Tutorial on MLA Citation Style

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    Paper Formatting

    • 1). Double-space your paper in a 12-point font with 1-inch margins. Correct MLA style formatting calls for the body of the paper to be written in a legible 12 point font, typically Times New Roman, but you can vary from this as long as the font is legible and there is enough variation between regular and italics that they are distinguishable.

    • 2). Indent new paragraphs 1 inch, or five spaces. Use the tab key for this rather than pressing the space bar five times.

    • 3). Number your pages in the top right corner. Include these in the page header and make sure the numbers are consecutive and correct.

    In-Text Citations

    • 1). Cite every source of information on any idea that is not wholly your own. This includes both direct quotes and paraphrasing. Your citations need to point to the exact location in each of your sources where you found the information.

    • 2). Use author surnames and page numbers only in the citation. For a single author, simply the author's name and the page number, enclosed in parentheses and with no other punctuation, is sufficient. If your book has two or three authors, they should be listed as First and Second, or First, Second and Third followed by the relevant page numbers. Again, enclose these in parentheses. For four or more authors, include the first author's surname followed by the abbreviation "et al." and the page number. If you mention the author's name in the text of the essay, you need only include the page number of the reference in the citation.

    • 3). Italicize the title of books. Older editions of the MLA handbook called for titles written in the text of the paper to be underlined; updated standards state they should be italicized instead.

    Works Cited Page

    • 1). Alphabetize your sources by author's surname, or if there is no author as is often the case with websites, by the title.

    • 2). List the author's surname, followed by a comma and their first name and a period. For multiple authors, name the first author in standard MLA format and subsequent authors starting with their first names. For four or more authors, use the first author's name and the abbreviation "et al."

    • 3). Italicize the title of the work. If there is no author, the italicized title will start the entry.

    • 4). Enter the city of publication followed by a colon, the publisher's name, a comma and year it was first published. Include the word "Print." at the end of the citation for all print sources.

    • 5). Specify any Web sources by replacing the publication information with "Web" and the date you accessed the material. Updated MLA guidelines no longer require the full link to be included in your Works Cited.

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