Modern Language Association (MLA)*

 



 

 

Using Modern Language Association (MLA) Format

........Modern Language Association (MLA) format provides writers with a system for cross-referencing their sourcesófrom their parenthetical references to their works cited page. This cross-referencing system allows readers to locate the publication information of source material. This is of great value for researchers who may want to locate your sources for their own research projects. The proper use of MLA style also shows the credibility of writers; such writers show accountability to their source material. Most importantly, the use of MLA style can protect writers from accusations of plagiarismóthe purposeful or accidental use of source material by other writers without giving appropriate credit.

 


 

Note:

........ The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers provides extensive examples covering a wide variety of potential sources. If your particular case is not covered here, use the basic forms to determine the correct format, consult the MLA Handbook, or call or email the Writing Lab (765-494-3723; owl@owl.english.purdue.edu) for help.

 

*Adapted from the Purdue University Online Writing Lab.

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/research/r_mla.html



 

Paper Format

........Your essay should be typed, double-spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5 X 11 inches) with margins of 1 inch on all sides. Unless requested, a title page is unnecessary. Instead, you should 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. 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 may ask that you omit the number on your first page. Always follow your instructor's guidelines.) Then center your title on the line below the header with your name, and begin your essay immediately below the title.

For example:


 

Purdue 1

Pete Purdue

Dr. B. Boilermaker

English 101

November 12, 2000


Building a Dream: Reasons to Expand Ross-Aide Stadium


.........During the 2000 football season, the Purdue Boilermakers won the Big

Ten Conference Title, earned their first trip to the Rose Bowl in thirty-four

years, and played consistently to sold-out crowds. Looking ahead...


 

Works Cited List

........ Your works cited list should begin on a separate page from the text of the essay under the label Works Cited (with no quotation marks, underlining, etc.), centered at the top of the page. Double-space all entries, with no skipped spaces between entries. Notes, if any, should be formatted similarly and should appear on a page before the works cited page. Keep in mind that underlining and Italics are equivalent; you should select one or the other to use throughout your essay. Keep in mind that underlining and Italics are equivalent; you should select one or the other to use throughout your essay.

......... This list, alphabetized by the first word in each entry (usually the author's last name), should appear at the end of your essay. It provides the information necessary for a reader to locate and be able to read any sources you cite in the essay. Each source you cite in the essay must appear in your works-cited list; likewise, each entry in the Works-cited list must be cited in your text.

 

Basic Rules

 

  • Authors' names are inverted (last name first); if a work has more than one author, invert only the first author's name, follow it with a comma, then continue listing the rest of the authors. If you have cited more than one work by a particular author, order them alphabetically by title, and use three hyphens in place of the author's name for every entry after the first. When an author appears both as the sole author of a text and as the first author of a group, list solo-author entries first.

     

  • If no author is given for a particular work, alphabetize by the title of the piece and use a shortened version of the title for parenthetical citations.

     

  • The first line of each entry in your list should be flush left. Subsequent lines should be indented one-half inch. This is known as a hanging indent.

     

  • All references should be double-spaced. Capitalize each word in the titles of articles, books, etc. This rule does not apply to articles, short prepositions, or conjunctions unless one is the first word of the title or subtitle.
  • Underline or italicize titles of books, journals, magazines, newspapers, and films.

     

  • Use quotation marks around the titles of articles in journals, magazines, and newspapers. Also use quotation marks for the titles of short stories, book chapters, poems, and songs.

     

  • List page numbers efficiently, when needed. If you refer to a journal article that appeared on pages 225 through 250, list the page numbers on your Works Cited page as 225-50.

     


 

Basic Forms for Sources in Print

 


The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers provides extensive examples covering a wide variety of potential sources. If your particular case is not covered here, use the basic forms to determine the correct format, consult the MLA Handbook, or call or email the Writing Lab (765-494-3723; owl@owl.english.purdue.edu owl@owl.english.purdue.edu) for help.