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MLA Formatting and Style Guide

General Guidelines

Type your paper on a computer on standard size 8.5 x 11-inch paper.

Double-space the text of your paper.

Use a legible font (e.g. Times New Roman). The font size should be 12 pt.

Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks.

Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides.

Indent the first line of paragraphs one half-inch from the left margin. MLA recommends that you
use the Tab key.
Create a header to number all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner (Lastname #)

Formatting the First Page of Your Paper

In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, list your name, your instructor's name, the course, and
the date. Again, be sure to use double-spaced text.
Double space again and center the title. Do not underline, italicize, or place your title in quotation
marks; write the title in Title Case (standard capitalization), not in all capital letters.
Double space between the title and the first line of the text. DO NOT ADD AN EXTRA LINE.
Create a header in the upper right-hand corner that includes your last name, followed by a space with
a page number; number all pages consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.),

Here is a sample of the first page of a paper in MLA style:

MLA In-Text Parenthetical Citation Guide

General Guidelines

Any source information that you provide in-text must correspond

to the source information on the Works Cited page. More
specifically, whatever signal word or phrase you provide to your
readers in the text, must be the first thing that appears on the
left-hand margin of the corresponding entry in the Works Cited
Do not include URLs, even in the body of your essay.
No commas between author and page number.
Only include page numbers if there are page numbers on the
original source (no page for websites or web articles)

Parenthetical citation when author is mentioned by the writer in the signal phrase:
Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry evoked a "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (263).

Parenthetical citation without authors name introduced by the writer:

Romantic poetry is characterized by the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (Wordsworth 263).

Summary or paraphrase:
Wordsworth extensively explored the role of emotion in the creative process (263).

Works with no page numbers (online sources):

Paragraph number (if given) with the abbreviation para. xx
He quickly learned that pandas were not considered good pets (Chan, para. 3).

Works with two - three authors:

Smith, Yang, and Moore argue that tougher gun control is not needed in the United States (76).
The authors state "Tighter gun control in the United States erodes Second Amendment rights" (Smith, Yang,
and Moore 76).

Works with more than three authors:

Adapted from Purdue University Online Writing Lab

For a source with, use the work's bibliographic information as a guide for your citation. Provide the first
author's last name followed by et al. or list all the last names.
Jones et al. counter Smith, Yang, and Moore's argument by noting that the current spike in gun violence in
America compels law makers to adjust gun laws (4).
Legal experts counter Smith, Yang, and Moore's argument by noting that the current spike in gun violence in
America compels law makers to adjust gun laws (Jones et al. 4).
Jones, Driscoll, Ackerson, and Bell counter Smith, Yang, and Moore's argument by noting that the current
spike in gun violence in America compels law makers to adjust gun laws (4).

Citing sources without an author:

If a work has no author, include the first few words of the bibliography entry (in many cases, the title).
According to the Department of Instruction, statistics confirm that the trend is rising (New Data).

Citing indirect sources:

Sometimes you may have to use an indirect source. An indirect source is a source cited in another source. For
such indirect quotations, use "qtd. in" to indicate the source you actually consulted. For example:
Ravitch argues that high schools are pressured to act as "social service centers, and they don't do that well" (qtd.
in Weisman 259).

Italicize the titles of periodicals, books, brochures or reports

The report includes some bleak results (Information Illiteracy in Academia).

Citing non-print or sources from the Internet:

For electronic and Internet sources, follow the following guidelines:

Include in the text the first item that appears in the Work Cited entry that corresponds to the citation
(e.g. author name, article name, website name, film name).
You do not need to give paragraph numbers or page numbers based on your Web browsers print
preview function.
Do not include URLs.

Adapted from Purdue University Online Writing Lab

Blending & Framing Quotes: Special Cases

Formatting Long Quotations (only to be used in rare cases)
For quotations that are more than four lines of prose or three lines of verse, place quotations in a freestanding block of text and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, with the entire quote
indented one inch from the left margin; maintain double-spacing. Your parenthetical citation should come
after the closing punctuation mark.
For example, when citing more than four lines of prose, use the following example:
Through the entire narration of the piece, personification encapsulates the style and tone to
capture the satiric view of humanity. Specifically, Nelly Dean treats Heathcliff poorly and
dehumanizes him throughout her narration:
They entirely refused to have it in bed with them, or even in their room, and I
had no more sense, so, I put it on the landing of the stairs, hoping it would be
gone on the morrow. By chance, or else attracted by hearing his voice, it crept
to Mr. Earnshaw's door, and there he found it on quitting his chamber.
Inquiries were made as to how it got there; I was obliged to confess, and in
recompense for my cowardice and inhumanity was sent out of the house.
(Bronte 78)

Skipping Text in the Middle of a Direct Quote

If you skip text, use an ellipsis () to indicate that there is text missing from your quote.
In response to the situation, Finally, Dr. Harlow makes an unusual requestWould Mrs. Gage allow her
sons body to be exhumeddug upfrom his grave? (Fleischman 56-57).

Clarifying Pronoun References or Increasing Natural Flow

When you must add words to a quotation in order to make the meaning clear to the audience, put
brackets around the words you have added.
Jan Harold Brunvand, in an essay on urban legends, states, "some individuals [who retell urban legends] make a
point of learning every rumor or tale" (78).

Adapted from Purdue University Online Writing Lab

MLA Works Cited Page Guidelines

Begin the Works Cited on a new page (i.e., if the last page of your essay is page 4, the Works Cited is page

Title Works Cited is not bolded, underlined, or italicized. It is centered.

Double space; do not skip a line between entries (the examples which follow may be single-spaced only
to save space on this handout).

List sources in alphabetical order by authors last name.

Hanging indent of .5 inch.

If no author is listed, begin with the main word of the article or book title (ignoring articles A, An, or

Do not include URLs (www..)

Every entry must state Medium of Publication most will be Print or Web, but other possibilities
may include Personal Interview, Lecture, DVD, CD-ROM

Place a period at the end of every entry, just like a sentence.

Here is a sample of a Works Cited page of a paper in MLA style:

Adapted from Purdue University Online Writing Lab

MLA Works Cited Entries Guidelines

Print Sources
Basic order of general entries for a written work:
Author. Article. Title of Book. City Published (first city if there is more than one): Publisher, Year of Publication.
(Page number(s)if work is one located within a larger work). The word Print.
Correct Citation
Gleick, James. Chaos: Making a New Science. New York: Penguin, 1987. Print.

Type of Citation
Book (one

Gillespie, Paula, and Neal Lerner. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring. Boston: Allyn, 2000.

Book (more than

one author)

Lastname, First name. "Title of Essay." Title of Collection. Ed. Editor's Name(s). City of
Publication: Publisher, Year. Page range of entry. Medium of Publication.

A Work in an
Anthology or

Harris, Muriel. "Talk to Me: Engaging Reluctant Writers." A Tutor's Guide: Helping Writers One to
One. Ed. Ben Rafoth. Portsmouth: Heinemann Press, 2000. 24-34. Print.

(The Language

Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Periodical Day Month Year: pages. Medium of publication.
Poniewozik, James. "TV Makes a Too-Close Call." Time 20 Nov. 2000: 70-71. Print.

Brubaker, Bill. "New Health Center Targets County's Uninsured Patients." Washington Post 24
May 2007: LZ01. Print.

of Composition)

Article in a

Article in a

Krugman, Andrew. "Fear of Eating." New York Times 21 May 2007 late ed.: A1. Print.
Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Journal Volume.Issue (Year): pages. Medium of publication.
Bagchi, Alaknanda. "Conflicting Nationalisms: The Voice of the Subaltern in Mahasweta Devi's
Bashai Tudu." Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature 15.1 (1996): 41-50. Print.
"Ideology." Oxford English Dictionary. 3rd ed. 1997. Print.
Smith, Jane. Personal interview. 19 May 2014.
Amis, Kingsley. Mimic and Moralist. Interviews with Britains Angry Young Men. By Dale Salwak.
San Bernardino: Borgo, 1984. Print.

Adapted from Purdue University Online Writing Lab

Article in a
Scholarly Journal

Oxford English

MLA Works Cited Entries Guidelines (continued)

Web Sources
Author. Article. Publication Title. Date of Publication. Web. Retrieval date.

Use n.p. if no publisher name is available and n.d. if no publishing date is given.
Type of Citation

Correct Citation
Editor, author, or compiler name (if available). Name of Site. Version number. Name of
institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource
creation (if available). Medium of publication. Date of access.

An Entire
Web Site

The Purdue OWL Family of Sites. The Writing Lab and OWL at Purdue and Purdue U, 2008. Web. 23
Apr. 2008.
"Athelete's Foot - Topic Overview." WebMD. WebMD, 25 September 2014. Web. 6 July 2015.
Lundman, Susan. "How to Make Vegetarian Chili." eHow. Demand Media, n.d. Web. 6 July 2015.
Green, Joshua. "The Rove Presidency." The Atlantic Monthly Group, Sept. 2007. Web.
15 May 2008.
Bernstein, Mark. "10 Tips on Writing the Living Web." A List Apart: For People Who Make Websites. A
List Apart Mag., 16 Aug. 2002. Web. 4 May 2009.

A Page on a Web

Article in an
Online Magazine

Achenbach, Joel. "America's River." Washington Post. Washington Post, 5 May 2002. Web. 20 July

Article in an

Wheelis, Mark. "Investigating Disease Outbreaks Under a Protocol to the Biological and Toxin
Weapons Convention." Emerging Infectious Diseases 6.6 (2000): 595-600. Web. 8 Feb. 2009.

Article in an
Online Scholarly

Junge, Wolfgang, and Nathan Nelson. Nature's Rotary Electromotors. Science 29 Apr. 2005: 642-44.
Science Online. Web. 5 Mar. 2009.
Langhamer, Claire. Love and Courtship in Mid-Twentieth-Century England. Historical Journal 50.1
(2007): 173-96. ProQuest. Web. 27 May 2009.
Personal Author or (if no personal author given) Government Issuing the Document. Agency or
Department. Title of Document. Place of Publication: Publication Office, Date of Publication.
Medium of publication [Web]. Date of Access.
United States. National Science and Technology Council. Committee on Environment and Natural
Resources. Scientific Assessment of the Effects of Global Change on the United States. Washington:
Natl. Science and Technology Council, May 2008. Web. 11 Sept. 2008.

Article from an
Online Database


Brown v. Board of Educ. 347 US 483-96. Supreme Court of the US. 1954. Supreme Court
Collection.Legal Information Inst., Cornell Law School, n.d. Web. 3 Aug. 2009.

Legal Source

"Title of Entry." Source Title. Date of publication. Database Publisher. Medium. Date Accessed.
"Ideology." Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Web. 30 Oct. 2012.

Oxford English

Adapted from Purdue University Online Writing Lab