MLA Formatting – Quick Guide
Attention all Liberty University students and faculty: The university has officially switched to MLA 9th edition for Fall 2021. All resources below are MLA-9 compliant.
MLA-9 has separate formatting rules for individual student papers and group projects:
- 1’’ margins on all four sides
- Liberty University requires Times New Romans 12-point font throughout.
- Double-spaced throughout (including notes, if included, and the works-cited entries)
Changes from 8th Edition
- Headings are encouraged to organize academic and research papers.
- Footnotes are also permitted, sparingly, to clarify or add supplemental details.
- Every sentence that includes content derived from another source must include a citation. MLA-9 allows writers to omit the author for subsequent citations in the same paragraph provided there is no intervening content between those sentences and it is clear to the reader where the content originated; page numbers should be included even in such cases.
- Group papers require a separate title page (individual student’s papers do not).
- Annotations for annotated bibliography assignments are indented a full 1” from the left margin (see sample and template in links above).
Voice & Verb Tense
- 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)
First Page of Individual Student Papers
- Create a running header with your last name and page number in the upper right-hand corner, 0.5″ from the top (see template provided in link above).
- In the upper left-hand corner of the body of the paper, type your name, professor’s name, course name, and date in day-month-year format (i.e., 12 August 2021).
- Center the title of your paper just below, following standard capitalization rules for titles.
First Page of Group Papers
- Group papers must have a separate title page (see the template above for a visualization of that).
- Note that the page numbering always begins on the first page of the paper itself, so the title page of a group paper is not numbered.
- Your paper should include a thesis statement in the introductory paragraph, a single sentence that formulates both your topic and your point of view, which answers the central question or problem raised in the paper.
- Use only one space after closing punctuation.
- Indent the first line of each paragraph ½ of an inch.
- Use block quotes sparingly and only when the prose quotation exceeds four lines (three lines for poetry).
- 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), along with the word line or lines (e.g., lines 8-9).
Scripture / The Bible
| With a general editor *
|The New Jerusalem Bible. Henry Wansbrough, general editor. Doubleday, 1985.
|In a named version *||The Bible. Authorized King James Version, Oxford UP, 1998.
The Bible. King James Version. Zondervan, 2010.
The Bible. New American Standard Version. Lockman Foundation, 1995.
|In an app||The Bible. King James Version, Tecarta Bible, app version 7.10, Tecarta, 6 Sept. 2016.
The Bible. New American Standard Version. Bible Gateway, version 42, Bible Gateway / Zondervan, 6 Sept. 2016.
Works Cited Examples
Your works cited page should have the words “Works Cited” center at the top (singular if you have only one work cited). Entries should be double-spaced under that label and should be left-aligned with hanging indents (where the first line of each entry is at the left margin and any subsequent lines for that entry are indented ½” in from the left margin). See the comprehensive chart of works-cited examples and sample MLA paper (both linked above) for visuals of works-cited entries for many of the types of resources you will cite in an academic paper.
Information courtesy of the MLA 9th edition handbook.