How To Format An MLA Essay

Have you found yourself in a situation whereby you are required to format your essay according to Modern Language Association (MLA)? If that is the case, then there are some important things that you should have in mind. First, the structure of your essay is not affected by the MLA formatting. Thus, your essay must have an introduction, body, and the conclusion. Secondly, you must be aware of the key elements associated with MLA essay formatting. The focus, in this case, is the cover page, line-spacing and indentation, the header, in-text citations, and the list of references. Let us have a look at each of the aforementioned aspects:

Cover Page

It is important to note that unlike other formatting styles, MLA does not involve a separate cover page. This means that the identification details of your paper should be in the first page of your essay (the same page where your essay begins). On the upper left-hand side of your first page, you are expected to provide the name of the author, the instructor’s name, the course, and the date of submission. Note that the said content should be double-spaced and aligned to the left. Having provided the aforementioned details, you will be required to use the center-text feature on your Word Processor and write the title of your work. Make sure that the title is in plain text as opposed to italics or any other font style.

The Header

This is essentially the location where the page numbering is embedded. In essence, you are required to create your header at the top right of your page. In most cases, Word Processors allow for activation of the header by using the ‘insert’ feature or by simply double-clicking the top part of your page. Having activated the header section, you should begin by inserting the page numbers followed by spacing and then your surname. The header details should be consistent in all pages of your essay.

Line-Spacing and Indentation

It is important to note that the common style of line spacing for MLA papers should be double-spacing. This means that the space between one line and the other should be double. A simple way of ensuring that the content is double spaced is by using the shortcut ‘Control+2’ on your keyboard. Doing so will ensure that all your paper content is double-spaced.

On the other hand, the indentation for an MLA essay means that the first line of each essay paragraph should be indented half an inch to the right. This should apply to all body sections bearing the main content of your essay. It is, however, notable that there is a difference when it comes to the list of references. Here, you will be required to use hanging indentation on each of the referenced sources.

In-text Citation

In-text citations in MLA essentially work by acknowledging different facts that have been sourced from secondary or external sources. You will be required to provide the surname of the author, followed by the exact page number where you sourced the particular facts. This may change depending on the type of sources and type of authors (individual[s] or corporate).

List of References

This is the last page of your essay, whereby all sources are fully acknowledged. In essence, all the sources used in the essay must be fully detailed in this section. Make sure that the list of references is double-spaced and in hanging indentation.