MLA referencing guide and tips

MLA, Modern Language Association referencing is mostly used to write assignments, cite different sources in the fields of humanities and arts. Guidelines that are specified by MLA style are referred to writing, manuscript formatting. It offers a set of rules that help writers; authors cite their works in Essays. Using MLA style demonstrates author’s credibility of the content used in the essay through parenthetical citation in the works.

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MLA Formatting Guide

Modern Language Association (MLA) is used in writing papers and citing the sources in the liberal humanities and arts. In MLA style, the works of other authors is referred to by use of parenthetical citation. The method involves placing relevant information source in the parentheses after a paraphrase or quote.

General MLA format

  • The text of the paper is double-spaced using a legible font like Times New Roman size 12 pt.
  • One space is left after all punctuation marks.
  • Document margins are set to 1 inch on all sides.
  • From the left margin, the first paragraph line is indented one half-inch.
  • A header numbering all pages is created on the upper right-hand corner.
  • Italic is used in the essay for longer works titles, to give emphasis.

Format of the First Page

  • No title page should be included unless on a special request.
  • Your name, instructor's name, course, and date should be listed on the upper left-hand side.
  • Double space should be used
  • The title should be centered and double spaced.
  • The title should be written in standard capitalization (Title case)
  • Quotation marks and italics should be used to refer to other works in the title similarly how it is adjusted in text.
  • Double space between the first line and title of the text.
  • The header should be created in the upper right-hand section of the page. Namely, the last name of the author space and a page number. The pages are consecutively numbered using Arabic numerals.
  • Sample below presents the first page of a paper in MLA style.

First name Last name
Name 1


Professor First name Last name
English 300
4 August 2014

The Private life of Helen of Troy

The film The Private Life of Helen of Troy is an American movie about a young woman known as Helen of troy. It is based and relates to a book by John Erskine (Erskine 23). This film was adapted to the screen by Gerald Duffy and directed by Alexander Korda. The main characters in this film are Maria Corda, lewis Stone as Menelaus and Ricardo Cotez known as Paris. The film was produced during the silent era film. Nevertheless, it was nominated to the Academy Award in 1929 and its screen adapter Gerald Duffy received a distinction of being the first screen adapter be posthumously nominated for an Academy Award. This movie was produced in an era where there was no sound tracks incorporated in the films. This era was described as a silent film era.


MLA in-text Citation

  • The in-text citation in MLA follows the author page format.
  • The page number, name of the author and the page number from which the paraphrase or quotation is obtained needs to be included in the text.
  • A full reference list is put in the work cited page.
  • On the sample, author’s name could be in the parentheses or the sentence itself following the paraphrase or quotation.
  • Parentheses include the page number.

For example:

Postman stated that broadcast news affects the decision making process (63).

Broadcast news affects the decision making process (Postman 63)

The examples of citations (63) and (Postman 63), informs the reader that the information in the given sentences is available on page 63 of work by Postman. If the readers need more information regarding this source, they can check the work cited section. The source in the work cited page would be given as:
Postman, John. Broadcast News. London: Oxford UP, 2005. Print.

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