MLA formatting is a set of rules and guidelines for styling your paper and citing your sources. If you need help setting up your paper in MLA style, the following documents can be downloaded and used as templates for your MLA-styled papers:

To meet MLA style requirements, follow these guidelines:

Formatting

  • 12 pt. font is used throughout the document, preferably Times New Roman. Other acceptable fonts must be clear and must have distinctions between standard and italicized text.
  • Entire document is double-spaced.
  • Margins are 1 inch on all sides.
  • Paragraphs in the body of the paper are indented 1/2 inch or one "tab" stop.
  • 1 space is used between sentences.

First Page & Header

  • There is no title page in an MLA document unless your instructor requires one. In this case, follow their directions.
  • All page headers have the writer's last name and the page number in the top right corner.
  • First page also requires, at the top left, double-spaced, and in order:
    • your full name
    • your instructor's name
    • your course title
    • the date submitted
  • Without skipping a line, the title of your paper should appear next, centered, in the same font as the rest of the document. Do not underline, bold, or italicize the title, but punctuate any mention of books or articles within your title appropriately (ex: A Marxist Analysis of Fight Club).

Sample First Page

Sample First Page

In-Text Citations

  • All in-text citations for direction quotations include...
    • the author’s last name (or title if no author)
    • the page number (or location) of the quotation.
  • All in-text citations for paraphrased information includes...
    • the author’s last name (or title if no author)
    • the page number (or location) where this information can be found.
  • All sources cited within the paper are also in the Works Cited.
  • All quotations less than four typed lines are enclosed in quotation marks. The in-text citation comes after the quoted material but before the ending sentence punctuation.
  • All quotations more than four typed lines are formatted as a block quote. They start on a new line with the entire quote indented a half an inch from the left margin—no quotation marks are needed. The in-text citation comes after the punctuation.

For more help with In-Text Citations, see our guide on MLA: Citing Within Your Paper.

Works Cited Page

  • The Works Cited starts on a new page.
  • The title, Works Cited, is centered, 1 inch from the top of the page. It is not bold or underlined.
  • Entries are listed in alphabetical order by author last name or, if there is no author, first letter in the title.
  • All sources listed in the Works Cited have at least one corresponding in-text citation within the body of the text.
  • Works Cited are double-spaced and each entry that requires a second line uses a hanging indent.
  • Titles of books, journals, and other long works that contain smaller parts are given in italics.
  • Titles of articles, chapters, and other short works that are sections of larger containers are given in “quotation marks.”
  • Titles are punctuated according to traditional capitalization practices, with each word capitalized other than minor words, such as articles.
  • Remove all hyperlinking (blue, underline) from your citations that have a URL. Make sure there are no periods at the end of your URLs.
  • Page numbers are given as a range (e.g., pp. 45-56), using p. or pp.
  • For electronic articles, state the DOI or URL of the source.

For more help with the Works Cited page, see our guide on MLA: Works Cited

Style

  • Numbers one through nine are spelled out. Any numbers above 10 are written using actual numbers. If a number is the first word of a sentence, it is always spelled out.
  • Limit the use of contractions (e.g., don't, can't, shouldn't), personal pronouns (e.g., I, me, my), and slang.
  • Limit the use of passive voice.
  • Limit the use of anthropomorphism .
  • Use italics only when appropriate.
  • Avoid biased language.
  • The serial comma is used for a series of three or more items.
  • Use present tense when discussing literature; use past tense when discussing events.