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MLA Format for Dummies

MLA Format 

One should be well aware of MLA format for dummies or MLA for dummies when writing research papers or essays. Before understanding the fundamentals of MLA format for dummies or MLA for dummies, one should know the basics of MLA format.

What is MLA Format or MLA Citation?

MLA format or MLA citation stands for Modern Language Association. MLA format or MLA citation has a set of rules and guidelines that ensure clear and consistent research articles. Modern Language Association is a professional organization for scholars of literature and language. Modern language association publishers, scholarly, and journals have been there for decades. In earlier years, when computers were not that common, the editors of Modern Language Association required typed submissions for publication to follow standard formatting templates. People who followed this standard format to write down their own work recognized the value of having a standard and uniform structure. Gradually, the guides started asking the students to follow and adhere to the same format when they write essays for class projects. This is how the MLA format or MLA citation came into existence.

Thus, the purpose of MLA format or MLA citation is to offer a standard set so that every individual has a common template to draw from. Moreover, Modern Language Association publishers and book called the handbook for writers of research papers provide MLA

format or MLA citation format. Also, it includes formatting rules for the layout of the research papers and the citations which are in – text and at the end of the research. The handbook for writers of a research paper published by the Modern Language Association also includes the use of endnotes and footnotes and guidelines for grammar and punctuations.

The MLA format or MLA citation is essential because it promotes consistency that provides a structure to a research paper. Therefore, when reading a research paper and having a knowledge of MLA format or MLA citation, it becomes easy of where to find citations, how to read the tables, and where to look for the footnotes, etc.

Therefore, MLA format or MLA citation was developed as a means for students researchers, scholars in literature, and language to have a uniform way to format the assignments and the papers. The consistent methods to develop a paper or assignment allows individuals for easy reading. In today’s era, MLA format or MLA citation is not only used in literature and language, but other subjects have also adopted MLA format or MLA citation.

Modern language association released the 8th edition in the Modern Language Association handbook in April 2016. MLA format for dummies or MLA for dummies handbooks provide instructions about citations and guidelines for submitting work along with modern language association rules and standards. MLA format for dummies or MLA for dummies has a set of rules and guidelines which help in providing clear and consistent research paper. MLA format for dummies or MLA for dummies have uniform use of elements which are:

  • Selection of heading tone and length
  • Presentation of numbers and statistics
  • Punctuations and abbreviations
  • Construction of tables and figures
  • Citation and references
  • Other elements that are part of a manuscript.

Guidelines of MLA Format for Dummies or MLA for Dummies

Guidelines of MLA Format for Dummies or MLA for Dummies

  • 1-inch margins on all sides.
  • The first word of every paragraph should be indented one-half inch.
  • Indent set-off quotations should be one inch from the left margin.
  • Use any type of font that is easily readable like Times New Roman. One should ensure that italics look different from the regular typeface.
  • Use 12 point size.
  • Double-space the entire research paper, even on the reference page.
  • To leave one space after periods and other punctuation marks, unless the instructor tells of leaving two spaces.


  • The MLA format for dummies or MLA for dummies create a header for the paper first page should
  • One inch from the top of the page.
  • As per MLA format for dummies or MLA for dummies, the author’s name, the instructors name the course number, and the date should be written on separate lines having double space between each.
  • As per MLA format for dummies or MLA for dummies, the title should be in the center without underlining, bold, or typing the title all in capital letters.
  • As per MLA format for dummies or MLA for dummies, one should not place a period after the title or any heading.
  • As per MLA format for dummies or MLA for dummies, one should have a double space between the title and the first line of the text.

MLA Heading and Title Page Instructions

MLA format for dummies or MLA for dummies gives some options when creating a header for the research paper. As per MLA format for dummies or MLA for dummies, heading can be placed at the top of the first page. Therefore, one needs also to include four main components like:

  • Full name
  • Instructors name
  • Name of the course or class
  • Assignment due date

The first heading on the paper should be the full name. As per MLA format for dummies or MLA for dummies format, the name should be:

  • One inch from the top and left margin of the page.
  • Another space beneath the name and type the name of the instructor.
  • Another double space followed by the name of the course, class, or section number.
  • Another double space adding the assignment due date.
  • The title of the assignment should be placed after the due date after a double space. It should also be placed in between the paper as per MLA format for dummies or MLA for dummies format. The title should be in standard lettering without any bold font, underlined, italicized, or quotation marks. One should include italics if the title includes the title of another source.

Title Page

Most of the research papers use MLA citations or MLA format heading. Some of the guidelines as per MLA format headings are:

  • Placing the title of the assignment in the center of the page without italicizing the title or placing a quotation mark around it.
  • When writing the title page own should capitalize the
  • The first letter of a title
  • The first letter of the last word
  • The first letter of any objectives, noun, adverbs, pronouns, and verbs.
  • Double spacing the entire page
  • Keeping the font size at 12 pt. to have a structured format.
  • Using the same font to provide a uniform text in the research paper. Times New Roman and Arial are recommended.
  • Including the page number in the top right corner of the paper.

Running Head and Page Numbers

Running head is a small heading which is placed at the top right corner of every page. The modern language association states that running head consists of

  • Last name of the author
  • Page number
  • The running head spaced half an inch from the top margin and one inch from the right margin of the page. Also, ensure not to use any abbreviations like pg. before the page number.


One should use a 1-inch margin around the entire page.


One should indent the first word in every paragraph.


One should add quotes that assist in defending an argument, prove a point, or add emphasis to a particular point. One should ensure to sprinkle the quotes throughout the research paper. One can use direct quotes from outside sources to enhance and expand the writing and ideas. The quotes belonging to the individual should be given credit by including in-text citations into the body of the project and also including them in the references as per MLA citation or MLA format.


As per the MLA format, the entire research paper should include double spaced lines. The double-space line should be in between the written body of the work, reference, pages, and also in the headings.

Font and Font Size  

As per MLA format, the use of any font type is acceptable, which is easy to read. Two of the most prominent used fonts are Times New Roman and Arial. It is recommended to use 12 point font as it is the default size for many word processing programs.


Abbreviations are commonly used in sources like blogs, websites, books, and journal articles. However, in MLA format, one should avoid abbreviations and should write in full words. It helps in understanding and avoiding any confusion and helps maintain the natural flow of the language in the paper.

Tips for Reference Page

To cite MLA citations or MLA formats, one should ensure to adhere to the tips for incorporating reference pages in the documents.

  • Starting a new page for the references.
  • Title the new page “References”.
  • Put all the references in alphabetical order.
  • Aligning the first line of the reference with the left margin.
  • Indent each additional line accomplished by the tab key.
  • Ensure that the reference section is double spaced.
  • Using italics for titles of books, journals, magazines, and newspapers.
  • Including all the sources which are cited both in text and on the reference page.

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