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MLA: Basic Info

Formatting your paper

General Guidelines:

  • Font: The preferred font for MLA publications is a legible 12 point font (for example, Times New Roman.)
  • Spacing: The text of your document should be double-spaced.
  • Margins: Document margins should be set at 1 inch on all sides.

Your first page

Your last name and the page number should appear flush right in the header of

  • Header:  Your last name and the current page number should typically appear flush right in the header of every page of your document. 
  • MLA documents do not typically require a separate title page.  Beginning on the first line of the first page, include your name, your instructor's name, your course, and the date, double-spacing between each element.  For example:

Sammy Smith

Professor Jill Hill

ENGL 2201

12 August, 2021

  • Title:  Include the title, centered, one double-spaced line below the date.

The body of your paper

  • If including section headings in your document, be sure to apply your heading system consistently (whether bolding or using italics or heading levels)
  • Be sure to use a parenthetical or in-text citation to cite any information sources.  These in-text citations will appear again on your "Works Cited" page.

Citing your sources

Citing your information sources will add credibility to your work and help you to avoid plagiarism. 

  • MLA requires a "Works Cited" page separate from the body of your document.  Note that page numbers and the header should continue through this section as well.

  • The "Works Cited" page is double-spaced just like the rest of your document.  Do not include line breaks between the citations you list.

  • Citations are sorted alphabetically based on the first character in the citation entry.

External resources

Follow these links to learn more:

Sample papers: