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Features of MLA Citation Format

If you want to understand certain citation format, you need to find an understandable guide. It may be not an easy task, so we collected useful advice for you. Our service provides you with all necessary information, so you could perfectly format your academic papers of any kind. MLA format is one of the most common citation styles, and this article is about it.

Writing essays for college or university, you need to follow certain rules. It’s not easy to create a proper structure for your paper, but if you focus on a few key points, it will simplify your work. We suggest you to always start with an outline, this will help you develop the main idea, draw up the structure and apply MLA format to the whole text.

Another important feature is citation. So, let’s take a look at MLA style and consider key features of this formatting method, so you could understand all necessary rules clearly.

What is MLA?

MLA is an abbreviation for Modern Language Association. Some students say that it’s a relatively simple style, but if you’re dealing with it for the first time, it won’t seem so simple. Most often this type is used in literature, humanities fields and language. Comparing to Oxford, Chicago or APA, this style is easier, but you still need to take your time and consider all key differences.

MLA implies strict rules for such things as:

  • Headings
  • Punctuation
  • Manuscript
  • Abbreviations
  • Tables
  • Statistics
  • References

This style will help you if you have problems with plagiarism. Just make sure that you use proper citing format in your paper. This format is helpful in case you’re using somebody else’s works for your academic papers.

Tips on Citation

To make citation properly, you have to follow certain standards. MLA format is used in many different works, so you may have seen it before. However, we highlighted key features of this format:

  • Use parentheses. Information about your sources should be placed in parentheses right after your citation.
  • Citations consist of a list of used sources. We suggest you to note every source when you use it in your paper, so that you could easily compile your bibliography.
  • Each particular source, such as the internet, book or CD, requires you to write different information in a bibliography section.

Citations in Text

MLA implies certain rules for citations in text. This approach is called author-page method. It means including author’s name along with a number of used page. It’s a short kind of citation, the extended data should be written on the separate page, which is titled Cited Works. Author’s name can be placed between parentheses or without them, but page numbers should always be in parentheses.

This format is determined by the very nature of citation, which gives your readers an opportunity to check used source and find a necessary page by just looking at your marks in text.

If you’re writing about the source as a whole, you need to add in-text citation which includes the name of the book or article. Page number is required when you’re citing a particular part of the source. You also may or may not indicate the author’s name, depending on your citation. If you already mentioned the author’s name in this sentence, then you should just indicate a page number.

Essay Formatting

Essay formatting is a kind of a plan. Generally, formatting starts when you create an outline.

  • The thesis statement is necessary. It’s not only a basis for your entire essay, but also a first part of your outline. MLA supports thesis statements written in all caps.
  • Your outline may consist of long sentences, as well as of key words or short phrases.
  • Don’t try to reflect unnecessary details in your outline. It must be related to your main thesis directly.
  • Don’t underestimate your outline and its structure. It must reflect the structure of your essay, so better pay special attention to it.

MLA Style for Independent Researches

Since many students fail trying to create a proper structure of the paper according to MLA style, we decided to highlight key features of this format. Check them out and write your papers carefully.

Margins must be 1-inch wide, from the every side of your page. Make sure that each paragraph stands on the distance of 1.5” form the left side.

Spacing should include double spaces by default. However, if your professor gives you instructions on single spacing, you must take it into account. Your spacing should be applied to every part of the paper, including references and notes.

A separate title page is not included in MLA style. Just write all necessary information, such as your name, course and date, on the top of the first page. Don’t forget about a margin and double-spacing. Write the title of your work on the center.

Never use bold or underlined letters. If you need to draw attention to some particular words or sentences, we suggest you to use capital letters only. You can also ask your instructor for any recommendations on such an issue.

Write page numbers in the upper right corner of every page. It must be only a number, without any extra things like words “page” or “p.” You also need to include your last name before the page number. Don’t forget that this number must be on the distance of one inch from the corner, and make sure that it’s double-spaced from the text.

Figures are any illustrations that you use in your work. Doesn’t matter what you add, photos, charts or images, you must mark them as “Figures” and add a number for each one of them. Tables are a different type of illustrations, and they also should be numbered in a right way.

Improve Your Skills

Proper formatting is as much important as the whole content of your paper. Moreover, incorrect formatting may push your readers for negative evaluation of your work, even though all content may be right and interesting. Don’t get low grades due to a bad format, check out our tips and improve your writing skills to create perfect papers!


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