MLA Style

What is MLA style?

  • The style of the Modern Language Association
  • MLA style is used by:
    • English classes
    • humanities classes
    • language classes

Why use MLA style?

  • Avoid plagiarism
    • must cite quotations and borrowed ideas
    • information borrowed word for word must be in quotation marks
    • summaries and paraphrases must be in your own words

In-text citations

  • Establish source’s credibility by using his or her name and position.  For example, John Smith, Harvard University president, says the rising tuition rates are “unforgivable” (Smith 33).
  • Avoid “dropped quotes” – quotes that are just dropped into a paragraph without identifying where information is coming from.
  • The first time you mention a source, use his or her full name.  Every time after that, you need only use his or her last name.
  • Each in-text citation needs to correspond to an entry on the Works Cited page.

Examples

  • (Smith 33).
    • no “pg.” or “p.”; no commas
    • punctuation follows closing parenthesis
  • If no author: (“Many People” 33).
  • If no page number: (Smith).
  • If more than one item by the same author: (Smith “Many People” 33).
  • If more than one author for one item: (Smith and Johnson 33).

Works Cites entries

Books

  • Last Name, First Name.  Book Title.  Place of Publication: Publisher, Year.
  • Example: Smith, John.  Many People, Many Faiths.  New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1999.
  • Books with edition numbers: Smith, John.  Many People, Many Faiths.  2nd ed. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1999.
  • Books with editors: Smith, John, ed.  Many People, Many Faiths. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1999.

Newspaper or magazine articles

  • Always consider credibility of source
  • Last Name, First Name.  “Article Title.”  Newspaper or Magazine Title Date: Page Number.
  • Example: Smith, John.  “Many People, Many Faiths.”  The New York Times 13 Feb. 2001: A1.

Scholarly journals

  • Last Name, First Name.  “Article Title.”  Journal Title Volume Number.Issue Number (Year): Page Number.
  • Example: Smith, John.  “Many People, Many Faiths.”  Language 11.3 (1999): 156-227.
  • From electronic database: Smith, John.  “Many People, Many Faiths.”  Language 11.3 (1999): 156-227.  Academic Search Premier.  EBSCO Host.  Northern Michigan University, Lydia Olson Library.  22 Mar. 2005 <http://epnet.com>.

Web sites

  • Again, always consider reliability of source
  • Author’s Last Name, Author’s First Name.  “Section or Page on Web Site.”  Overall Web Site.  Date last updated or published.  Date accessed <Web Address>.

Other sources

  • E-mails: Smith, John.  “Re: Cultural Identity Paper.”  E-mail to the author.  14 Mar. 2005.
  • Personal interviews: Smith, John.  Personal interview.  22 Mar. 2005.
  • Class notes: Schiffer, Jim.  “Shakespeare’s Language.”  EN 313: Introduction to Shakespeare.  Northern Michigan University, Marquette.  5 Mar. 2005.

References

  • GiIbaldi, Joseph.  MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 6th ed.
  • Hacker, Diana.  Rules for Writers.  5th ed.
  • OR A Pocket Style Manual. 4th ed.

Formatting the paper

Page numbers

  • Upper right hand corner of page
  • Start on first page
  • Should include your last name
  • Insert > Page Numbers > Upper Right > Double click on page numbers in document to add name
  • Example: Johnson 3

Headings

  • No cover page
  • Heading at top left of first page of paper:

John Smith
Professor Schiffer
EN 111
7 April 2005

  • Title of paper should be centered above first paragraph
    • No italics, bold, underlining or font type or size change

Works Cited page

  • Page numbers should continue
  • Double space, with no extra returns between entries
  • Hanging indent: Second line of entry (any any following lines) should be indented
  • Alphabetize entries
  • “Works Cited” should be centered on first line of page
    • No italics, bold, underlining or font type or size change

Other formatting issues

  • White paper
  • 1-inch margins
  • Basic font, like Times New Roman
  • 12-point text
  • Double space
  • Key is readability