First, you will notice that MLA does not require a cover page as some formatting styles do. In MLA, on the first page of your essay, you should have what is called a “heading.” This heading is placed in the top, left-hand corner of your page.
You should list the following items in the correct order:
- Your name
- Your professor’s name
- The name of your course
- And the date (using military format where the date appears before the month)
Remember, the heading appears only on page 1.
At the top right hand corner of each page, you will place your header. Your header should include your last name and the page number. You will need to use the “header” function in your word processing program to make proper headers that will appear on every page.
The header should be placed ½ inch from the top of the page and 1 inch from the right side of the page.
We will now look at the text of your essay and examine the formatting requirements that begin here.
You will center your title below your heading. Your title should be the same font as the rest of your text and should not be in italics or bold font.
In terms of line spacing, you will notice your text is double-spaced–always. There are no exceptions to this in MLA. Even long or block quotes should be double-spaced.
You should use 12 point font in MLA format. The MLA recommends a clear, standard font style, such as Times New Roman.
You should also set your margins to 1 inch and use left alignment. This means your alignment is standard on the left but jagged on the right.
In terms of spacing within your text, you should always indent for new paragraphs ½ inch. Using your TAB key will allow you to indent appropriately.
MLA recommends single spacing after end punctuation, such as periods. However, the MLA does not consider it to be “incorrect” to double space after end punctuation, as some professors may prefer double spacing after periods. Be sure to check with your professor, but know that single spacing is considered the “standard.”
These are the basic requirements for setting up your document in MLA format. For more detailed information, be sure to consult The MLA Handbook, 8th edition.
Here is a sample paper in MLA format that has both the cover page and the outline pages. This paper has 10 pages so if you are under a slow Internet connection, please wait a few seconds for all of the pages to load. This paper is current with the latest MLA manual.
MLA Format Sample Paper, Title Page
MLA Format Sample Paper, Outline Page 1
MLA Format Sample Paper, Outline Page 2
MLA Format Sample Paper, Page 1
MLA Format Sample Paper, Page 2
MLA Format Sample Paper, Page 3
MLA Format Sample Paper, Page 4
MLA Format Sample Paper, Page 5
MLA Format Sample Paper, Works Cited
MLA Format Sample Paper, End of Sample Paper.
– Diana Hacker (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2006).
MLA Format Guidelines:
APA Format Guidelines: