MLA Overview – Lecture Workshop Purdue OWL: http:/owl.english.purdue.edu What is MLA Style?
MLA Style establishes standards of written communication concerning:
- Formatting and page layout
- Stylistic technicalities (e.g. abbreviations, footnotes, quotations)
- Citing sources
- Preparing a manuscript for publication in certain disciplines.
Why Use MLA?
Using MLA Style properly makes it easier for readers to navigate and comprehend a text by providing familiar cues when referring to sources and borrowed information. Editors and instructors also encourage everyone to use the same format so there is consistency of style within a given field. Abiding by MLA's standards as a writer will allow you to:
- Provide your readers with cues they can use to follow your ideas more efficiently and to locate information of interest to them
- Allow readers to focus more on your ideas by not distracting them with unfamiliar or complicated formatting
- Establish your credibility or ethos in the field by demonstrating an awareness of your audience and their needs as fellow researchers (particularly concerning the citing of references)
Who Should Use MLA?
MLA style is typically reserved for writers and students preparing manuscripts in Indent the first line of paragraphs one half-inch from the left margin. MLA recommends that you use the Tab key as opposed to pushing the Space Bar five times.
- Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner, one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your instructor may ask that you omit the number on your first page. Always follow your instructor's guidelines.)
- Use italics throughout your essay for the titles of longer works and, only when absolutely necessary, providing emphasis.
- If you have any endnotes, include them on a separate page before your Works Cited page. Entitle the section Notes (centered, unformatted).
Various humanities disciplines such as:
- English Studies - Language and Literature
- Foreign Language and Literatures
- Literary Criticism
- Comparative Literature
- Cultural Studies
MLA Formatting and Notation Style
You should start by becoming familiar with the general formatting requirements of MLA Style, as well as the different standards for notation that MLA writers are expected to use. Because MLA is different than other writing styles, such as APA, you should pay attention to every detail of the Style, from general paper layout to abbreviations. The following pages will introduce you to some of these basic requirements of MLA Style to get you started in the right direction.
- Covers the basic requirements of page layout for a typical MLA manuscript
- Includes general guidelines to apply through the document and specific formatting details for the first page of the paper
- Also provides an image of sample first page of an essay written in MLA Style
- Type your paper on a computer and print it out on standard, white 8.5 x 11-inch paper.
- Double-space the text of your paper, and use a legible font (e.g. Times New Roman). Whatever font you choose, MLA recommends that the regular and italics type styles contrast enough that they are recognizable one from another. The font size should be 12 pt.
- Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks (unless otherwise instructed by your instructor).
- Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides.
Confirming MLA Citations:
Short stories and essays are in quotation marks.
See MLA Purdue Owl Link:
What about MLA format?
All research papers on literature use MLA format, as it is the universal citation method for the field of literary studies. Whenever you use a primary or secondary source, whether you are quoting or paraphrasing, you will make parenthetical citations in the MLA format [Ex. (Smith 67).] Your Works Cited list will be the last page of your essay. Consult the OWL handout on MLA for further instructions.
Note, the following minor things about MLA format:
- Titles of books, plays, or works published singularly (not anthologized) should be italicized unless it is a handwritten document, in which case underlining is acceptable. (Ex. Hamlet, Great Expectations)
- Titles of poems, short stories, or works published in an anthology will have quotation marks around them. (Ex. "Ode on a Nightingale," "The Cask of Amontillado")
- All pages in your essay should have your last name the page number in the top right hand corner. (Ex. Jones 12)