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MLA Style

A quick overview of how to use the MLA Style and examples of in-text citations and references for a variety of different sources.

Guidelines for MLA Style

MLA 8th edition is intended to be a universal set of guidelines to apply to any type of source. Each source in the Works Cited is based on a list of core elements (see image). Not all sources will have all nine elements.

For in-text citing, MLA follows the author-page format. For internet sources, you do not need to include the paragraph number unless part of the source. When there is not an author, use a shortened title of the work. Use quotation marks for a short work (e.g. article, blog post) or italics for a longer work (e.g. plays, books, television shows, entire websites).

Formatting Your Paper

MLA Style is not just in-text citing and a list of references. It also includes the formatting of your paper. Here are some of the basics elements. For examples, consult the Purdue OWL's sample paper or the MLA Style Center page with full formatting requirements. Ask your professor about including a title page, they may not require it. If you are writing your thesis or dissertation, you must use the Graduate School's MLA template.

  • 1-inch margins on all sides
  • Double spacing of all text on all pages, including the Works Cited list
  • Each paragraph begins with a First Line indent of .5 inches
  • Each reference is a Hanging indent of .5 inches
  • Font is 12-point Times New Roman or other common serif font
  • Page numbers in the upper right corner on each page, 1/2 inch from top and 1-inch from the right side
  • Running Head is your last name on the same line as the page number (1/2 inch from top and 1-inch from the right side)