Formatting a Paper According to the MLA Handbook - 7th Edition (2009

Below are some basic guidelines for formatting a paper in MLA style.

General Guidelines 
• • • •
Type your paper on a computer and print it out on standard, white 8.5 x

11-inch paper, Double-space the text of your paper, and use a legible font like Times

Roman. The font size should be 12 pt. Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks (unless

otherwise instructed by your instructor). Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides. Indent the first

line of a paragraph one half-inch (five spaces or press tab once) from the left margin.

Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-

hand corner, one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your instructor may ask that you omit the number on your first page. Always follow your instructor's guidelines.)

Use italics throughout your paper for the titles of longer works and, only

when absolutely necessary, providing emphasis.

 Formatting the First Page of Your Paper 
• •
text. Do not make a title page for your paper unless specifically requested. 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

• • o o • •

Double space again and center the title. Don't underline your title or put it

in quotation marks; write the title in Title Case, not in all capital letters. Use quotation marks and italics when referring to other works in your title, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as Morality Play Human Weariness in "After Apple Picking" Double space between the title and the first line of the text. Create a header in the upper right-hand corner that includes your last

just as you would in your text, e.g.,

name, followed by a space with a page number; number all pages consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.), one-half inch from the top and flush with

the right margin. (Note: Your instructor or other readers may ask that you omit last name/page number header on your first page. Always follow their guidelines.) Here is a sample first page of an essay in MLA style:


MLA 2009 Citations: In-Text & Works Cited

 General Guidelines & Examples for In-Text Citations:
• • • •
Include the author's name with the page number in parentheses, e.g., (MacCannel 145) If there is no author, use one or two words of the title, e.g., ("Freedom" 69) If there are multiple works by one author, include a short title with the name, e.g., (Bloom, "Afro-American" 10) If there are multiple authors with the same last name, include the first initial, e.g., (C. Neubauer 120)

 Examples of Works Cited Citations:
Printed Book:

Carré, John. The Tailor of Panama. New York: Penguin Books, 1996. Print.

Printed Newspaper Article:

Pogue, David. "When Laptops Go Light." New York Times 26 Mar. 2009, natl. ed.: B1. Print.

Printed Magazine Article:

Biasio, Elisabeth. "Contemporary Ethiopian Painting in Traditional Style: From ChurchBased to Tourist Art." African Arts 42.1 (2009): 14-21. Print.

Online Book:

Ember, Melvin and Carol Ember, eds. Countries and Their Cultures. 2001. Virtual Reference Library. Gale. Web. 16 Dec. 2005.

Online Encyclopedia:

"De Kooning, Willem." Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2009. Web. 26 Mar. 2009.
Online Periodical Article: (i.e. Online Magazine, Newspaper or Journal Article) Online periodical articles include both the name of the website in italics and the website publisher. Note that some sites will have different names than their print formats, such as ones that include a domain name like .com or .org. If no publisher is listed, use N.p. to denote no publisher name given. Follow with date of publication, Web as medium of publication, and date of access.

Lubell, Sam. “Of the Sea and Air and Sky.” New York Times. New York Times, 26 Nov. 2008. Web. 1 Dec. 2008. Cohen, Elizabeth. “Five Ways to Avoid Germs While Traveling.” CNN, 27 Nov. 2008. Web. 28 Nov. 2008.
Online Database Scholarly Journal Article: Cite online journal articles from an online database as you would a print one. Provide the database name in italics. Library information is no longer required. List the medium of publication as Web and end with the date of access.

Berger, James D. and Helmut J. Schmidt. “Regulation of Macronuclear DNA Content in Paramecium Tetraurelia.” The Journal of Cell Biology 76.1 (1978): 116-126. EBSCOHost. Web. 20 Nov. 2008.

Include URL as supplementary information only when your reader probably cannot locate the source without it or when your professor requires it.

Eaves, Morris, Robert Essick, and Joseph Viscomi, eds. The William Blake Archive. Lib. of Cong., 26 Mar. 2009. Web. 30 Apr. 2009.
If URL is required, list it immediately following the date of access, surrounded by angle brackets:

Eaves, Morris, Robert Essick, and Joseph Vismi, eds. The William Blake Archive. Lib. of Con., 26 Mar. 2009. Web. 30 Apr. 2009. <>.


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