MLA Format: Everything You Need to Know Here

MLA Format

You cannot leave the extracted work unattended. You need to cite everything you have used from different sources. This will increase the credibility of your paper and your point of view. Audience will have a source to refer to while reading your paper. It is not right to use someone’s work without giving them credits. There are many citation styles that can be used to cite the information, MLA style is one of them. This article will highlight everything you need to know while using this specific style to format your paper.

What is MLA Style Referencing?

MLA style referencing is used to cite the work of languages, arts, and cultural studies. The MLA format has in-text citations and work cited list. This format is widely used for citing information in different papers. A detailed note on in-text citation and work cited list is as follows.

In-text citation

In-text citations are placed inside the text after the extracted sentence ends. As these in-text citations are in the sentences, so they are more likely to interrupt the flow of arguments. The purpose is not to distract the audience by providing them unnecessary information. In-text citation contains author’s name and page number. In some cases, author’s name is not available so you can write page number. When you do not know the page number, cite information by author’s name only.

The format of MLA in-text citation is as follows

(Max 9)

This citation is placed inside the parenthesis.

You can also add the in-text citation in a way where author name is placed along with the sentence and page number is mentioned at the end.

Max said “sentence” (9)

These in-text citations also have a corresponding work cited entry at the end of document.

Work cited list

Before you start to dive into the process of citing information, you need to be aware of all the important elements that you need to involve in your citation. Work cited list consist of following elements.


The first thing to include is author’s name. The author’s name gives people an idea that how credible the work is. In the work cited list, you need to mention the last name of author then a comma followed by remaining name. This element ends with a full stop.

Title of source

The next thing is the title of source. This title can either be italicized or in quotation marks. The title of the source also ends with a period.

Title of container

Sometimes, there are containers of the sources in which the source is located. For instance, you might be citing the work from an article which is placed in a collection of articles, so you need to cite this container too. The container of the source is also italicized and ends with a comma.

Other contributors

There may be other contributors to the source you are using. These contributors can be editors, translators, or editors. It is important to mention them in the work cited entry.


If the source has many versions, it is important to involve the version number for clarity.


Publishers are responsible for publishing your work or conveying your point to your audience. After the publishers’ names, you need to place a comma.

Publication date

There may be more than one publication dates of a source. The online date may be different from the printed date. You will have to use the original date in citation.


The location of an article is the site where article or source is located. This is the URL of the source which helps the readers reach the original source.

Date of access

Date of access is an optional element. It is not placed in the citation if publication date is available. It is not right to use both dates together. You should write the accessed date only if you cannot get the publication date.

General guidelines

The general guidelines of the MLA citation style are as follows.

  • The work cited list is added on a new page at the end of the document.
  • The entries in work cited list are arranged alphabetically by author’s name.
  • If there are more than one citation of the same author, then arrange them by the year.
  • If they are in the same year or same date, arrange them by the title of the source.
  • All the entries should be double spaced in work cited list.
  • There should be detailed entry in the work cited list of every in-text citation.
  • In-text citation should contain author’s name and page number.
  • There should be a corresponding work cited entry to in-text citation.
  • In-text citation is placed in parenthesis after the sentence.
  • All pages should have a page number and running heads.

MLA Paper Formatting

The formatting of MLA style paper is as follows.

  • There should be 1-inch margins from all the sides.
  • The font style should be readable preferably Time New roman.
  • The font size should be 12 pt.
  • Your italicized text should look different from the rest of text.
  • All the text in your document should be double spaced, even the entries of work cited list.
  • There should be single spacing after punctuation, but you should always go with the instructions. If your instructor wants you to double space after punctuation, then do it.

Formatting the Header in MLA

The instructions for header in MLA format are as follows.

  • Start by leaving 1 inch margin from the top.
  • Write your own name, your instructor’s name, course name, and date. Everything should be double spaced.
  • You need to place the title in the center. Title should not be bold or underlined, rather it should be italicized.
  • Do not place full stops after any heading or title.
  • The first word of each paragraph should be indented.
  • The intend should be a half inch from margin.
  • There should be double spacing in all paragraphs.
  • You can use any font style, but the requirement is the italicized and normal text should be differentiable. Arial and times new roman can easily be distinguished when italicized so they are the preferred font styles.
  • The font size should be 12pt. you can also use 11.5 or 11, but you should be consistent with the style and size.

Title page

Title page in MLA format has four main components.

  1. Your name
  2. Your instructor’s name
  3. Course code or name
  4. Due date

Formatting the Header in MLA


You have to mention your name by leaving a one-inch margin from the top. After leaving double space add your instructor’s name. The next step is to add the course code after adding a double space after the instructor’s name. In the end, add another double space after the course code and mention the due date.

Paraphrasing in MLA

There are a few cases when you need to paraphrase the other person’s work. When a person decides to write somebody else’s work using his/her own words and style is paraphrasing. Even if you are writing something in your own words, you still need to give credits to the person. For paraphrasing, you should not change the actual meaning of the text, so it is important to fully understand the point of view of author in the text. In this way, you will be able to comprehend it and then write it in your own style.

Using Abbreviations in MLA

Sometimes, you may find it right to use the abbreviations in your text. It is better if you introduce it when you first use it in your text and then use the abbreviations later in the text. You may be aware of those abbreviations, but your audience may not be. In MLA format, it is acceptable to abbreviate the months if they have spelling of more than four letters. For instance, July will be July, but you can write November as Nov.

It is right to abbreviate the publishers’ names.

Abbreviations in MLA Format

Formatting Numbers in MLA

You should always mention the full spellings for number if they are single numbers. You should write 6 as six. If they are large numbers, you can write them as Arabic numbers. It would be appropriate to use the preferable unit or measurement with the numbers. It is acceptable to write Arabic numbers with their units.

Recommended Outline Structure

Formatting Numbers in MLA

Using Tables and Figures in MLA

It is appropriate to provide the citation right after the image. You can later provide with the detailed citation of the image too.

For tables and appendices, you should not cite the ones you have created on your own. However, the tables and figures that you have extracted from somewhere else should be cited. For your own appendices, you can simply write “refer to appendix A” or “see appendix A”.

Using Tables and Figures in MLA


MLA format is widely used and is not difficult to follow. You just need a set of instructions and guidelines before you format your paper using MLA style. This article has highlighted everything about MLA format. If you follow the guide above, you are good to format your paper using MLA style.