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MLA stands for Modern Language Association. The MLA format is typically used when you need to cite liberal arts and humanities sources. You cite your resources when writing a paper.
There’s a specific style that you can follow while using the MLA format template. There are a lot of available resources online for you to use as a reference. Use these resources if you need to write a research paper template.
Or you can even download an MLA template here. Usually, this format would contain footnotes, in-text citations, and more.
The MLA format has specific guidelines for presenting the paper. When you write using this style, you always have to use the English language. An MLA format paper would also give you, as a writer, a system for referencing all your sources.
If you use this style of writing correctly, it will help in building your credibility. It shows accountability in terms of the sources you use for your paper. Following this style can also protect you from charges of plagiarism.
If you need to write an MLA style paper, you need to consult with the most recent MLA Handbook. This is the best possible reference for you to use when writing a paper. In this article, we’ll provide you with some guides to help you out while writing.
What is the MLA style?
Before you start writing an MLA essay format, you should first learn about the MLA style. This is a system for documenting all the sources you’ve used in scholarly writing. This writing style has been around for more than half a century.
It’s widely used in the educational setting. It’s also used by scholars, journalists, and other types of writers all over the world. Nowadays, writers publish their works using different types of formats.
These formats are being constantly updated and the MLA style is no different. The MLA format was last updated in 2016. It needed an update in order to keep up with all the challenges that writers and researchers today have to face.
This style has a specific set of universal guidelines which the writers need to apply when they use it. Writers have to cite all their resources. This is the core concept which surrounds the MLA style of writing.
The works they cite in the text also come with short parenthetical citations. These brief citations are also very important. The best resources to use when you need to write an MLA format paper are:
- The MLA Handbook
This handbook is now in its 8th edition. It’s suitable for writers with different levels. But the writers designed the guidelines with teaching students in their minds. The handbook gives an explanation of the principles behind citing sources. It gives instructions of the system of the MLA style.
It explains how to document sources correctly. It also includes guidelines for writing scholarly prose. Aside from this, the handbook also contains guidelines on academic dishonesty and plagiarism.
You will also see tips for evaluating your sources and creating entries in your “works cited” list.
- The MLA Style Center
This is a companion to the MLA Handbook. It’s the official website dedicated to the MLA style of writing. On it, you can get the chance to submit questions of your own.
You can share your insights about the MLA style. You can also view some sample research paper templates. Aside from this, you can also read the instructions on formatting MLA style papers.
It has teaching resources and some tools to help you create entries for your “works cited” list.
Parts and styling guide for making MLA format templates
If you need to follow an MLA essay format, you need to follow the guidelines for it. This writing style has a number of style rules which don’t change. To help you out, let’s take a look at the different parts of the format.
We will also go through some styling guides which will prove helpful as you write your paper:
- Body text
The body text should also be double-spaced. Align the body text to the left. Each time you have a new paragraph, you should start it with a half-an-inch indentation.
For the MLA style, the headers should contain your last name followed by the number of the page. You can find this header in the top-right corner of your pages. The placement of the header is half an inch from the top of the page.
Remembering all the headings can be quite challenging. This is because they include 4 different parts in order. You have to include your name and the name of your instructor on the heading.
Also, include the name of your course and the date. Even the date has a specific format – Day Month Year.
Your heading should also be double-spaced. Also, align it to the left side of the very first page.
When you use an MLA template, you should have 1-inch margins on all sides of your document. The paper size to use is the standard US letter size. Even if you’ll submit your paper online or digitally, you should still use this paper size.
When you type the text, you need to use 12pt font size and the Times New Roman font style. Your document should also be double-spaced.
You should place the title of your paper in the center of the page. You shouldn’t add any other formatting styles to the title.
- Block quotes
If your quotes exceed four lines, you have to block them. You should also double-space the block quotes but the indentation would be one inch.
You don’t need to use quotation marks for block quotes. That is unless you’re quoting dialogue.
These are some basic styling guides for you. Remember, there are rules for when you write an MLA format template. Now let’s discuss some formatting guidelines. These can help you understand the writing style better.
Formatting guidelines for making your MLA format template
Preparing an MLA format paper, you need to stick with the set formatting guidelines. If you don’t follow them, you won’t be able to come up with a correctly-constructed paper.
Aside from using the MLA Handbook, you can also download an MLA format template from here and work on it. But it’s still important to know the guidelines if you write the paper on your own.
Some general guidelines
- Your paper size should be 8.5 x 11-inches, the standard US letter paper size. Set your margins to 1-inch on all the sides of the document. When you print it out, make sure to use white paper.
- All the text on your paper should be double-spaced. You should also use the Times New Roman font or any legible font style.
When choosing a font, make sure that when you use the regular and italics styles, you’ll be able to recognize them. But for the font size, you should only use 12pt.
- Only leave a single space after any punctuation marks. That is unless your instructor says otherwise.
- When starting a paragraph, indent the very first line a half-inch from the margin on the left. To do this, it’s easier to use the Tab key. Do this instead of placing 5 spaces between the margin and the first word of the paragraph.
- On the upper right-hand corner of your pages, add a header. This header should number all the pages of your document consecutively. Place this header half-an-inch from the top of the page.
- If there are any titles of longer works in your document, use the italics style. But you should only do this to provide emphasis, only if necessary.
- Create a separate page for your endnotes if any and entitle it “Notes.” Place this page right before your Works Cited page.
- Follow all these general guidelines unless your instructor says otherwise. This is especially true if you’re a student who needs to complete a paper for the course.
Formatting tips for the first page of your MLA style paper
- Unless your instructor tells you to, you don’t need to make a title page.
- Type the heading in the upper left-hand corner of your first page. Make sure your text is double-spaced.
- Then type the title in the center of the page. Use standard capitalization for your title without any additional formatting styles. Also, don’t use all uppercase letters for your title.
- When you’re referring to other works, use the italics style. Either that or use quotation marks to emphasize them.
- Double space between your title and the very first line of your text.
- Create your header in the upper right-hand corner of your pages. Also, include the page numbers using Arabic numerals.
- To make your document more readable, you can use section headings. These sections may contain named parts of the essay or even individual chapters.
Essays and books
- You can also include essays in your paper. But when you divide it into sections, you need to numbers them using Arabic numbers. Then you end the section with a period, a space, and then the name of the section.
- When it comes to books, there’s no set system of headings. You can also format the text as you want. Just make sure to use a consistent formatting all throughout your document.
These are some general guidelines for you to follow. By now, you can start making your own template from scratch. But if you want to make things easier for you, you can simply download an MLA template from here.
When to use the MLA format
The MLA style is typically used for works that apply to liberal arts or humanities. You may be a writer or a student who focuses on these 2 areas.
If so, you might have to write different papers using the MLA guidelines. Usually, these disciplines would require this type of format:
- Literary criticism
- Foreign language and literature
- English studies in language and literature
- Cultural studies
- Comparative literary analysis
Of course, there are other areas and disciplines of writing which use MLA guidelines. Whether you’re a student or a professional writer, you may receive a task to write a paper with an MLA essay format.
In this case, you need to follow the MLA rules we discussed earlier.
There are specific types of papers which would involve research. In this case, you’d also have to document and cite all the resources you used. Here are the types of papers where you may need to use the MLA style:
When you have to write an argumentative paper, you need to do research a lot. Because of this, you may have to get your information from different resources.
After writing the paper, you also have to give credit to those sources to avoid any issues.
- Cause and effect
This is another type of paper which you can apply the MLA format too. When making a cause and effect paper, you should stick to believable facts.
So you have to do research and again, you need to document and cite them all in your paper.
When you write this type of paper, it would entail a lot of background information. In order to get all this information, you need to do research. Before wrapping up your paper, make sure you’ve included all your resources to give credit to them.
A literary paper is another type of essay you can write using the MLA style. This type of paper also requires a lot of research.
While you’re researching, you need to write down all your resources. Remember, you have to give credit to those who deserve it.
When you make a persuasive essay using the MLA style, you’ll build your case to support one side of an argument. Also, you can present the viewpoint of the opposite side.
This means that you need to present facts on both sides of the issue. To do this, you need to gather a lot of information. Again, you also need to cite your sources to follow the MLA style of writing.
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