How to Write an Essay in MLA Format
MLA (Modern Language Association) format is a widely used referencing format for the Humanities discipline. In comparison to other referencing formats, MLA is a simpler and a more concise style. The set of guidelines on how to write an essay in MLA format will be discussed in the following paragraphs.
In MLA format, the paper margin is well-defined and should be one inch (1’’) on all four sides – top, bottom, left and right. The essay should be double spaced throughout the document (before and after the title, between the paragraphs including the heading).
While using Microsoft Word, the font should be in the below format:
- Font type - “Times New Roman”
- Font size - 12 Point
Header and Footer
In the upper right-corner of the header, your last name and page numbers should be inserted on every page. This should be kept one half-inch from the top. For example, it would look like ‘Smith 1’ on the first page, ‘Smith 2’ on the second page and so on.
While writing an essay, the title page is provided only upon the professor’s request. In the upper-left corner of the paper, the first line would be the ‘full name of the student’. Immediately below the name of the student would be the name of the professor. The third line would be the title of the course being pursued by the student. The last line would be the date of submission. To summarize, following is the sequence:
- Name of the student
- Professor’s name
- Course name
- Date of Submission
The title of the paper should be at the centre of the page and it should be double spaced between the date and title. It shouldn’t be underlined, made bold, italicized, and put in quotes. It should be put as the titles provided in books for example, “The Great Gatsby”.
The first line of each paragraph is indented. This allows the reader to quickly see where a new paragraph is starting.
Endnotes should be kept on a separate page and before the ‘Works Cited page (or) Bibliography’. These contain additional information which the readers may consult. The idea is to tell the reader about the exact page of the work cited in bibliography section from which the information has been taken. The format for providing it is the following:
Author’s Last name, First name. Title (Place of publication: Publisher, Year of publication), Page number.
Works Cited Page
Works cited page or Bibliography follows similar format as mentioned earlier - one-inch margins, last name and page number in the header. The first line of all citations should be at the left-corner and the next line should be indented to ˝. The basic format of the Works cited page is given as follows:
Author’s Last name, First name. Title. Place of publication: publisher, year of publication, medium of publication.
Below are important rules for writing down bibliography.
- Firstly, the author’s last name should be provided. If, in case, there are several authors to be cited, then they can be put in alphabetical order. If the author’s name is not known, the title name can be kept first. Capitalize each word in the title leaving prepositions (the, a) or conjunctions (and, or, but) except if they are present as the first word of the title.
- If there are several titles of a single author to be given on the Works cited page, then arrange the titles alphabetically by specifying the author’s name on the entry (first time) and use three hyphens wherever the author’s name is required later.
- It is important to know the sources referred in the work such as from where the publication is done, who is the publisher, the year in which publication is done, and medium of publication. Medium of publication could be through Print, Personal interview, Email, Television, Video, Web, CD, etc.