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MLA Formatting – Quick Guide

Note to students using Grammarly: See this resource on Grammarly's Place in the Writing Process

MLA-9 has separate formatting rules for individual student papers and group projects:

MLA Annotated Bibliography Sample

MLA-9 Template for Annotated Bibliography assignments

Comprehensive MLA-9 Works Cited Examples

The MLA 9th  Edition handbook is now available to Liberty University students online!
***(Students must be logged in at myLU.liberty.edu to access this resource)***

MLA Formatting

  • 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.

Main Body

  • 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 (updated 04/2023)

English Standard (The Bible, English Standard Version2016) The Bible. English Standard Version. Crossway Bibles, 2016.

The Bible. English Standard Version. 2016. ESV Literal Word. https://esv.literalword.com/. Accessed 10 April 2023.

King James (The Bible, King James Version, 2017) The Bible. King James Version. Cambridge University Press, 2017.

The Bible. King James Version. 2017. King James Bible Online. https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/. Accessed 10 April 2023.

New American (The Bible, New American Standard Version, 1995) The Bible. New American Standard. Thomas Nelson, 1995.

The Bible. New American Standard. 1995. NASB Literal Word. https://nasb.literalword.com/. Accessed 10 April 2023.

New International (The Bible, New International Version, 2011) The Bible. New International Version. Zondervan, 2011.

The Bible. New International Version. 2011. The NIV Bible. https://www.thenivbible.com/. Accessed 10 April 2023.

The Message (The Bible, The Message Version, 2002) The Bible. The Message. Eugene H. Peterson, 2002.

The Bible. The Message. 2002. Message Biblehttps://messagebible.com/read-the-message/. Accessed 10 April 2023.

When using an app or website such as Bible Gateway or YouVersion that includes multiple versions of the Bible you can choose from, use the format shown below. Note, however, that it is preferable to use a direct link to the specific version you used instead (see the examples provided above), since such websites are more clear and transparent about which version of the Bible is included there. For example, the NASB direct link provided above is to the 1995 version, but the Bible Gateway website and app both default to the 2020 NASB version unless you choose the 1995 version, which is relevant for those who know the history behind the NASB’s historical literacy and recent shift.

Website The Bible. English Standard Version, 2016. Bible Gateway, www.biblegateway.com. Accessed 10 April 2023.


App The Bible. English Standard Version. Bible Gateway, app version 68, 10 April 2023.

The Bible. American Standard Version. YouVersion, app version 9.22, 11 April 2023.


A note about study Bibles: Study Bibles are not considered scholarly sources because the notes contained within can be quite biased, depending on who authored those.  The 66 books in the mainstream Bible versions that have been universally accepted by Bible scholars for centuries, however, are regarded as scholarly content.  When citing Scripture, cite from one of the mainstream Bible versions (see examples above) rather than a study Bible. Various Bible versions are readily available online, so those are easily found and cited even if you do not have a non-study-Bible in-hand.

Citing Liberty University Class Lectures

 Liberty University class lectures with named presenter and direct URL Peters, Clay. “Defining Integration: Key Concepts.” COUN 506: Integration

of Spirituality and Counseling, Spring 2020, Liberty University,




Liberty University class lecture with no named presenter and no URL Liberty University. “Name of Lecture.” BIOL 102: Human Biology, Spring


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.


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