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Stovall/Farrow/McMurray - Jr. Theme: Citation Help

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MLA Help

MLA Formatting Checklist

Papers written in MLA style should be formatted as follows:

The following guidelines are consistent with advice given in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed. (New York: MLA, 2009), and with typical requirements for student papers.

  • Materials and font Use good-quality 8½″ × 11″ white paper. Avoid a font that is unusual or hard to read.  Without exception, font should be sized 12pt.

  • Cover Page   On the first page of your paper, include the following information, centered and spaced like the example below:

Oak Park and River Forest High School

Title of your Essay:



Course Name

Instructor Name

Paper Due Date

Note:  You will not need to include this same information in the heading on the first page of your research paper.

  • Pagination Put the page number preceded by your last name in the upper right corner of each page, one-half inch below the top edge. In GoogleDocs, click Insert>Header then align the cursor to the RIGHT.  Type LAST or your Pseudonym.   Then click Insert>Page Number and select the option that shows a cover page.  Your page count should be a minimum of 5 full text pages before your Works Cited page.

  • Margins Leave margins of one inch on all sides of the page. Left-align the text.
    Line spacing  Double-space throughout the paper. Do not add extra space between paragraphs.

  • Paragraph indents  Indent the first line of each paragraph one-half inch from the left margin. Use the tab key rather than individually spacing over.

Preparing the list of works cited does ALL of this for you!!

  • Begin the list of works cited on a new page at the end of the paper.

  • Center the title Works Cited about one inch from the top of the page.

  • Double-space throughout. Do not add extra space between entries.

  • Alphabetize the list by the last names of the authors (or editors); if a work has no author or editor, alphabetize by the first word of the title other than A, An, or The.  

  • Do not indent the first line of each works cited entry, but indent any additional lines one-half inch. This technique highlights the names of the authors, making it easy for readers to scan the alphabetized list.

  • Web addresses:  URL is not needed.  If you include the URL, cut it so that it is less than ONE LINE long.   It is recommended to break a URL only after a slash. URLs should be enclosed like so:  <>

Capitalization and italics In titles of works, capitalize all words except articles (a, an, the), prepositions (to, from, between, and so on), coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet), and the to in infinitives — unless they are the first or last word of the title or subtitle. Follow these guidelines in your paper even if the title appears in all capital or all lowercase letters in the source.

In the text of an MLA paper, when a complete sentence follows a colon, lowercase the first word following the colon unless the sentence is a well-known expression or principle.

Italicize the titles of books and other long works, such as Web sites. Use quotation marks around the titles of periodical articles, short stories, poems, and other short works. (Some instructors may prefer underlining for the titles of long works. Be consistent throughout your paper.)

Long quotations When a quotation is longer than four typed lines of prose or three lines of verse, set it off from the text by indenting the entire quotation one inch from the left margin. Double-space the indented quotation, and do not add extra space above or below it.

Quotation marks are not needed when a quotation has been set off from the text by indenting.

Web addresses When a Web address (URL) mentioned in the text of your paper must be divided at the end of a line, break it only after a slash and do not insert a hyphen. See the MLA rules on dividing Web addresses in your list of works cited.

Headings MLA neither encourages nor discourages the use of headings and provides no guidelines for their use. If you would like to insert headings in a long essay or research paper, check first with your instructor.

Visuals MLA classifies visuals as tables and figures (figures include graphs, charts, maps, photographs, and drawings). Label each table with an arabic numeral (“Table 1,” “Table 2,” and so on) and provide a clear caption that identifies the subject. Capitalize the caption as you would a title; do not italicize the label and caption or place them in quotation marks. The label and caption should appear on separate lines above the table, flush with the left margin.

For a table that you have borrowed or adapted, give the source below the table in a note like the following:


Sample Table Here...

Source: David N. Greenfield and Richard A. Davis; “Lost in Cyberspace: The Web @ Work”; CyberPsychology and Behavior 5.4 (2002): 349; print.

For each figure, place the figure number (using the abbreviation “Fig.”) and a caption below the figure, flush left. Capitalize the caption as you would a sentence; include source information following the caption. (When referring to the figure in your paper, use the abbreviation “fig.” in parenthetical citations; otherwise spell out the word.) Click here for an example of a figure in a paper.

Place visuals in the text, as close as possible to the sentences that relate to them, unless your instructor prefers them in an appendix.


See attached Sample Research Paper on the following pages for additional formatting and style recommendations