Many students must clearly understand the MLA format for their papers to correctly reference and cite authors in their research papers.
What is MLA? The MLA Paper Format is a referencing style created by the Modern Language Association of America for research papers and academic writing.
In April 2021, the Modern Language Association updated its style guide and published the most recent MLA. The MLA Handbook attempts to meet writers' ever-changing demands besides establishing universal documentation standards. The 8th edition laid the groundwork, and the 9th edition built upon it.
The MLA format has two types of document citation formats, namely: in-text citations and works cited, which refers to the list of references at the end of a paper. These references acknowledge the sources of the information obtained and allow others access to them. Students are required to follow a particular style when using MLA format. This article explains the MLA formatting guidelines and how to apply them to your paper.
Authors can cite their references according to their particular assignment requirements using the principal elements for works cited. The MLA style format gives greater flexibility, credibility, and exceptional readability, especially for researchers and scholars in the humanities fields.
The MLA format guidelines refer to the basic requirements for formatting your work before publishing it. According to the latest MLA style guide, here are some of the MLA format guidelines you must use in your paper:
There is an option titled "Special" under the section "Indentation" in the settings window. Select Hanging from the drop-down menu under Special. In most cases, the hanging indentation's default spacing is 0.5 inches, which is the MLA's recommended standard spacing. You can change the spacing if necessary by altering the number in the By section to the right of that Special section.
Using MLA format guidelines simplifies the work for you, your lecturer, or your professor and helps you avoid the consequences of plagiarism.
MLA formatting on Google Docs can be done in two ways: manually or automatically through templates for formatting documents.
How to Set up MLA in Google Docs using a template
The Google Docs Report MLA add-on is one available template. Below are the procedures on how to do MLA format in Google Docs;
How to Manually Apply MLA Format to Documents:
You can manually set up MLA format style in Google Docs if you do not trust templates or have an altered version you must follow. Then, as soon as the format is set up, you can save them as your customized templates, so you do not have to recreate them every time.
It would be best if you used Times New Roman with font size 12 pt.
Below is the MLA guideline and an example of MLA Works Cited in Google Docs:
An MLA format for an online news article may appear like this:
In MLA writing format, the header is left-aligned on the first page of your paper. It includes:
After the MLA header, type your paper title and click “enter” once in Google Docs. Center-align the title and use title-case capitalization.
Below are the MLA formatting rules used for MLA headings:
Below is how to write an MLA paper title:
Viorst, Judith. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Atheneum, 1987.
Sheff, David. Game Over: How Nintendo Conquered the World. Vintage Books, 1994.
Hughes, Langston. “Red-Headed Baby.” The Amazon Books of Short Stories, edited by Joyce Carol, Amazon University Press, 1992, pp. 365–370.
The reference list is titled "Works Cited" in the 9th edition of the MLA format paper. The basic MLA format requirements for the Works-Cited page are:
The general format for citations for books should be:
Author. Title, Title of container, Other contributors (editors or translators), Version (edition), Number (no. or vol.), Publisher, date of publication, location (paragraphs, pages, URL, or DOI).
Books composed by a single author:
Last name, first name Title of the book. City of Publication, Publisher, and Date of Publication.
Books composed by two authors:
Last name, first name (of author 1), and first name, last name (of author 2). Title of the book. Publisher, publication date.
Books composed by two or more authors:
Sources that do not have an author
If no author is listed, the title should be enclosed in quotation marks followed by a bracket. For example,
Direct Quotation: “The Impacts of World Wars.”
The section that is paraphrased is in the quotation.
Newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journals are examples of periodicals.
Format for works cited: Author title, container title, other contributors (editor or translator), number, publisher, publisher Date and location (pp.) The title of the second container, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Date of Publication, Location (pp.)
Works cited by the author (s) "Article Title." Title of the Periodical, Day, Month, Year, Pages. Below are examples of the citation of magazines and the corresponding in-text citation;
For the in-text citation of the above reference, use (author's last name, page number).
For the in-text citation of the above reference, use: (author's last name, page number).
MLA papers and essays include headings for organizations. This helps students use the MLA format style to make their books, manuscripts, theses, journals, or other literary pieces more readable and enhance their credibility as writers.
Indeed, the MLA guidelines do not specify the exact format for headings and subheadings, but there are general guidelines on how to do MLA format;
MLA format uses five levels of subheadings. Readers will be able to easily distinguish each level of subheading by its size, format, and style.
1 bold, flush or aligned with the left margin
2 italicized, flushed, or aligned with the left margin
3 bold, centered on page
4 italicized, centered on page
5 underlined, flush/aligned with the left margin
To help readers understand the research, include figures, tables, and examples in MLA style format. It also helps provide a visual aid for your main points and thesis. It is a must to structure your essay's graphics appropriately. Like everything else in MLA formatting, there is the right way to accomplish it.
When adding tables, figures, or examples to your MLA essay, double-check everything, especially if you are embedding audio or video. Before submitting your essay, ensure that everything works properly.
Select your visual content with care. Consider whether they improve your paper and make your points easier to comprehend. You should not just add an image to increase your page count; this can make your research paper difficult to read. Your professor will quickly notice if you add unnecessary fluff to your essay.
Although labels and captions are similar, only some images require both. For example, tables have descriptive titles, labels, and numbers. The label and number are displayed in bold above the table, separated by a line. The captions should explain the example or, if applicable, provide its title.
The medium of the source illustration will always be used to document source information. All illustrations must include source information on the works-cited page.
The title should be capitalized in the title case, and the text should be double-spaced, just like the rest of the work (but not for the caption or notes).
An Example of MLA Style Format Table
The 2020 study found that 80% of US teens preferred YouTube over cable television, 67% of young adults preferred YouTube, 49% of US adults preferred YouTube, and 12% of US elderly adults preferred YouTube (see table 1).
Preference for YouTube or cable television by US teens, young adults, adults, and elderly adults
Source: Smith Polls, "Preference of YouTube or Cable Television by US Teens, Young Adults, Adults, and Elderly Adults," Smith Polls, July 2020, table 14B.
Figures (Image in your work that is not a table) must also be named and indexed, but in this case, the labeling and numbering are part of the caption that appears beneath the figure.
Following the figure number and a period, the word "Figure" is reduced to "Fig." The rest of the caption provides the complete source citation or, in this instance, a brief description of the image (author, title, publication year).
MLA does not specify figure alignment guidelines, so readers can incorporate these images however they see fit. However, keep to the fundamental formatting conventions of MLA style (e.g., one-inch margins).
MLA style format: Artist’s last name, first name. Artwork title or description of the artwork Year, Name of Institution, City.
MLA style format: Author’s last name, first name. Book Title. Publisher, Year.
MLA format: Author’s last name, first name. “Article Title.” Journal Name, Volume, No. The Issue, Month, Year, pp. page range, DOI, or URL