Must Know: Tips On Writing An Essay MLA Style

For every project or research paper that you are assigned in college, your supervisor will give you a set of instructions on how to present your final work. Standard styles applied on research paper include the MLA and APA styles. If you are to write using the MLA format, then you have to follow its guidelines.

What is MLA, you may ask? MLA is a Modern Language Association document styling form that follows the association’s standard styling guidelines. Each format has its unique features from the others. Below are some of the tips for writing an essay using the MLA style:

Guidelines for MLA writing Style

1. General Document Format

If you are to submit your essay in MLA format, your document should use the Times New Roman Font, at 12 points, that is the size of your words. Your margins should also be an inch wide, bottom, top, and the sides. At the end of each sentence, you only need to use a single space before starting a new sentence.

Each first line of every paragraph should be indented. Use the tab key on your keyboard for indentation and not the space bar. The indentation should be one and a half inch wide. Throughout the essay, you should use double spacing.

2. Formatting Structure of Specific Parts of Document

a. Page Numbers

The general document is not an exhaustive format structure using the MLA guidelines. Additional formatting is needed on how you structure your content. The upper left corner of the first page should contain your name.

Page numbers are inserted in the top right corner of each page. Also, you should include your last name, to the left of the page number.

b. Sectioning the Document

To divide your sections, you need to use numbers with a period, for example, your first section could be labeled, 1. Section One. After each number, remember to use a single space before typing the section name.

c. Emphasizing Content

If you want to emphasize any section in your article, the, you should use italics to do so. Titles also need to be italicized for emphasis.

d. MLA Title Page

If you are writing a research paper, you do not require a title page. You should record the relevant details for your document, one inch from the top of the page and on the left side. The details that you need to include are your name, the name of your instructor, course number, and date.

Each detail should be in a separate line. You should use double spacing between your lines. The title should be placed at the center of the page, but after double spacing from the recorded details, just below the date.

Do not use a period after the title or after any heading.


In the MLA style format, you need to pay attention to the author’s name, book title, date of publication, and publication place for any resources that you would like to reference in your research. You should start by the last name of the author, and the sources should be listed in alphabetical order.

The referencing structure for your bibliography applies to both book and internet sources. You should begin your citation at the left margin. You should also use double spacing between the title and first entry.

Other formatting structures include a recommendation to writers to write down one or two-word numbers, in words, e.g. one hundred instead of 100. If you want to include illustrations in your content, you should place them close to the text that they are referring to, and not far away from them.
For referring to notes that come with the illustration, you need to use letters and not numbers, to label them. If you use numbers, they may confuse the reader, and he or she may not be able to tell the difference between notes for the illustration and those of the text.

Every document formatting style has its unique features. The above article will give you insight on how to present your research paper if your supervisor has instructed you to submit the report using the MLA style, from MLA footnotes to the overall structure of the document.


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