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MLA Style

A guide to MLA formatting, in-text citation, and the Works Cited list

Format Your Paper

Order of Sections Tables, Figures, & Illustrations
Paper Size, Margins, & Page Numbers Quotations
Text Format Works Cited List
Headings & Title Annotated Bibliography


Order of Sections

  1. Heading
  2. Title
  3. Introduction/Thesis
  4. Body (includes tables, figures, and illustrations)
  5. Conclusion
  6. Works Cited (starts on new page)


Paper Size, Margins, & Page Numbers

  • Use letter-sized (8.5 x 11 inch) paper.
  • 1-inch margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.
  • Indent first line of each paragraph 1/2 inch from left margin.
  • In the upper right-hand corner of the margin, insert page numbers and add your last name (ex. Smith 1).


Text Format

  • Use easy-to-read font so that regular and italicized text is easy to distinguish (ex. Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri).
  • Use a standard size (ex. Times New Roman 12, Arial 11, Calibri 11 or 12).
  • Left-align text and start paragraphs with a half-inch indent. Do not justify text.
  • Turn off automatic hyphenation.
  • Double-space everything.
  • Leave one space after concluding punctuation marks, not two.


Heading & Title

  • At the top left of the page, type your name, instructor's name, course number, and date.
  • Double-space everything.
  • Include any information your instructor requires.
  • Center title. Do not italicize, underline, or bold. No quotation marks, all caps, or periods.
  • Capitalize the first word, principle words, and each part of a hyphenated word. Do not capitalize articles (a, an, the), prepositions, conjunctions, and to-infinitives.


Tables, Figures, & Illustrations

  • Put them close to the related text and align them on the left.
  • Above tables: capitalize the title of the table like other titles and number it (ex. Table 1).
  • Below the table: give the source of the table and any notes with lower-case letters. Double-space it and use dividing lines.
  • Below a figure or illustration: label it as "Figure" or "Fig." and number it (ex. Figure 1).


Quotations (p. 75-76, 81)

  • Short quotations (less than four lines) or those without special emphasis are included in the text with quotation marks
  • Longer quotations (four lines or more) or those with special emphasis are indented 1/2 inch from left margin and double-spaced with no quotation marks.
  • Use an ellipsis with spaces ( . . . ) when omitting sections from a quote. When the ellipsis is at the end of a sentence, use four periods ( . . . . ).
  • For poetry, use slashes (/) to show line breaks and double slashes (//) for stanza breaks and keep all punctuation as it appears in the poem.
  • Cite your quotes using in-text citation.


Works Cited List (p. 102)

Begin your Works Cited list on a separate page and put the entries in alphabetical order. Double-space and give entries a hanging indent (i.e the first line is on the left margin and the following lines are indented a half inch from the left).


Annotated Bibliography

Double-space the entire bibliography. Give each entry a hanging indent. In the following annotation, indent the entire paragraph a half inch from the left margin and give the first line of each paragraph a half inch indent.

Check with your professor for the length of the annotation and which elements you should evaluate.