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Citing Sources -- MLA 9th Edition

MLA Paper Format

An MLA paper should follow these general formatting guidelines (unless directed otherwise):

  • Font - any easily readable typeface, such as Times New Roman 12 pt. or Arial 11 pt. fonts
  • Spacing - text should be double-spaced throughout the paper, INCLUDING BLOCK QUOTATIONS
  • Font and spacing may be modified for charts, tables and other special figures to help set them apart
  • Paragraph indentation - one half-inch from left margin
  • Margins - 1 inch on all sides
  • In the header on the top right corner of the page: type your last name (as well as last names of other authors, if any), type one space, and insert the page number
  • On the first page, include your name, the name of your instructor, the course number and the date written day/month/year order, all typed on separate lines and flush left
  • Also on the first page, below the publication information, include the title of the paper, centered, following capitalization rules as stated in the handbook
  • In-text citations should include the last names of all authors (up to 3 authors; if more than 3 authors, write the last name of the first author and then et. al.) and the page of the quotation within parenthesis as in this example: (Anderson et. al. 7)

It is important to use software tools and features in your word processing program to set the style so that formatting will remain correct when additions and changes are made to the paper or citation list. 

To make sure the formatting is correct in MS Word, highlight the entire paper or a selection of the paper and then:

  • Go to “paragraph” and set alignment to “left”
  • Make sure the spacing before and after paragraphs is set to “0”
  • Set line spacing to “double”
    • For the body of the paper set indentation to 0.5 or 1/2 inch and under "special" set to "first line"
    • For the list of citations set indentation to 0.5 or 1/2 inch and under "special" set to "hanging indent"
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