The MLA style was developed by the Association named as the "Modern Language Association". It is used as a medium to format their assignments by various researchers, scholars and students. The MLA style is adopted in various subjects including the language and literature subjects.
Guide for formatting the MLA essay-
- Page choice: The essay should be written on the white paper having the size 8.5*11". The use of off- white, colored ivory papers should be avoided. Take the printout of your essay on the standard size and high quality paper.
- Headings: The heading should be written on the top of the first page. The text on the cover page should be double spaced with the one inch margins. Also, it should be centered without any bold, italic and underlined content.
- Page numbers and running heads: The running head is positioned in the top right corner of the page. It should be one inch from the right margin and a half inch from the top margins. The page number should be mentioned in the top right header.
- Margins: The margins should be about one inch on each and every side. However, the only running head should be included within this one inch.
- Paragraph: The first word of each paragraph should be indented and should start after the one half inch from the left margin. Utilize the tab button to make a half inch gap in each paragraph. Each and every paragraph in the document should be double spaced.
- Quotations: The quotations are included in the assignment to prove or defend an argument or statement. The direct quotes should be scattered in the entire assignment to enhance your writing skills.
- Paraphrases: Paraphrases mean writing the work of some author in your own words in your assignment or essay. Now a day, the authors refer to summarize the writers in their own words, instead of quoting them. Despite of this modification, it is necessary to give credit to the author whose work you have referred in your assignment.
- Spacing: The MLA essay format requires the complete essay to be double spaced. In other words, the body of the essay, headings and reference page should be double spaced. It helps in making the essay attractive for the readers and encourages them to read the document.
- Abbreviations: The MLA format hardly requires the use of abbreviations in the document. They prefer to write the full words within the body of the essay to avoid any misunderstanding or confusion. There is a flow in the reading when the researchers use full words in their assignments,
- Font: There is no such specification on the type of font to be used in the document. However, the font should easy to read and clearly visible. Generally, New Times Roman and Arial fonts are used by the researchers in their work. The font size should be 14 for headings and 12 for text.
- Numbers: Sometimes, there is a frequent use of the page numbers to refer any table, graphs or figures. In such cases, write the numbers in numerals, instead of words. This will help in reducing the confusions among the readers.
- Punctuation: Punctuation plays an important role to the readers that help them to understand the document. Make use of commas in the places where the individuals need a pause. Also, when you are adding a quote in your essay or other assignment, do not forget to put the period in the parentheses.
- Tables, images and graphs: Photographs, graphs and tables provide help to the readers that help them to understand the assignment in an easy way. The images should be included in the assignment if they are of high quality. In additions, the tables and graphs should be prepared in a way that a layout can also understand its meaning.
- Lists: Proper rules have to be followed while creating the list in your assignment. It is desirable to add items in the list in horizontal order, instead of vertical order. While writing the list, do not forget to insert a colon between the list and introductory sentence.
- Citation: As per the MLA format, the list of citation has to be included in the last page of the assignment, essay or research paper. Each entry in the citation list should be in alphabetical order and the complete list should be double spaced.
- Binding: If the professor does not give any instructions regarding the submission of the hard copies, just sample the document in the top left corner. You can also make use of the binder or paper clips to bind the document. Avoid using the plastic holders for the binding purpose.
Changes that have taken place in MLA format in 2019:
- Now, there is only one typical citation format that is used for writing the MLA essays and thus, there is no need to locate the citation format for mentioning the source.
- Earlier, there is no need of using the URL in your essay. But now, you have to insert the URL instead of using 'https//', wherever possible.
- In the new format, there is no need to mention the name of the publisher of the book, journal or any published work.
- Before the new format was introduced, use of pseudonyms was not possible. But now, the authors can use their fictional names instead of their real names.
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