How to Style Essays Using MLA Format
What is MLA format? It is one of the most commonly used academic style guides. This format was developed by the Modern Language Association, which is exactly what the abbreviation MLA stands for. This format is mostly used by students in the humanities – literature, liberal arts, language, and other disciplines.
When writing an MLA format essay or other paper, students are required to follow specific style requirements. In this article, we are going to give you an exhaustive insight into the core MLA style guidelines, based on the format’s 8th edition published in 2016.
General MLA Format Guidelines
An MLA format follows the listed rules:
- Preferred font: Times New Roman
- Font size: 12pt
- Page margins: 1 inch
- Line spacing: double
- New paragraph indents: ½ inch
- Headings: title case capitalization
In the next section, you will get to know how to create an MLA format heading, which appears at the top of your writing assignment. Before using the instruction, ask if your professor prefers a certain way to format an MLA heading.
Title Page, Headings, and Subheadings
It is worth noting that MLA format does not imply the use of a title page. Generally, students are not prohibited to add a title page to papers written in MLA style, yet there is no official guide on how to format this page according to MLA rules.
A header in MLA format can be either placed on the title page (if you decide to include one), or you can add it at the top of the first page of your work.
Here are the 4 main components that have to be included in a header:
- Student’s full name
- Instructor’s name
- Name of the class, course, or section number
- The project’s deadline
All four elements have to be placed in this exact order with double line spacing and one-inch margins from all sides of the page.
The last line of the header (assignment’s due date) should be followed by the assignment’s name, unless you are creating a title page – in this case, you will start your project on the next page. The work’s title should be centered and does not need to be put in bold, italicized, underlined, or placed in quotation marks.
Basic Text Formatting Requirements in MLA Format
Running Head & Page Numbers
A running head is a short heading located at the top of every page in the right corner. This heading consists of the author’s last name and the page number—following it after a space.
Here are some of the general rules applied to the running head and page numbers:
- This information should be placed in the top right corner on each page of your work.
- The running head only includes the last name of the student, followed by the page number.
- Do not place the abbreviation p. (for page) before MLA page numbers.
- The running head is located one inch from the page’s right margin and half an inch from the top margin.
The standard MLA margins are one inch. Every page of your work should have one-inch margins from all sides. The only item that should be seen in the one-inch margin is the running head.
The first word of every new paragraph should have a one half-inch indent from the left margin. All paragraphs need to have double spacing. The standard space between the left margin and the start of your text is one-half inch. To set it, you can use the “tab” button.
Throughout the whole paper, use standard double MLA spacing.
Font and Font Size
The MLA format guide suggests using the Times New Roman font in 12pt size. Although Times New Roman is a recommended font, students are allowed to use other standard fonts.