Answered By: Berkeley College Library
Last Updated: Aug 26, 2020     Views: 2261

Please note: The following guidelines for formatting your paper in MLA style are based on the 8th edition of the MLA Style Guide. As new editions of the Guide are released, we will update this FAQ.

The following guidelines come from Purdue's The OWL.

General MLA Guidelines:

  • Type your paper on a computer and print it out on standard, white 8.5 x 11-inch paper.
  • Double-space the text of your paper, and use a legible font (e.g. Times New Roman). Whatever font you choose, MLA recommends that the regular and italics type styles contrast enough that they are recognizable one from another. The font size should be 12 pt.
  • Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks (unless otherwise instructed by your instructor).
  • Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Indent the first line of paragraphs one half-inch from the left margin. MLA recommends that you use the Tab key as opposed to pushing the Space Bar five times.
  • Use italics throughout your essay for the titles of longer works and, only when absolutely necessary, providing emphasis.
  • The last page of the paper is your Works Cited page. Entitle the page Works Cited (centered, not underlined nor bold). Double-space, go back to the left margin (left-justify), and start your list of references. They are double spaced, but use the "hanging indent" paragraph style, with the first line starting at the left margin, and all the other lines indented.

MLA Guidelines for the first page of your paper:

  • Do not make a title page for your paper unless specifically requested.
  • In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, list your name, your instructor's name, the course, and the date. Again, be sure to use double-spaced text.
  • Double-space again and center the title. Do not underline, italicize, or place your title in quotation marks; write the title in Title Case (standard capitalization), not in all capital letters.
  • Use quotation marks and/or italics when referring to other works in your title, just as you would in your text: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as Morality Play; Human Weariness in "After Apple Picking"
  • Double-space between the title and the first line of the text.
  • Create a header in the upper right-hand corner that includes your last name, followed by a space with a page number; number all pages consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.), one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your instructor or other readers may ask that you omit last name/page number header on your first page. Always follow instructor guidelines.)

Russell, Tony, et al. "MLA General Format." The Purdue Owl. Purdue U Writing Lab, 11 Aug. 2016. 

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