MLA Citation Tips - How to Cite MLA Essay Papers

If your teacher has asked you to submit a paper in MLA format, then you need to present it in a specific way. There are certain rules which follow an MLA style. So let’s understand how it works out within the framework of an academic paper.

  1. Setting

    Word processors usually come with default settings that need adjusting for different formats. The elements that must be adjusted are line height, margin, typeface and paragraph spacing. For MLA style, you require:

    • One-inch margins
    • 2.0 line height for the entire paper, including the Works Cited list and title block
    • No additional space between paragraphs, after the title, or between bibliography.
    • 12-point font, most often Times New Roman
  2. Title Block

    Type your name, teacher’s name, course section and number and date in the upper left corner. In the center of the following line type the title that accurately informs about your topic. Do not enlarge the font of the title or embolden it. Refrain from leaving any extra space above or below it. Keep the title block double spaced like the rest of the paper.

  3. Citations

    A complete MLA citation needs two stages. The first part happens within the body of your assignment which is called the “in-text citation”. The second part is presented separately at the end of the paper which is called “works cited list”.

  4. Citing a block quote

    Block quotes refer to quotes that are longer than three lines. Long quotes can begin to look like fillers. Only use them if you have a good reason for including the entire thing. Otherwise, shorter quotes hit the mark more accurately. In case you have to include an entire passage then do it in the following manner:

    • Select the quote and then click on the icon that says “Increase Indent”.
    • Place the parenthetical citation which means the author’s name and the page number after the period.
    • Do not insert a comma between the writer’s name and page number.
    • Your department and institution
  5. Citing in-line quotes

    Use the inline style when the passage you intend to quote is shorter than three lines. The parenthetical citation appears outside the quoted text. The period that follows the sentence comes after the close parenthesis. Any additional information related to the quote is given in the Works Cited list. Therefore, leave it out of the body of essay.

  6. Citing a paraphrase

    If you want to reference the general idea from a source, you don’t always have to include technical details. Much space can be saved and readers can find it easier to read if the material is paraphrased. Using paraphrasing increases variety and enables to make a reference without taking much space. But keep in mind, that another writer’s idea must be cited even if paraphrased.

  7. Works Cited List

    A research paper is not complete without complete bibliographical details of every source. This can be tricky and tedious job. So, give yourself a big window of time to do it. Title the page Word Cited. Add no extra space below or above it.

  8. Individual citation entry

    Exactly what is included in each of the citation list entries depends on the references. The general format is given below:

    Author. Title of Source. Container, contributors, version, volume and issue, publisher, date, location.

    • For books

      The author’s last name comes first. If there is more than one author for a book, then only reverse the name placed first. Place periods in front of the author’s name, following the book title and at the end of an entry. The book title is italicized. For the publisher, type the organization which has published the work.

    • For academic article

      Following is the way you are meant to cite academic articles:

      Author. “Title of Article in Quotation Marks.” Title of Journal in Italics, volume #, issue #, YEAR, pp. [pages of article]. Italicized Name of Database.

  9. Other citation sources

    Your sources can be different from the above-mentioned ones. Your reference material can include social media posts, video games, an artwork, an email etc. An MLA citation is meant to be flexible. So, do not hesitate to make it work for any form of media you use in your paper.

  10. Organizing the Works Cited list

    Sort all entries in an alphabetical order pertaining to the author’s last name. If the writer is an organization, alphabetize according to its name. In case you are citing a composer or a painting, the do it according to their last name.

    Unless your teacher has asked you to do it differently, the whole list needs to alphabetized together. MLA style does not need separate works of various kinds. You do not have to cite works depending on how they appear in your college essay. Or according to the annotations that go with each item. The line height must be double spaced as mentioned before. Choose hanging indent for the paragraph format.

    These were all the tips we had to accurately format your paper according to MLA style. Formatting is an essential part of your paper. If you get it right you are sure to receive high grades for the organized presentation.

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