MLA Format How to prepare your work for publication
MLA • MLA stands for the Modern Language Association. • It was founded in 1883. • This group of teachers and scholars determine acceptable guidelines for publishing academic work (like your story/essay).
Basic MLA Format The format has several key components that standardize the look of the work. Your work should be: • Double spaced • 12 point font • One inch margins • Indented paragraphs • Most word processing programs default to the correct font size and margin spacing. • Double spacing must be done manually. • Indent paragraphs by pressing the “tab” key once.
Double Spacing To double space text in Microsoft Word click: • Format • Paragraph • Line Spacing • Double • Or click this button and select 2.0 (depending on your version of Word)
Header Your work must contain a header with your last name and page numbers. Your header must be in the upper right corner of each page.
Header • Click the very top of your page (body text will turn grey to show it is deactivated). • Type your last name and press Ctrl +R to align the text to the right. • Click the insert page number icon.
Header • Do NOT type 1 on the first page as the page number because it will appear on every page of the document. • Click the body text again. The header will go grey to show that it is deactivated.
Vital Information The top left side of your first page should contain your vital information: • First and last name • Teacher’s name • Class • Due date Directly below this, centered and in bold, should be the (creative) title of your work. The text of your work should begin on the next line. Indent the first line of each paragraph!
Vital Information Example Stuart Dent Ms. Monroe English 8A August 25, 2078
Sample First Page Dent 1 Stuart Dent Ms. Monroe English 8A August 25, 2078 A Distressing Work of Astounding Brilliance It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.
Works Cited • The works-cited page at the end of your essay gives your readers the list of sources you actually referenced within your paper, allowing your readers to easily find those sources themselves. • This page should have a header as well as be double spaced, including the citations. • The citation entries should be listed in alphabetical order by the authors' last names.
Underlining or Italics? • When reports were written on typewriters, the names of publications were underlined because most typewriters had no way to print italics. If you write a bibliography by hand, you should still underline the names of publications. But, if you use a computer, then publication names should be in italics as they are below. Always check with your instructor regarding their preference of using italics or underlining. Our examples use italics.
Hanging Indentation All MLA citations should use hanging indents, that is, the first line of an entry should be flush left, and the second and subsequent lines should be indented 1/2".
Capitalization, Abbreviation, and Punctuation The MLA guidelines specify using title case capitalization - capitalize the first words, the last words, and all principal words, including those that follow hyphens in compound terms. Use lowercase abbreviations to identify the parts of a work (e.g., vol. for volume, ed. for editor) except when these designations follow a period. Whenever possible, use the appropriate abbreviated forms for the publisher's name (Random instead of Random House). Separate author, title, and publication information with a period followed by one space. Use a colon and a space to separate a title from a subtitle. Include other kinds of punctuation only if it is part of the title. Use quotation marks to indicate the titles of short works appearing within larger works (e.g., "Memories of Childhood." American Short Stories). Also use quotation marks for titles of unpublished works and songs.
Sample Works Cited Page Dent 8 Works Cited Allen, Thomas B. Vanishing Wildlife of North America. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 1974. Boorstin, Daniel J. The Creators: A History of the Heroes of the Imagination. New York: Random, 1992. Hall, Donald, ed. The Oxford Book of American Literacy Anecdotes. New York: Oxford UP, 1981. Searles, Baird, and Martin Last. A Reader's Guide to Science Fiction. New York: Facts on File, Inc., 1979. Toomer, Jean. Cane. Ed. Darwin T. Turner. New York: Norton, 1988.
Purdue OWL Still have questions about MLA format? Check out the Purdue University Online Writing Lab. They have everything you every wanted to know about MLA format and more. http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/