MLA Essay Format: Everything You Need to Know


MLA format essay is rather simple once you understand it. The basic idea behind MLA format essay is to list your sources at the end of your paper and include them in your parentheses when citing them. This post will cover all of the ins and outs of MLA format so that you can write an essay using it. The first thing to know is that MLA format requires that you include your Works Cited page at the end of your article. It should list every source you mention in your paper and the page number on which it appears. The MLA style also includes a few formatting rules for the body of your essay itself.

Essay MLA Format Peculiarities

When writing an MLA format essay, it’s important to format the page correctly. This will help make your paper look professional and organized.

  • Side, top, and bottom margins of one inch.
  • The Times or Times New Roman 12 pt font. 
  • Double-space the text of the paper. 
  • Left-aligned text, which will have a right edge. Don’t use fully justified (newspaper-style) text. 
  • Block quotes should be indented 1″. 
  • Use a 1/2″ indent for all lines after the first line of each source in Works Cited lists (“hanging indent”). 
  • Beginning with the first page of text, number the pages in the top right corner of the paper’s header area. Before each page number, enter your last name.

That is how easily you can set up the paper in MLA Format. Just reread all these instructions. You will be astonished at how precisely you can do all the requirements. 

MLA Style Essay for Beginners

The MLA style guide is a standard format used by researchers and writers to cite the sources they’ve used in their work. But first, do your research right: ensure your citations match the source information in each entry on your Works Cited list.

Editing your essay and proofreading it are two separate but equally vital tasks. However, they both require different kinds of attention, so you should make sure to do them separately. Use the thesaurus function in Microsoft Word or Google Docs to find new words that convey what you would like to say more effectively than the ones you originally chose.

Read your essay out loud — it will help you catch any typos or grammatical errors that might not be apparent when reading silently! Ensure all sources are cited properly and none are left out. 

Also, make sure they’re cited at least once per paragraph; if they’re referenced multiple times within one section (e.g., “Smith argues that…”), mention them only once at the beginning of said paragraph instead (e.g., “Smith [1] argues…”). This makes things easier for readers who aren’t familiar with all of your sources’ names but do know what their authors wrote about in their own words on this issue, which is essential because this is an academic paper. 

Every Student Needs an Essay Format MLA Guide 

It’s important to set up the pages of your paper in MLA format properly as well:

  • Title
  • Table of Contents
  • Running Head
  • Takeaway
  • References.

The title page includes all of your basic information, such as the author’s name(s), the title of the work being cited, etc. Make sure this information appears exactly how you want it before submitting this section because once being introduced, there is no manner to change any part of it without starting over from scratch. The title should be centered or justified (left or right justified) and written in all caps, with no punctuation other than an exclamation mark or colon for titles containing interrogative statements (e.g., What Is Love?). For longer titles, use quotation marks around them rather than underlining them.

The running head part usually appears at the top of every page other than the first one, so be sure yours looks good before submitting anything else! It should include page numbers or date ranges depending on the type of project/assignment that needs them most urgently.

A table of contents is a page that should include a list of all headings used within the essay and their page numbers (or section numbers). It is unnecessary to include subheadings unless they are particularly important; however, if they are present, they should also appear on this table of contents. 

For your concluding paragraph, you want to reiterate the main points of your essay and then add any new (or additional) insights that came from writing it. For example, if you were discussing how a particular book affected you, it might be helpful to state how it changed your opinion on a subject or inspired you in some way. This can help readers understand how this experience has helped shape who you are today.

When you’re done, your essay should look like this. You can see that the entire piece is in MLA format and has all of the elements we discussed earlier. We hope this helps you as you write your essays! Good luck!


How do I format a paper in MLA style?

Use 12 x 11″ white paper. Make 1-inch margins on all sides, top, and bottom. Every paragraph’s first word should be indented by half an inch. Use mostly readable fonts, such as Times New Roman.

Make sure the italics stand out from the regular typeface. Use a 12-point font. The entire research paper should be double-spaced, including the Works Cited page. 

Unless your instructor directs you otherwise, leave one space after periods and other punctuation marks.

Do I need a title for my MLA paper?

A title page is not required for an MLA research paper, but your instructor may need one. If no instructions are provided, follow MLA guidelines: one inch from the top of the first page. Then, start typing your text after indenting the next line.

Does MLA have an introduction?

It has, indeed. The introductory and concluding parts should each be about 10% of the total word count of the essay. For instance, if you write a 1,500-word essay, your introduction and conclusion will be approximately 150 words each.

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