How to Write an MLA Paper
Brief Guide to Devising an MLA Paper
If you are among those lucky guys, who are studying in college, the chances are high that you are also among those poor guys, who are supposed to compile a research paper or an essay once a year. Like it or lump it, you have to complete these writing assignments while studying at college. Notwithstanding the fact that academic writing has a number of essay formats, there are two standard styles, which the professors expect you to apply, namely APA and MLA styles. The latter will be of more use for you, since it is commonly used in the U.S. colleges. For this reason, the tips on how to write an MLA paper will assuredly come to your aid.
It is blindingly obvious that the MLA essay format meets the requirements presented by the Modern Language Association. Another self-evident thing is the fact that this format is mainly implemented in the field of liberal arts or humanities. Furthermore, the focal point of the MLA style is referencing sources correctly. This is the only way to protect yourself from being accused of plagiarism, and it is much better to arrange your sources according to the existing standards than face the music later, isn’t it?
There is no need to waste your time on searching and poring over the explicit guidelines.
As far as we have already cleared the air about general formatting, let’s consider closely each section in order to avoid further confusion.
The MLA requirements state that the title should contain the following information: the author’s name, the professor’s name, the title of the course or section, the date. We do agree with them, as this information is of the utmost importance.
Page numbers, titles, citations
To draw the readers’ attention, italicize titles:
- Allocate a separate page to the endnotes right before your bibliography (this issue has already been stressed, yet it is better to say twice than never).
- The title page is not a must until your professor demands it.
- Your name is about to be written in the upper left corner (not right!) of the page. Below goes the line with your professor’s name, then the name of the class and the date. It is particularly recommended that the date you are typing should be the date in which you are typing. For sure, it is a minuscule detail yet do it.
- Arabic numeral form is used for pagination in the right upper corner of the page. Bear in mind to clarify the necessity of your last name before numerals.
- Right after the date of writing goes the title of your scientific endeavors.
- Italicize not merely your titles but also the titles of the sources you are referencing throughout your paper.
- In case you are inclined to divide your paper into some sections, make sure to number them properly. For instance, “1. First Title”, “2. Second Title”. Furthermore, one space after a period in the section title is a must.
According to the MLA essay format, a works cited page is nothing else but a bibliography list of your writing. The issues to take into account are the type of the sources (online sources, articles, books, or other publications), the names of the authors and their works, the publishing house, the place and year of publishing, the number of pages.
Last but not least, imprint on your memory the necessity to correctly cite each source. The MLA essay format presumes the writer uses in-text references, the appearance of which depends on the following aspects:
- The source’s entry in the works cited section;
- The type of work.
All you need to know about the MLA format requirements is arranged below:
- The one-inch margin on each side (bottom and top, left and right).
- The font size of your paper is 12 pt and no other. You are free to choose the font type yet refrain from a decorative or adorning one. It is strongly advised to opt for a legible font type (better Times New Roman). A small hint: the regular and italic types of the chosen font should differ enough to be noticeable.
- Double-spacing is a must. No matter whether it is a title or a body paragraph, double-spacing has to be used. In addition, there is a need to place the emphasis on the absence of extra spaces between the body paragraphs, between the title and the body paragraph, and especially after headings. What concerns using spaces after punctuation marks (commas, periods, and others), use one space unless it is specified by your professor.
- A smart student will utilize Tab key for uniformity of text indentation throughout the whole paper instead of pressing the spacing bar 5-7 times. Nonetheless, it is up to you how to make a half-inch margin (which equates 5-7 spaces) for the first line of each paragraph – spacing bar or Tab key.
- Paginating your paper is neither a herculean nor a mind-boggling task. All you need is to consider the ensuing requirements: right-flushed, upper-right corner, and half inch from the top of each page. What is more, you have to use barely Arabic numeral form. Sounds as easy as a pie, doesn’t it? A small hint: your professor might ask you to include your surname on the running head before the page number so it is strongly recommended to elaborate the specifications in advance.
- Maybe it will come as a surprise to you yet there is endnotes section, which should be formatted correctly. It is supposed to precede the references so make sure to add a separate page with a center title “Notes”.
The complete reference is put in the works cited section, whereas the name of the author and the number of the cited page (a short reference) is put directly after the sentence.
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