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OAHS Library: MLA Guide

Research guides, databases, eBooks and other digital tools available 24/7 from your library

MLA Paper Format

First Page Format Checklist:

  • 1 inch margins
  • Double spaced (no extra spaces)
  • 12 point, Times New Roman font
  • Title centered at top of page (no additional formatting)
  • In top left corner, list your name, teacher's name, the class, and the date.
  • Insert header with page number aligned right, add your last name to appear just before the page number.  

MLA Works Cited Page Format

Works Cited page format

Works Cited Page Format

  • Heading: Centered at top of page: Works Cited
  • Spacing: Entire page double spaced (no extra spaces anywhere)
  • Order: Citations are alphabetized by the first word in the citation, ignoring articles
  • Indent: First line of citation flush left; all subsequent lines indented a half inch
  • Punctuation: Proper punctuation and capitalization is used 

Citing Sources In MLA Format

Citing Sources & the Works Cited Page

Digital sources (eBooks & Databases available from our library's website) provide ready-made, pre-formatted citations which can be simply copied and pasted. Don't forget to double check pre-formatted citations for accuracy, especially with the changes in MLA 8.

Citations for sources that do not provide pre-formatted citations must be built and formatted by the student. OAHS also has a subscription to Noodlebib, an online research organizer which will guide you through citing your sources and many other research tasks. For additional information on citing sources and MLA Style, see our OAHS MLA 8 Quick Reference, for a more comprehensive guide, Purdue's OWL (Online Writing Lab). For help generating a quick citation, use Noodlebib Express . 

MLA style requires two types of entries for each borrowed source: 
1. A detailed entry or citation in the list of works cited

2. An abbreviated version of the full citation placed within the body of the students’ writing, which directs the reader back to the full citation on the works cited page.  

MLA Core Elements
Each citation in the works cited list is made up of simple traits shared by most information works, known as “core elements." The adjacent chart lists these elements, which researchers must locate visually in each source. The chart also indicates the order by which elements are to be listed and the punctuation that should follow each element when preparing the citation. 

Creating a Citation
To cite a source, begin by looking at your source and trying to identify each of the core elements that MLA suggest including in each citation. List the items in the order indicated and include the appropriate punctuation mark after each element.  See the example below for general format. 

Author. “Title.” Title of the container. Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher’s name, Date                
                  of publication, Location. 

MLA In-text Citations

In-Text Citations in MLA Style

At the end of the passage, include the author's last name and the page number (when applicable) in parentheses. Notice that the in-text citation comes before the period and becomes part of the sentence. When no author is listed, use the title or a shortened version of the title.

Standard Author Date Format
Direct Quote
"Women accused of witchcraft tended to be assertive or argumentative types, with few friends" (Woolf 39).

Paraphrased version
Women who were loners and spoke their minds were often accused of witchcraft (Woolf 39).

Sources with no Author
Direct Quote

 In this era even children were made to feel the heavy weight of obedience and sin. From an early age they had heard sermons that were meant to inspire fear in adults as well as children" (Witchcraft in America 37).
During this time period, religious teachings were aimed at controlling both adults and children by creating a sense of fear of sin (Witchcraft in America 37).

What's New in MLA 8

Help Guides

MLA Style

MLA 8th Edition
Style provides researchers with guidelines on how to document and use the ideas of others in their own work. To accommodate the vast array of dynamic digital sources available today, MLA 8 has made a major shift from in the way sources are cited on the Works Cited page. The new method is based on a universal citation format that applies to all source types, instead of a different set of rules for each source type. Researchers will follow the same process for citing a website, book, Youtube video, or journal article, or any other source. Instead of asking the question, "How do I cite a book?" researchers will now consider, "Who is the author?" and "What is the title?" 

What's New in the 8th Edition? 

From the Publisher: The Modern Language Association, the authority on research and writing, takes a fresh look at documenting sources in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook. Works are published today in a dizzying range of formats. A book, for example, may be read in print, online, or as an e-book—or perhaps listened to in an audio version. On the Web, modes of publication are regularly invented, combined, and modified. Previous editions of the MLA Handbook provided separate instructions for each format, and new formats required additional instructions. In this groundbreaking new edition of its best-selling handbook, the MLA recommends instead one universal set of guidelines, which writers can apply to any type of source.

Shorter and redesigned for easy use, the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook guides writers through the principles behind evaluating sources for their research. It then shows them how to cite sources in their writing and create useful entries for the works-cited list.

Find out more at The MLA Style Center