Basics of MLA: formatting your paper

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MLA Handbook:
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Milla’s Translation of Handbook: (I annotated it so you can read the \”sparknotes\”-ish version. Hope it helps!)
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BEFORE MOVING ON, READ THIS!!!!!!➡️
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-The cards have been changed by Quizlet so my examples’ formatting changed. If you want the original, correct examples to any of these send me an email. -If you’re looking at this on a mobile device, hold whatever you’re using sideways so the screen is wider. Thanks!
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General Format
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MLA style specifies guidelines for formatting manuscripts and using the English language in writing. MLA style also provides writers with a system for referencing their sources through parenthetical citation in their essays and Works Cited pages.
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MLA formats our papers so they all look the same and so all students using it get confused or annoyed when they lose points because they forgot the page number.
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Writers who properly use MLA also build their credibility by demonstrating accountability to their source material. Most importantly, the use of MLA style can protect writers from accusations of plagiarism, which is the purposeful or accidental uncredited use of source material by other writers.
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Using MLA properly makes you look more professional and gets you a better score on your papers.
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If you are asked to use MLA format, be sure to consult the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th edition). Publishing scholars and graduate students should also consult the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (3rd edition). The MLA Handbook is available in most writing centers and reference libraries; it is also widely available in bookstores, libraries, and at the MLA web site. See the Additional Resources section of this handout for a list of helpful books and sites about using MLA style.
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If you need MLA help, just email me. My email is the last slide in the info for new students set.
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Paper Format
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The preparation of papers and manuscripts in MLA style is covered in chapter four of the MLA Handbook, and chapter four of the MLA Style Manual. Below are some basic guidelines for formatting a paper in MLA style.
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-1 inch Margins -Standard sized printer paper -Page number and last name in upper right corner with a .5 inch margin -Double spaced -Use 12 point font Times New Roman
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General Guidelines
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Type your paper on a computer and print it out on standard, white 8.5 x 11-inch paper.
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8.5×11 is standard so don’t worry about the size of your paper.
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Double-space the text of your paper, and use a legible font (e.g. Times New Roman). Whatever font you choose, MLA recommends that the regular and italics type styles contrast enough that they are recognizable one from another. The font size should be 12 pt.
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You can also use Helzetica as your font choice, but Times New Roman is more commonly used.
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Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks (unless otherwise instructed by your instructor).
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Your computer will know if you put more than one, so don’t worry about this one.
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Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides.
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You can do this in your \”tool box\” if you’re using Word Documents. Personally I prefer to use this app called Pages so I can type when I’m away from my desk; if you use Pages as well it is already set to have 1 inch margins. (If you use something other than Word or Pages feel free to send me an email with any concerns.)
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Indent the first line of paragraphs one half-inch from the left margin. MLA recommends that you use the Tab key as opposed to pushing the Space Bar five times.
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The Tab key is best when making an indent. It is actually a larger space than hitting the Space Bar five times. Ex. . . ⬅️Five spaces . . ⬅️Tab button
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Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner, one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your instructor may ask that you omit the number on your first page. Always follow your instructor’s guidelines.)
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Usually you will number ALL of your pages including the first one. The header is made up of your last name, a space, and the page number. Ex. \”Johnson 1\”
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Use italics throughout your essay for the titles of longer works and, only when absolutely necessary, providing emphasis.
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Don’t abuse the italics. They are good for making a few words stand out when applicable (needed), but they do not look professional when over half of your paper is in italics. All book and movie titles must be in italics (not poem titles, short story titles, or vignettes titles).
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If you have any endnotes, include them on a separate page before your Works Cited page. Entitle the section Notes (centered, unformatted).
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⬅️You never use this in high school.
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Formatting the First Page of Your Paper
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Already been over this… ? You should still read it though.
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Do not make a title page for your paper unless specifically requested.
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It would be a waste of paper.
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In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, list your name, your instructor’s name, the course, and the date. Again, be sure to use double-spaced text.
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First Last name Teacher name and period Class title The date Ex. Of the header they’re talking about: Georgette Salazar Mr. Berry Period 5 English 12 24 October 2015
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Double space again and center the title. Do not underline, italicize, or place your title in quotation marks; write the title in Title Case (standard capitalization), not in all capital letters.
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Ex.: Bogart 1 Milagro Bogart Mrs. Carlton Period 4 Honors English 11 23 September 2015 This is My Awesome Title
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Use quotation marks and/or italics when referring to other works in your title, just as you would in your text: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as Morality Play; Human Weariness in \”After Apple Picking\”
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Use quotation marks when quoting another work, or when saying the name of another work that is not a book or movie. Use italics when referring to the name of a book or movie.
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Double space between the title and the first line of the text.
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Ex.: Bogart 1 Milagro Bogart Mrs. Carlton Period 4 Honors English 11 23 September 2015 This is My Awesome Title If your paper is already set to be double spaced, which it should be at this point, you just have to hit return to get the double space you need between the title and essay.
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Create a header in the upper right-hand corner that includes your last name, followed by a space with a page number; number all pages consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.), one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your instructor or other readers may ask that you omit last name/page number header on your first page. Always follow instructor guidelines.)
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It’s your last name and page number like the one in the upper right corner of the example. Ex.: Bogart 1 Milagro Bogart Mrs. Carlton Period 4 Honors English 11 23 September 2015 This is My Title
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Section Headings
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Writers sometimes use Section Headings to improve a document’s readability. These sections may include individual chapters or other named parts of a book or essay.
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It’s exactly what they said. If you have questions just email me.
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Essays
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MLA recommends that when you divide an essay into sections that you number those sections with an arabic number and a period followed by a space and the section name.
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just email if you don’t get this part. Ex.
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Books
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MLA does not have a prescribed system of headings for books (for more information on headings, please see page 146 in the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 3rd edition). If you are only using one level of headings, meaning that all of the sections are distinct and parallel and have no additional sections that fit within them, MLA recommends that these sections resemble one another grammatically. For instance, if your headings are typically short phrases, make all of the headings short phrases (and not, for example, full sentences). Otherwise, the formatting is up to you. It should, however, be consistent throughout the document.
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Keep it simple and relatively the same across the board. If you want details that make sense unlike this gibberish to the left just email me.
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If you employ multiple levels of headings (some of your sections have sections within sections), you may want to provide a key of your chosen level headings and their formatting to your instructor or editor.
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A key will either help or confuse the reader so keep it simple.
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Citation
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This is where you just have to read the left side. It’s that simple.
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Entire Website
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The Purdue OWL. Purdue U Writing Lab, 2010. Web. Date of access.
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The Purdue OWL. Purdue U Writing Lab, 2010. Web. Date of access.
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Individual Resources
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Individual Resourses
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Contributors’ names and the last edited date can be found in the orange boxes at the top of every page on the OWL. Contributors’ names. \”Title of Resource.\” The Purdue OWL. Purdue U Writing Lab, Last edited date. Web. Date of access. Russell, Tony, Allen Brizee, and Elizabeth Angeli. \”MLA Formatting and Style Guide.\” The Purdue OWL. Purdue U Writing Lab, 4 Apr. 2010. Web. 20 July 2010.
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Here’s a link to the webpage I got the information from:
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https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/
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A REALLY good website for citations is: easybib.com You can just drag and paste the URL of websites, or type in the name of your book, and it will cite it for you to MLA standards.

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