How to Write an Essay in MLA Format
Writing an essay using Modern Language Association format is style used and required by plenty of collegiate-level professors. It is also used in academic journals and even in high school courses. This is a skill that all students since at some time in your academic career you’ll have to do an essay.
Now, you teacher may not require you to use MLA format, but it never hurts to be familiar with how to format your paper properly. Below is the shortlist of steps you’ll take:
- Page Header
- Title Block
- Works Cited
For MLA format, you’ll want to use the following:
- 1” margins all around
- Double spaced
- 12pt font size, Times New Roman preferred
- No spacing after paragraphs
To edit the margins, go to Page Layout, Margins, and Normal. For the line height, click on the Home tab and go to Line Spacing. You’ll find this on the same straight row as the paragraph alignments next to Justify. You’ll want 12pt font size and no spacing after paragraphs next.
If your essay hasn’t been written yet, you can simply change the font size to 12pt. Next go to line spacing and select the bottom option for “Remove Space” after paragraph. You’ll also want to set it to double space by using CTRL + 2. If your paper is completed, simply use CTRL + A to select all and perform the steps.
To handle your page header simply go to insert, then page number, and top of page. You can then enter your last name.
For the title block, you’ll need the essentials. In the upper left, type your name, the professor or teacher’s name, the class, and the date. Next, use Ctrl + E to center the cursor and type a title for your paper.
- Don’t put the title in bold, italic, or resize it. Leave it the same as the rest of the paper.
- Do not make extra space above or below the title.
- The title should give an idea what the general idea of your paper will be. Whatever topics you’re tackling in your paper, use a title that summarizes that.
- Use Block Quotation format when the quote is longer than three lines. You will utilize Increase Indent which is located in the Paragraph portion of the MS Word toolbar. Cite the source outside of the quoted text using parentheses and the author’s name and page number.
- Inline Quotation is to be used when the quote is under three lines. The citation will appear in parentheses outside of the work quoted.
- Avoid using full quotes too much. This comes off as filler. Paraphrasing works just good.
- If you paraphrase a quote, still use citations.
- Use Ctrl + Enter to jump to a new page. The title of the page will be “Works Cited”.
- Websites, books, and articles are all up for being cited. If it was used in your essay, you’ll cite it here as well.
- Start with the name of the author—last name first, last and first name separated by a comma.
- If the work is a book, put it in italics. If it is an article from a magazine, website, or a chapter from a book, put it in quotes and don’t use italic.
- You will still need to put the work where the article originated in italic.
Include the year of publication for a magazine or book and the full date for a website. Be sure to indicate the work is a website.