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MLA Documentation Style Guide

MLA Documentation Style Guide

Modern Language Association (MLA) Style – the most widely used format for documenting and citing sources in the humanities. Academic style MLA is used in the United States, Canada and other countries to create written works in English, English literature, spelling, the study of other modern languages or literature, including comparative analysis, literary criticism, media studies, culturology, related disciplines. MLA essays sample:

  1. Personal statement MLA PDF;
  2. System analysis and design professional MLA PDF;
  3. Report on the businesses in Mallrats undergraduate MLA PDF.

Published in March 2016, the eighth edition of the “MLA Handbook for Writers and Research” is mainly addressed to students of secondary schools, colleges, university teachers, their students. This is the most recent update of the directory at the moment. Also, there is the MLA Style Guide and a guide to scientific publications, which offers examples of the MLA’s overall research format, citations in the text, end-links, and the Used Literature page.

MLA Essay Format

  • The document is typed on the computer and printed on standard white paper of size 215.9 x 279.4 mm. (8.5 x 11 inches).
  • There must be a double interval between the lines. You should use an easy-to-read font (for example, Times New Roman). Whichever font is chosen, the MLA recommends that the common font and italics be easily distinguished. The font size should be 12 pixels.
  • After the sign at the end of the sentence, only one space is inserted, as after the other punctuation marks.
  • The width of all fields of the document should be equal to 2.54 cm (1 inch).
  • The indent of the first line of each paragraph from the left margin should be 1.27 cm (0,5 inches). MLA recommends using the Tab key.
  • Pages should be sequentially numbered in the upper right corner of the header after an indentation of 1.27 (0,5 inches) cm from the top edge of the sheet, but without an offset from the right margin. (Note: If the institution has no other instructions on this matter).
  • If there are end references, they should be listed on a separate page before a page containing a list of used sources. The section is named “Links”, which must be centred.

Making the Cover Page of the Paper

  • You do not need to create a cover page of the document unless there are additional instructions on this.
  • The name of the creator of the document, the name of the teacher, the course, the date are listed in the upper left corner. There should also be a double line spacing.
  • After that, again after two intervals, the name of the document formatted in the center follows. It can not be stressed, italicized or quoted. The name only begins with a capital letter. You can not print all the words of the title with capital letters.
  • Quotes or italics are allowed when mentioning other works in the title: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as a work of morality; Fatigue of a man in the poem “After collecting apples.”
  • Double input is used between the title and the first line of text.
  • At the request of the teacher, the surname of the author of the work can be indicated in the right corner of the header; then the page number is separated by a space from the last name. (Note: the teacher or other future reviewers may ask that the footer of the first sheet does not contain the name or page number.) Follow their instructions.

MLA Section Headers

The authors sometimes use section headings to improve the readability of the document. Sections may consist of individual chapters or other titled parts of a book or an essay.

Essays and Similar Papers

MLA recommends that when dividing a document into sections, they are numbered with Arabic numerals followed by a space and the title of the section, for example:

  1. Early Creativity
  2. Years in London
  3. A Journey Through the Continent
  4. Books

The Association does not have an established table of contents system for sections of books. If these are headings of the same level, sections do not have subsections, then MLA recommends that they resemble each other grammatically. For example, if the headers are short, you need all of them to be similar in length. It is impossible that some of them were short sentences, and some are long sentences.

If the headings are multi-level (sections have subsections), then the format is selected when agreed with the teacher or editor.


1. Protection of land resources
1.1 Erosion
1.2 Terracing
2. Protection of water resources
3. Protection of energy resources

Formatted, unnumbered

Level 1 Title: in bold, without indentation on the left
Level 2 Title: italic, without indentation on the left
Level 3 Title: centered, bold
Level 4 Title: centered, italic
Level 5 Title: underlined, without indentation on the left

Citation in MLA Format

In MLA format, the reference to the author of the quote in the document itself is briefly and clearly for the reader to easily find it in the list of used literature. The source of information is indicated in brackets in the format “author-page”. This means that only the name of the author and the number of the page with which the quote was taken should be given in the text. Full information on the source must be provided on the “Used Sources” page. The name of the author of the source can be cited either in the sentence itself or parentheses after the citation.

MLA Citation Examples

  • The author’s name in the sentence: Dover expressed his fear that… (118-21).
  • Author’s name in brackets: The fear was expressed that… (Dover 118-21).
  • Several authors of the work: In this hypothesis (Bradley and Rogers 7), this theory was proposed (Sumner, Reichl and Vo 23).
  • Citations from two pages: Williams refers to this postulate (136-39, 145).
  • Citation of two works: (Burns 54; Thomas 327)
  • Link to volumes and pages: (Wilson 2: 1-18)
  • Link to the whole volume: (Henderson, v. 3)
  • Link in the sentence to the whole volume: In Volume 3, Henderson suggests…
  • The authors: (UN, Economic Commission for Africa 51-63).
  • Works without the author: If there is no author of the work, use a shortened version of the title of the work in the text … as reported by the commission under the President (Report 4).
  • Online source with numbered paragraphs: (Fox, paragraph 4-5).

Tables in MLA Format

  • The reference to the table in the text begins with a small letter, it consists of parentheses, for example: (see table 2).
  • The table is located near the text to which it refers. It must be placed without indenting from the left margin.
  • Above it is the word “Table” and the corresponding Arabic figure. No punctuation mark is allowed after the figure.
  • The next line is the name of the table.
  • Under the table, the word “Source” is written followed by a colon and bibliographic information about the source according to MLA rules. The lines following the first are typed indented. If there is complete information under the table or image, it is not necessary to indicate this information in the section of the literature used.
  • Names, notes and inscriptions must also be typed at double intervals.

Used Sources List in MLA Format

The list of used works should be placed at the end of the document under the title “Used Sources” or “Bibliography”. The list should provide the information necessary to identify and locate each source.

  • Sources are arranged alphabetically by the authors’ names or by the source name if the author is unknown.
  • Each significant word of the title of the listed works is written with a capital letter. Prepositions, conjunctions are written with a small letter.
  • Reduced the names of publishers; You do not need to write articles, cuts from legal forms (Co., Inc.) and descriptive words (Press, Publishing).
  • When several publishers are listed, you must specify all of them through a semicolon.
  • Do not use abbreviations before the page number.
  • Paragraphs: The first line of the source name begins without an indent from the left margin, all subsequent lines of the title are located 5-7 spaces from the field.

If you want to write a scientific article or publication for a journal or university in the US or another country that uses MLA formatting, then you should follow the stylistic rules described above.

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Olivia Stephens
I wrote for periodicals last few years and I believe that now this experience continually helps me. Experience in the media gave me many other advantages. I know how to look for information not only on the Internet. I know how to use archives, how to get the right information from people, how to conduct real investigations. Thanks to the studying at the university, I efficiently collect unique material for my papers.