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MLA Style Guide   Tags: mla writing_guide style_guide  

Last Updated: Jul 11, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Research is complete when the results have been shared with others.

Traditionally researchers have used scholarly journals to distribute and archive their publications. In the humanities, the most often used standard for formatting papers has been MLA style. This guide gives examples of how to format the most common resources in your Works Cited list.


New for 2016: MLA Handbook, 8th edition

Keeping the reader in mind, this new edition allows the writer to provide citation information in a way that suits the intended audience. Citations can be general or specific, as long as there is enough information for the reader to understand the elements and locate the original material.

Cite those works that you borrow from, ideas you mention, paraphrase or quote, not those you consult.


MLA Handbook, 7th edition

The Modern Language Association or MLA style is widely accepted in the humanities. This guide is based on  the 3rd edition of the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing  (PN 147 .G444 2008) and the 7th edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (LB 2369 .G53 2009). Check EUREKA, the online catalog, for locations and availability.  Corresponding sections in  MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 3rd ed are noted in square brackets [ ].


Manuscript preparation

The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers details how the paper is to be formatted in chapter 4.

Margins: 1" all around. Indent the first line of a paragraph by one half inch. Indent set off quotations by  one inch.

Text: Choose an easily readable font, one  that contrasts easily with the italic, in standard size. Do not justify the lines. Double space the entire paper. Leave a single space after a period or other concluding punctuation.

Page numbers: Place in the upper right corner, one-half inch from the top and even with the right margin. Include your last name before the page number. A word processor will automatically include this information when set up as a running header.

Heading and Title: Consists of student's name, instructor's name, course name, and date placed in upper left corner of the first page of the paper. The title is centered below the header.

Sample MLA formatted paper from the OWL at Purdue University


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