how to put an essay in mla format

how to put an essay in mla format

A Comprehensive Guide to Formatting Essays in MLA Style

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1. Introduction to MLA Formatting

The MLA style should be in Times New Roman, size 12, double spaced, and 1-inch margins from all corners of the page. It can be easily formatted by using Microsoft Word and the tools available. To enhance the scholarly spectacle of the paper, a writer may include essential elements such as a header, in-text citations, a title, endnotes, and a separate page for all the information used during the research phase. No matter how important it is, when writing an academic paper, do not, I emphasize, do not forget to respect authority along with the guidelines and requirements set forth by your professor when using the Modern Language Association style.

MLA formatting is a general format that provides guidelines for various specific aspects of document preparation, including working with quotations, structuring of page roles, and the use of language. The outlined principles guide formatting and, keeping paper organization in consideration, guide stylistic needs, which are based on the character of the reader with whom you are individualizing your work. In this guide, the process of completing a typical academic essay is explained so that you can become an expert at MLA formatting.

2. General Guidelines for MLA Style

Now that we have our paper formatted this way, you may think that if we just start typing our paper we will be finished. This type of paper requires a works cited page which is not considered part of the paper. This page should be labeled “Works Cited” at the top of the page, centered. It has the same one-inch margin around the paper as specified for the paper, but the additional requirement is that the entries must be in alphabetical order. Each entry of the works cited page should be double-spaced. The extra line after the last entry should not be double-spaced. The particular format of your cited entries is not because your instructor is mean but rather to help you as a student to learn the organization or format of citing different types of works. Each entry has practically the same format. The entry starts on the left margin in front of one inch.

You want to put your last name and the page number in the right-hand corner, but one-half inch from the top of your paper and one inch from the edge of your paper. Then we have to have a one-inch margin around your paper. So we go to the Page Layout tab in Microsoft Word 2007 and set each of the four margins to one inch. The font has to be set to Times New Roman and the font size has to be set to twelve. Then click on OK. Now, click on the format button and under Make it Look As you Like set the line spacing to double. Now, click the OK button.

3. Formatting the Title Page and Header

The title page is a separate page that should contain the essay title, the names of the author, their class, and the date. These parts are all placed on one line. You must align this information to the center and use double spacing and Times New Roman, 12 pt. Below this information write the title. Then go to the latest duration and then to the first page. It is also recommended to ask your teacher for a title page, as different teachers have different formats. The header must contain the author’s last name and the following page number. In the very corner, set this to the margin 1 inch from the top margin. Do not type “p.” and the number. The number of each page will automatically show up in the top margin in the right hand corner. Align this information to the right.

When you write an essay in college/university, you should adhere to the style demanded by your professor. Here are the main requirements to follow. MLA style is mostly used in humanities, as it may be implied by its name – Modern Language Association. Such examples are the majority of books or journals. Requirements to this writing style may include the style of the title, the length of the text, and citations. Needless to say that the majority of teachers pay quite a lot of attention to the writing in MLA style. Your essay will be better if you use quotes from people or books that are related to the topic. If your essay is devoted to history, your quotations will avail your point of view. In essays, especially, the citation is not just a quote from the text – it is a fragment of the text. In essays or research papers, every writer should remain attentive to the documentation format because it will make the academic paper look more professional.

4. In-Text Citations and Works Cited Page

Works Cited page: The “Works Cited” page is a bibliographic list of references used in the essay. Encompassing all the publications you may have read in preparation of your work, it can be confusing deciding which to list. Since you will be using only a portion of these references, the selection is very important. Any source within the essay that you did not create must be included in your Works Cited. Any information you gained from them must be identified; the Works Cited page is simply a list of sources you used. This can include books, electronic or online sources, periodicals, and dissertations. Internet sources are quite popular, especially when the professor prefers a particular species of information. You need to scrutinize these sources carefully. To clarify references, provide a full and detailed description for each item on the list. Each entry should be referred to in the text and also explained to your reader in corresponding detail.

In-text citations: When you quote, summarize, or paraphrase within your essay from another source, you must cite the source to avoid plagiarism. Such passages should be noted by putting the quoted or paraphrased material in quotation marks and providing the author’s last name and the page number in parentheses after it. If the author is mentioned in a signal phrase, then only the page number is required in the citation. For electronic or internet sources, you should include page numbers if they are available. This will help your reader locate the exact source from which you derived the quote, utterance, or idea. Failing to offer such information would essentially force anyone who might wish to challenge your position to read through all your sources just to discover which references you made to a particular source. The first sight of the source should lead the reader to the source easily. Therefore, the origin must be easily found.

5. Common Errors to Avoid in MLA Formatting

Secondly, it is important to differentiate how to accurately format displayed quotes and direct quotes when using MLA standards. In the case that the quote is longer than four lines of verse or two lines of text, it should be formatted in a separate block of text one-inch away from the margin and double-spaced as a new paragraph. If the quote is only a few lines long, the student should place it in a new sentence with a capitalized letter to introduce the beginning of the quote, but no comma.

Firstly, it is common to italicize the title as it is written on a cover page. However, the student should remember that when the title is included in the body of the essay via an introduction or conclusion, only the first word should be capitalized and the title should be enclosed in round quotes. In typical practice, students fail to provide the title assuming that the reader is already familiar with the piece of work. However, if this is the case, the student should clarify that the title has been omitted.

The common errors that many students make in MLA formatting include punctuating the title, displaying quotations versus direct, and citing the text. This is why these tips will help you avoid these common errors to keep your essay formatted according to MLA standards.

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