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MLA Citation Style

Page history last edited by Mrs. Train 10 years ago


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MLA stands for Modern Language Association.

The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers is currently in its 7thedition (as of 2012).


Subjects that usually use MLA style are:

(Please use whatever is specified by your teacher) 

  • English

  • Art and Drama

  • History

  • Languages


Formatting the Title Page

The title page contains the title of your paper, your name and date. The rules for formatting the first page in MLA are:

  • Set margins to 1” on all sides.

  • Create a Header in your word processing program that contains your surname (last name), 5 spaces and then the page number, starting with 1.

  • At the top left, type your name, teacher’s name, course and the date.

  • At the centre, type the title, capitalizing the main words.
    Do not underline, italicize or bold, unless they are underlined in the main text (like the name of a book).

  • Double space for the entire page.


Cite sources in the body of the paper:

  • Use in-text citations in parentheses (brackets) unless your teacher asks for footnotes (refer to appendix for information on Footnotes).

  • All in-text citations must be document on the Works Cited page at the end of the essay or project.

  • See MLA In-Text Citations for instructions on how to do this.

Formatting the Essay Pages

  • Set margins to 1” on all sides.

  • Use the same Header from the first page, updating the page number.

  • Indent each paragraph by 5 spaces.

  • Double-space and use 12-point font.

  • Indent long quotations by 5 spaces, with no quotation marks, and end with a period.


Formatting the Works Cited page 

  • This page is found at the end of the essay or project

  • Create a list of Works Cited on its own page.

  • The title is Works Cited.

Do not bold, italicize or underline the title.

  • List all sources in alphabetical order by authors’ last names (or by titles for works without authors).

  • Use a hanging indent of one tab or 5 spaces so that second (and subsequent) lines are indented.


Note about Including URL (web address) in your citation:

From the Purdue OWL site (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/08/)


MLA no longer requires the use of URLs in MLA citations. Because Web addresses are not static (i.e., they change often) and because documents sometimes appear in multiple places on the Web (e.g., on multiple databases), MLA explains that most readers can find electronic sources via title or author searches in Internet Search Engines.


For instructors or editors who still wish to require the use of URLs, MLA suggests that the URL appear in angle brackets after the date of access. Break URLs only after slashes.


Aristotle. Poetics. Trans. S. H. Butcher. The Internet Classics Archive. Web Atomic and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 13 Sept. 2007. Web. 4 Nov. 2008. ‹http://classics.mit.edu/›.


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