Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

MLA Citations (9th ed.): General Formatting

This guide will help you format your paper and cite resources according to MLA citation style.

Margins and Text Formatting

Margins

Margins should be one inch at the top and bottom and on both sides of the text. 

Text Formatting

Choose an easily readable typeface (Times New Roman is just one example) between 11 and 13 points. Use the same typeface and type size throughout the research project.

Double-space the entire research paper, including quotations, notes, and the works cited.

Indent the first line of a paragraph half an inch from the left margin. Ident block quotations half an inch as well.

Turn off the automatic hyphenation feature in your word processing program. It is unnecessary to divide words at the ends of lines in a manuscript.

Leave one space after a period or other concluding punctuation marks.

Heading and Title

Heading

One inch from the top of the first page and flush with the left margin, type:

  • Your name
  • Your instructor's name
  • Course name and number
  • Date

Each should be listed on separate double-spaced lines.

Title

On a new double-spaced line, center the title. Do not italicize or underline your title, put it in quotation marks or boldface, or type it in all capital letters. Do not use a period after your title or any heading in the paper.

Begin your text on a new double-spaced line after the title, indenting the first line of the paragraph half an inch from the left margin.

Running Head and Page Numbers

Running Head

The running head includes your surname, followed by a space, before the page number. If a project has several authors and all authors' surnames do not fit in a running head, include only the page number. The running head should appear on every page.

Page Numbers

Number all pages consecutively throughout the research paper in the upper right-hand corner, half an inch from the top and flush with the right margin.

Do not use the abbreviation "p." before the page number or add a period, a hyphen, or any other mark or symbol.

 

Example - Single Author

Internal Headings and Subheadings

Headings and subheadings in the text of your research project can help organize and structure your writing, but you should avoid overusing them.

Headings in the body of your research project should be styled in descending order of prominence. Font styling and size are used to signal prominence. Each level 1 heading should appear in the same style and size, as should each level 2 heading, and so on.

No internal heading level should have only one instance (exceptions are the paper or chapter title and the headings for notes and works cited).

Headings should be flush with the left margin, not indented or centered. For readability, include a line space above and below a heading.

     Heading Level 1

     Heading Level 2

     Heading Level 3