Writing and Speaking

What is MLA Format for an Essay? Format Your Paper Correctly

What is MLA Format for an Essay? Guidelines to Follow

MLA or Modern Language Association style specifies the rules for formatting research papers. This style also gives a clear system to writers for referencing their sources. They cite the sources through parenthetical citations, and the Works Cited pages. University students who are new to this style often wonder what is MLA format for an essay. They find it difficult to format their paper as per this style. Consequently, it diminishes the credibility of their work and renders it plagiarized. But there’s no need to worry now. In this article, you’ll find all the rules you need for formatting your essay in this manner.

What Is MLA Format for an Essay?

The MLA format is developed by the Modern Language Association organization. They did it to impart a uniform format for papers that researchers and students create in the literature and language fields. The MLA format facilitates easy reading of the essay. It gives clear rules on citing and submitting work that aligns with the MLA standards. The organization also launched the current 9th edition of its MLA Handbook in April 2021.

Guidelines for Preparing Your Paper in MLA Format

Follow these guidelines when formatting your essay in the MLA style. Stick to them from the beginning to save yourself from reformatting your paper later.

Page layout

These guidelines are for the overall page layout. Follow them carefully.

Use 1-inch margins on either side’s top or bottom.
The text of the paper should have double spacing.
Employ left-justified text. Don’t employ fully justified text.
Use the 12-point size of Times New Roman font.
Block quotes 1’’ should be indented.
Indent the first word of every para by half an inch.
Use a half-inch indent for every line after the first line of every source in the Works Cited list.
Number your pages in the top-right part of the header area of the page. Input your last name prior to every page number.
Number straight from your first text page to the end page (Works Cited).
Note that you don’t need to count pages after the text’s end.
Ask your professor if you can print two-sided.

Title and heading

To use the MLA format for essays, you must write headings and titles correctly. Follow these points.

The paper will not include a cover page until your teacher requests it.
In the upper-left part of the first page, input your name and teacher’s name, course title, block, and date.
Double-space and center your title.
Don’t bold or underline the title.
Before starting to write the text, give a double space.

Names and numbers

There are specific instructions for writing names and numbers. These include the following.

Always use full names for agencies and people when you write them for the first time. Use the acronym for agencies in parenthesis after the complete name.
The second time you can indicate people using their last name. You can also refer to agencies by their acronym.
Always write the spellings of numbers that you write in one or two words. Use numbers for others. Don’t begin a sentence with a number.

Parenthetical references

Students often question what is MLA format for an essay regarding parenthetical references. Here are the instructions you should follow.

You should place the in-text citation at the sentence’s end and in the final punctuation.
Use just the first word of the title in the parenthetical reference in case the work in the Works Cited is alphabetized by title.
The parenthetical reference will only have the page number if you have mentioned the author in the sentence.

Works Cited 

It is the final page of your essay in MLA format. To write it correctly, follow these points.

The Works Cited must start on a different page. This page follows the final page of your essay.
Type ‘Works Cited’ at the page’s top. Use 12-pt font of Times New Roman.
Use correct formatting. Alphabetize properly and use double space.
Use hanging indent. It means that the citation’s first line starts at the margin. The lines following it are indented.
If your source does not have any author, alphabetize by title in the authors.

Final Words

Now you know what is MLA format for an essay. Use the guidelines in this article and start formatting your work. But if you face any issues or have any doubts, connect with an expert essay writing service. The essay writers will format your essay exactly as per this style.


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