MLA style refers to the guidelines set forth by the Modern Language Association for writing and formatting papers. These guidelines are commonly used in the liberal arts and humanities fields, particularly in English literature and language studies. In this style, the writer is expected to follow specific conventions for citing sources, formatting the paper, and citing quotations.
In general, MLA style essays are double-spaced and written in 12-point font, with 1-inch margins on all sides. The header should include your last name and the page number in the top right corner of each page. The title of your paper should be centered and written in title case, with no bold or italicized font.
Before beginning your essay, it is important to familiarize yourself with the rules for citing sources in MLA style. This involves including in-text citations and a Works Cited page at the end of your essay. In-text citations should include the author’s last name and the page number of the source material, and should be placed in parentheses immediately following the quotation or paraphrase. For example: (Smith 32). If the author’s name is not included in the sentence, it should be included in the parentheses along with the page number. If you are citing a source with multiple authors, list their names in the order they appear on the source material. If a source has three or more authors, you can simply list the first author’s name followed by “et al.”
The Works Cited page should be a separate page at the end of your essay and should include a list of all the sources you cited in your paper. The entries should be listed alphabetically by the author’s last name, and should include all necessary information for readers to locate the source themselves. This includes the author’s name, the title of the source, the publisher, the date of publication, and the page numbers (if applicable).
Here is an example of a correctly formatted Works Cited page in MLA style:
Brown, John. “The Importance of Proper Citation.” The Writing Center, University of XYZ, 1 Jan. 2016, www.thewritingcenter.edu/citation.
Smith, Jane, et al. “MLA Style: A Guide for Students.” The Modern Language Association, 1 Mar. 2017, www.mla.org/style.
It is important to note that the rules for citing sources in MLA style can vary depending on the type of source you are citing (e.g. a book, a journal article, a website). Be sure to consult the MLA Handbook or the Purdue OWL website for specific guidelines on how to properly cite different types of sources.
In addition to citing sources, there are several other conventions to follow when writing an essay in MLA style. For example, it is important to use proper capitalization and punctuation, and to avoid using contractions or slang. Quotations should be formatted correctly and should be introduced with a lead-in that provides context for the reader.
Overall, following the guidelines for MLA style can seem daunting at first, but with practice and a good understanding of the rules, it becomes second nature. Adhering to these conventions not only helps your essay look professional and well-organized, but it also demonstrates to your reader that you have done your research and are using credible sources to support your ideas. By following the guidelines for MLA style, you will be able to write clear and concise essays that effectively communicate your ideas and persuade your reader.
If you are a student in the liberal arts or humanities fields, you are likely familiar with the Modern Language Association (MLA) style of writing and formatting papers. This style is widely used in English literature and language studies, and requires the writer to follow specific guidelines for citing sources, formatting the paper, and citing quotations. While MLA style can seem intimidating at first, it is an important skill to master in order to produce professional and well-organized essays.
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