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MLA Style 9th Edition: Guidelines and Formatting

TIP: Be Careful Using Citation Builders

Citation builders are helpful tools, but sometimes they don’t get it completely right. 

Sometimes generated citations contain errors in punctuation, capitalization, and other things, even though the order of the elements of the citation may be correct. Citation builders found on the databases or from web services are not infallible. So be aware that you must check every citation generated through a citation builder to make sure it’s accurate.

Always double-check any MLA citation created by citation generators using the MLA Handbook or going to the MLA Style Center.

Video Tutorial - MLA Format in Word Online {Office 365}

Paper Formatting

Basic format for student papers in MLA 9th edition.

Overview:

  • 1-inch margins on each side

  • 12-pt legible font (Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri recommended)

  • Double-Spaced

  • Header is student's last name followed by page numbers in the upper right corner

  • No title page unless requested by your instructor

  • In upper left-hand corner of first page using double-spaced text list:

    • Your name

    • Instructor's name

    • The course code and title

    • Date (Day Month Year - 3 December 2022)

  • Write title of paper using Title Case (standard capitalization) and center the text of the title

  • Indent the first line of each paragraph one half-inch (.05) by using the "Tab" key

  • Works Cited page in alphabetical order by authors' last names, double-spaced, with a hanging indent.

  • Print on white 8.5/11" paper.

Pronouns: Singular pronoun "they/their" accepted.

  • Example: A person should enjoy their vacation.

Punctuation: One space after a period.

In text citations: Include the author name and the page number, with 2 authors, cite bothSources with 3 authors and more, cite first author and use "et al."

Example: (Todd and Peters 57) (Stevens et al.124)

Block Quotations: For quotations longer than four lines. Press enter to start the quotation on a new line. Press Tab to indent the entire quotation 1/2 inch from the left margin. Continue double spacing for the quotation. Do not use double quotation marks. Place your in-text citation at the end after the closing punctuation mark.

Formatting MLA Paper

Setting Up A Works Cited Page

Every item on the Works Cited page MUST be used and cited in text of your paper. All items should be listed in alphabetical order.

The words Works Cited should appear on the very top line, on a new page, at the end of your paper, with the alignment set to center. Include the one inch margins, last name, and page number header that you have for the rest of the paper.

All lines after Works Cited should be left aligned, only the title will be centered. The first line in each entry must be fully left aligned then every line after that should be indented by a half inch(0.5), known as the Hanging indent. Make sure that the entries are all double spaces. 

Work Cited Entry Core Elements:

  1. Author.
  2. Title of Source. (Book, chapter, article title, etc.)
  3. Title of container, (Book, periodical, journal, website, etc.)
  4. Other contributors, (Editors, translators, narrators, directors, etc.) 
  5. Version,
  6. Number,
  7. Publisher,
  8. Publication date,
  9. Location. (Page numbers, DOI, Permalink, or URL)

Each element should be followed by the corresponding punctuation mark as shown in the above list. 

List authors using last name first, followed by first name, then middle name or middle initials when possible. Do not list titles (Dr., Sir, Honorable) or degrees (PhD, MA, DDS) with the names. Do include suffixes (Jr. II, III),

Example of a citation: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be listed as "King, Martin Luther, Jr."

For multiple resources by the same author, list the entries in alphabetical order by title. You can use three hyphens in place of the authors name for every entry after the first.

Example: 

  • Putten, Katie. The Things We Hear...
  • ---. The Things We See...

Make sure the journal titles look exactly as they are written in the journal.

Capitalize all major words in journal titles.

Journal and Book titles are italicized. 

 

Sample Papers in MLA Style