Applying MLA Format
​Applying MLA Formatting
MLA stands for the Modern Language Association, which is a group composed of research and writing experts who, among many responsibilities, set standards for how papers should look, how they should be written, and how sources should be cited. These are the standards that not only help to make your formal writing look professional and sophisticated, but also ensure you avoid plagiarizing by citing properly. Additionally, following MLA style is an exercise in following specific directions, which is a skill you will need no matter where life takes you.
MLA style is not just formatting the paper, but also:
  • Writing in present verb tense
  • Writing in active, not passive voice
  • Avoiding contractions, such as can't, don't, and haven't

MLA Formatting At-a-Glance

  • Double-space everything (but remove any extra After Spacing or Before Spacing under Paragraph Options)
  • Use 12 pt. Times New Roman font
  • Leave only one space after punctuation
  • Set margins to 1 inch on all sides
  • Indent the first line of paragraphs one half-inch (one "tab")
  • Use a header with your last name and page number in the top right corner
  • Use a heading in the top left with your name, teacher name, class, date
  • Use italics for book and movie titles
  • Center your title, and use no special formatting
  • Use no cover or title page
Formatting Your MLA Paper
In-Text Citations
Creating a Works Cited
​​MLA Template
Downloadable Template for guaranteed correct MLA formatting—for MS Word 2010 and 2013