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MLA Style Basics
MLA style provides guidelines for writing, formatting, and documenting sources, and is most often used for English, literature, poetry and other related humanities disciplines.
Basics: Formatting paper and documenting sources
Your paper will be double-spaced throughout, with 1-inch margins, and will include a cover page, and a header with your last name and page number in the upper-right.
Your sources will be listed individually within the body of your paper as in-text (parenthetical) citations that direct your readers (aka, professors) to the full list of sources at the end of your paper -- the “Works Cited".
Excerpts of an essay demonstrating in-text citations and Work Cited:
*For more information, use the hanbook or online resources located to the right.
Note how the in-text citations include only the author's last name and page number of the source (or, if your source has no author, use the title, abbreviated and in quotes):
Be sure that your Works Cited section inlcudes all of the information to properly document each source and is properly formatted - double spaced and with hanging indent:
Detailed examples of common Works Cited entries:
- Book in print
Last name, first name. Book Title. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year. Medium of Publication.
- Article from journal in library databases
Last name, First name. “Article Title.” Journal Title Volume number.Issue number (Year): page numbers. Database name. Medium of Publication. Access date.
- Website page or article
Last name, First name. "Title of Page or Article Within a Website." Website name. Publisher or organization responsible for the website, Publication date/Last update. Medium of Publication. Access date. <URL>
*For free, online guides to formatting your paper in MLA style and correctly citing your sources, I highly recommend using the websites to the right!
Research Desk 716-829-7747
Modern Language Association Handbook
The MLA Handbook is published by the Modern Language Association and treats every aspect of research writing, from selecting a topic to submitting the completed paper, including simplified guidelines for citing all types of sources.
MLA Online Resources
I highly recommend the following websites for comprehensive formatting instructions, specific examples citing a wide variety of source types, and very helpful sample papers: