Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
What is MLA
MLA style was created by the Modern Language Association of America. It is a set of rules for publications, including research papers.
There are two parts to MLA: In-text citations and the Works Cited list.
In MLA, you must "cite" sources that you have paraphrased, quoted or otherwise used to write your research paper. Cite your sources in two places:
- In the body of your paper where you add a brief in-text citation.
- In the Works Cited list at the end of your paper where you give more complete information for the source.
Commonly Used Terms
||The date you first look at a source. The access date is added to the end of citations for all websites except library databases.
||Details about one cited source.
||The process of acknowledging the sources of your information and ideas.
|| A brief note at the point where information is used from a source to indicate where the information came from. An in-text citation should always match more detailed information that is available in the Works Cited List.
|| Taking information that you have read and putting it into your own words.
||Taking, using, and passing off as your own, the ideas or words of another.
||The copying of words of text originally published elsewhere. Direct quotations generally appear in quotation marks and end with a citation.
|Works Cited List
||Contains details on ALL the sources cited in a text or essay, and supports your research and/or premise.
Formatting a paper in MLA
Below is a summary of the format for a paper that based on MLA.
- Margins - Use 1 inch margins on top, bottom and sides
- Font - 12 pt. readable font. Times New Roman is the standard here. If you would like to use a different one, you should probably ask your instructor.
- Spacing - The paper should be double spaced including quotations, notes and Works Cited page. You should INDENT the first line of every paragraph.
- Heading - 1 inch from the top flush with left margin. It should include your name, your instructor(s) name(s), the course number and the date. Each of these should be on a separate line.
- Running Head - There should be a running head at the top of each page that has your last name, a space and then the page number. An example is below:
- Works Cited Page - It appears at the end of the paper after the paper. It should be on a new page and have the running head
- Center the title "Works Cited" on inch from the top of the page
- The entries should be in alphabetical order.
- Double space between the title and the first entry
- Begin each entry flush with the left margin
- If the entry takes more than one line, indent the rest of the lines 1/2 inch from the left margin. This is called a Hanging Indent. An example of a the Works Cited page is below:
Please note: This is from the actual MLA guide. You can find a link directly to the guide HERE.
This is not original material. The images and the information are directly from the MLA. Here is the citation.
Used by permission of Seneca College Libraries
This guide is used/adapted with the permission of Seneca College Libraries. For information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: When copying this guide, please retain this box.