If you are a student, you are sure to get numerous written assignments to be completed. Essays are a common type of tasks assigned by college and university professors. They serve to assess the learners’ writing skills as well as their ability to research, analyze, or critique an issue in question. However, in addition to that, a student should demonstrate the familiarity and adherence to academic standards of structuring and formatting such written assignments.
What Is Formatting?
Formatting concerns the overall appearance of a paper or essay. It touches upon page size, font style, margins, spacing, running heads, title pages, lists of references, in-text citations, etc. The main challenge is that there are several formatting styles that may be required in the academia, and each of them has its own standards and requirements. However, it is not a big trouble if you have good tips at hand.
One of the most widely used formatting styles is MLA (Modern Language Association). It is primarily applied in Humanities. Thus, if you are to write a paper in Languages, Literatures, Cultural Studies, or relative disciplines, you are sure to format it in accordance with MLA style requirements.
So, if you are a student who was assigned to write an essay in one of those subjects, you would probably need some guidance on how to arrange your writing properly. Our custom research paper writing service is glad to offer our invaluable assistance in a form of useful tips on how to write an MLA essay.
General formatting standards are pretty much the same in all the formatting styles. Here are the most important ones:
- The page size should be 11×8.5 inches.
- The margins should be 1 inch on all the four sides.
- Font used is Times New Roman, 12 points. Remember that it must be strictly black; no shades of grey are admissible.
- Double-spacing must be applied throughout the entire document.
- Only one space is used between the sentences within a paragraph.
- Extra intervals between the paragraphs must be removed.
- The first line of every paragraph must be indented 1.5 inches from the left margin. Tab key is traditionally used for these purposes. Never use multiple spaces to indent the lines.
MLA formatting style does not presuppose any separate cover page. Instead, you should simply provide the head of your paper in the upper left corner of the first page. Type your name, your professor’s name, course name and number, and due date. Each element should appear on a new line flush left. The title of the paper and its body come on the next line after the date, with no extra spaces or intervals between them.
The headers in MLA papers are very simple. They should only contain your surname and a page number separated with one space and located in the upper right corner of every page. All the pages must be numbered consecutively starting with number 1.
Title and Headings
The title of your paper must appear on the next line after the date in the paper head. It should be centered and typed in uppercase and lowercase letters, which means that all the main words of your title must start with a capital letter. Articles, particles, conjunctions, and prepositions are never capitalized in titles or headings. The title must not be bolded, italicized, or underlined.
If your paper is divided into sections, each of them must have a heading or a subheading (in case of further division). First-level headings (for the main sections) must be flush-left, bolded, and title-cased. The first line of the first paragraph in such a section should also start flush left. In all the subsequent paragraphs of the section, the first line must be indented 1.5 inches from the left margin. Second-level headings (for subsections) must be flush-left, italicized, title-cased, and with a period at the end. The paragraph must start right after the period. MLA offers subheadings up to the fifth level, but they are very seldom used.
Every time you present an idea borrowed from another source, you are obliged to give credit to the author of this idea, providing an in-text citation and referencing it to the source you used. In MLA format, author-page style of in-text citations is used. Such citations require you to indicate the author’s surname and the number of the exact page that contains the used idea. Both surname and number are provided in parentheses at the end of the sentence. No comma is put between them. If the author is mentioned in the text, only the page number in parentheses must be put at the end of the sentence (not near the surname).
Works Cited Page
The list of all the sources cited in the body of your paper must appear at the end on a new page titled “Works Cited”. The title must be centered, title-cased, and not bolded, italicized, or underlined.
Each entry must have a hanging indentation. It means that the first line must be flush left while the rest of them must be indented 1.5 inches. The list must be alphabetized by the author’s surname.
The main bibliographic details to be provided in the entries include the author’s name, the title of the source, the name of the publisher, and publication date. Although other details may be required depending on the type of source (book, chapter from the book, periodical, website, etc.), these are the main elements that should not be neglected.
In the End
When the essay is ready, do not forget to proofread it attentively and thoroughly. Remember to pay attention not only to your grammar, style, and punctuation. Check all the formatting markers as well. With our easy tips on how to write an MLA essay, you should not have much trouble formatting your papers.