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MLA: Home

This guide provides an overview of the MLA (7th edition) format for citations, works cited, and includes links to more comprehensive information.

What is MLA Style?

is a format for citing sources and typing research papers in the humanities (English, literature, history, etc).

General Formatting Guidelines

MLA recommends the following common rules when formatting your paper.  Use the MLA Handbook - Seventh Ed. to view the page number that follows the rule for further explanation. 

Be aware your professor may require slight changes to these rules.  Always verify with the professor on what format specifications to use for a particular assignment. 

Some common rules to follow are:

Title Page

Do not make a title page unless specified. Center your title on the line below the header with your name, and begin your paper immediately below the title.


Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner, one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your instructor or whoever is reading the manuscript may ask that you omit the number on your first page. Always follow their guidelines.)

First Page

Provide a double-spaced entry in the top left corner of the first page that lists your name, your instructor's name, the course, and the date.


Margins should be one(1)inch on all sides which includes top, bottom, left and right.(p. 116)

Font Preference and Size

Choose a standard, easy-to-read font and type size. For example, Times New Roman, 12 pt.(p. 116)

Line Spacing

The paper should be double spaced throughout the document.(p. 116)  

Page Numbering

Page numbers should be located in the upper right corner, one half inch from the top and flush with the right margin.  Type your last name before the page number unless otherwise specified by your professor. (p. 117)

Paragraph Indentation

Paragraphs should be indented 5 spaces or 1/2 inch.(p. 116)

Spacing after Punctuation

It is increasingly common to use a single space after all punctuation marks.  However, two spaces is also acceptable.  Check with your professor to determine specification.


Click here to view a sample formatting page.





Formatting the "Works Cited" Page

Start your works cited on a new page at the end of the paper. This page should be numbered as though it were a page in the paper.

Page Title

The words Works Cited should appear centered on the page. If you have only 1 citation the title should be Work.

Line Spacing

Double space between each line and within entries. (p. 131)


The first line of each entry should align with the left subsequent lines and should be indented 5 spaces or set a hanging indentation. (p. 131)

Order of Entries

Entries should be alphabetized by author. If you have more than one entry by the same author list by year beginning with the earliest publication. If there is no author, alphabetize by the first word of the entry. Second and subsequent lines in each entry should be indented 1/2 inch.(p. 131-5)


Click here to view a sample works cited page.


Additional information in the MLA Handbook, 5.3.3.-5.3.6.


Why Cite?

This video from the University of Illinois provides an excellent rationale for citing.

If you need additional help -- AskALibrarian @ Lovejoy!

Subject Guide