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CIS Secondary Library: MLA Standards

MLA Formatting Guidelines

Page Format

  • One inch margins, top and bottom.
  • Readable font (e.g., Times New Roman) and standard size (e.g., 12 point font).
  • Text remains the same throughout with no variation other than italicizing.
  • Double-spaced throughout the paper (no extra space, no single spacing).
  • Indent the first word of each paragraph.
  • Use the running header (upper right hand corner) for your last name and page numbers.

Heading and Title

  • Heading in upper left corner of page one. Include your name, teacher's name, course title, and the date.
  • Title is centered (keep it very simple; no decorative, bold, underlined, or "fancy" fonts).
  • MLA research papers do not include a cover page, unless otherwise required by your teacher or in a particular assignment.

In-text Citations or Parenthetical References (MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 214-216)

  • Parenthetical citations are placed at the end of the sentence and inside the final punctuation (MLA Handbook 223). 
  • Parenthetical citations should not interfere with the readability of the paper. 
  • Parenthetical citations should be brief and simply identify the source.
  • Consult the samples and resources in the box to the right (MLA Samples & Guides). 

Works Cited

  • Works Cited begins on a separate page, immediately following the final page of the essay.
  • Works Cited title is centered at the top of the page (it is not lableled "Bibliography" or "References").
  • The first line of each citation is at the left margin, second and third lines are indented 1/2" (thus a "hanging" indent).
  • Alphabetical order for all entries (do not divide sources by type or genre).
  • Same font and formatting as the essay (size 12 font, Times/Times-New Roman, double-spaced).

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. New York: Modern Language Association, 2009. Print.

Annotated Bibliographies

MLA & APA Samples

MLA Samples & Guides

APA Samples & Guides