indonesian Poetry, edited by Jane Doe, State University of New York Albany, 1964.
Location is the URL or the page number where the source is found. When citing the website, include the URL and remove its beginning part.
Use the abbreviation p. to cite page numbers and pp. for a range of pages if required.
8. MLA Format Paper Example
Do you need a MLA format example paper for further guidance? Here is a sample paper that will help you get to know everything there is about MLA format essay. (PDF)
Relevant Post :HOW TO WRITE AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY IN APA AND MLA STYLE?
9. Difference between Citation and Bibliography
Citation and bibliography are often considered the same since they both contain references for the research work. This is actually not true.
In the MLA format works cited, you have to list the items and the research material you actually cited for your research. In the MLA bibliography format, you have to list every item you have consulted in your research work. It does not matter if you have cited the work or not.
Citation is usually referred to as References. Both are the same thing as they comprise the references. Citation is usually used when references are given using a specific format like MLA or APA format.
Do you want to learn more about writing a bibliography for your research paper?
Head on to our blog “How to write an annotated bibliography in APA and MLA style” to know everything about writing a bibliography.
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