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MLA Guide

Modern Language Association is a writing style that is commonly used to cite sources and write papers in the field of humanities and liberal arts.  This writing style is widely used in Canada United States and many other countries. MLA guide gives information on how to document and write a research on a humanity paper studied in English. This humanities field includes courses like media studies, literature, comparative literature, cultural studies, literacy criticism and other related discipline.

MLA style manual has been the guiding factor for scholars, graduate students, and professional writers since it was first published in 1985. The style has been widely used in academic department, schools and by instructors. The MLA Style Manual was revised in 1998 to address graduate students, advance d writers, scholars and professors.  The main articles discussed in the guide are in disciplines in humanities, literatures and modern languages.  These disciplines according to the MLA presses and Journals require articles to be written in the following MLA style.

Format in Documentation

Citation of work is a requirement when writing an MLA article.  A bibliography of work Cited should be listed at the end of the text.  Endnotes or footnotes should paper at the end of the main body of the book, article, or the term paper.

Notes on the content

Content notes include the endnotes and the foot notes are important in a text because they provide a way of avoiding discussing too much about on a topic which may be out of context.  Content that justify what you need is only required.  Content notes in MLA style are written in List of work Cited and Parenthetical documentation. It is importation to cite the source of information because papers writing are often about building upon the ideas and information of other.  Those who are the source of the ideas should be given credit.  The reader can also get the information from the main source if work is cited. Citation also acts as a support of an argument as well as the credibility of the argument.  It is important to cite when a word or phrase is copied from a source, and when rephrasing or summarizing information from the source of information.

Citing Sources

MLA style comprise of two styles.  There is intent reference which is within the content.  This is important because the reader is able to know which source was used and information of the source in complete.

Formatting of a paper in MLA style

Use quality white paper at a standard size of 8.5 × 11. One side of the paper should only be printed.  Use a readable font like Time Roman 12.  Spaces should be double spaces.  The text should be justified to the left and on the right side the text can be jagged. From the first page, they should be numbered consecutively. The header of each paper should contain the page number and the last name of the writer.  These should be in the right side corner.

 Every first line of the paragraph should be ½ inch indented.  After all punctuations, one space should be left after each punctuation mark. An abstract and title page are not required.  The essays begin on the first page with an introduction.


Titles of pamphlets, books, films, audio cassettes and compact discs should be underlined. Articles, essay short stories, poems book chapters and songs should be in quotation marks in a custom MLA Style paper.

Parenthetical citation in MLA style is in text citation requires authors name to be used. The source of material is best referred to by the use of the authors name followed by the page number.  For example, Annette argues, that she has ever played with cash in her favorite game of poker (3). If the authors name is not mentioned in the introducing paragraph, then the last name of the author should be written before the page number in parenthetical citation. If there are more than one author the surname of the authors should be written before the page number such as (Smith and Katzenbach, 25).

In text citation for electronic source in MLA format source should be referenced just like prints. The difference with the print is because electronic sources do not have page numbers.

For CD Rom citation, the name of the author should begin then the title of the sources, then the date and page number.  The title of the database is about the computer survive and name of the vendor. The date of the electronic publication also has to be included. For personal interview citation, the name of the interviewed person has to be written, what the persons said and the date the interview was carried out.


Joseph Gibaldi (2003) the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (Sixth Edition, New York: Modern Language Association, 2003) and the MLA Style Guide to Scholarly Publishing (Second Edition, New York: Modern Language Association, 1998

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