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MLA Style: The Art of Essay Writing

Despite a variety ofwriting formats, MLA (Modern Language Association) style remains the preferred one. If you are assigned with an essay in the field of liberal arts or humanities, you will be required to adhere to MLA formatting.

The latest version of MLA Handbook, encompassing principles and instructions for formatting academic papers, appeared in 2016. It presents an all-embracing set of rules suitable for different writers, including students. Besides developing recommendations for citing publications, its authors provide guidelines for documenting sources according to MLA schemes and explain the specifics of academic prose. The manual touches upon a problem of scholarly plagiarism providing ways to impede it. It teaches you to estimate sources and create entries with references.

MLA Works Cited page may slightly confuse you because you can apply either Turabian/Chicago style footnotes or Harvard/APA style in-text citations. Thus, you must choose the most convenient reference style for you. If you decide to apply footnotes, your professor should allow you to omit Bibliography page.


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Every time you have doubts, look through MLA template, which will greatly facilitate your work. The basic requirements are as follows:

  • The text of your paper, including in-text citations and references, should be double-spaced.
  • Times New Roman is used more frequently though other standard fonts are also acceptable. The size of a typeface is usually 12.
  • Always apply one-inch margins.
  • Do not underline your headings. According to MLA, they have to betyped in bold or italicized.
  • Page numbers should be placed at the top tight corner.

MLA Format of In-Text Quotations

A reference should be provided each time you cite the Internet resources, magazines, or books. Any information written without mentioning the source or the author will be considered plagiarism. Wrongly formatted quotations may negatively affect your research. Therefore, it is advisable to follow these rules.

  1. A short citation should be put in double quotation marks. Specify the author’s name at the end of the citation and the page number of the original publication in the parenthesis.
  1. A quotation encompassing morethan three lines of a typewritten text is a long citation. It has to be located independently from a new line. Though quotation marks are not needed, it is important to include the author’s name and the page number in the parenthesis.
  2. If you are interested only in the basic information, shorten the original excerpt andput three periods instead of the missing words.
  3. It is possible to add your own observations or comments within citations, but make sure you put them in square brackets.
  4. You may quote more than one source in a sentence. In this case, all cited works should be put into brackets and separated by a semicolon.
  5. When the author of the quoted work is unknown, the title should be indicated in italics and the page number in the round brackets.

Once you learn these guidelines by heart, you will become an expert in MLA style.


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