MLA Essay Format

MLA essay format style provides specifications concerning guidelines and rules for formatting various academic written assignments and applying the English language in writing. MLA also provides authors with a system for referencing or citing their sources through parenthetical citation in all the types of their essays, as well as the Works Cited page.

The authors who accordingly follow MLA essay format also show their credibility by displaying accountability to their source materials. It should be stressed that the application of MLA style may protect authors from different accusations of plagiarism. Nowadays, according to plagiarism policy set by all the colleges and universities, each MLA format essay must be plagiarism free.

If your teacher or professor asks you to use MLA essay format, then to be on the safe side, you should consult The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th edn. is preferable). Scholars, researchers, as well as graduate and postgraduate students should also consult The MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (3rd edn.). They can be easily found in all the libraries, writing centers, bookstores, and on the website devoted to MLA citation format peculiarities.

Since many students ask us the question: “What is MLA format?”, we will try to answer it in a clear and understandable way.

The preparation of manuscripts and essays in MLA format is given in Chapter 4 of The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers and Chapter 4 of The MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing.

We have prepared some tips that will help you in writing any written assignment using MLA style.

How to Write an Essay in MLA Format: Key Guidelines

  • Type your essay on a computer and then print it out on standard, which is supposed to be white 8.5 x 11-inch paper.
  • Double-space your essay, and use a needed font (e.g. Arial or Times New Roman). According to MLA recommendations, the font size should be 12 pt.
  • Leave only one space after any punctuation marks.
  • Set the document margins to 1 inch on all the sides.
  • Indent the first line of each paragraph one half-inch from the left margin. It is recommended that you use the Tab key instead of pushing the Space Bar five times.
  • Write a header that numbers all the pages. It should be placed in the upper right-hand corner, one-half inch from the top. Sometimes the number on the first page can be omitted as per your teachers’ guidelines.
  • Use italics throughout the essay for titles of journals, books, films, etc.
  • In case there are some endnotes, they should be given on a separate page. It should precede the Works Cited page. It should be entitled Notes.

MLA Format for Essays: What Should Be Avoided or Done Accordingly

  • Avoid making a title page unless it is requested.
  • In the first page upper left-hand corner, you should indicate your name and surname, your teacher’s name and surname, the course, and finally, the date.
  • Double-space your text and then center the essay title. You should not italicize, underline, or place the essay title into quotation marks.
  • Italics or quotation marks should be used when you refer to other works in the essay.
  • Create an essay header in the upper right-hand corner. It should include your last name, followed by a page number. You should number all the pages with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc.).
  • You should strictly follow your teacher or professor’s MLA formatting requirements.

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