Formatting a Paper in MLA Style
Margins: Leave a one inch margin on top, bottom, and sides.
Font: Use Times New Roman 12 pt through the whole paper (even for titles and headers).
Heading: On the top left of the first page of the paper put your name, your teacher’s name, the course name and number, and the date – each on a different line. Dates in MLA are written in the order of date, month, and year with no commas or slashes (ie. 12 February 2017).
Title: Center the title (do not bold, italicize, or all caps).
Page numbers: Page numbers begin on page one. Put your last name followed by the page number on the top right of each page half an inch from the top and right against the right margin. Do not put “p.” or “page”. Ex: Jackson Sanborn 1
Body: Start your paper on the first line under the title and indent the beginning of all of the paragraphs. Use double spacing through the entire paper (including block quotes). If you reference titles of published works in the paper use italics and don’t underline.
Citations: In-text citations occur after the quote or paraphrase, but before the period. In parentheses, put the author name before the page number with no comma or “p.” or “Page”. Ex: (Thoreau 116). Put the period after the citation information unless you are referencing the source in the sentence and then the period goes inside the quotes. If a source has 3 or more authors list the first one followed by “et al.” which is Latin for ‘and others’.
Block Quotes: Use when quotes are longer than 4 typed lines. Begin on a new line, double space the quote, indent the entire quote half an inch from the left margin, and do not use quotation marks. Citation follows the period.
Formatting Works Cited in MLA Style
See our Citation page for how to create citations.
- The Works Cited page begins on a new page; it should have the same margins and pagination labels as the rest of the paper.
- Double space all entries, do not skip a line between entries.
- All lines after the first line of each entry are indented ½ inch (a tab key worth).
- Capitalize each word in a title except for conjunctions, prepositions, or articles (the, a) unless they start a title.
- Use italics for titles of larger works (books, journals), and quotation marks for shorter works (poems, article titles).
- Each source entry ends with a period.
- All entries should be in alphabetical order by the last name of the first author of each work
For more information on citation style, see the OWL MLA Formatting and Style Guide.