MLA Formatting Style

MLA formatting styleMLA formatting style is one among the most commonly used citation and formatting styles in modern academic writing, along with other styles like APA, Chicago, Turabian, and so on. This style was offered by Modern Language Association of America, the specialists of which have developed a set of special rules and standards of formatting, known now as MLA formatting style.  An MLA style paper should totally observed the rules discussed below, and this style is widely used for writing term papers, academic essays, scientific articles, journals, etc. Mostly, MLA style is used for various kinds of academic papers on psychology and its sub-branches, sociology and social sciences, as well as for creative writing: for example, it can be a smart idea to choose MLA formatting style when writing an admission essay, comparison contrast essay, pros and cons essay, cause and effect essay, and so on.

In brief, the requirements for an MLA formatting style paper are the following:

  • Paper should be double-spaced, using 12 pt font (Times New Roman or Arial fonts are preferable).
  • Margins should be set to 1 inch all sides.
  • The first line of every new paragraph should have 1/2 inch indentation.
  • An MLA style paper is not supposed to have a title page. Instead, every academic paper written in MLA formatting style should start with four lines on upper left corner of page having author’s name, instructor’s name, course name, and the date.
  • Right after the four title lines the title of the academic paper should follow, aligned at the center. Use of bold or italic is not recommended.
  • MLA formatting style requires starting the paper with abstract and introduction. The abstract is a brief description of the work in general, and introduction is actually the first section of an academic work which briefly describes the objective of a research, has thesis statement or a persona opinion of the author, as well as delivers some necessary background information to the readers, to assist them understand the issue better.
  • Introduction is followed by body of the paper which starts from a new page. It is highly encourage to divide your paper body for many sections and use headings and subheadings numbered as the following:

1 Heading 1

1.1. Sub-heading

1.2 Sub-heading

2. Heading 2

2.1. Sub-heading

2.2. Sub-heading

3. Heading 3


  • In-text citation in an MLA style paper require a more complex approach. Below, there are a few examples of those:

The first findings were published in 1992, followed by more detailed information and scientific evidence  (Johnson 92)
It’s well established that sugary beverages are bad for diabetes risk. (Pierce 2010)

  • Conclusion in the final section of an MLA style paper. It should summarize the results and findings of the academic paper.
  • Reference page is the last page of an MLA style paper. References should be placed alphabetically, and there are special rules in MLA formatting style for referencing the materials used when writing the academic paper. Below, there are some examples of references in MLA formatting style.

Torck, Jane. Cane. The Culture of Cities.  Ed. David T. Telebaum. New York: Norton, 1988.

Powelll, Olin Sewall, Jr. “Birds and Plants.” World Book Encyclopedia. 1999.

Ferrison, Josef. “Pakistan 1900: Rethinking Arabic World.” Political Review 15 (2000): 22-49. Print.


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