When writing academic essays, adhering to the proper formatting guidelines is crucial. One of the most widely used styles for academic writing is the Modern Language Association (MLA) format. However, MLA is more than just providing in-text citations and a Works Cited page. If you’re curious, read on.
MLA format is a set of guidelines established by the Modern Language Association for writing and documenting research papers, essays, and scholarly articles. These guidelines provide a standardized way to structure and format academic writing, making it easier for readers to understand and engage with the content.
Why Is MLA Format Important?
MLA format serves several important purposes in academic writing:
1. Clarity and Readability
Thanks to its standardized layout and citation style, MLA ensures your essay is easy to read and comprehend.
2. Academic Integrity
Properly citing sources demonstrates academic integrity by giving credit to the original authors and avoiding plagiarism.
MLA provides a consistent and uniform structure for essays, making it easier for readers and instructors to navigate your work.
4. Publication Standards
Many academic journals and publishers require submissions to follow MLA guidelines, making it crucial for researchers and authors.
How to Format Your Essay in MLA Style
Now, let’s go through step-by-step instructions to help you correctly format your essay.
1. Margins and Page Layout
● Go to the Page Layout settings in your word processor and set one-inch margins on all sides of the paper.
● Set the text to be left-aligned.
● Choose a legible 12-point font (e.g., Times New Roman or Arial).
2. Create a Title Page
● Include your name, instructor’s name, course title, and the date in the upper left-hand corner.
● Center the title of your essay, using standard capitalization (no bold, italics, or underlining).
3. Insert Header and Page Numbers
● Create a header in the upper right-hand corner with your last name and page number (e.g., Jones 1).
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4. Use Proper Line Spacing
● Use double-spacing throughout the entire essay, including the Works Cited page.
5. In-Text Citations
● Cite sources within your essay using parenthetical citations (author’s last name and page number).
Example: We have no time to appreciate the finer things in life (Toldo 201)
● Include a Works Cited page with full bibliographic details for all cited sources.
● Ensure that in-text citations correspond to entries in the Works Cited page.
6. Works Cited Page
● You must start the list with the title Works Cited.
● List all sources used in alphabetical order by the author’s last name.
● Follow a specific format for different types of sources (books, journal articles, websites, etc.).
MLA format is essential to academic writing, ensuring clarity, consistency, and proper citation of sources. As MLA is a widely used style, you’ll have a few essays during your undergraduate years that will require you to adhere to its standards. You can confidently format your essays in MLA style, impressing your professors and maintaining academic integrity by following our guidelines in this post.