MLA Format: Everything You Need to Know About It

As a student, you will come across the letters MLA at some point. Specifically, when you get assigned to write a research paper. Such a document requires MLA work cited and other specific formatting features.

MLA is simply a set of citation and formatting guidelines. These guidelines will tell you how your research paper should look when it’s done. While MLA has a lot of rules, you can follow these easily. The key is to familiarize yourself with the rules so you can follow them.


What is the MLA format?

The Modern Language Association is an organization responsible for developing the MLA format. The main reason why they developed it was as a means for students, scholars, and researchers in language and literature fields to format their academic papers uniformly. A consistent or uniform method when developing an assignment or paper allows for easier reading. Today, we use the MLA format not just in language and literature subjects but in other fields too.

Order a paper with proper formatting

When following the MLA format, you should know how to cite online sources in APA or MLA. Rather than doing this manually, you can use a free citation generator. There are many of these online. I used to cite my source for me when I was a student. Doing this is much easier. You just input the details, and the generator will automatically format the citations correctly. This is one less thing to worry about when writing research papers and other academic works. 

General guidelines

There are certain general MLA formatting guidelines to follow. Type the document using double-spaced, with a font size of 12 pt. The standard font to use is Times New Roman. Avoid or limit italicizing or bolding text. Use italics for book titles and longer works.

There must only be one space after all punctuation marks. Modern word processing software already accounts for the space after punctuation marks. Therefore, adding two spaces is inaccurate and antiquated. One-inch margins are the standard for this format. When writing an essay or some type of researched content with a title, the title must be original and centered but not bolded. 

If the title includes the title of an article or book, format the titles as needed. Use the title case for the title. No need to capitalize every word. Indent all of the paragraphs one-half inches from the left. Use the Tab button to indent instead of the space bar. Include a header, the name of the author, and the page number at the top.

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Spacing, formatting, and numbers

When spacing and formatting a paper, follow a proper MLA citation example. Double-space throughout the whole body of text, including the works cited. Justify the text to give the right margin a ragged edge. Indent each new paragraph by pressing the tab button. Follow the standard rules of punctuation for periods and commas. When using numbers, there are also a few rules to follow.

For one, if you can express the number using a couple of words, do it. But if the number would need an entire sentence, it’s better to use Arabic numerals. Writing the number in words takes longer. Doing this is also more prone to mistakes, and for the reader, reading it is more difficult.

Works cited

The MLA format of works cited requires you to include citations on a separate page. Add this to the end of the research paper. If you know how to cite a book, doing this for papers is very similar. List all of the sources referenced alphabetically. Don’t include sources that weren’t cited unless in a bibliography assignment that’s MLA-annotated. Aside from this, there are more rules to follow.

Add the title “Works Cited” in the middle of the page at the top. After the title, leave 1 space, then start listing the MLA references. For references that are longer than 1 line, indent each line after the first line by 1/2 inch. Double-space all references along with the rest of the content.


If you’re new at writing research papers, you may find it overwhelming and intimidating. This is especially true when you’re setting everything up. But using the MLA format is easy. All you have to do is to break down your paper into the basics. Doing this makes the paper easier to digest. Armed with the right MLA formatting knowledge fully prepares you to set up research papers with ease. Know the guidelines first before starting.

Author’s Bio – Joel Strachan believes that without a passion for helping others, you really cannot succeed as an academic writer, no matter how great your skills are. With this idea in his mind, he takes up every academic assignment as something that can help students earn high grades if he does his best on it. He researches deeply to ensure that his work is of high quality and unique.

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