MLA 8th Edition Formatting - Quick Guide
- 1’’ margins
- An easily readable font (most professors prefer Times New Roman.)
- Size 12 font
- Use active voice
- Use present tense when referring to events that happen within the literature
- Remain consistent with tense (especially important to keep in mind when writing about historic non-fiction)
- Create a running header with your last name and page number in the upper right-hand corner (with only one space between name and number) one half inch from the top
- In the upper left-hand corner, type your name, professor’s name, course name, and date
- Center the title of your paper just below following standard capitalization rules for titles
- Your paper should include a thesis statement, “a single sentence the formulates both your topic and your point of view . . . your answer to the central question or problem you have raised”
- Use only one space after a period unless professor prefers two
- Indent the first line of each paragraph ½ of an inch
- Use block quotes sparingly and only when the prose quotation exceeds four lines
- Include parenthetical citations in your paper whenever you use another person's words or ideas. Usually this will include the author's last name and a page reference with no punctuation: (Smith 10)
- When referencing plays and poetry, use the line number (not the page number)
Works Cited Examples
- Your works cited page should have the words “Works Cited” center at the top. Your entries should begin right after and should be left-aligned with hanging indents. Eighth edition MLA citations operate on model. The model is a one-size-fits-all approach that asks for nine different elements and takes whatever are available.
These are the elements and the proper punctuation in a citation if they were all present in a source:
- Generic example for all citations:
- Author. “Title of Source.” Title of Container, Other Contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication Date, Location.
- Model: Last name, First name. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Date.
- Example: Smith, John. Hunting for Peace. Mifflin Publishing, 2004.
- Work in an anthology:
- Model: Last name, First name. "Title of Source." Title of Container, Other Contributors, Publisher, Publication Date. Location.
- Example: Smith, Joanna. “The Squirrel Poem.” Poems about Wildlife, edited by John Smith, Harvard UP, 2016, pp. 122-23.
- Journal article retrieved from database:
- Model: Author. “Title of Source.” Title of Container, Number, Publication Date, Location.
- Example: Smith, Sara. “Squirrel Habitat Reduction.” The Journal of the Environment, vol. 30, no. 2, 2009, pp. 127-56. JSTOR, jstor.org/stable/10/1086/000001
- Model: Author (if available). “Title of Source.” Title of Container, Other Contributors, Publisher, Publication Date, Location.
- Example: “Human and Animal Relations.” Wildlife Details, edited by John Smith, Turtles Inc., 26 May 2011, www.turtlelist.com/squirrels.
Information courtesy of MLA 7th edition and MLA 8th edition handbooks.
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