The essence of writing is to convey a message or share your findings with your readers. A formatting style like the MLA paper format allows your readers to easily understand your writing by placing necessary cues like the MLA heading as guide and making the right citations as support and tool for further study. In writing based on the MLA format is similar to putting a map so that your readers will not get lost and can easily follow your thoughts especially when your document proves to be technical and lengthy. From the MLA title page to the MLA works cited page, every formatting detail must be understood and followed to increase readability as well as establish your credibility as a well-organized writer/researcher known for a clear and lucid style.
The sources of this MLA format guide are the following:
To start you off, there are a few guidelines you need to know in order to conform to the MLA format:
The rules in formatting the first page are as follows (refer to Figure 1 on MLA first page for illustration):
The title page is often optional and not counted in the total page count for page 1 must always contain the text of your document. For this reason, the formatting for the title page is often dictated by the instructor, which you need to follow to get the grade you desire. Nonetheless, you will see a sample below as to the general practice in making a MLA title page as illustrated in Figure 2 and 3. It should be noted that when a title page is required, the first page makes an adjustment by omitting the usual header that bears your name. As a general rule, use the same font and font size that you used in the text for your title page. Moreover, there is no need to italicize or specially mark your titles unless you are citing a work like in the samples below.
Again, the samples above are not the official format for the MLA title page since the MLA format does not require one. These are just samples and you should consult your instructor as to the required format. If you have a title page, then the succeeding page or the official first page will look like this. You will need to omit the details that are already included in the title page and you may need to position your title 1 or 2 inches down from the top of the paper or per instructor’s direction.
The importance of headings for every section or chapter of the document is to enhance readability. The section heading guides readers as to the topic of that particular portion of the book and make comprehension easy. The following lists the MLA format recommendations for your documents.
The general rule in creating sections within an essay is to number the sections with a Hindu Arabic number followed by a period (.), a space and then the name of the section.
1. Writing Samples
2. Political Themes on Poverty and Women
3. Major Shavian Theme
4. Greatest Contributions
There is no strict MLA format for section headings within a book as long as these are grammatically consistent and clear. If you use a lengthy section heading in the beginning of your book then using short phrases on succeeding headings will not be consistent. Section headings are not different from outlines, which follow grammatical rules in phrasing for consistency and clarity. For multiple level headings in every section, it is best to consult with your instructor or create one that is easily followed and understood.
· A numbered section heading will look like this:
1. Famous Works
1.1 Short Stories and Essays
2. Other Works
3. Recurring Themes
· A formatted and numbered section is illustrated below:
(Level 1 is flushed left in bold)
(Level 2 is flushed left in italics)
(Level 3 is centered in bold)
Shift to Drama
(Level 4 is centered in italics)
(Level 5 is flushed left and underlined)
There are two ways of citing sources. One is within the text using a parenthetical citation containing the author’s last name and the page number or just the page numbers when the author’s name is indicated in the text. The other is the bibliography containing a more detailed information for easy retrieval of the sources for further study. The primary distinguishing mark of the MLA format for works cited is in explicitly indicating the type or medium of publication used, which is either in print or from the web.
For every parenthetical citation like this one:
Using the Shavian theme (Shaw 51-62).
Requires a corresponding MLA citation in the works cited list or bibliography like below:
Shaw, Bernard. Saint Joan: A Chronicle Play in Six Scenes and an Epilogue. New York:Brentano’s, 1924. Print.
For online sources, the MLA format for cited works does not require a URL just as long as the source can be easily found or retrieved.
Reverse Logistics Association. “After-Sales Support.” Reverse Logistics Association. Reverse Logistics Trends, 2008. Web. 3 May 2005.
However, your instructor may specifically request one and naturally, you need to comply.