Overview of MLA essay format
While to content of your essay is most certainly the mostimportant thing that you should be focused on, academic writinghas much quite many rules and requirements regarding essayformatting. There are quite many styles of formatting out there,and usually your college professor or guide book is to determinewhich one you should use.
Among all, MLA essay format is the most commonly used one.Regardless of a widespread misconception, it is not only good forsolely liberal arts sciences, and is widely applied in all kindsof coursework writing. To learn how to write in MLA, read belowand take notes!
MLA stands for Modern Language Association, which objective is toimply a uniform style of writing, so that it is easy to read, toprocess, and to use in further research. That is why, MLA ismostly about making your essay look good on the paper andproviding a sufficient insight into all the sources andbibliography that you have used when writing it. First thingsfirst, your whole paper should be written in 12-point Times NewRoman and double-spaces. However, there should be no empty extraspaces between paragraphs, the title, or even the info that youare to place to the upper left corner. It is recommended to putone-inch margins from all four sides of the paper. To recap, letus go through the three main requirements of MLA formatting onemore time:
- 12pt Times New Roman with no expectations, including thetitle and the headings;
- One-inch margins on the top, bottom, on the left and on theright side of the paper;
- No extra space between paragraphs is needed.
While you might not have to follow each and every MLA rule, thethree listed above are the absolute key ones. Many professors donot accept papers if they are not formatted in accordance withthe very basic MLA requirements.
Title and heading in MLA
Keep in mind that the title page is not required in MLA format.Unless specifically asked by your professor, you can affordleaving the title page out. However, you still need to somehowindicate that the paper is yours and that it is written for thisspecific class. To do so, MLA style allocates you the top leftcorner of your first page to be a so-called heading. There, typein your full name, your professor's name, class name or code, andthe day of submission. Remember that the uniform MLA rules applyhere as well, thus all this information has to be written inTimes New Roman font 12 points and double-spaced.
The title of your essay should be placed right below yourheading. Same rules apply here. Do not italicize, underline, orbold the title. Also, do not put any space in between it and thefirst following paragraph. There is no requirement regarding thelength of the title, yet it is always better to keep it short andsweet. This was it also looks better on the page.
Another crucial part of any paper formatted in MLA is itsheadings. Using a Microsoft Word feature, insert a page number onthe upper right corner of your first page. Do not type it inmanually! Microsoft Word allows the information placed on thefirst page to repeat itself on all pages to follow, unlesscommanded otherwise. Aside from the number, type in your lastname right in front of it, as in “Doyle 1” for example. Beforesubmitting your paper, double-check that all your pages havenumbers at the upper right corner with your last name precedingit. Also, make sure that it is also in 12p Times New Roman font.
Body of the essay
MLA essay format does not imply any restrictions or suggestionsregarding the body structure of your essay. Here, your creativityflow is what counts. As long as your writing is clear, consistentand formatted accordingly, you are free to decide how to addressthe topic of your choice to the reader in the most efficient way.Make sure you do not fail to follow all the common sense writingrules. For example, MLA expects you to use quotation marks whenappropriate, use italics for book titles and publications, aswell as capitalizing every title. Keep in mind that you cannotboth italicize and put quotation marks as it is redundant andincorrect.
Now, the trickiest part of MLA essay format is the way itsbibliography is written. In fact, it is not quite correct toequal bibliography to MLA works cited, as they have a bit ofdifferent natures. Citation is usually what freaks out thestudents the most, but there is no need to worry - not only weare here to guide you through every step of the process, we alsooffer assistance in writing or editing it for you. Therefore, donot hesitate to contact us if you are still not sure whether youcan manage the MLA citation yourself.
The Works Cited page should be separate from the rest of youpaper, which is why it is advised to use Microsoft words pagebreak feature to ensure that the last page of your paper will notaccidentally slide down to the Works Cited further into editing.
Surprise-surprise, same MLA essay format rules apply in citationas well. However, here you are supposed to italicize the WorksCited phrase and align it to the center. Here, you are supposedto list all the sources of information used in your essay andalign them with in-text citations which we will talk about laterin the explanation. Whether you are directly quoting orparaphrasing, it is important to indicate the source lest youshould be accused of plagiarism.
The list of citations should be alphabetically ordered inaccordance with the last names of the authors. If there is noauthor of your source, alphabetize it according to the name ofthe work itself.
There are quite many rules regarding the citation of books,articles, web-articles, etc. Yet, you absolutely do not have toremember all of them. In fact, most sources (e.g. Google Scholar)are now equipped with features that provide you with citationsautomatically. This way, all you need to do is place the citationinto your Works Cited page and make sure they are in a correctorder.
Let us wrap it up by looking at the examples:
- Jackson, William. Correctional centers in Australia. Sydney:Voices of Today, 1999. Print.
- Blossom, Erica. The St. Kinnon Guide to Event Management, 4thedition. 309-45.
Given this pattern, we derived a list of things that you need toindicate in citation of a book:
- Author’s name, last name goes first. If there is more thanone author, only the first one will have his or her last namebefore his or her first name. The rest should have it in theordinary manner, e.g. Jackson, William and Vera Bennett;
- Title of the chapter or a specific part of it;
- Title of the book itself;
- Names of editors or translators, if there are any
- The number of book edition;
- City where the book was published, name of the publishinghouse and the year;
- Book database name if the book was downloaded or foundonline;
- Page numbers referring to the citation or the paraphrasedpart;
- Any additional information that might be important.
Now, when it comes to in-text citations, this is what you areexpected to do manually. No pressure! It is actually very easyonce you get a grasp of it.
In-text citations is a way of giving credit for a certain phraseor idea that you have learned from external sources. They aredirectly correlated with the Works Cited, but are cited withinthe text itself. If you cite someone, then mention their name orthe name of the work the citation is coming from, and then at theends of the sentence put the page number where you got it from inparentheses. If you are not citing, but rather paraphrasing,simply put both the author’s name and the page number inparenthesis at the end of the sentence. Once again, remember thatthe reason you are not indicating the work here is because youwill have to put a deeper insight into it in Works Cited. Hereare some examples of in-text citation in MLA:
- According to Jackson, “the direct correlation between the twocenters has become obvious since the late eighties” (277).
- Yet, one can argue that the key to success lies within meremanagement (Blossom, 109).
- While there is lots of literature on the topic, most of workshave a tendency to lean towards one-sided fetishism (Why BiasMatters, 316).
Truth is. MLA is not nearly as scary as it seems to be. Whilethere are many rules, they are easily fulfilled if you set themain requirements on default and then just follow one by one.Depending on your academic level, your teacher, professor, orsupervizor might be strict regarding MLA, or he or she may letyou afford write in a looser way. In any event, it will not hurtto know all the rules and to be able to apply them in practice.
However, if you still feel like it is too overwhelming, or if forany reason at all you do not have time to format your essay whichis what we are here for! Our service is available 24/7 so thatyou will never have to desperately hand in your paper withoutformatting it first.