MLA Format for Academic Papers and Essays

The Modern Language Association (MLA) format is a writing style that is generally used in English courses as well as humanities courses. If you are to write a paper or an essay in MLA format, there exist some formatting rules and guidelines that your paper or essay must follow.

This article is written to illustrate the basic formatting guidelines you would need to follow when writing an MLA paper or essay.

The General Formatting Guideline of MLA Papers

  • Font: any readable font most preferably Times New Roman
  • Font size: 12 pts
  • Margin: 1-inch page margin
  • Line spacing: all the text should have a double line spacing
  • Paragraph indentation: each new paragraph should have a half an inch indent
  • All headings but be written in title case
  • There should be no extra space been the paragraphs, between entries in the works cited list and after the title
  • A page header should be included in every page of your paper

Guidelines for Writing Academic Papers and Essays in MLA Formats

Academic papers and essays in MLA format should have the following

pointing handTitle page

The title page is not compulsory for an MLA paper or essay, as all the important information is usually kept on the first page. However, your instructor can request for one. if you are to have a title page the following are the necessary information to be included in this particular order

  • The paper’s title written in title case
  • The author’s full name
  • The information about the course such as name and number
  • The full name of the instructor or professor
  • The submission or the due date of the paper

For example

The Concentration Of Deadly Pollutant Along The River Basin


Jack Mcclain


Geography 1089

Dr. Calvin James

04 April 2020

pointing handFirst page

When you are not required to have a title page, the information required for the title page is included on the first page with the inclusion of the page header located at the top right corner. The information that should be included on the first page before the text should be:

  • The author’s full name
  • The information about the course such as name and number
  • The full name of the instructor or professor
  • The date of submission or due date
  • The paper’s title written in title case

Note all this information except the title of the paper should be flushed to the right, while the title of the paper should be centered.

The page header should be:

  • A combination of the author’s last name and the number of the page
  • A half-inch away from the top of the page
  • Justified to the right
  • It does not include any punctuation mark or p. for page

For example

Mcclain 1

Jack Mcclain

Geography 1089

Dr. Calvin James

04 April 2020

The Concentration Of Deadly Pollutant Along The River Basin

MLA First Page

pointing handWorks cited page

The work cited page is typically found at the end of an MLA paper. It is a list that contains the citation of all the sources used in the paper. You are not expected to include sources that were only consulted. These are the guidelines to follow when creating your works cited page

  • It should begin on a new page at the end of the paper or essay
  • It should have a page header like the rest of the pages
  • The page should be titled “works cited page” and should be placed one inch from the top of the paper
  • The title should be centered and written in title case
  • All entry should be arranged in alphabetical order by author’s last name
  • All entries should be flushed to the left except if the citation entry is longer than a line. The subsequent lines should have a hanging indentation
  • Every in-text citation must have an entry in the work cited list

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