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July 10, 2013

How to Write an Essay in MLA Format

MLA, the paper formatting and referencing style, created by Modern Language Association of America is one of the most widely used for written assignments in humanities and the liberal arts. It is written “to tatters” by students and scholars specializing in literature and linguistics. If your tutor has given you the homework and you need to use MLA for its formatting, you may first feel at a loss. Do not know what to start with? Let us try to illuminate the things a bit.

According to Phyllis Franklin, the author of MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers: Sixth Edition, that is considered the “Bible” of the corresponding formatting style, originated over fifty years ago. This means that the style rules had been produced long before most of its users were born. Of course, there were not even a few modifications and updates in the MLA principles. As for the current moment you may use the following guidelines when writing an essay using MLA format.

Before you start creating the paper in standard MLA format, you need to ensure that your tutor has no special requirements concerning the particular aspects of MLA. Do consider their demands, disregarding the “rules” of MLA – your mark indeed depends on the tutor’s, not Modern Language Association’s, evaluation. The paper in MLA needs to be typed in 12 pt font (Times New Roman enjoys the widest popularity), on a standard A4 white paper with all margins of 1 inch. Be sure to adjust the document’s settings in Microsoft Word on your PC or Mac. The page numbering goes in the upper right-hand corner of your page. There should be no extra spacing between paragraphs. The first line of each new paragraph needs to be typed with one half-inch offset.

The upper left-hand corner of your essay should contain the following information: your full name, your instructor’s full name, the corresponding course number and the date. The next line should present your essay’s title (centered), followed by the essay text itself. Your professor may give you some contradicting instructions, so once again, be sure to follow them without failure in writing the essay.

The works cited in an MLA formatted paper is placed on a new page titled “Works Cited.” Unlike other formatting styles, MLA presents the fullest information regarding the sources used by you. You are to include the name of the books/articles/manuscripts. Provide the author, the book title, date of publication, publisher and place of publication. Every source type in MLA style has its own rules for formatting in the Works Cited section, so you may resort to the help of an online Bibliography Builder whenever there is a need to compose this part of an MLA essay.

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