MLA Style Guide

The MLA style of writing is a common style used in humanities and liberal arts. The MLA citation guide gives writers an opportunity to create credibility for their pieces of writing through being accountable to the owners of materials referred to in writing the papers. It helps writers avoid plagiarism which occurs when a writer uses other writers’ materials without providing credit to them. The general rules for using the MLA style include: To begin with, the writing should be done on a standard paper – 8.5” by 11” paper, a margin of 1” should be left on all sides. Secondly, a legible font should be used in typing the paper – Times new roman font 12 is the most recommended.

Thirdly, only a single space should be left after all quotation marks including periods unless instructed otherwise by a professor. Fourthly, the first line of each line should be indented by half an inch from the left side, this is done simply by pressing the tab key once. Fourthly, there should a header preceding page numbers (Arabic numerals) for each page, the header should be similar in all pages and should preferably by the surname of the writer. The last general rule is that the MLA style encourages use of italics, for instance to provide emphasis or in the case of a longer work cited.

A feature that sets the MLA citation style apart from other styles of writing is the first page. The first page of the paper should be continuous with the body of the paper, there is no need for a title page unless otherwise stipulated by an instructor. In the upper left corner of the first page the writer should include his or her name, instructors name, name of course and date; the four elements should appear in that order and in a drop-down format. The elements should be separated by double line spacing. After the date the title of the paper should come in; it should be centered and written in standard capitalization – it should not be punctuated, italicized or underlined.

After the title, there should be a double space between the title and the first line of the paper. Another feature that should be observed when writing MLA style papers is the use of headings: level 1 headings (should be in bold and flushed left), level 2 headings (should be in italics and flushed left) level 3 headings (should be bold and centered), level 4 headings(in italics and centered) and level 5 headings (underlined and flushed left). In our samples page students can find a sample MLA paper, which is for guideline purposes only.

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