MLA Style research paper Writing Help

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Excellent MLA Paper Example from

Our Video Guide will help you to format your Footnotes properly

Our Video Guide will help you to format your Title Page according to MLA requirements

What does MLA stand for?

MLA Style Research Paper Writing Help

MLA Style Research Paper Writing Help

One of the most common questions asked by students involves the basic definition of MLA style.  Due to the nature of academic writing requiring documentation of other works, many different formats exist to make note of other writings from which you draw your information or inspiration.  What is MLA though?  The answer is relatively simple.  It is a style of research paper used in academic writing, dictated by the Modern Language Association (MLA).  Widely acknowledged to be more concise or even simpler than other formats because of its use of parenthetical citations within the text linked to an end list of works, MLA is most popular for writing in the humanities.  For example, papers on literature and language are generally only found in MLA.

MLA 2011 requirements are slightly different from those proposed in the previous edition of the MLA manual. Check the modified formatting requirements of MLA 2011.

General Format of Your MLA Paper

When setting thing in motion for your MLA style research paper, you need to take certain formatting aspects into account even before you start writing.

  • The page margins along the standard sized printer or copier paper should be 1 inch all around.
  • Double-spaced text in 12 point font size are also required for the MLA style format.  Any number of legible fonts are available for the writing itself as long as there a distinct difference between the standard and italicized formats with the italics still being readable as well since they are used for titles of long works for in-text citations.  Times New Roman and Courier are the long held favorites, and many instructors will only accept these standard fonts for assignments.  Be sure to read the requirements of the assignment carefully if you want to diverge from these two fonts.

When typing the paper itself, there are also a few other rules to remember.

  • At the beginning of each new paragraph, you need to press the tab button to indent.  MLA format then dictates that only one space is required after punctuation marks once you have gotten into the paragraphs themselves.
  • For papers that are more than two pages, you will need page numbers in the upper right-hand corner through use of a page header.  Some instructors may request that you do not number the first page though, especially if the first page is a cover page or title page.  Always follow the guidelines given by your instructor when in doubt.
  • The headings of MLA writing style can actually vary depending on what you are actually writing (essay, short paper, long research paper, book report, etc).  If your paper is less than 6-7 paragraphs, MLA format headings are not needed as they can weigh down the writing rather than help it.  For longer pieces that cover several major areas or follow distinct separations, headings are a necessity.
    • The standard is a number followed by a period that then lists the title of the section after a space separator.
    • Subsections are then the number of the overall section followed by a decimal and separate number beginning with one – such as 1.1 and 1.2 for the first two subsections of the first section, then 2.1 and 2.2 for the second section, and so on.  Wording for these headings can be phrases or full sentences.  Yet, it is very important to stick with whatever format you choose.  If you start with phrases, all headings need to be phrases.  The same goes for full sentence headings.

Formatting the Title Page of Your Paper

You also need to check for cover page requirements when looking over the specific assignment.  MLA as a standard rule does not normally need a title page.  The normal format involves identifying information in the upper left-hand corner of the first page that includes

  • your name,
  • the name of your instructor,
  • the course number, and
  • due date

to be listed beneath each other.  Then, you should start a double-space with the title of the work centered in the same font and size as the rest of your paper (NO underlining, bolding, italics, or quotation marks) using standard Title Case capitalization before realigning to start on the actual writing with your indented first paragraph.

Our Video Guide will help you to format your Title Page according to MLA requirements

However, if a title page is requested, there is MLA term paper format that you need to follow as well.  You simply take the standard format (your name, instructor name, course number, and due date) and put it on a page by itself with the title of the paper as an extra line.  The information needs to be centered and made to look like it is in the center of the page as a whole with double-spacing between each line of text.

In-Text Citations in MLA

One of the most identifying characteristics of the MLA style involves in-text citations as they are a requirement for this format.  MLA citing follows the method known as parenthetical citation where you put relevant information about a utilized source following either a paraphrase or direct quotation from that particular source.  Depending on what you include in the actual sentence, you will need different types of in-text citations.

You always need the last name of the author and page number for the in-text citation with a complete reference included in the Works Cited page at the end.  The name can be either in the sentence itself or in parentheses but the page number always needs to be in parentheses at the end of the sentence before the punctuation mark.  For example:

Author’s last name in sentence with direct quotation

Joyce liked to claim that English writing was “the most ingenious torture ever devised” (462).

Direct quotation without author’s last name in sentence

Writing in English has been called “the most ingenious torture ever devised” (Joyce 462).

Author’s last name in sentence with paraphrase

Joyce often stated his bold opinions on English writing by linking it to something negative (462).

You need to pay attention to MLA quotation rules when including direct quotes also.

For short quotations (less than two full lines typed), simply place them in quotation marks within the sentence directly.

Longer quotations should be started in a new line, following a colon, with the entire quote to be indented one full inch.  The parenthetical citation should be included after the final quote punctuation.

Extended quotation

Martin Johnson includes an explanation which looks down on the Byronic hero:

While the Byronic hero is occasional seen as a person who can do the morally right thing, the majority of his or her actions typically work against the overall good.  The concept of an anti-hero might be appealing since he or she is more believable, but the person is ultimately someone cannot possibly be held in high esteem. (46)

MLA Endnotes and Footnotes

Our Video Guide will help you to format your Footnotes properly

How to make a footnote

How to make a footnote

Since long explanatory notes or too detailed citations within the text itself can be very distracting, most academic writing styles (including MLA) restrict the use of endnotes and footnotes.  You can use them for MLA bibliography notes where your reader can find other publications that pertain to the subject being discussed in a particular portion of the text.  Occasionally, you can use them for explanatory notes that provide a brief clip of information that helps explain the quotation, paraphrase, or source but would be too digressive in the main text.

Bibliography note

Bibliography footnote sample

Bibliography footnote sample

1. Several other published works point to this similar conclusion.  See Robertson 45-50, Mather and Hull 36-40, Walter 12-18.

Explanatory note

Explanatory footnote example

Explanatory footnote example

2. During an interview in 2009, he continued to support this point by strongly stating: “Lower taxes will destroy the country!” (Williams 23).

Read more on Footnotes and Endnotes! – Professional Help with MLA Paper Writing

Since you are most likely a very busy student with other classes to worry about and a life, you might find that sometimes getting outside help for your MLA style paper takes away some of your stress and anxiety.  If you do not have time to use a template from, we can write the paper for you!

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Works Cited Page of Your Paper in MLA Style

Bibliographic Format for MLA References

See how to format your works cited page for different types of sources in MLA

The Works Cited page for your paper is one of the most important additions as it defines the style and is absolutely necessary for academic writing.

The general format for MLA works cited page involves a centered title at the top of the page of “Works Cited” and then alphabetized according to the last name of the author (or by the title of the work if the author is unknown) in the form of the complete sources used throughout your paper.  No numbers are involved with the list.  Also, after the title, there should be no indentation for the first line of the source.  There is a hanging indent (with all other lines after the first being indented half an inch) involved though.

The standard MLA citing format dictates that you should include

  • the author’s last name followed by his or her first name,
  • the title of the work (and the magazine, journal, or anthology title if taking a short work or essay from a larger collection),
  • place of publication,
  • name of publisher,
  • any specific page numbers if using a larger collected work, and ending with the
  • type of medium.

Adkins, Teresa.  Analyzing Shakespeare.  New York: Scholastic.  Print.

Crocker, George.  The Last Days of Rome: How the Great Nation Came to Fall and Still Be Remembered.  London: Macmillan.  Print.

Other MLA Rules You Should Follow

While many sources still come from books and books are one of the easiest things to cite with MLA style, the bibliography page that you create will most likely have a variety of sources.  The way you cite these different sources will change subtly.  Here are some of the most common formats other than the book examples in the previous section:

Article in a magazine

Author. “Title of Individual Article.” Title of Periodical Day Month Year: pages where the article is found. Medium of publication.

Warren, Laura. “The Rise of Bipartisanship.” Time 20 Feb. 2009: 12-14.  Print.

Article in a scholarly journal

Author. “Title of Individual Article.” Title of Journal Volume.Issue (Year): pages where the article is found. Medium of publication.

Nelson, Christopher.  “Negative Aspects of Anti-Heroes and Why People Love Them.”  English Literature 53.2 (2001): 30-38.  Print

Article from an online database or online journal

Author. “Title of Article.”  Title of Journal Day Month Year: pages (or “n. pag.” if not listed online).  Name of Database (if used).  Web.  Day Month Year retrieved by you.

Morey, Sarah. “A Unique Education.”  Special Education 10 Aug. 1999: 8-11. Proquest. Web. 12 Jan. 2010.


Editor, author, or name of compiler. Name of Website. Version number. Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (such as a sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available). Medium of publication. Date of access.

*If no publisher name is available use “n.p.” and use “n.d.” if no publishing date is given.

Donte, Monique. A Guide to Literary Analysis and Criticism. McGill University, 15 Sept. 2002. Web. 28 Dec. 2010.

As there are many more types of sources, you would greatly benefit from purchasing a guide or searching for an online list of how to cite a particular source that you wish to use in your MLA research paper.

Use an MLA Template to Format Your Paper Correctly

MLA Template

The entire process of creating a paper that follows the MLA writing style can be very overwhelming.  If you already have your ideas and sources in addition to knowing what you are going to write, a MLA template can be extremely helpful.  Using these templates, all you will have to do is plug in what you want to say and where you got your information. has several great templates for you to look over during your time of need.

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