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MLA Style Guide, 8th & 9th Editions: Formatting Your MLA Paper

  • Works Cited entries: What to Include
  • Title of source
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  • Websites, Social Media, and Email
  • About In-text Citations
  • In-text Examples
  • How to Paraphrase and Quote
  • Citing Poetry
  • Formatting Your MLA Paper
  • Formatting Your Works Cited List
  • MLA Annotated Bibliography
  • MLA 9th Edition Quick Guide
  • Submit Your Paper for MLA Style Review

MLA recommends using 12-point Times New Roman font or another readable typeface (e.g. serif ).

Line Spacing & Margins

Use double-spacing throughout the entire paper.

Leave 1 inch margins on the top, bottom, and each side.

Indent the first line of each paragraph half an inch from the left margin.

Quotes longer than 4 lines should be written as a block of text a half an inch from the left margin.

Heading and Title

An MLA research paper does not need a title page, but your instructor may require one. If no instructions are given, follow the MLA guidelines below:

Type the following one inch from the top of the first page, flush with the left margin (double spacing throughout).

Your Instructor's Name

Course Number or Name

Center the title on the next line. Follow the rules for capitalization. Do not italicize, underline, or bold the title. An exception is when your title includes a title.  Example:  The Attitude toward Violence in A Clockwork Orange

Indent the next line and begin typing your text.

Include your last name and page numbers in the upper right-hand corner of every page. The page numbers will be one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. If your instructor prefers no page number on the first page, begin numbering from 2 on the second page.

Sample Papers from MLA

There are sample papers available in the MLA Style Center. Check them out to see the correct formatting.

Styling Headings and Subheadings

According to the MLA Style Center website, writers should avoid using headings in shorter papers. If you are writing a longer research paper, you may want to include headings and subheadings to help organize the sections of your paper. Advice from the MLA Style Center :

"Levels

The paper or chapter title is the first level of heading, and it must be the most prominent.

Headings should be styled in descending order of prominence. After the first level, the other headings are subheadings—that is, they are subordinate. Font styling and size are used to signal prominence. In general, a boldface, larger font indicates prominence; a smaller font, italics, and lack of bold can be used to signal subordination. For readability, don’t go overboard: avoid using all capital letters for headings (in some cases, small capitals may be acceptable):

Heading Level 1

Heading Level 2

Heading Level 3

Note that word-processing software often has built-in heading styles.

Consistency

Consistency in the styling of headings and subheadings is key to signaling to readers the structure of a research project. That is, each level 1 heading should appear in the same style and size, as should each level 2 heading, and so on. Generally, avoid numbers and letters to designate heads unless you are working in a discipline where doing so is conventional. Note that a heading labeled “1” requires a subsequent heading labeled “2,” and a heading labeled “a” requires a subsequent heading labeled “b.” 

In a project that is not professionally designed and published, headings should be flush with the left margin, to avoid confusion with block quotations. (The exception is the paper or chapter title, which is centered in MLA style.)

For readability, it is helpful to include a line space above and below a heading, as shown in this post.

No internal heading level should have only one instance. For example, if you have one level 1 heading, you need to have a second level 1 heading. (The exceptions are the paper or chapter title and the headings for notes and the list of works cited.) You should also generally have text under each heading.

Capitalization

Capitalize headings like the titles of works, as explained in section 1.2 of the MLA Handbook.

The shorter, the better."

Modern Language Association. "How Do I Style Headings and Subheadings in a Research Paper?" MLA Style Center., 13 December 2018,  style.mla.org/styling-headings-and-subheadings .

MLA Style Paper Template

  • MLA 9th Edition Paper Template This template was created and saved as a Word template for Microsoft Word 2016. The process for saving and using the template is the same for the instructions given above for 2013.

You can save a personal template in Microsoft Word (IRSC students, download Office for free, see a librarian if you need help). Above is a template you can use every time you need to set-up a research paper using MLA style format. Simply open the template and type your own information every time you need to write an MLA style paper. Microsoft Word will allow you to save personal templates. Once you have the template opened in Word

Click "Save as"

Give the file a name

Under "Save as type", select Word Template

mla essay format title

Then when you open Word, you will be able to choose a template rather than a blank document. You might have to select Personal to find your template.

mla essay format title

Sample MLA Paper

MLA 8th Edition Paper Formatting

How to Use the MLA Style Template

Formatting Group Project Papers

For a research paper written collaboratively by several students, such as for a group project, create a title page instead of listing all authors in the header on page 1 of the essay. On the title page, list each student's full name, placing one name on each double-spaced line. After the final student name, enter the professor's name. After the professor's name, give the course name. The last line of the heading will be the date in 5 August 2021 format. Press Enter a few times to move down the page then give the paper title, centered.

MLA 9th Group Research Project Title Page Example

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mla essay format title

Grad Coach

MLA 9th Edition Formatting

A Simple, Step-by-Step Guide + Free Template

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Reviewer: Eunice Rautenbach (DTech) | July 2023

Formatting your paper in MLA style can feel like a pretty daunting task . In this post, we’ll show you exactly how to set up your paper for MLA (9th edition), as quickly and easily as possible. We’ll also share our popular free MLA template , to help you fast-track your writing.

Overview: MLA 9th Edition Formatting

  • Structure and layout
  • General page setup
  • The opening section
  • The main body
  • Works cited (reference list)
  • Free MLA 9 template

MLA Structure and Layout

Let’s start by looking at the overall structure of a typical student paper formatted for MLA 9th edition, before diving into the details of each section. For the most part, MLA papers follow a standardised structure, consisting of the following parts:

The opening section : While MLA doesn’t require a dedicated title page (unlike APA ), it does require an opening section that details some important information about yourself, your university and the paper itself.

The main body : The main body begins directly after the opening section on the first page. This is the “heart” of your paper and there are a very specific requirements regarding how you present and format this content.

The appendix (or appendices):  While using an appendix in a student paper is relatively uncommon, you’ll place this section directly after the main body section, if required by your university.

The “Works Cited” list : This section is equivalent to what we’d usually call a references page and it’s where you’ll detail all the reference information corresponding to the in-text citations in the main body of your paper.

These four sections form the standard structure and order of a student paper using MLA 9th edition. As we mentioned, not all sections are always required , so be sure to double check what your university expects from you before submitting. Also, it’s always a good idea to ask your university if they have any  style requirements in addition to the standard MLA specification.

Now that we’ve got a big-picture view of the typical paper structure, let’s look at the specific formatting requirements for each of these sections.

Generic Page Setup

Before you jump into writing up your paper, you’ll first need to set up your document to align with MLA’s generic page requirements. Alternatively, you can download our MLA paper template (which comes fully preformatted).

MLA 9th edition requires a 1-inch margin on all sides , for all pages. That said, if you’re writing a dissertation, thesis or any document that will ultimately be printed and bound, your university will likely require a larger left margin to accommodate for physical binding.

Fonts & sizing

MLA does not require that you use any specific font, but we do recommend sticking to the tried and tested , well-accepted fonts. For example, you might consider using one of the following:

  • Sans serif fonts : Calibri (11), Arial (11), or Lucida Sans Unicode (10)
  • Serif fonts : Times New Roman (12), Georgia (11), or Computer Modern (10)

Whichever font you opt for, be sure to use it consistently throughout your paper . Don’t chop and change, or use different fonts for different parts of the document (e.g., different fonts for the body text and the headings). Also, keep in mind that while MLA does not have a specific font requirement, your university may have its own preference or requirement. So, be sure to check with them beforehand regarding any additional specifications they may have.

In general, all text throughout your document needs to be left-aligned and should not be justified (i.e., leave an uneven right edge). You might consider using a different alignment for section headings, but in general, it’s best to keep things simple .

Line spacing

MLA 9th edition requires double line spacing throughout the document . There should also be no extra space before and after paragraphs . This applies to all sections of the paper, including the “Works Cited” page (more on this later).

Page header

Last but not least, you’ll need to set up a running header for your document. This should contain your last name, followed by the page number. Both of these should be positioned in the top right corner of all pages (even the first page). On a related note, there’s no need for you to include any footer content unless your university specifically requests it.

Now that we’ve looked at the generic formatting considerations, let’s dive into the specific requirements for each section of your paper.

The Opening Section

While MLA-formatted papers typically don’t require a title page, there are very specific requirements regarding the opening section of the first page .

Here’s how you can set your first page up for MLA 9th edition.

  • On the first line, write your full name (flush left)
  • On a new line, write your professor or instructor’s full name
  • On a new line, write the course code and course name
  • On a new line, write the full date spelt out (e.g., 15 June 2023)
  • On a new line, write the full title of your paper , centre-aligned and using title case (consider using a title case converter if you’re not familiar with this)
  • On a new line, begin your body content

All of the above should be in plain, unformatted font – in other words, you don’t need to apply any boldfacing, underlining , etc. That said, you should use italics whenever you’re writing out the titles of other works (for example, titles of books or articles).

To make it all a little more tangible, below is an example of a first page formatted according to the MLA specifications that we just covered.

An example of the opening section of a paper formatted for MLA 9

The Main Body

While the formatting requirements for the body section are relatively light for MLA (at least when compared to APA ), there are still quite a few important things to pay attention to. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

Each of your paragraphs needs to start on a new line , and the first sentence of each paragraph requires a half-inch indent (while the rest of the paragraph is flush left aligned). Note that each paragraph simply starts on a new line and doesn’t require an additional blank line.

MLA 9th edition is fairly flexible in terms of heading formatting. There is no specified formatting, so you can decide what works best for you. However, there are still a few basic rules you need to follow:

  • All your headings should be written in title case – never use all caps
  • There should be no period following a heading
  • Each heading level needs to be uniquely formatted and easily distinguishable from other levels (for example, a distinct difference in terms of boldfacing, underlining or italicisation)
  • You can have as many heading levels as you need, but each level must have at least two instances

Abbreviations

When using abbreviations, you’ll need to make sure that you’re using the MLA version of the abbreviation . Below we’ve listed a few common ones you should be aware of:

  • Appendix: app.
  • Circa: c. or ca.
  • Chapter: ch.
  • Column: col.
  • Definition: def.
  • Department: dept.
  • Example: e.g.
  • Edition: ed.
  • Figure: fig.
  • Foreword: fwd.
  • That is: i.e.
  • Journal: jour.
  • Library: lib.
  • Manuscript(s): MS
  • Number: no.
  • Quoted in: qtd. in
  • Revised: rev.
  • Section: sec. or sect.
  • Series: ser.
  • Translation: trans.
  • Version: vers.
  • Variant: var.
  • Volume: vol.

If you’re interested, you can find a more comprehensive list here . Alternatively, if you have access to the MLA 9th edition handbook, you can find the full list in the first appendix.

APA 7 editing

In-text citations

MLA 9 has a very specific set of requirements regarding how to cite your sources within the body of your paper. Here are some of the most important things to help you get started with MLA citations.

Author-page number system: in-text citations consist of (at a minimum) the lead author’s last name, followed by the page number of the paragraph you are citing. There is no comma between the two components (only a space).

Types of citations: MLA allows two types of in-text citations: parenthetical and narrative . Parenthetical citations feature the author and page number in parentheses (brackets) at the end of the respective sentence. Here’s an example:

MLA 9th edition is easy to grasp if you visit the Grad Coach blog (Jansen 13).

Narrative citations, on the other hand, weave the author’s name into the flow of the sentence and then present the publication date in parentheses at the end of the sentence. Here’s an example:

Jansen states that MLA 9th edition is easy for students to grasp if they visit the Grad Coach blog (13).

In general, it’s a good idea to utilise a mix of both in your writing. Narrative citations are particularly useful when you want to highlight or contrast authors or their viewpoints, while parenthetical citations are useful when you want to strengthen your own academic voice. In other words, both formats have their respective strengths and weaknesses, so try to use citation format strategically in your writing.

Quotations: when quoting text verbatim from a source, there is no need to do anything differently in terms of the citation itself, but do remember to wrap the verbatim text in quotation marks. Here’s an example:

Jansen proposes that MLA 9th edition is “easy to grasp if you visit the Grad Coach blog” (13).

Multiple authors: when citing resources that were authored by three or more people, you only need to list the lead author, followed by “et al.”. Here’s an example:

MLA 9th edition is easy to grasp if you visit the Grad Coach blog (Jansen et al. 13).

 Below are a few more examples from our free MLA template .

Example of MLA in-text citations

Please keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list of all the MLA 9th edition citation-related requirements – just a shortlist of the most commonly relevant ones. If you’d like to learn more, consult the MLA handbook .

The Works Cited (Reference List)

The final section that you’ll need to pay close attention to is the “Works Cited” page, which should contain a list of reference information for all the sources cited in the body of the paper. Again, MLA has a quite a meaty set of specifications regarding the content and formatting of this list, but we’ll cover the basics here to get your started on the right foot. 

Basic setup

Your reference list needs to start on a new page and should be titled “Works Cited”. The title should be unformatted and centred . The reference list should then start on the next line. As with the rest of your document, you should use double line spacing throughout.

When it comes to the reference list itself, you’ll need to keep the following in mind:

  • All the sources that you cited in the body of your document should feature in the reference list. Make sure that every citation is accounted for .
  • The references should be ordered alphabetically , according to the lead author’s last name .
  • The exact information required within each entry depends on the type of content being referenced (e.g., a journal article, web page, etc.)
  • Components that may need to feature (other than the author) include the title of the source, the title of the container, other contributors, the article version or number, the publisher, the publication date, and the location.
  • All references should be left-aligned and should use a hanging indent – i.e., the second line of any given reference (if it has one) should be indented a half inch.

We have to stress that these are just the basics. MLA 9th edition requires that your references be structured and formatted in a very specific way , depending on the type of resource. If you plan to draft your reference list manually, it’s important to consult your university’s style guide or the MLA manual itself. This leads us to our next point…

In general, it’s a bad idea to write your reference list manually . Given the incredibly high level of intricacy involved, it’s highly likely that you’ll make mistakes if you try to craft this section yourself. A better solution is to use (free) reference management software such as Mendeley or Zotero . Either of these will take care of the formatting and content for you, and they’ll do a much more accurate job of it too. 

If you’re not familiar with any sort of reference management software, be sure to check out our easy-to-follow Mendeley explainer video below.

Wrapping Up

In this post, we’ve provided a primer covering how to format your paper according to MLA 9th edition. To recap, we’ve looked at the following:

  • The structure and layout
  • The general page setup
  • The “Works Cited” page (reference list)

Remember to always check your university’s style guide to familiarise yourself with any additional requirements they may. Also, if your university has specified anything that contrasts what we’ve discussed here, please do follow their guidance . 

If you need any help formatting your paper for MLA 9, take a look at our “done for you” language editing and proofreading service . Simply send us your document and we’ll take care of all the MLA formatting intracies on your behalf. 

You Might Also Like:

APA 7th Edition Formatting: Full Tutorial

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The MLA Style Center

What is mla style.

Building confidence in the information and ideas we share with one another is perhaps more important today than ever before, and for nearly a century it has been the driving principle behind MLA style, a set of standards for writing and documentation used by writers to find and evaluate information, alert their audience to the trustworthiness of their findings through citation, and shape the expression of their ideas in conversation with others. 

Resources for MLA Style

Our new, subscription-based digital platform, MLA Handbook Plus is

  • Trusted: The only authorized subscription-based digital resource featuring the latest edition of the MLA Handbook is available for unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Evolving: Get the same content as the print edition, plus seamless annual updates and forthcoming additional resources such as videos and companion titles.
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  • Affordable: Tiered pricing model based on full-time undergraduate enrollments in US higher education institutions (with custom pricing options for secondary schools, consortia, international schools, campus systems, and other organizations).
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Contact [email protected] for more info.

MLA Handbook , 9th Edition

The ninth edition of the MLA Handbook , published in spring 2021, builds on the MLA's unique approach to documenting sources using a template of core elements—facts common to most sources, like author, title, and publication date—that allows writers to cite any type of work, from books, e-books, and journal articles in databases to song lyrics, online images, social media posts, dissertations, and more. With this focus on source evaluation as the cornerstone of citation, MLA style promotes the skills of information and digital literacy so crucial today. The new edition offers

  • New chapters on grammar, punctuation, capitalization, spelling, numbers, italics, abbreviations, and principles of inclusive language
  • Guidelines on setting up research papers in MLA format with updated advice on headings, lists, and title pages for group projects
  • Revised, comprehensive, step-by-step instructions for creating a list of works cited in MLA format that are easier to learn and use than ever before
  • A new appendix with hundreds of example works-cited-list entries by publication format, including websites, YouTube videos, interviews, and more
  • Detailed examples of how to find publication information for a variety of sources
  • Newly revised explanations of in-text citations, including comprehensive advice on how to cite multiple authors of a single work
  • Detailed guidance on using notes in MLA style
  • Instructions on quoting, paraphrasing, summarizing, and avoiding plagiarism
  • Annotated bibliography examples
  • Numbered sections throughout for quick navigation
  • Advanced tips for professional writers and scholars

The MLA Style Center offers free online resources on MLA style, including an interactive MLA format template, answers to common questions on Ask the MLA, advice from the MLA editors, and more. Get updates by signing up for The Source newsletter, and follow us on Twitter @MLAstyle .

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MLA Format: A Complete Guide with Examples

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Written by  Scribendi

Your instructor has asked you to format your term paper using Modern Language Association (MLA) style. You feel confident enough to produce the paper, but you have never heard of MLA style. Don't panic—we've got you covered.

This article will explain MLA style citation, give examples of MLA formatting for specific aspects of references, provide an MLA format example for each category of source material, and share essay formatting tips that our editors have learned over the years. 

You'll even find a free, downloadable MLA Works Cited example page for easy reference. So, if you have a general understanding of what MLA style is and are just looking for examples of MLA citations, we can help with that too!

Free MLA Cheat Sheet

What Is MLA Style?

MLA style is an accepted way to document source material for many types of humanities documents. Some would say it is simpler than other style guides, such as the APA Style Guide or the Chicago Manual of Style . 

An MLA citation has two basic requirements:

Brief parenthetical citations in the text

An alphabetical list of the works cited that corresponds to the in-text citations and appears at the end of the paper

In simple terms, you refer to your source material in parentheses throughout the main text—then, at the end of your paper, you list all the sources to which you have referred, in alphabetical order.

Of course, there is so much more to MLA style and MLA formatting than just that. Indeed, the current version of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th Edition) runs to 292 pages! But here are the essential style and formatting points.

MLA Format Citation Example

To start, let's look at a basic example of how to format a citation in MLA.

Last Name, First Name. "Title of Webpage/Chapter/Article." Website/Book Title/Journal Title , edition used, vol. X, no. Y, Publisher,

Day  Month Year of Publication, URL/location/page number.

This is MLA format at its simplest.

Why Use MLA Format (or Any Other)?

The main reason for carefully citing source material is to avoid allegations of plagiarism, which—derived from the Latin word for "kidnapping"—refers to stealing someone else's work. The MLA Handbook explains plagiarism in detail. You should feel free to use another person's words, facts, and thoughts in your research paper, but the material you borrow must not be presented as if it were your own creation. 

When you write your research paper, remember that you must document everything that you borrow—not only direct quotations and paraphrases but also information and ideas. Our MLA citation guide will walk you through how to properly cite your sources using MLA style.

Who Uses MLA Citation Format?

MLA-style citation is commonly used by writers and students who create content in the humanities.

You'll often see it used for the following subject areas:

Language and literature

Comparative literature

Literary criticism

Cultural studies

Foreign languages

Using MLA's citation guide in these fields of study gives readers an easier option for navigating through your paper. In addition to making you look credible by neatly organizing your sources, MLA citation lends consistency to your work. It provides readers with the opportunity to easily find sources in your paper that interest them.

How to Use MLA Format

The early stages of producing a paper involve copious amounts of reading, research, and note-taking. At this point, it's easy to get confused about who said what. The best way to avoid getting confused right from the start is to keep your ideas, your summary of others' ideas, and direct transcriptions of text clearly marked and separate. Throughout our guide, we'll provide examples of MLA citation to give you a hand. 

Make notes on the following elements for ease of reference and proper MLA citation later on:

Author's name

Full title of each publication (from the title page, not the front cover)

City of publication (cite only the first city if there is more than one)

Date of publication

Volume and issue numbers, if available (for journals)

Page numbers you have referenced

Medium of publication or reception (print, web, radio, television, etc.)

Laying the groundwork during your research will make the citation process much easier later on.

MLA Citation Format

Because we know there are many ways to cite a reference in MLA, depending on what source you're using, we've compiled an extensive list of MLA citation examples below.

You'll find MLA citation examples for articles, books, images, interviews, journals, movies, and more to ensure you are citing your sources correctly.

We've done our best to be as thorough as possible. Review how to use in-text citations in MLA below or skip to the ones you need most!

How to Cite Two to Three Authors

If you're citing a book in MLA format with two or three authors, use the examples below to format your citation:

Bringham, Darrin E., and Sally Knope. Resting Heartbeat Science . 12th ed., Wiley, 2001.

Christopherson, Charles, Ronald Swanson, and Roger Koltz. Fog Pirates: On Board the USS Hammerhead . Putters, 2001.

Only the first author is listed by their last name followed by their first name. Any subsequent authors are written normally (first name then last name).

How to Cite More than Three Authors

When there are more than three authors to reference in MLA, format your citation using et al., as shown below:

Niderbacher, Leslie A., et al. Penne and the Jets: A Love Story . Partridge, 2003.

Note that only the first author is fully named, followed by et al.

Related: Learn more about How to Use Et Al. here.

How to Cite No Author

An MLA in-text citation with no author begins with the title . If your in-text citation has no author in MLA, you can also use the title in addition to the page number.

( Encyclopedia of Football 54)

How to Cite a Journal Article

Correct MLA article citation starts with finding good, credible articles. Try looking for peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles in free research databases such as CORE and ScienceOpen.

When searching for the best journals for your topic, try to steer clear of regular search engines like Google or Yahoo. Academic databases like JSTOR and Google Scholar are the best sources for scholarly, peer-reviewed articles .

MLA journal citation elements include the title of the work, author(s), and publication date. While this information is usually found on the first page of an article, its placement can vary. It may be at the top or bottom of the first page or, in the case of database articles, on the results page or the description page.

Related: Check out our list of 17 Research Databases for Free Articles .

MLA Citation for an Article

MLA Format: Articles

MLA Article Citation Examples

Lau, Frank. "Vitamin D Insufficiency is Prevalent in Severe COVID-19." Journal of Health , vol. 2, no. 5, Aug. 2020, pp. 34–27.

https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.04.24.20075838.

Kuehn, Bridget. "Hospitals Turn to Housing to Help Homeless Patients." JAMA , Feb. 2019, pp. 5–9.

https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2018.21476.

MLA Website Article Citation Examples

Tomky, Naomi. "Explore the Oregon Coast—but don't touch the 'dragon toes.'" National Geographic , 23 Mar. 2022,

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/article/explore-oregon-coast-but-dont-touch-dragon-toe-barnacles.

Gateley, Cheyne. "Netflix's Password Crackdown Will Be Tougher Than It Seems." Variety , 21 Mar. 2022,

https://variety.com/vip/netflixs-password-crackdown-will-be-tougher-than-it-seems-1235208619/.

Book Citation in MLA

If you're citing passages from a book using MLA, look at the title page of the book to find the information you need to cite the source. The title page can usually be found a couple of pages into the book. This is where you'll find the author(s), date, edition, title, editors (if any), place of publication, and publisher.

MLA Book Citation Examples

Schucman, Helen. A Course in Miracles. Edited by Robert Perry, The Circle of Atonement, Inc., 2017.

MLA Textbook Citation Examples

MLA Format: Books

How to Cite an Image

Image citation in MLA requires you to first define what type of image you're sourcing. Is it an image you saw in person or an image from a website?

Asking yourself this question first will help you decide which format to use to cite your image. Let's look at a few examples below.

MLA Image Citation Examples

MLA Format: Images

How to Cite an Image from a Website

To cite an image from a website in MLA, start with the image creator's last and first name, then add the image title, the website name , day, month, and year published, and the URL.

In the example below, there is no image title, so we're using a description of the image:

Yam, Marcus. Photograph of a man hurrying away from a building hit by Russian bombs. Los Angeles Times , 25 Mar. 2022,

www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2022-03-25/ukraine-russia-war-biden-heads-to-poland .

Here is an example with an image title:

Clancy, Pat. "Foggy Sunrise." Flickr , 10 Mar. 2022,

https://www.flickr.com/photos/128721907@N02/51958337614/in/explore-2022-03-24/.

MLA Citation: Interview

When citing an interview in MLA, the information you need can vary depending on the type of interview.

For example, if you're citing an interview printed in a magazine, you can find relevant citation information in the title or subtitle of the interview page.

For online interviews, the relevant information can be found on the site where the interview was published. Typically, in the title or near the name of the person who published the interview, you'll find the names of the interviewer and interviewee, as well as the date the interview was published.

Here are a few elements you'll need if you're citing an interview in MLA:

Interviewee's first and last name

Interviewer's first and last name

Interview title

Periodical or journal title (if any)

Type of interview

Date the interview was conducted/published

URL of the interview (if online)

Page numbers of the interview (if in print)

In MLA, if you can't find the author of an interview you're trying to source, this information can be skipped. Instead, you can start your citation with the title of the interview in quotation marks. You can also skip the date of the interview if it is missing, but you should still include the access date if the interview is online.

If, for any reason, you also can't access the title of the interview, MLA allows you to replace the title with a short description. Let's look at a couple of examples below.

MLA Interview Citation Examples

MLA Format: Interviews

How to Cite a Lecture

When citing a lecture in MLA, start with the speaker's last and first names, followed by the lecture title in quotes, then the course or event name, the day, month, and year, the institution, the location, and the word "Lecture." Below is an example of how to cite a lecture in MLA.

MLA Lecture Citation Example

MLA Format: Lectures

How to Cite a Movie in MLA

If you need to cite a movie in MLA style, you'll need the title of the film, the director, any relevant contributors, the company that produced/distributed the film, and the release year. Be sure to add the words "Directed by" before the director's name, as you'll see in the examples below.

MLA Movie Citation Examples

MLA Format: Movies

How to Cite a Poem

To cite a poem in MLA, begin with listing the author's last name and first, then the poem's title in quotes, followed by the title of the book the poem was found in, and the publisher, year, and page number(s).

MLA Poem Citation Examples

MLA Format: Poems

Quotes in MLA Format

When you're using a quote, you're taking the exact words from an original source, so you need to make sure you're citing that source correctly.

In MLA format, quotes should be cited in the main text and on the Works Cited page. Your in-text citation will need the author's last name and the page number where you found the quote , while the Works Cited page will include the full citation. We've included examples of both MLA quote citation formats below.

MLA Short Quote Citation Examples

In-text citation example:

It appears that creating "businesses that diminish the quality of life and well-being of our citizens" (Williamson 109) will only make things worse.

Works Cited example:

Williamson, Marianne. A Politics of Love . Harper One, 2019.

MLA Format for Long Quotes

If you have to cite quotes longer than four lines in your paper, you'll want to use a block quote. The MLA format is the same on the Works Cited page for long and short quotes, but block quotes look different in the main text.

Block quotes are placed in a separate paragraph, indented 1 inch from the left margin. When using a block quote in text, include the last name of the author and page number(s) in parentheses after the closing punctuation at the end of the quote.

Note that block quotes are not enclosed in quotation marks.

How to Cite a Song in MLA

When citing a song in MLA, pay close attention to the medium you used to access it. If you heard the song on a CD or on a streaming service like Spotify, you'll want to include this in your reference.

For in-text citations of songs, you'll include your citation at the end of your paraphrased portion with the last name of the performer and the specific time stamp of the song. Other elements needed for the citation on the Works Cited page include the album name, label, and release date.

MLA Song Citation Examples

MLA Format: Songs

How to Cite a Video

An MLA citation for a YouTube video requires a few pieces of information, including the video creator's name, the title of the video, the website hosting the video, the name of the channel or uploader, the day, month , and year the video was published, and its URL.

Regardless of the platform from which you cite a video, MLA requires the same standard information, including the creator of the video, the title, where it was found, who uploaded it, the day, month, and year it was uploaded, and the URL.

MLA Format: Videos

How to Cite a Website in MLA

The MLA format for websites requires a few core elements, including the author, title of the source and container, relevant contributors, version, publisher, publication date in day-month-year format, and DOI or URL .

Some of this information can be omitted if it isn't available. See the examples below.

MLA Format for Websites 

MLA Format: Websites

More about MLA Style and Format

Mla heading format.

When you're writing a paper in MLA format, headings go on the first page . Your heading should include the following information:

Instructor's name

Course name or number

Submission date

Your MLA heading goes in the upper left corner of your paper, double-spaced. Try not to confuse an MLA heading with an MLA header, which is in the upper right corner of every page of your paper and includes your last name and the page number.

MLA Format Heading Examples

Here are two example headings in MLA format for reference. Keep in mind that these should be double-spaced in your paper.

Cody Anderson

Professor Lockhart

Astronomy 103

23 March 2022

Raquel Smith

Professor Snape

Humanities 605

25 February 2021

MLA In-Text Citation

In the next few sections, we'll look at MLA formatting for sources cited within the main text of your paper, also called in-text citations. In-text citations give your reader a clue about where to find the source you referenced in the Works Cited section at the end of your paper.

MLA format for books requires that you briefly acknowledge your sources in the main body of the text by using the author's name and the page number in parentheses.

Note the following example:

(Clinton 440). 

The reader knows to consult page 440 of Clinton's book.

Larger Works

If you refer to the title of a large published work in your paper, such as a novel or movie, it should appear as follows:

John Clinton's A Study of Life. 

Please note the use of capital letters and italics.

Smaller Works

Titles of smaller works, such as poems, short stories, chapters, and articles, should be written in the text as follows:

Raymond Carver's "Cathedral." 

Please note that smaller works are put in quotation marks and are not italicized.

MLA Works Cited

To obtain further information, the reader can refer to the alphabetical references section, called the Works Cited page, at the end of the paper. There, the reader can find the full details of each cited publication.

Note the following MLA Works Cited example:

Clinton, John. A Study of Life . London: Hodder, 1998. Print.

Our John Clinton example is MLA style referencing in its simplest form: one author and one book. MLA citation for multiple authors of a single book and MLA citation for multiple books by a single author tend to complicate matters. However, if you have the basics right and have made good notes for all your source material, these problems are manageable.

Multiple Books by One Author

When citing two or more books by one author in your Works Cited section, MLA requires the author's name in the first entry only. In the next entry, replace the author's name with an em dash (—), a period, and the second book title. The em dash takes the place of the author's name. In terms of the order of the books by one author on your Works Cited page, alphabetize the list by title.

Brunson, Russell. DotCom Secrets . Morgan James Publishing, 2015.

—. Traffic Secrets . Hay House, Inc., 2020.

MLA Format with Multiple Authors

When citing three or more authors in MLA, you'll want to use "et al.," which means "and others."

Levine, Robert S., et al. The Norton Anthology of American Literature . 9th ed., W.W. Norton & Company, 2022.

Missing Items

If you're trying to cite a source in MLA with missing information, you have a few options available to you depending on what information is missing.

If you're missing the author of a source, use the title of the work in its place for both in-text citations and citations in the Works Cited in MLA format. If your title is also missing, use the source instead.

If your source has no page numbers, you can omit these in your citations and use paragraph or line numbers if they are available.

If the date of the publication is missing, you don't have to include it. But if it's a resource you accessed online, include the access date at the end of the citation—for example, "Accessed 14 Sep. 2021."

You can also omit the publisher if this information is missing.

MLA Format Works Cited Page Tips

When formatting your Works Cited page in MLA format, be sure to pay close attention to all the guidelines. MLA requires all lines to be double-spaced with a hanging indent. A hanging indent is when the first line of your reference starts at the beginning of the line while the next lines are indented by an inch and a half from the left.

Free Download

To keep all of these MLA examples in one sheet for easy reference, we've compiled a free download. This way, you can review MLA citation examples anytime you need them, either for your Works Cited page or in-text citations, for multiple types of work.

Once downloaded, you'll have all of the MLA citation examples you need in your back pocket. This guide will give you examples of MLA citations for the following types of sources:

Books (with one author, multiple authors, or no author)

Download our free MLA downloadable here.

Download Now   

Writing a paper in mla format.

When writing a paper in MLA format, you'll need to cover your bases when it comes to citing your sources. Not only do your sources need to be correct to account for wherever you're pulling information from, but they also need to follow MLA paper formatting basics .

So far, we've covered how to cite sources in your Works Cited list and in-text citations. Now, let's talk about how to use footnotes in an MLA paper with a couple of examples.

As a general rule, footnotes should be used sparingly in MLA. However, when they are used, there are two types: bibliographical footnotes and content footnotes.

Bibliographical footnotes allow you to add more relevant sources. Content footnotes allow you to add commentary or explanations about your topic. We'll look at examples of both of these below.

MLA Footnote Examples

Bibliographical footnote:

1 See Clinton, John. A Study of Life . Hodder, 1998. Additional references are for this edition and appear within the text.

Content footnote:

1 In a lecture from 2013, Peters mentions his love of science and how science will shape our future.

MLA Title Page Format

The MLA format cover page is not an entirely separate page. It begins with a 1-inch margin, flush left with your name, your instructor's name, the course name or number, and the date typed on separate, double-spaced lines.

The title of your research paper should then be centered on the MLA format title page. There is no need for it to be presented in bold, italics, or capital letters.

MLA Parenthetical Citation

When citing a source in your text in MLA, use a parenthetical citation. 

Parenthetical citations in MLA should include the author's last name and the page number where you found the information.

For example: (Lars 86).

MLA Page Number Format

In MLA format, page numbers appear in the top right-hand corner with a 0.5-inch margin from the top and a flush right margin. It is good practice to include your last name before the page number in case pages go astray. Do not use the abbreviation p. before the page number or add any other mark or symbol. You may not need to include a page number on the front page—check with your instructor.

Sometimes, it is appropriate to draw attention to particular words in your paper, but using italics for emphasis ("He really ate a lot ") is inappropriate in research writing and inconsistent with MLA style. Generally, in MLA format, italics should be reserved for titles of longer works (e.g., books, films), non-English words, and words and letters referred to as words and letters.

MLA Format Essay Tips

Your instructor may issue particular instructions if you are to use MLA citation in an essay—if so, follow them. Otherwise, the following MLA essay formatting tips will help you set out your research paper in MLA style.

The MLA Style Guide recommends using a clear typeface (Arial or Times New Roman) in a readable size (at least 11 point).

Justification

Justify the text to the left margin, leaving the right margin ragged. Leave 1-inch margins on the top, bottom, left, and right of the page.

Indent the first word in each paragraph by 0.5 inches. Indent set-off block quotations by 1 inch.

Use double-spacing throughout. In accordance with the MLA guide, use single spaces after periods, commas , exclamation marks, etc.

Good grammar, punctuation , and spelling are essential parts of your research paper—not just when using MLA style citation. There is no room for typos at this level. 

Our advice is to check and check again, and don't just rely on your word processor's spell-checker. Get a second pair of eyes to look over your paper. T ry our essay editors to ensure that the MLA formatting is consistent throughout your paper and there are no grammatical errors.

Related: Avoid These Common Mistakes in Academic and Scientific Writing

The importance of citing your references in your essay cannot be understated. Any time you include a piece of information in your essay that you didn't write yourself, MLA requires two forms of citation: one in the main text and one at the end of your paper in the Works Cited section.

MLA Format Essay Example

To see how all these formatting elements come together to make an MLA paper, see the example below.

https://p113.p2.n0.cdn.getcloudapp.com/items/v1ugxp7E/9e3b21d9-758c-4e27-b6cb-caa1059c0547.jpeg?v=559e925043cbfee9fe816e0568ab3d3b

Electronic Sources and MLA Formatting

In this computerized age, electronic publications are widely used as source materials for essays. However, electronic texts are prone to frequent and rapid change—one minute you see them online, and the next they are gone. Therefore, it is important to provide more information when references to electronic works are made. 

When accessing electronic information, note the following elements:

Name of the author, editor, etc.

Title of the work

Title of the website (if distinct from the title of the work)

Version/edition used, if applicable

Publisher or sponsor of the site (if not available, use n.p.)

Date of publication (day, month, and year, if available; if no date is available, use n.d.)

Medium of publication (web)

Date of access (day, month, and year)

Note the following example of MLA citation:

Smith, George. "Trees of the Southern Hemisphere." The International Leaf. Barker University, 2008. Web. 6 Feb. 2009.

Please note that the MLA formatting and style guide no longer recommends including the URL of a document. Nevertheless, the URL can be included if it is required by your instructor or if your readers will have difficulty locating the source without it.

MLA Format Letter

Below, you'll find examples of how to apply the MLA letter format. Much of the formatting will be similar to that of MLA-style papers, including using double-spaced lines in your text.

MLA Letter Heading Format

Start your MLA-formatted letter with your two-line mailing address in the upper left-hand corner, an inch from the top of the page. Skip to the next line and add the date in day-month-year format.

On the next line, include the addressee's information, starting with the recipient's title, such as Mr., Ms., or Dr. You can also include their address and contact information.

On yet another line, include your salutation—for example, "Dear Ms. Smith"—followed by a colon. If you don't have a name for the person you're writing to, use the person's title—for example, "Dear Director of Operations."

When writing a letter in MLA format, be sure to use double-spacing throughout as you would in an MLA paper.

Chicago vs. MLA vs. APA Citation

The formatting of citations varies among style guides like Chicago, MLA, and APA. While each style guide has its own way of formatting sources and cover pages, one of the biggest differences is in how they format in-text citations. Let's look at how they differ.

MLA stands for the Modern Language Association and is a style used for papers in the humanities. In-text citations in MLA use the author's last name and page number in parentheses: (Smith 15).

APA stands for the American Psychological Association and is a style used for scientific papers. In-text citations in APA style include a bit more information than those in MLA style. For example, APA uses the author's last name, year of publication, and page number: (Smith, 2021, p. 15).

Chicago style is used mainly for manuscripts by writers, designers, and publishers. In-text citations in this style include the last name of the source, the publication year, and the page number in parentheses, with slightly different formatting than APA: (Smith 2021, 15).

Frequently Asked Questions

How do i cite a website in mla.

To cite a website in MLA, start with the author's last name and first name separated by a comma and punctuated with a period. Next, include the title of the article or page in headline case and in quotes with a period, followed by the title of the website in italics. After that, add a comma, the name of the publisher, the publication date in day-month-year format, and the URL.

Shields, Ronan. "'The Threat is Hollow': True Transparency is Some Way Off for Scaled Advertisers." Digiday , Digiday Media, 25

Mar.  2022, https://digiday.com/marketing/the-threat-is-hollow-true-transparency-is-some-way-off-for-scaled-advertisers/.

Basu, Tyler. "How to Build a Personal Brand (Complete Guide)." Thinkific , Thinkific, 7 Sep. 2021,

https://www.thinkific.com/blog/personal-branding-guide/.

For an MLA website in-text citation, simply put the last name of the author in parentheses: (Shields).

How Do I Cite a Journal Article in MLA?

The MLA citation for a journal article begins with the author's last name and first name separated by a comma. Next, include the title of the article in quotes, punctuated by a period, then the journal title in title case and italics, and then a comma before the volume or issue number. This is followed by the date of publication, the page range, and the DOI or URL (without https://). Finally, add the access date if no publication date is listed.

How Do I Write In-Text Citations in MLA?

In-text citations allow readers to identify which of the items on your Works Cited page you're referencing. MLA requires the source's last name to be set in parentheses, followed by the page number where you found the information. Below are a few examples of how to use in-text citations in MLA format.

(Smith and Jones 53)

(Smith et al. 33)

(Smith 56–58)

(Smith 56–58, 73)

How Do I Cite a YouTube Video in MLA?

For MLA YouTube citation, start with the video creator's last name and first name, separated by a comma and punctuated by a period. Next, include the title of the video in quotes, also punctuated by a period (inside the quotation marks). 

Add the website hosting the video in italics (in this case, YouTube), the name of the channel or uploader, and the day, month, and year the video was published. Include the URL at the end of the MLA video citation.

Forleo, Marie. "Can You Age in Reverse? Tony Robbins Says Yes." YouTube , uploaded by Marie Forleo, 14 Feb. 2022,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAb5z7NbMYk.

Snipes, Doc. "15 Tips to Stop Ruminating and Get Out of Your Head." YouTube , uploaded by Doc Snipes, 23 Mar. 2022,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMZpMtM7TkI.

How Do I Use MLA Format for Headings?

Put your MLA heading in the upper left-hand corner of the first page of your paper , double-spaced. It should have your name, your instructor's name, the course name or number, and the date. Here are two examples of how to format your headings in MLA:

How Do I Cite a Movie in MLA Format?

To cite a movie in MLA style, start with the title of the film in italics, then the name of the director, followed by any relevant contributors. Next, include the company that produced or distributed the film and the release year.

Jaws . Directed by Steven Spielberg, performances by Roy Scheider and Robert Shaw, Universal Pictures, 1975.

To cite a movie from a streaming service such as Netflix, use the following format:

Jaws . Directed by Steven Spielberg, performances by Roy Scheider and Robert Shaw, Universal Pictures, 1975. Netflix app.

How Do I Format My Paper Using MLA?

To recap the most important MLA formatting guidelines, be sure to use 1-inch margins all around your paper, set the font to 12-point Times New Roman (or another easy-to-read font), and double-space the lines in your text. Make sure each word at the start of your paragraphs is indented half an inch from the left margin, and do the same for any block quotations.

You must cite all your sources in MLA, both in the text and on the Works Cited page found at the end of your paper. Use the examples and guidelines above to make sure you're formatting your paper and citations according to MLA guidelines.

How Do I Cite a Person in MLA?

If you're citing an interview, use the last and first name of the person interviewed at the start of your MLA Works Cited citation. Then, add the interview title, periodical title, type of interview, date, and URL of the interview (if online). 

If the person you're referencing was interviewed in print, include the page numbers. 

For an in-text citation of an interview, use the last name of the person being interviewed—for example: (Smith).

Download our free MLA format PDF for more examples of how to cite a person in MLA for an interview, either one you've conducted yourself or one you found elsewhere.

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mla essay format title

Home / Guides / Citation Guides / MLA Format / Creating an MLA title page

Creating an MLA title page

If you are writing a research paper in MLA style 9th edition for a class, then you may need to include an MLA format title page. An MLA title page is the cover of your paper, and they aren’t always required. So, how do you make a title page that adheres to the MLA formatting guidelines, and how do you know when you need one?

This page contains all the information you need to know to make the perfect MLA title page, so that you can prove that you are an expert researcher and get the best possible grade. This MLA sample paper will show you how the rest of your paper should be formatted.

Here’s a run-through of everything this page includes:

Title page vs. MLA heading on first page

Title page / cover page, first page: mla heading (no title page), troubleshooting.

The current edition of the Modern Language Association (MLA) handbook does not require a title page , but your teacher, professor, or other reader may require one. In this case, you will need to know the differences between a title page and an MLA heading, and which one to use depending on your reader’s preferences. Other citation styles look slightly different, like this   APA title page .

A title page, or a cover page, is a single page that comes before your MLA abstract (if required) and the content of your paper. It introduces your paper and quickly shows a reader the following information about your paper:

  • author name (your name, since you wrote the paper)
  • course information (if applicable)

It does not include any of the research paper itself.

First page with MLA heading 

MLA format recommends adding an MLA heading to the first page of your paper. This contains the same information as a title page, but the information is formatted differently and is on the same page on which your actual research paper begins.

Unless otherwise specified by your instructor or teacher, this should be how you format your first page.

Before you start typing your MLA research paper title page, you will need to gather some information.

What you will need

If you are creating an MLA heading on the first page of your essay instead of a title page, you will need most of the same information, but you will format it differently.

To create a title page, you need to include:

  • The name of your high school, college, or university (if applicable)
  • The title of your paper
  • The subtitle of your paper (if you have one)
  • Your first and last name
  • Your teacher or professor’s name (if applicable)
  • The class name or course number (if applicable)
  • The date the paper is due (in “day month year” format)

Formatting guidelines

Follow these formatting guidelines when typing your MLA title page:

  • Double-spaced
  • Times New Roman font
  • Size 12 font
  • The first letter of each word should be capitalized, with the exception of very short words such as the, and, of, or, a, an, for, in , etc.  However, the first word should always be capitalized.
  • Do not include a page number heading on your title page

Step-by-step instructions

Here are the steps you need to take to create the perfect MLA title page:

  • At the top of the page, type the name of your high school, college, or university (if applicable).
  • Skip down approximately one-third of the page and type the title of your research paper using title case.
  • If you have a subtitle, type it on the line following the paper title.
  • Skip down to the bottom third of the page and type your first and last name.
  • On the following line, type the course name and number (if applicable).
  • On the following line, type your instructor’s name (if applicable).
  • On the following and final line, type the due date of your paper in “day month year” format.

MLA title page example

Although it’s important to know how to create an MLA essay title page in case your instructor requires it, in most cases you will use an MLA heading on the first page of your paper instead.

Remember, you should only create a title page if your instructor requests it .

Otherwise, use these guidelines to create an MLA heading. If you create a title page, then you usually won’t need an MLA heading on your first page, but you should ask your instructor for their specific requirements.

To create an MLA heading on your first page, you will need to include some of the same information you would use for a title page, including:

  • Left-justified text for MLA header
  • Centered text for title
  • Right-justified text for page number header
  • In the top left corner of the first page of your essay, type your first and last name.
  • On the following line, type the due date of your paper in “day month year” format.
  • On the following line, switch from left-justified text to centered text and type the title (and the subtitle on the same line, if you have one) of your paper in title case. Do not italicize, underline, or place your essay title in quotation marks. Do not use quotation marks unless you are referring to other works in your title and need to enclose the referenced works in quotation marks.
  • Your research paper should begin on the following double-spaced line.
  • Create a right-justified text header one-half inch from the top of your paper that includes your last name and the page number.
  • All pages of your paper should be numbered with your last name and the numerical page number. The page including your MLA header, title, and the beginning of your essay is page one (1).
  • Your instructor may specify not to include a last name and page number header on your first page. Always follow your instructor’s guidelines.

MLA heading first page example

Solution #1: What should I do if my paper is a group project?

If you have written a collaborative paper with multiple authors, list each author on your MLA title page or in your MLA heading in alphabetical order, with line breaks between each.

If your paper has multiple authors, omit the name from your page numbers in the upper-right corner of your MLA-format paper.

Example MLA heading for a group paper:

Group-paper-MLA-heading-example

Example MLA title page for a group paper:

Group-paper-MLA-title-page-example

Solution #2: What should I do if my paper isn’t for a specific class?

If your paper is a thesis project for your degree, for example, or not for a specific class, you can omit that information from your MLA title page or MLA header.

Solution #3: Does my paper need a subtitle if I use a full MLA title page?

While an MLA title page allows for a subtitle beneath the title of your paper, it is NOT required to have a subtitle or make one up for your MLA title page.

If you didn’t intend to have a subtitle for your paper, there is no need to add a subtitle. Just leave that area of your MLA title page blank.

Solution #4: Will my MLA title page be part of my final page count?

A title page is not typically included in a paper’s final word count. Check with the teacher or professor assigning the paper to be sure, but it is highly unlikely a title page will count as a full page of your final paper.

Published October 25, 2020. Updated June 4, 2021

Written by Grace Turney , freelance writer and artist. Grace is a former librarian and has a Master’s degree in Library Science and Information Technology.

MLA Formatting Guide

MLA Formatting

  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Bibliography
  • Block Quotes
  • et al Usage
  • In-text Citations
  • Paraphrasing
  • Page Numbers
  • Sample Paper
  • Works Cited
  • MLA 8 Updates
  • MLA 9 Updates
  • View MLA Guide

Citation Examples

  • Book Chapter
  • Journal Article
  • Magazine Article
  • Newspaper Article
  • Website (no author)
  • View all MLA Examples

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The title page in MLA style gives basic information such as the name, the instructor’s name, the course name and number, the title of the paper, and the submission date. MLA style does not recommend using a title page unless specifically requested by your instructor; instead, it suggests creating a header.

The difference between a title page and a header in MLA style is that a title page appears as a page on its own before the main paper copy. A header, on the other hand, appears on the same page where paper copy begins.

Include the following elements on a title page. Follow the order as given below.

The university name

The title and subtitle of the paper

The course name and number

The instructor’s name

The submission/due date

If you are not required to create a title page, and only need a header, the following elements should be included in the header, in the order as listed:

While MLA does not generally recommend the use of a title page, some courses or professors may require it. The title page should include the university name, title of the paper, your name, the instructor’s name, the course name, and the submission or due date.

Formatting title page

MLA style does not have any specific guidelines for formatting a title page. However, you can use the below suggestions to format your title page if you are required to create one for your paper.

Page margins

All margins (top, bottom, left, and right) should be set at 1 inch.

The font should be clear and easy to read. A good option is Times New Roman font in size 12 pt.

Text on the title page should be double-spaced.

Elements of a title page

Include the following elements on the title page. Follow the order as given below.

Add a few blank lines before and after the title of the work. The title should be in title case and centered.

Beginning on the title page, the paper should also include a running head. The running head includes the your last name and the page number. This should be placed in the “header” area of the paper so that it is present on each page. Use the page number feature in your word processor so that the page number is generated automatically.

Example title page

Chegg University

Relationship Between Students and Their Teachers

Ishithaa Gopi

Psychology 127

Professor John Smith

21 September 2021

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MLA Format Essays: A Comprehensive Guide

MLA Format Essays: A Comprehensive Guide

Finishing an essay is one thing, but formatting it is a completely different affair. There are many style guides out there, so it can be hard to understand the differences between them. Today, you will learn about MLA format writing, what it is, when it’s used, and how to write MLA format essays.

What is an MLA Style Essay?

An MLA format essay is a piece of writing created in accordance with the MLA Style Handbook. This guide was developed by the Modern Language Association, the leading professional organization for scholars of language and literature in the United States.

The MLA style was primarily invented for writers who needed to present new findings in a uniform and credible way. As a result, the MLA created a set standard that writers can use to document information and provide their audience with references and sources.

When should the MLA format writing be used?

The MLA format writing is generally applied to academic texts from the Language, Arts, and other Humanities disciplines. This helps writers properly credit the authors of the source materials, avoid plagiarism, and ensure consistency of style across the document.

While the MLA style is usually associated with citations, it also addresses the overall formatting of the text. Maintaining stylistic consistency adds clarity and credibility to a text and highlights an author’s professionalism.

How to write MLA format papers

To create an exemplary MLA style essay, you need to follow rules established by the MLA Handbook which can be bought on the Association’s official website. However, the main requirements for formatting essays written by students can be found in open access.

Here, we will talk about the key formatting issues you will need to take into account if you aim to write a perfect MLA format essay.

Finishing your essay

It’s much more convenient to make changes to work that has already been completed. This way, you can edit the whole text at once without worrying about forgetting to adjust the format for the next portion of your writing.

MLA essay: general formatting rules

Before we dive into the particulars of the MLA standard, it’s important to focus on the overall formatting of your document. While the distance between your text margins and the edge of the document might not seem significant, it’s part of your essay presentation. You should always remember that how you present your paper impacts your grade as well.

Now, let’s look at the general formatting rules, like the MLA paragraph format, the MLA Handbook sets out for essays:

  • Margins . A margin is a distance between the text and the page edges. According to the MLA format, your text margins should be set to 1 inch from all sides. This way, if you have to print your essay, the text won’t be cropped in the process.
  • Font . There isn’t a hard requirement for fonts in the MLA handbook. The only thing you should remember is to choose a legible font with a distinct italics style like Times New Roman or Arial . Interestingly, Times New Roman is considered a better choice for texts printed on paper while Arial is a good font for reading off the screen. Make sure to set the size of the font to 12.
  • Spaces . Spaces help the readers better comprehend the text. For an MLA format paper, set your line spacing to 2 . Use it for the entire document, including the title and works cited pages.
  • Indents . Indents are important as they help to separate a text into paragraphs and improve the overall readability. In MLA style essays, always indent the first line of your paragraph by ½ of an inch .
  • Titles . The title of your essay should be positioned in the center of the page. Use the MLA Title Case to set it apart from the rest of the text. To do this, capitalize all principle words like nouns, verbs, pronouns, adverbs, adjectives, etc. If you struggle with this, you can use essay-generator Aithor to format your title in accordance with the MLA style.

These are the general rules you must follow to write MLA format essays.

MLA heading example

While the MLA format doesn’t require a separate title page, creating a heading is a must. Your work’s heading should include your full name, your professor’s or instructor’s name, the course name, and the due date of your essay. Each of these should start with a separate line and be aligned along the left margin of the text. After the heading is written, press Enter and write the title of your paper.

mla essay format title

MLA citation: example in essays

Writing proper citations is arguably the most difficult part of MLA format writing. Citations allow you to give credit to original authors and avoid plagiarism, so this part is essential.

When it comes to MLA citations, there are two separate sets of rules:

  • In-text citations . These are indicators you live in the body of your essay to show which part of the text is sourced from someone else. Place the citation within parentheses at the end of a sentence or paragraph. Use the author’s last name and the page number from where you took the information. If the source doesn’t have a page number (website, etc.) use the author's last name or the first significant word of the source entry.
  • “Works Cited” page . At the end of your document, add a new page titled “ Works Cited .” This is where you’re supposed to list all references used in your essay in alphabetical order . If an entry takes more than one line, each line after the first should be indented by ½ of an inch. Note that there are distinct rules for formatting different types of sources.

Books : author's last name, first name. Title of Book . Publisher, Publication Year.

Articles : author's last name, first name. "Title of Article." Title of Periodical , vol. #, no. #, Publication Year, page range.

Websites : author's last name, first name. "Title of Webpage." Title of Website , Publisher (if available), Publication Date (if available), URL.

If you remember these simple requirements, the issue of how to write MLA format papers will no longer be a problem for you.

Summary: MLA style essays

In this article, you learned how to write MLA format essays. If you still have trouble understanding the rules, use our essay generator Aithor. Aithor will help you properly format headings, titles, and even the list of citations. Save your time and energy with Aithor!

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Writing with MLA Style: 2023 Edition

The following essays were selected for the 2023 edition of Writing with MLA Style. The 2023 selection committee was composed of Ellen C. Carillo, University of Connecticut (chair); Rachel Ihara, Kingsborough Community College, City University of New York; and Tarshia L. Stanley, Wagner College.

Caroline Anderson (Pepperdine University)

“ L’Appel du Vide : Making Spaces for Sinful Exploration in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ”

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“Miles Apart: An Investigation into Dedicated Online Communities’ Impact on Cultural Bias”

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  1. MLA Titles

    MLA format for academic papers and essays Apply MLA format to your title page, header, and Works Cited page with our 3-minute video, template, and examples. 1607. Creating an MLA header Start with a header containing your name, instructor's name, course, and date, followed by the paper's title. 483.

  2. General Format

    In the case of a group project, list all names of the contributors, giving each name its own line in the header, followed by the remaining MLA header requirements as described below. Format the remainder of the page as requested by the instructor. In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, list your name, your instructor's name, the ...

  3. MLA Formatting and Style Guide

    MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

  4. MLA Style Guide, 8th & 9th Editions: Formatting Your MLA Paper

    Above is a template you can use every time you need to set-up a research paper using MLA style format. Simply open the template and type your own information every time you need to write an MLA style paper. ... create a title page instead of listing all authors in the header on page 1 of the essay. On the title page, list each student's full ...

  5. MLA 9 Formatting: Step-By-Step Guide + Free Template

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  6. MLA Style Center

    MLA Style Center, the only authorized Web site on MLA style, provides free resources on research, writing, and documentation. ... Sample Essays: Writing with MLA Style; Teaching. Submit a Resource; Teaching Resources; Ask The MLA; ... About MLA Handbook Plus; Formatting Your Research Project; Interactive Practice Template; MLA Handbook, 9th ...

  7. Using MLA Format

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  9. MLA Style

    The MLA Style Center offers free online resources on MLA style, including an interactive MLA format template, answers to common questions on Ask the MLA, advice from the MLA editors, and more. Get updates by signing up for The Source newsletter, and follow us on Twitter @MLAstyle. In This Section. About Us; Events;

  10. MLA Format: A Complete Guide with Examples

    MLA Title Page Format. The MLA format cover page is not an entirely separate page. It begins with a 1-inch margin, flush left with your name, your instructor's name, the course name or number, and the date typed on separate, double-spaced lines. ... MLA Format Essay Example. To see how all these formatting elements come together to make an MLA ...

  11. PDF Formatting a Research Paper

    Do not use a period after your title or after any heading in the paper (e.g., Works Cited). Begin your text on a new, double-spaced line after the title, indenting the first line of the paragraph half an inch from the left margin. Fig. 1. The top of the first page of a research paper.

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    Align the title so it sits in the center of the MLA format paper. The title should be written in standard lettering, without underlines, bold font, italicized font, or any quotation marks. ... Lists created using MLA essay format look different than a grocery list or any other type of vertical listing of items. Items in a list are included in ...

  13. Creating an MLA title page

    Formatting title page. MLA style does not have any specific guidelines for formatting a title page. However, you can use the below suggestions to format your title page if you are required to create one for your paper. Page margins. All margins (top, bottom, left, and right) should be set at 1 inch. Font. The font should be clear and easy to read.

  14. How to Write a MLA Format Essays: Your Guide From Start to Finish

    Use the MLA Title Case to set it apart from the rest of the text. To do this, capitalize all principle words like nouns, verbs, pronouns, adverbs, adjectives, etc. If you struggle with this, you can use essay-generator Aithor to format your title in accordance with the MLA style. These are the general rules you must follow to write MLA format ...

  15. Sample Essays: Writing with MLA Style

    Congratulations to the students whose essays were selected for the 2023 edition of Writing with MLA Style! Essays were selected as examples of excellent student writing that use MLA style for citing sources. Essays have been lightly edited. If your institution subscribes to MLA Handbook Plus, you can access annotated versions of the essays selected …

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  17. MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics

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    Cite a book automatically in MLA. The 8 th edition of the MLA handbook highlights principles over prescriptive practices. Essentially, a writer will need to take note of primary elements in every source, such as author, title, etc. and then assort them in a general format. Thus, by using this methodology, a writer will be able to cite any ...

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