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MLA Format: Everything You Need to Know Here

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The Modern Language Association citation style is a widespread citation method. It is commonly used in the humanities to format in-text citations separated by parenthetical citations. The Modern Language Association published the 9th and most recent edition of the MLA Handbook in April 2021. It helps you write and format your academic paper. A separate works cited page will be there to list all cited sources. MLA citations, like all other citation formats, provide authority and dependability while also preventing plagiarism. MLA handbook is utilized most in arts and humanities by authors engaging in textual analysis and literary criticism.

Want to learn more about it? MyAssignmenthelp provides a full overview of the MLA referencing style.

What is the MLA Format?

MLA stands for Modern Language Association. It is an organization accountable for developing MLA format. An MLA style citation is used to set standards and guidelines to format papers properly. This site is used for crediting sources for research papers along with other assignments. Researchers, students, and scholars can utilize MLA format to maintain their papers and assignments uniformly. Consistency is required while preparing a research paper for easy reading. This style is not bounded only by literature and language. The style is spreading into journal articles and academic and commercial presses.

Why Use the MLA Citation Format?

MLA citation format is used when we are writing something and formatting papers. This style helps readers and tutors understand what the writer has tried to express. This cited page helps instructors to read the works cited in-text citations. The practice of using someone else’s works, quotes, ideas, and other information without providing credit is called plagiarism. If you cite the sources from which you have taken the information, it will not be considered plagiarized content. To avoid plagiarism, you need to cite sources. Plagiarism is a serious academic offence that can terminate you from schools and colleges. Let’s check how we can jot down the benefits of MLA citation format:

  • MLA citations help writers organize essays with credibility.
  • Students can easily use it in humanities and arts.
  • If you read the MLA handbook, you will gain better clarity about the style. This will help you understand how to use MLA to avoid plagiarism.

MLA Formatting Rules

There are so many styles available to cite your sources. One common thing is that you need to be simple and clear. MLA text citations can be classified into two categories-

  • Parenthetical Citation—Parenthetical documentation consists of a citation in the body of your paper. It helps the reader identify the source of the reference. It can be used after a quote, paraphrasing, or summary.
  • Narrative Citation- Narrative citation involves a sentence along with the author’s name and publication year.

There are a few basic rules for MLA format paper:

  • Draw margin on all sides except page numbers,
  • Font: Times New Roman
  • Font Size: 12 point
  • Spacing Format: Use double-space in the entire academic paper
  • Top of the Page: Start the first line of each paragraph 0.5” from the left margin
  • Cited Page: It is a page designed with the list of all sources that you cited in your paper. You can take quotes, paraphrase, summarize, or include ideas anytime from any source. You must cite that source in your reference list with MLA style.
  • Cited List: Include your name, instructor name, the course, and today’s date with double-spacing and in the upper left-hand corner of the first page.
  • Title Page: Keeping the title in the center of the MLA format. Keep in title case capitalization. You can include the capital letters while using major words. Do not use the title in italics; don’t use underlining and quotation marks.
  • MLA Style Header: Make a header that includes your last name in the upper right-hand corner. It should be followed by a space and page number. You need to put numbers on all pages. Keep a one-half-inch gap from the top of the page.

You can continue reading to learn more about the MLA essay format.

Header and Title

There is a difference between the MLA header and the MLA heading. But both have their advantages in research papers and academic papers to make proper formatting.

  • The MLA header is the short form of the text, including the work cited page and title page. It is used at the top of each page with the page number and author’s surname. The MLA headers help readers find out whose paper they are reading. You can’t use hyphens, punctuation marks, or abbreviations in the MLA header.

The footer is the opposite version of the header. It comes at the bottom of the page. But we need to keep in mind that the footer is not MLA footnotes. Usually, in MLA format, footnotes are not required. When you are providing additional content or any bibliographic citation, only then you can use it.

  • MLA heading is the title of a particular section of writing. It is just like a part of all essay formats that is not large enough to be a chapter. MLA headings consist of different sections and pages in formal writing in large font and bold.

Running Head

MLA header is also known as running head. The running head is the short line of text positioned at the top of each page. Here, you need to provide the page number along with the author’s surname. This method helps to track every page with its number. It signifies whose paper you are reading. How can you include that in Google Docs using the MLA format:

  • Double-click at the top of a page to maintain MLA format
  • Include your last name
  • Include automatic page numbering
  • Properly align the content to the right

How to Set Up Your Paper in MLA Format

MLA has its rules for formatting your research paper. The following are a few points to consider:

  • Write in an easily readable font. Most of the professors like Times New Roman.
  • Keep the font size within 11-13. Professors usually prefer size 12.
  • Always give 1 1-inch from the top margin as per MLA format guidelines.
  • While working on MLA format, include double space between two paragraphs.
  • Include your last name and page number at the top right of each page header
  • 1/2-inch indent on the first line of each paragraph in the body of your paper

How would you include the information in the heading at the top left of the first page?

It is an important aspect to know about the information that we need to include at the top of the first page. As per MLA format, you need to keep a few points in mind:

  • Write your name
  • Write your professor’s name
  • Your Class
  • Your section
  • Date
  • Then, start with the title of the paper

Heading and Subheading


There is a specific format that you need to know for the heading. Keep the heading aligned in the center. There is no need to keep it in bold. Keep the font in size 12. You can include a heading in brief but try to make it descriptive. Don’t exceed 12 words. It is said that Creating a catchy and descriptive heading for an essay will set the tone for the rest of the paper and keep the reader engaged.”


There are several broad topics with different subtopics in an MLA paper. In such matters, you need to include a subheading. It will help to break the essay into small sizes. It is easy for the reader to understand the academic paper to find what they are looking for. Here are a few points to keep in mind while using subheadings-

  • Check where you are placing your subheadings.
  • You can utilize the title case for subheadings.
  • At least include two to three separate lines after every subheading.

Table and Figures

The significance of figures and tables is to enhance the understanding of the audience about the information. Sometimes writers use different types of visuals utilizing the most common word processing software, like, diagrams, photographs, and musical scores. Sometimes, they include some documents that will be read electronically, audio/video applications. Most of the time, MLA is used in arts or humanities. So, including the raw scientific data can raise questions in your research paper. Here are a few common guidelines for tables and figures in Google Docs or Microsoft Word:


  • Include tables and numerical data in-text citations.
  • Avoid capitalization in the word table.
  • While you are going to use the table, label it as ”table”.
  • There is no need for punctuation in the table and label. Try to use Arabic numerals.
  • Understand the figures that will suit your academic paper. It should be understandable from the reader’s perspective.
  • When you include a title, mention the information with the descriptor “source.” Include bibliographic information for the source.

Write like:

  1. Table
  2. Source
  3. Note


  • Gather the relevant information required for MLA documentation for the illustration’s source medium (e.g., print, Web, podcast).
  • All the illustrations are not considered as figures or fig.
  • Look at figure-in-text with Arabic numerical data.
  • Don’t make the figure in capital letters.
  • There are no specific alignment requirements for figures. Just try to focus on basic MLA format.
  • Write the period after the figure and numeral (e.g., Fig. 1.).
  • Include the title and caption with relevant sources of information. The same information is not needed on the works cited page.

How to Cite Different Sources in MLA Style?

There are different styles of citation in MLA style of modern language association. Let’s look at examples for a better understanding:

Single Author:

  • Short references inside the text are placed entirely or partially in parentheses (brackets).
  • Page numbers must be provided for direct quotations, paraphrased or summarised material, and information or ideas from source materials that you have incorporated into the text of your essay, thesis, or project.
  • Use only the author’s surname followed by the relevant page numbers:(Shaw 26–37)
  • If the author’s last name is stated in the body of the text, the page reference is included in parentheses: Shaw mentioned… (37).
  • When citing a full work, page numbers are not included, and the author’s name is frequently incorporated into the text.

… Shaw delves into the complex tapestry that Amy Tan weaves via her writings. Page numbers are omitted.

Two Authors:

  • Referring to a work by two writers, give each person’s surname:
  • …….couldn’t be feasible (Lawson and Green, 34-35).
  • Hemrom and Blue failed to… (09- 55).

Three or More Authors:

  • If an essay has three or more authors, use the first author’s surname, followed by et al.

Edward et al. discovered… (97), as previously demonstrated (Edward et al., 1997).

  • Use the same format to list the work in the Works Cited list.

Authors with the Same Surname:

  • Authors sharing the same surname
  • To differentiate between authors with the same surname, provide the author’s first name in the prose or initials in a parenthetical citation.
  • If the authors’ first names start with the same initial, include first names in parenthetical citations.

What Mistakes Do Students Make While Working on the Cited Page?

There are a few mistakes students make while working on the title page, MLA bibliography format, or working separate page. The following are a few points to consider:

  • The alignment issue is one of the major mistakes students make in MLA format. In each citation, the first line should align with the left margin, and then all additional lines should be indented 1/2 inch.
  • Students usually forget to provide double space in all citations. You need to include double space in both the essay and work cited list.
  • Maintain the alphabetical order. Try to utilize the first letter of every citation (usually the first letter of the author’s last name). There is no need to list the entries or number them. You just need to alphabetize them.
  • It would be best if you listed authors accurately. Be careful when you are using multiple authors in your research paper. Let’s check the examples:
  • The initial author’s name is consistently presented with the surname first and then the first name, as in Vivano, Jenni.
  • When there are two authors, the second author’s name is arranged in the usual format (e.g., Vivano, Jenni, and Kimdashian).
  • If the source has three or more authors, you cite the first author’s name followed by “et al.,” which means “and others” in Latin (e.g., Jack, Mic, et al.).
  • It is seen in almost every essay and research paper not to use italics in the title of a major, lengthy work. For example, You are writing newspaper titles, book titles, website names, magazine titles, database names, journal titles, and film titles. Here you need to mention this: The New York Times, National Geographic, JSTOR, Google Scholar,
  • Students often forget to use quotation marks for book chapter titles, article titles, and web page titles. However, you need to include quotation marks for the title when you use it in a research paper or essay.
  • It is a huge mistake to capitalize anywhere you want incorrectly. Suppose there is no need to capitalize the titles of books, journals, articles, or author names.
  • Sometimes, students forget to mention the author or hosting organization on MLA paper. If you cannot determine a reliable author for the website, you should not use it as a source for a college assignment. However, if the web page is hosted or a reputable organization owns the copyright, it is acceptable to attribute the organization as the author of the page.

The Differences between MLA and APA

Following are a few key differences that a student needs to know while working on essays:

Used ForHumanities, Arts, Culture or Human SocietySTEM subjects and social science
Reference ListIn MLA format, you need to include ‘work cited’.In APA format, you need to include ‘references’.
Title PageThere is no requirement for the title page in MLA format.The title page is required for APA.
Running HeadThe last name and page number are required in MLA.In APA format, only the page number is required.
Headings and SubheadingsIn MLA, there is no defined format for headings and subheadings.There is a defined format in APA.
Block QuotesIn MLA, you can use for 4 or more lines.You can use 40 words or more in APA block quotes.
  • In the case of in-text citations, the author’s last name, along with the page number, is used in MLA style. For example: Joshi 13

In APA, the author’s last name, year, and page number are used. For example, Joshi, 2017, p. 13.

  • When you are doing citations in MLA style, you need to format it like this: author’s last name, first name. Title in Title case.

In APA, you need to include the author’s last name and initial. Title in sentence Case. There is no need to put a period after the URL.

Generate Accurate MLA Citations with MyAssignmenthelp

That was all about the MLA format, the MLA handbook, and the MLA style. If you still need elp to cite quotes or cite a website in MLA style, we are here to help you.

Follow these steps to cite in MLA format using our MLA generator:

  • Mention Type of the Source: Visit MyAssignmenthelp and enter the type of source you refer to. Share the relevant information to get the perfect solution in MLA format.
  • Share All Details: This tool requires the author’s name along with other information. Include all the relevant details accurately, and this tool will provide you with accurate results.
  • Click on Generate: After inputting details, click on ‘Generate’ to get an MLA in-text citation. The text can be an article, journal, research paper, or essay. MyAssignmenthelp is here to provide accurate solutions.

Referencing Style Guide

MLA referencing style is the most popular style among students and professors in writing papers, citing resources within liberal arts and humanities. It follows a method of referencing their sources through parenthetical citations in their essays. Its format is —

  • Lastname, Firstname.
  • Title of Book.
  • Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication, and publication date.
  • Medium of Publication.

Example: Montario, The Book of Rose. New York: Taza, 1677.Print

In Conclusion,

From the blog, as mentioned above, you have an in-depth knowledge of MLA format, why students use it, what are rules of MLA style and generate accurate MLA citations with MyAssignmenthelp. Apart from that, the difference between APA and MLA, running head, how to set up your paper in MLA format, heading and subheading along with table and figures placed in your essay.

If you want to know more about MLA format, you can visit MyAssignmenthelp.

Hi, I am Mark, a Literature writer by profession. Fueled by a lifelong passion for Literature, story, and creative expression, I went on to get a PhD in creative writing. Over all these years, my passion has helped me manage a publication of my write ups in prominent websites and e-magazines. I have also been working part-time as a writing expert for for 5+ years now. It’s fun to guide students on academic write ups and bag those top grades like a pro. Apart from my professional life, I am a big-time foodie and travel enthusiast in my personal life. So, when I am not working, I am probably travelling places to try regional delicacies and sharing my experiences with people through my blog. 

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