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Citing Sources: MLA Format

This guide indicates the appropriate form for layout, in-text citations, and bibliography for MLA, APA, and Chicago formatted papers.

MLA Handbook, 7th edition

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This LibGuide is based on the MLA Citations LibGuide created by Montgomery College Libraries. The content and format are used with permission.

The MLA Formatting Style Guide by OWL at  Purdue was also used with permission.

Why do we use MLA formatting?

This guide is based on the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook. MLA stands for the Modern Language Association, which is the association that regulates the rules and use of this formatting style.

MLA formatting is often used in English and History and other humanities or arts classes at university. It is the most common citation style used in high schools.  This guide will review the general format of an research paper, in-text citations, and the Works Cited page. 

Teachers ask students format their papers in the same style so both the writer and reader are not distracted by style choices a student may make. The consistency allows the teacher to focus on the student's work and not on the look of the paper. 

Teachers may adapt these guidelines for their own purposes. Always follow your teacher's requirements.

General Formatting Guidelines

General format

  • All papers are typed on letter-sized paper (8 1/2 x 11)
  • Double-space everything
  • Use 12 pt. Times New Roman font (preferred font and font size)
  • Leave only one space after punctuation 
  • Set all margins to 1 inch on all sides (2.54 cm.) - "Normal" margins
  • Indent the first line of paragraphs one half-inch
  • Remove extra spaces between paragraphs​
  • do not use any contractions (which means that you will NEVER use it’s or that's in an essay/research project)
  • use Canadian/British spelling of words  (i.e. neighbour and NOT neighbor).
  • titles in text follow the same rules as they appear in the bibliography/works cited
    • Use italics throughout your essay for the titles of longer works referred to in your paper (books, websites, movies)
    • Use quotation marks when referring to titles of shorter works in your paper (articles, webpages, short stories)
  • in a formal essay, never write in the first person (me, I, my)

First page:

  •  In the upper left corner of the 1st page list:
    • list your full name
    • instructor's name, 
    • title of course
    • full date (that you are handing in the paper) 
  • Center the paper title (use standard capitalization but no underlining, italics, quotation marks, or bold) 
  • Create a header in the upper right corner 
    • include your last name
    • page number

From: The MLA Style Center (2016).


MLA Checklist - Quick Guide for Printing

For more information on MLA from OWL at Purdue

OWL at Putdue so one of the best sources of information on citing. Please review the following material if more information is required.

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