MLA Writing Style Guide

The Modern Language Association (MLA) style provides the guideline to format written work in the English language. It focuses on the page layout and format, citing sources, as well as stylistic techniques such as footnotes. This style is applied mostly in literature, humanities, and languages. It has been adopted and used globally, especially scholars, in academic papers, newsletters, and magazines. The MLA style is often used by scholars in the humanities mainly because it provides exceptional simplicity in the comprehension of the work by readers through linkages formed when referring to the original material. This helps in hedging writers from plagiarism allegations by acknowledging borrowed sources.

Page formatting 

The MLA style provides that writing ought to be on 8.5’ by 11’ paper with margins all around. Paragraphs should be indented by half an inch, with a double spacing format observed for the sentences. The most appropriate font should be used for regular and italics type styles ensuring contrast for ease of identification. Additionally, pages should have headers that show page numbers.

The title page is not a compulsory requirement, unlike in the ALA style. In MLA style, the editor's list, name of the author, instructor’s or lecturer’s name, and the date should be in block format. This information should be left-aligned. On the other hand, the title should be centered and should not have any underlining, italicizing, or using quotation marks.

Quotation marks may be used when referring to other’s work in the title. The MLA style requires that the editors provide a page number on the right upper hand corner.

In-text citations 

When formatting the body, the MLA style stipulates that the writer is to divide up the essay into numbered sections to facilitate ease of readability of the text. Citation of secondary sources is the most difficult part of this style due to the failure of the expectation by readers to be led directly to the references. This often leads to confusion on what is the actual source of the information. The citation can take in-text format. When the author-page method is used, the last name of the author and the page number are written in the parenthesis citation. MLA stipulates that citation of secondary sources should be used in the essay. This is in part to shield the writers from plagiarism charges. It also ensures some consistency in humanities publications.


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