College or university students are sure to get many written tasks in various subjects. Essays and papers are common types of assignments to assess the learner’s knowledge of the course material, research abilities, and writing skills.
However, proper content, structure, language, and style are not enough for an excellent written work. In addition, it must be well-organized and formatted. If you chance to face difficulties in this aspect, you can find a reputable online essay writing service (https://pro-papers.com) for professional assistance with any kind of assignment. However, you can master any format yourself with the help of our useful tips.
Academic writing is very demanding in every aspect, including the format. It refers to the arrangement and the overall appearance of an essay including font size, color, and style, alignment, line spacing, cover page, headings, etc. There are numerous formatting styles in the academia, many of which may be specific only for one peculiar university. However, the most widely-applied ones are APA (American Psychological Association) and MLA (Modern Language Association). In this article, we offer some guidelines on the basic MLA format standards.
MLA formatting style is mostly used in papers and essays written in subjects such as Cultural Studies, English and Foreign Languages and Literature, Comparative Literature, Literary Criticism, and other humanities disciplines. It may seem a bit simpler than APA due to the absence of the title page. Nevertheless, it has its own requirements, some of which may seem rather tricky.
General Tips on MLA Format
- Written assignments are normally typed on white paper. The size should be 8.5×11 inches.
- The standard margins are one inch on all the four sides.
- MLA recommends the usage of legible fonts. The most acceptable is Times New Roman 12-point font. Papers must be double-spaced.
- A running head in the upper right corner is added on all the pages. Your surname and a page number are the only elements to be included in it. Pages must be numbered with consecutive Arabic numerals.
- The first line in each paragraph must be indented 0.5 inches. Use a “Tab” key to indent the lines.
The First Page
In MLA, the cover page is never added. However, it should not be a surprise if your tutor requires it additionally. Still, make sure to clarify what details to include. Conventionally, you only need to add a paper head with your details in the upper left corner. It consists of four lines aligned to the left:
The next line is the centered essay title in title case. Start typing your paper on the line just after it. Double spacing should be applied to the entire document.
MLA format conventionally uses author-page style for citing. Thus, when you present an idea borrowed from another source, you should indicate the author’s last name and the number of the page this information can be found on. You may either mention the authors in the sentence or provide their surnames in parentheses together with the page number.
Example: In their fight for market share, businesses should formulate a solid strategy to cope with competition (Porter 133).
Michael Porter argues that in their fight for market share, businesses should formulate a solid strategy to cope with competition (133).
Two authors: (Holding and Stewart 483)
Three or more authors: (Baukampf et al. 59)
The corresponding references (https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/libraries/bibby/about/manage-references-create-bibliographies.aspx) for all the cited sources should be listed at the end of the paper.
A references list is traditionally added on a new page after the paper. The title Works Cited, not bold, not italicized, and not enclosed in quotation marks, is put at the top of this page.
Every entry must have hanging indentation: the first line must be aligned to the left and the rest of the lines must be indented 0.5 inches. The list must be double-spaced with no extra intervals or skipped lines between the entries. Arrange the list in the alphabetical order by the author’s (or editor’s) last name or the title (in case of an unknown author).
In MLA entries, full first names are provided instead of initials. The first name is reversed: the surname is indicated first, followed by the first name after a comma. The rest of the authors’ names are indicated in a regular way.
Example: Foster, David K., and Lisa McAdams.
Several sources by the same author are listed alphabetically by the title of the work. The author’s name is only mentioned once.
Example: Foster, David K. “Forces that Shape Competition.”
—. Strategic Management.
Bibliographic Details to Include
The ideas for your paper may be obtained from different kinds of sources. Each of them has peculiar requirements as for the details to be indicated in the entry. However, the most acceptable are books, journal articles, and websites. The important items to provide are:
- Author’s name
- Book/chapter/article/journal/website title
- Volume and issue numbers
- Publication date
- Link and access date (for online materials)
Properly formatting an academic essay may seem terribly difficult at first glance. However, it is not as terrifying as you may think. Just try it, and you will see how easy it gets with practice.