MLA Style

MLA style is one of the common writing and research styles used in the humanities. While different disciplines require students to follow such styles as Chicago and APA, composition and literature classes utilize MLA style.

 

While composition and GC1Y/GC2Y students can refer a handbook such as Andrea Lunsford's Easy Writer or the OWL at Purdue for MLA guidelines, English majors and minors should purchase the MLA Handbook, 9th edition. The MLA Style Center includes tools for creating works cited list entries; and students can double-check their citations using MLA Interactive Practice Template.

 

This handout provides a snapshot of Modern Language Association formatting and citation style requirements for formal papers as defined in the MLA Handbook, 8th ed. Style rules are keyed to the Handbook's sections, and the handout is divided into the following sections:

 

1 Format

2 Quotations

3 Citations

4 Examples

5 Common Mistakes

6 MLA Checklist

 

I require formal papers and take-home exams to follow MLA guidelines so that students learn to write in a discipline and submit equivalent amounts of words per paper as their peers. Papers that do not follow the MLA guidelines outlined here will be penalized according to syllabus policy. The penalty can be easily avoided by checking your style before submitting and using the provided MLA templates.

1 Format

Minimum page lengths on formal assignments require heading, font, margin, and line spacing customs. Your formal paper should use one inch margins, Times New Roman 12 point font, and double-spacing (1.1 Margins, 1.2 Text Formatting). Do not commence your paper with a title page; instead, provide a double-spaced heading that includes your name, your professor's name, the course number, and the date on the top left-hand corner (1.4 Running Head and Page Numbers). Then, while maintaining double-spacing, provide a centered paper title (1.3 Title). Do not bold, italicize, underline or change the font size of the title. Do not add extra lines around the title or between paragraphs. Note that each page must have a running header, which includes your last name and page number, set one-half inch from the top of page and justified to the right margin. Do not manually type the header on each page; instead, use your word processing program to automatically insert a running header in the correct position on each page, or download an MLA styled paper template.

 

A note about titles: italicize titles of books, plays, newspapers, magazines, films, and television programs and put titles of short stories, poems, essays, book chapters, episodes of television programs, and lectures in quotes (2.106 Styling Titles).

 

The general formatting rules are as follows:

 

font

Times New Roman

font size

12pt

margins

one inch

spacing

double-spacing

justification

left

heading

Your Name

Professor Blazer

Course Number and Prefix

Date

header

your last name and page number, one-half inch from the top of the page and flush right

italicized titles

books, plays, newspapers, magazines, films, and television series

titles inside "quotation marks"

short stories, poems, book chapters, essays in books, newspaper articles, magazine articles, episodes of television programs, and lecture titles

2 Quotations

Next, let's learn proper quotation format (6.31 Quoting and Paraphrasing Sources). Do use in-text parenthetical citations, but do not use footnotes. Only use endnotes if they are absolutely warranted and you discuss their use with me first. Note that quotes cannot stand alone grammatically as sentences. Quotes must be introduced; they must work grammatically within your own sentence. Do not let the quote do all the analytical work. Quotes constitute illustrative evidence; your task is to analyze them. Introduce the passage, quote the passage, and then explain and interpret the passage thoroughly. The author, source, and page number of the quote must be made clear to the reader, through context and/or parenthetical citation. If the source and author have already been provided or are provided in context of the introductory sentence or surrounding paragraph(s), simply cite the page number in parentheses after the closing quotation mark. This is called the parenthetical citation. Do not use the word page or pages or the abbreviation p. or pp. The parenthetical citations of unpaginated electronic text sources as well as video sources such as film and television do not have page numbers. The following provides examples of how to quote prose, drama (including film and television), and poetry. Because the goal of this webpage is to demonstrate correct quotation style, I will not be explaining the quotes and each type of quote will be set off in a new paragraph. In your own papers, you should never let the quote simply speak for itself, and you should never allow a quote to constitute an entire paragraph.

2.1 Prose (6.33 Prose Works)

A typical citation includes

  1. an introduction to the quote punctuated by a comma or semicolon,
  2. the quote itself distinguished by double quotation marks,
  3. a parenthetical citation that includes the author's last name, if not already known, and page number of the text, and
  4. a period at the end, after the parenthetical citation.

Generally speaking, you should make sure through surrounding context and/or parenthetical citation that your reader knows who the author and title of the work being quoted are. If you have already introduced the author and title of the work, either in the introduction to the quote or in surrounding context, then you can safely provide only the page number in the parenthetical citation.

 

2.1.1 Prose: four lines or less of text (6.34 Short Quotations)

 

To illustrate the author's name in the parenthetical citation, Roquentin, the protagonist of Nausea, realizes that he exists in a void: "Now I knew: things are entirely what they appear to be─and behind them . . . there is nothing" (Sartre 96). To illustrate the author's name in the text, Roquentin, the protagonist of Jean-Paul Sartre's Nausea, realizes that he exists in a void: "Now I knew: things are entirely what they appear to be─and behind them . . . there is nothing" (96).

 

2.1.2 Prose: five or more lines of text (6.35 Long/Block Quotations)

 

If a quote occupies more than four lines of text of your paper (not the original source), you should turn it into a block quote. Start a new line, do not use quotation marks, indent the quotation half an inch from the left-margin only (not the right margin), and place your period before the parenthetical citation. For example, the unnamed narrator of Angela Carter's "Flesh and the Mirror" meditates upon the psychological effect of mirrors:

 

Mirrors are ambiguous things. The bureaucracy of the mirror issues me with a passport to the world; it shows me my appearance. But what use is a passport to an armchair traveler? Women and mirrors are in complicity with one another to evade the action I/she performs that shell cannot watch, the action with which I break out of the mirror, with which I assume my appearance. But this mirror refused to conspire with me; it was like the first mirror I'd ever seen. It reflected the embrace beneath it without the least guile. All it showed was inevitable. But I myself could never have dreamed it. (70)

2.2 Poetry (6.36 Poetry)

If the source provides poem's line numbers, then cite the line number(s) of the quotation in the parenthetic citation. If the source does not provide the poem's line number, then cite the page number(s) in the parenthetical citation.

 

2.2.1 Poetry: one, two, or three lines (6.37 Short Quotations)

 

When quoting one, two, or three lines of poetry, separate each line by a slash (/) and put the line numbers rather than the page number in the parenthetical citation. In "In the Waiting Room," Elizabeth Bishop attempts to convince herself of her individuality: "But I felt: you are an I, / you are an Elizabeth" (60-61). Indicate a stanza break with a double slash (//). In "Memories of West Street and Lepke," Robert Lowell contrasts a woman's phoenix-like birth with his own sedation: "Like the sun she rises in her flame-flamingo infants' wear. // These are the tranquillized Fifties, / and I am forty. Ought I to regret my seedtime? (11-3).

 

2.2.2 Poetry: four or more lines (6.38 Long/Block Quotations)

 

When quoting four or more lines of poetry, indent the quotation half an inch from the left margin, do not use quotation marks, and place the period before the parenthetical citation. Start the parenthetical citation on a new line and align it with the right margin. If a line runs over, indent it (called a hanging indent). Because line spacing in poetry indicates stanza breaks and line style often suggests meaning, you may single space block quotations of poetry. This is an instructor rule, not an MLA guideline. Wary of writing, the speaker in "The Instruction Manual" daydreams of touring Mexico:

 

Not one of them has to worry about getting out this manual on

     schedule.

And, as my way is, I begin to dream, resting my elbows on the desk

     and leaning out of the window a little,

Of dim Guadalajara! City of rose-colored flowers!

City I wanted most to see, and most did not see, in Mexico!

But I fancy I see, under the press of having to write the instruction

     manual,

Your public square, city, with its elaborate little bandstand!

(Ashbery 8)

2.3 Drama, Film, and Television

2.3.1 Page Number, Line Number, or Time

 

Provide the page number in the parenthetical citation when quoting plays, screenplays, or teleplays that you have read in print, such as a published play or film script. For example, Estragon sets the tone and theme of Waiting for Godot with his opening line: "Nothing to be done" (Beckett 7).

 

Provide the act, scene, and line numbers in the parenthetical citation when quoting verse plays that provide line numbers in the margin, such as those by William Shakespeare. For example, Hamlet realizes, "the play's the thing / Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King" (2.2.584-585).

 

Provide the time of hour, minute, and second, separated by colons, in the parenthetical citation when quoting filmed plays, films, or television programs that you have watched. For example, gregarious Hollywood producer Jack Lipnick persuades Barton to sign with his studio by exclaiming, "The writer is king here at Capitol Pictures" (Barton Fink 0:14:25-28).

 

2.3.2 Monologue

 

When quoting just one character, treat the quote as you would regular prose. Consequently, four or less lines of monologue are quoted as in-text citation while more than four lines of text are block quoted. For example, prior to the "Get the Guests" scene in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Martha warns her new guest Honey, "Some people feed on the calamity of others" (Albee 77).

 

2.3.3 Dialogue

 

To quote more than four lines of dialogue in a play, film, or television program, capitalize and indent each character's name half an inch and follow it with a period. If a line runs over, indent the next line half an inch (called a hanging indent):

 

CARDIN. What's the matter, Martha?

MARTHA. Nothing.

CARDIN. (His face is grave, his voice gentle.) Yes, there is. For a long

     time you and I have had something to talk about. (Hellman 23)

3 Citations

Compose a works cited page for the quoted sources on the final page of the paper. The basic elements of a works cited entry include:

 

1

Author.

Single authors are noted by last name, first name; two or more authors are listed by the first author's last name, first name and the subsequent author(s) first name last name.

2

Title of source.

Titles of essays, stories, poems, television episodes, and postings on web sites, are placed in quotation marks.

3

Title of container,

Titles of books, plays, films, television series, web sites, and scholarly journals are italicized.

Some sources are contained in another source, such as an article in a scholarly journal, a short story in a literature anthology, or an episode of a television show.

4

Other contributors,

Other contributers include editors, translators, performers, and directors.

5

Version,

Examples of versions include book editions director's cuts of films.

6

Number,

The number indicates the volume of a numbered multivolume set, the volume and issue numbers of scholarly journals, or the episode number and season number of television series.

7

Publisher,

The publisher means the book publisher; the primary production company of films and television series; or the museum, library, or university responsible for the web site.

8

Publication date,

Typical publication dates include the publication year of a book or film; the date of a web article; the season and year of a scholarly journal; and the broadcast date of a television episode.

9

Location.

For print sources, cite the page number (p.) or a range of page numbers (pp.) of the text in a container such as a book anthology or scholarly journal. For web sources (both text- and video-based), cite the URL and, optionally, the date of access. For performances and lectures, cite the venue and city.

 

The MLA website provides an interactive practice template that composes a citation as you type information.

 

The remainder of this handout details the proper MLA citation format for annotated bibliographies and works cited pages; however, it only gives general rules, are categorized here as

 

3.1 Books

3.2 Periodicals

3.3 Film and Television

3.4 Live Presentations

 

When you come across a source that does not quite fit within these guidelines, check with the MLA Handbook, 9th ed., the OWL, or your instructor.

 

At the end of your paper, start a new page and title it Works Cited in the center of the page. Alphabetize your works cited page by authors' last names. Maintain double-spacing and normal fonts throughout (this web handout does not maintain double-spacing). Indent subsequent lines of an entry 1/2 inch.

3.1 Books

Here is the information that is required in a book reference on the Works Cited page:

 

1

Author.

 

2

Title of source.

If applicable, the title of the article in a edited collection, the title of a chapter in a monograph, or the title of a poem in a poetry collection.

3

Title of container,

Book title.

4

Other contributors,

If applicable, editors and translators.

5

Version,

If applicable, the edition.

6

Number,

If applicable, the volume of a numbered multivolume set.

7

Publisher,

If applicable, cite the division of a parent company; do not cite the imprint of a publisher.

8

Publication date,

Year.

9

Location.

If applicable, page number (p.) or page range (pp.) of the article in a edited collection, the chapter in a monograph, or the poem in a poetry collection.

 

Books found in online library databases such as eBooks on EBSCOhost require a second level of citation information:

 

3

Title of container,

Online database title.

4

Other contributors,

Irrelevant.

5

Version,

Irrelevant.

6

Number,

Irrelevant.

7

Publisher,

Irrelevant.

8

Publication date,

Irrelevant.

9

Location.

Stable URL or database search URL.

 

3.1.1 A Book by a Single Author

 

Author's Last Name, Author's First Name. Book Title. Publisher, Publication Date.

 

Abzurg, Bella. Gender Gap: Bella Abzurg's Guide to Political Power for American Women. Houghton Mifflin, 1984.

 

3.1.2 A Book by Two or More Authors

 

First Author's Last Name, First Author's First Name and Second Author's Name. Book Title. Publisher, Publication Date.

 

Richards, J. M. and Nikolaus Pevsner. The Anti-Rationalists. U of Toronto P, 1973.

 

3.1.3 Two or More Books by the Same Author

 

In the second of two citations by the same author, use three hyphens in place of the author's name.

 

Rapping, Elayne. The Looking Glass World of Nonfiction TV. South End, 1987.

 

---. Media-tions: Forays into the Culture and Gender Wars. South End, 1994.

 

3.1.4 A Book with Copublishers

 

Author's Last Name, Author's First Name. Book Title. First Publisher / Second Publisher, Publication Date.

 

Wallis, Roy. The Elementary Forms of New Religious Life. Routledge / Kegan, 1984. Print.

 

3.1.5 A Work in an Anthology or Edited Collection with One or Two Editors

 

Author's Last Name, Author's First Name. "Essay Title." Book Title, edited by Editor's First Name Editor's Last Name, edition, volume number (if applicable), Publisher, Publication Date, First Page of Essay-Last Page of Essay.

 

Butler, Judith. "Imitation and Gender Insubordination." Literary Theory: An Anthology, edited by Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan, 3rd ed., Wiley Blackwell, 2017, pp. 955-62.

 

3.1.6. A Work in an Anthology with a General Editor

 

Author's Last Name, Author's First Name. "Essay Title." Book Title, general editor, Editor's First Name Editor's Last Name, edition, volume number (if applicable), Publisher, Publication Date, First Page of Essay-Last Page of Essay.

 

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. "Babylon Revisited." The Norton Anthology of American Literature: Between the Wars 1914-1945, general editor Nina Baym, 6th ed., vol. D, Norton, 2003, pp. 1658-72.

 

3.1.7 A Book or Book Chapter in a Library Database or Online Database

 

Print Information. Database Title, Stable URL or Database Search URL.

 

Coupe, Laurence, editor. The Green Studies Reader: From Romanticism to Ecocriticism. Routledge, 2000. eBooks on EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com.

 

Fouche, Fidéla. "Phenomenological Theory of Human Science." Conceptions of Social Inquiry, edited by John Snyman, Human Sciences Research Council, 1993, pp. 111-44. Google Books, books.google.com/books?isbn=0796914176.

3.2 Periodicals

Here is the required information for a periodical reference on the Works Cited page:

 

1

Author.

 

2

Title of source.

Title of article.

3

Title of container,

Title of periodical.

4

Other contributors,

Irrelevant.

5

Version,

Irrelevant.

6

Number,

Volume and issue number of scholarly journal article.

7

Publisher,

Irrelevant.

8

Publication date,

Year for scholarly journal articles; month and year for magazine articles; date for newspaper articles.

9

Location.

Page number or page range for print periodicals; DOI or Accession Number (preferred) or stable URL.

 

Periodicals found in online library databases such as Academic Search Complete require a second level of citation information:

 

3

Title of container,

Online database title.

4

Other contributors,

Irrelevant.

5

Version,

Irrelevant.

6

Number,

Irrelevant.

7

Publisher,

Irrelevant.

8

Publication date,

Irrelevant.

9

Location.

DOI or Accession Number (preferred), stable URL, or database search URL.

 

3.2.1 An Article in a Scholarly Journal

 

Author's Last Name, Author's First Name. "Article Title." Journal Title, Volume Number, Issue Number, Year, First Page of Article-Last Page of Article.

 

Hallin, Daniel C. "Sound Bite News: Television Coverage of Elections, 1968-1998." Journal of Communication, vol. 42, no. 2, 1992, pp. 5-24.

 

3.2.2 An Article in a Scholarly Journal Article That Uses Only Issue Numbers

 

Author's Last Name, Author's First Name. "Article Title." Journal Title, Issue Number, Year, First Page of Article-Last Page of Article.

 

Lajolo, Marisa. "The Female Reader on Trial." Brasil, no. 14, 1995, pp. 61-81.

 

3.2.3 A Scholarly Journal Article on the Web Only

 

Author's Last Name, Author's First Name. "Article Title." Journal Title, Volume Number, Issue Number, Year, First Page of Article-Last Page of Article (if available), DOI or Accession no. (preferred) or Stable URL.

 

Tumanov, Vladimir. "Philosophy of Mind and Body in Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris." Film-Philosophy, vol. 20, no. 2-3, 2016, pp. 357-75, DOI: 10.3366/film.2016.0020.

 

3.2.4 A Periodical Publication in a Library Database

 

Author's Last Name, Author's First Name. Print Information. Library Database, DOI or Accession no. (preferred), Stable URL, or Database Search URL.

 

Noon, David. "The Triumph of Death: National Security and Imperial Erasures in Don DeLillo's Underworld." Canadian Review of American Studies, vol. 37, no. 1, 2007, pp. 83-110. Academic Search Complete, Accession no.: 25379306.

 

Dávila, Denise, et al. "The Latinx Family: Learning y La Literatura at the Library." Bilingual Review / La revista bilingüe, vol. 33, no. 5, May 2017, pp. 33-49. Ebscohost, search.ebscohost.com.

3.2.5 An Article in a Magazine

 

Note: Magazines and newspapers are not usually considered scholarly resources, therefore you should NOT use them unless your instructor and assignment prompt specifically allow them.

 

Author's Last Name, Author's First Name. "Article Title." Magazine Title, Day Month Year, First Page of Article-Last Page of Article.

 

Mehta, Pratap Bhanu. "Exploding Myths." New Republic, 6 June 1998, pp. 17-9.

 

3.2.6 An Article in an Online Magazine

 

Author's Last Name, Author's First Name. "Article Title." Magazine Title, Published Day Month Year, URL.

 

Kois, Dan. "Yes More Drama: The Deep and Unique Pleasure of Reading Play." Slate, 9 Oct. 2014, www.slate.com/articles/arts/books/2014/10/ annie_baker_s_the_flick_and_ the_joy_of_reading_plays.html.

 

3.2.7 An Article in a Newspaper

 

Author's Last Name, Author's First Name. "Article Title." Newspaper Title, Day Month Year, First Page of Article-Last Page of Article.

 

Hirsch, Marianne. "The Day Time Stopped." Chronicle of Higher Education, 25 Jan. 2002, pp. B11-14.

 

3.2.8 An Article in an Online Newspaper

 

Author's Last Name, Author's First Name. "Article Title." Newspaper Title, Published Day Month Year Published, URL.

 

Singer, Natasha. "How Google Took Over the Classroom." The New York Times, 13 May 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/05/13/technology/google-education-chromebooks-schools.html.

3.3 Film and Television

Here is the required information for a film or television reference on the Works Cited page:

 

1

Author.

If you are focusing on an individual's contribution to a film or television series, then commence the entry with the director, creator, or performer. If you are not focusing on an individual's contribution, then leave the author slot blank.

2

Title of source.

If you are focusing on a specific episode of television, then commence with the episode title. If you are not focusing on a specific episode of television, then leave the title of source slot blank.

3

Title of container,

Title of film or television series.

4

Other contributors,

If applicable, other (optional) contributers include creators, directors, and performers.

5

Version,

If applicable, cuts of films and television episodes.

6

Number,

For television episodes, the episode number and season number of television series.

7

Publisher,

For films, the primary production company. For television series, either primary production company or the network that aired the television episode.

8

Publication date,

For films, release year or version year. For television episodes, air date.

9

Location.

Irrelevant.

 

Films and television series found in streaming services such as Netflix require a second level of citation information:

 

3

Title of container,

Streaming service title.

4

Other contributors,

Irrelevant.

5

Version,

Irrelevant.

6

Number,

Irrelevant.

7

Publisher,

Irrelevant.

8

Publication date,

Irrelevant.

9

Location.

Streaming service URL.

 

3.3.1 Film

 

Film Title. Director, Performer, Production Company, Year.

 

Donnie Darko. Directed by Richard Kelly, performance by Jake Gyllenhaal, Flower Films, 2001.

 

3.3.1 Film in a Streaming Service

 

Film Title. Director, Performer, Production Company, Year. Streaming Service, Streaming Service URL.

 

Pariah. Directed by Dee Rees, performance by Adepero Oduye, Focus Features, 2011. Netflix, www.netflix.com.

 

3.3.2 Television Series

 

Series Title. Creator, Performer, Production Company, Years.

 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Created by Joss Whedon, performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mutant Enemy, 1997-2003.

 

3.3.3 Television Series in a Streaming Service

 

Series Title. Creator, Performer, Production Company, Years. Streaming Service, Streaming Service URL.

 

Fleabag. Created and performance by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Two Brothers Pictures, 2016. Amazon, www.amazon.com.

 

3.3.4 Television Episode

 

"Episode Title." Series Title, Creator, Performer, Season Number, Episode Number, Production Company, Air Date.

 

"Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose." The X-Files, created by Chris Carter, performance by David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, season 3, episode 4, Ten Thirteen Productions, 13 Oct. 1995.

 

3.3.5 Television Episode in a Streaming Service

 

"Episode Title." Series Title, Creator, Performer, Season Number, Episode Number, Production Company, Air Date. Streaming Service, URL.

 

"Strangers in the House." My So-Called Life, created by Winnie Holzman, performance by Claire Danes, season 1, episode 8, Bedford Falls Company, 20 Oct. 1994. Netflix, www.netflix.com

3.4 Live Presentations

3.4.1 Class Lecture

 

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Lecture Title." Course Number and Title, Lecture Day Month Year, Institution, City, URL (if applicable). Class Lecture.

 

Blazer, Alex E. "Psychoanalysis." English 3900 Critical Approaches to Literature, 2 Mar. 2017, Georgia College & State University, Milledgeville. alexeblazer.com/3900/17-SP-Lectures.pdf. Class Lecture.

 

3.4.2 Play Performance

 

Play Title, Author, Director, Performance Day Month Year, Venue, City.

 

A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams, directed by Karen Berman, 29 Sept. 2016, Georgia College & State University, Milledgeville.

4 Examples

Here is what an MLA styled paper should look like. Notice the placement of the running header, heading, one-inch margins, font, in-text and block quotation format. Notice the Works Cited page and how the second line of each entry is indented one-half inch.

5 Common Mistakes

5.1 Running Header

Include a running header consisting of your last name and page number at the top right of each page using your word processing program's header function. Some versions of Word set the running header font and size to Calibri 11 pt font. Make sure the running header is set to Times New Roman 12 pt font.

5.2 Font

Some versions of Word set the font and size to Calibri 11 pt font; other versions of Word set the font and size to Arial 12 pt font. Make sure the paper font is set to Times New Roman 12 pt font.

5.3 Margins

Some versions of Microsoft Word set the left and right margins to 1.25". To correct the margins, change Layout > Margins > From 1.25" to 1.00". When papers are submitted in an incorrect format such as pages or pdf, the reverse converter used to open papers sometimes mangles the margins. Submitting your paper in docx, odt, or rtf avoids this problem.

5.4 Heading

Include your name, your instructor's name, the course prefix and title, and the date. Double space the heading.

5.5 Paper Title

Do not forget to include a title for your paper that provides your reader a sense of the paper's topic or issue. Do not bold, italicize, or underline the title. Do not change the font size. Do not triple space around the title.

5.6 Spacing

Some versions of Word add extra spacing between paragraphs, effectively triple spacing between paragraphs. To correct the line spacing between paragraphs, select Home > Paragraph > Indents and Spacing > After: Change from 8 pt to 0 pt and make sure the "Don't add space between paragraphs of the same style" button is checked. The Microsoft support pages Change spacing between paragraphs and Change the line spacing also provide instructions regarding how to control line spacing.

5.7 Titles of Works

Place the titles of books, plays, journals, newspapers, magazines, films, and television programs in italics. Place the the titles of short stories, poems, essays, book chapters, episodes of television programs, and lectures in "quotation marks."

5.8 In-Text Quotations

5.8.1 In-Text Prose Quotations

When quoting four or less lines of prose or monologue, be sure to incorporate the quotation into your own sentence. Do not include a comma before the final quotation mark. Do not place the period inside the quotation marks but rather at the end of the sentence after the parenthetical citation. Do not place the double-quotation mark after the parenthetical citation but rather at the end of the quotation.

5.8.2 In-Text Poetry Quotations

When quoting three or less lines of poetry, indicate line breaks with / and stanza breaks with //.

5.9 Block Quotations

When quoting five or more lines of prose or dramatic monologue, indent the quotation one-half inch on the left, do not place quotation marks around the quotation, and place the period before the parenthetical citation.

5.10 Parenthetical Citations

Parenthetical citations do not need commas or the "pg." abbreviations.

5.11 Length

A formal paper or take-home exam will be penalized one-third of a letter grade if it does not end at least halfway down on the minimum page length while implementing 12 pt Times New Roman font, double-spacing, and 1" margins. This is 4.5" on the Microsoft Word ruler or 5.5" on an 11" high paper. Note that a common MLA mistake is incorrect line spacing between paragraphs (see above), which makes the paper seem longer than it is while following proper MLA format. The minimum page count does not include the Works Cited page. Each additional page short of the minimum requirement will result in an a additional one-third letter grade penalty.

5.12 Works Cited

Start the Works Cited on a new page, center the title Works Cited with no font, style, or size changes. Maintain double-spacing and use hanging indents in the Works Cited entries.

5.13 File Format

Submit assignments in only the following file formats: docx, odt, or rtf. Do not submit assignments in either pages or pdf file formats because your MLA style will be compromised when your paper is converted to Word in order to provide comments. The Templates and File Formats page has templates and conversion instructions that will preserve your MLA formatting.

6 MLA Style Checklist

  1. Running Header: Does your running header include your last name and the current page number on each page, and is it located on the top righthand corner of each page, one-half inch from the top edge using the word processing program header function?
  2. Font: Does your paper use a 12 point, Times New Roman font throughout, including the running header and the Works Cited page?
  3. Margins: Does your paper have one inch margins?
  4. Heading: Does your paper have a heading which includes your name, your instructor's name, the course number, and the date?
  5. Paper Title: Does your paper have a centered title that is neither boldfaced, underlined, nor italicized? Do the lines around your paper title maintain double spacing?
  6. Spacing: Is your paper double-spaced? Does you paper refrain from including extra lines or spacing between paragraphs?
  7. Titles of Works: Does your paper place titles of novels, plays, films, and television shows in italics? Does you paper place titles of short stories, poems, essays, and television episodes in quotation marks?
  8. In-Text Quotations: Does your paper quote four or less lines of prose, three or less lines of poetry, and four or less lines of monologue as properly formatted in-text quotations?
  9. Block Quotations: Does your paper quote five or more lines of prose, four or more lines of poetry, and five or more lines of monologue or dialogue as properly formatted block quotations?
  10. Parenthetical Citations: Does your paper follow in-text and block quotations with parenthetical citations comprised of author and page number for printed prose, author and line or page number for poetry, author and page number for drama, film title and time range for film, and television show title and time range for television?
  11. Length: Does your paper end at least halfway down on the minimum page, not including the Works Cited page?
  12. Works Cited: Does your paper include a Works Cited page that properly cites all applicable books and book chapters, periodical articles, film and television, and electronic sources?
  13. File Format: Is your paper saved in or converted to docx, odt, or rtf file format rather than pages or pdf file format?