MLA Style Essays

MLA Style Essays

MLA style is a system for documenting sources in academic writing, primarily in the humanities. It is based on the Modern Language Association of America’s MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 8th edition.

To use MLA style in your essays, you will need to follow certain guidelines for formatting your paper and citing your sources. These guidelines include:

  1. Page layout: Your essay should be typed and double-spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5 x 11 inches), with 1-inch margins on all sides. The first line of each paragraph should be indented by half an inch.
  2. Font and size: Use a legible font like Times New Roman or Arial, and set the font size to 12 point.
  3. Headings: If you need to use headings in your paper, MLA style recommends using a simple heading structure, where each heading is given a number (e.g., 1, 2, 3).
  4. Title page: Your essay should not have a title page, unless specifically requested by your instructor. Instead, your name, the course name, and the date should be double-spaced at the top of the first page of your essay.
  5. Page numbers: Page numbers should be placed in the top right corner of each page, including the first page.
  6. In-text citations: When you use a source in your essay, you need to include an in-text citation to give credit to the original author. In MLA style, you can do this by including the author’s last name and the page number in parentheses after the quoted or paraphrased material. For example: “According to Jones, ‘students often struggle with MLA style’ (123).
  7. Works cited page: At the end of your essay, you will need to include a works cited page that lists all of the sources you used in your paper. The sources should be listed in alphabetical order, and each entry should include the author’s name, the title of the work, and the publication information (e.g., publisher, year of publication).

Here is an example of how you might format a book source in your works cited page:

Smith, John. The Art of Essay Writing. New York: Penguin Books, 2010.

And here is an example of how you might format a website source:

“MLA Style Guide.” Modern Language Association of America. MLA, n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2023.

In addition to these basic guidelines, there are many other rules and conventions to follow when using MLA style in your essays. Some common issues to watch out for include:

  • Quoting sources: When quoting a source in your essay, you need to use quotation marks and include the page number(s) in your in-text citation. If you are quoting a source that has multiple authors, you need to include all of the authors’ names in your citation.
  • Paraphrasing sources: When paraphrasing a source in your essay, you need to include the author’s name and the page number(s) in your in-text citation. You do not need to use quotation marks, but you do need to convey the information accurately and in your own words.
  • Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the act of using someone else’s work or ideas without giving proper credit. It is a serious offense in academia, and it can have serious consequences. To avoid plagiarism, you need to be careful to properly cite all of your sources and use quotation marks when quoting directly from a source.

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