There is no better way to learn different styles and formats of writing high school and college assignments than to use guidelines that give practical examples of what you need to do. This also includes MLA format essay, which has specific requirements to formatting and style.
Our site is a place, where students can find all the necessary information on creating an assignment with ease. Our guidelines will give you information on how to cope with such a popular style, as MLA.
Essay formatting becomes quite a challenge even to students with much experience and multiple years of education. While many rules of formatting can be common, there are still many issues, which you need to remember. In this article we will also discuss how to create an MLA outline, as it is usually an optional feature and students don’t pay much attention to it.
Want to know what MLA style is about and how it can be used in your university papers? Do you want to learn how to cite everything properly? We guarantee that below you will find all the necessary answers!
MLA format: definition
Many students still don’t know peculiarities of MLA style. It is an abbreviation for Modern Language Association. This style is usually used with literature, language and humanities assignments. Although MLA is quite simple, it still has a few complicated rules and issues, which may be difficult to master. Of course, it is much simpler than APA, Oxford or Chicago but not that simple to master without any background research and preparation. This means that you need to follow MLA rules accurately in order to get a great paper.
MLA formatting style includes the following elements:
- Presentation of tables;
- Elements of manuscripts;
- And much more.
If you use MLA format, your assignment will never contain plagiarism. For this goal, you need to provide clear citations. It is a very useful format, when you need to include someone’s thoughts into your own paper.
MLA citation guidelines
Every paper should have citations, as it is a great way to make the text live and engaging, especially when you write about books or movies. If you need to cite anything in MLA, you should know a few basic rules. This style is often used in various texts, especially when it comes to citing. Here are the main requirements:
- All of the sources you use need to be listed in a separate section with citations. Simply note every citation after putting it into your paper and then copy this information to the list of annotated bibliography;
- When using MLA format, cited sources are provided in a parenthetical style. It means that you need to place information on a source inside parentheses after citation. It is quite simple and is a very popular citation tool for articles and journals;
- Information, required for the cited source greatly depends on the format of the source (whether it is in print, online, etc) and on the bibliography.
In-text citing: ‘author-page’ stylistics
Now let us pay careful attention to in-text citations. MLA style is using an ‘author-page’ method for all sorts of in-text quotes. So what does it mean? Well, it is as simple as it sounds: you need to put last name of the cited author and page number, where you have found the citation. Then you only need to add full information to your page of cited works. To include name of the author, you can just write it in the text or use parentheses. However, page numbers should be inside parentheses without any exceptions.
In such a way you will show the reader that the quote was taken from a particular page and written by a particular writer. That’s the main goal of citations and MLA is definitely the easiest way to put them inside the text.
In case you create citations about a whole work without indicating particular pages, you can just mention work’s name in the text:
- In the article “How to remain calm in the modern world’, Jeff Bridges talks about the influence of technologies on a common teenager;
- This book shows how smart phones occupy more and more time in our everyday lives. (Bridges).
If you need to cite a certain part of an article or book, you need to put number of pages into brackets. For example,
- He considered himself a wise person and blamed Jane for such a scandal. (Bridges, 24);
- However, he knew that Jane wasn’t happy about the whole situation and tried to manage it with all of his talent and skills. (27-29).
MLA essay formatting
If you want to format your essay and outline, you need to follow a clear plan and pattern. It includes the following rules:
- MLA formatting always requires a thesis statement. This sentence is not only a starting point of the whole essay but it is also an important part of an outline. Usually it is situated in the first section of your plan, written in capital letters;
- The outline of your essay should consist of ideas, which are directly related to your thesis. Don’t include any details to your outline;
- There are two patterns, when it comes to structure: complete sentences in every paragraph or simply short words and phrases;
- Usually, cheap and unprofessional outlines are not able to provide a clear structure, which is definitely their main flaw. Structure of your essay needs to be complicated but still have a clear flow of thoughts.
Additional requirements of MLA formatting style
If you use all of our tips, you will surely complete your essay without any problems. Below you will find recommendations, which can be used in all sorts of assignments. However, they may differ from guidelines of your professor, so you should always take them into account.
- Margins. You need to use 1-inch margins on all of the sides (right, left, top and bottom). Every paragraph must have a 0,5 inch margin on the left side;
- Spaces. Every paper in an MLA format has double spaces. However, some professors ask students to use single spaces. You should use the same spacing throughout every page. This also includes quotes, notes and list of references;
- Name and headings. If you are asked to use MLA style, you don’t have to form a title page. Just type your surname and your teacher’s name, number and name of the course, and the date on the left top. Then go down to page’s center and type in your work’s title. If it is more than two pages long, you need to use double spaces. Your title should be written in bold or underlined. The first and principal words should be capitalized. In case if your title looks as a question, don’t forget to add a question mark. If the title is written in another language or consists of foreign words, you need to capitalize them, following specific requirements., which should be provided by your teacher;
- Numbers of pages. You must place page numbers in the right corner of the page. In addition, you need to type your last name before the page number on every page. You can use MS Word’s running head option, which will include these details automatically to every page. This will surely save lots of your time. Every page number should have a one inch margin from the right. Don’t forget to add a double space from the top of the text. Never use the ‘page’ word before the number;
- Tables and figures. If you add additional features to your text, like photos, images, charts or drawings, you need to mark them as ‘figures’ and number properly. Tables should be named ‘tables’ and consist of Arabic numerals.
Boost your writing skills
Every student has faced those embarrassing situations of delivering a low quality work and knows how bad it felt. To avoid such problems, you just need to understand basic principles of formatting and get additional information on MLA every time you need to add new features to your text. Good luck!