Guidelines and Tips for MLA Format

There are many formatting styles used in academic writing. But the Modern Language Association (MLA) and American Psychological Association (APA) are two of the most widely used formatting styles in colleges and universities. If you are new to college, you must get familiar with these formatting styles because otherwise, you won’t be able to score good grades.

In high school, you might have been able to get away with formatting errors because teachers focused more on the text than formatting. However, in college, there are exclusive points for formatting. If you are not following all the guidelines of the respective formatting style, you will lose those points. These points can keep you from scoring an A grade.

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If you are planning on getting your college degree, you must familiarize yourself at least with MLA and APA. For the sake of this blog, we will focus only on the MLA format. It is mostly used in social sciences, literature, and humanities. According to the most recent, 8th edition, handbook released by the Modern Language Association, the following are some tips and guidelines that you need to know to get familiar with MLA format.

  • You need to use the font Time News Roman with a font size of 12 points throughout your paper or essay.
  • The whole of the essay needs to be double spaced.
  • At the beginning of every new paragraph, you have to indent with the use of the tab key and not space bars.
  • Margins on all sides of the paper are supposed to be one inch. Microsoft Word usually has a default one-inch margin, so you do not have to worry about setting it.
  • After periods, you only use one space.
  • There is no need for a title page unless specifically asked by your instructor.
  • Usually, you write your name, name of professor, course details, and date on the left top corner of the first page.
  • The title of the essay comes in the center of the page, right after the details mentioned in the previous point.
  • Do not bold, italicize, or underline the topic. Neither write it in capital letters nor put quotation marks around it. Just keep it simple like the rest of the text of the essay.
  • In the header, you have to write your last name and page number in the top right corner.
  • You are supposed to italicize longer titles of books, articles, or any other work that you are referencing in your essay.
  • It is frowned upon but you can also use italics to emphasize a point, only when it is absolutely necessary.
  • An essay writer uses headings to increase the readability of their essays and research paper. In MLA headings are:
    • You need to assign Arabic numbers to the same level headings. If you had two sections, you would number them as “1. Section A, 2. Section B.”
    • After each number, you are supposed to use one space before writing the section heading.
    • Level 1 headings are bold and flushed left
    • Level 2 headings are also flushed left but instead of being bold are italicized
    • Level 3 headings are bold and centered.
    • Level 4 headings are italicized and centered.
    • Level 5 headings are flushed left and underlined.

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