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  • MLA Standards

    Paper Format

    The preparation of papers and manuscripts in MLA style is covered in chapter four of the MLA Handbook, and chapter four of the MLA Style Manual.

    Below are some basic guidelines for formatting a paper in MLA style. General Guidelines

    • Type your paper on a computer and print it out on standard, white 8.5 x 11-inch paper.

    • Double-space the text of your paper, and use a legible font sucah as Times New Roman or Arial.

    • The font size should be 12 pt. Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks (unless otherwise instructed by your instructor). Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides. Indent the first line of paragraphs one half-inch from the left margin.

    • MLA recommends that you use the Tab key as opposed to pushing the Space Bar five times. Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner, one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your instructor may ask that you omit the number on your first page. Always follow your instructor's guidelines.)

    • Use italics throughout your essay for the titles of longer works and, only when absolutely necessary, providing emphasis.

    • Unlike APA format, when formatting the first page of your paper do not make a title page for your paper unless specifically requested.

    • In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, list your name, your instructor's name, the course, and the date. Again, be sure to use double-spaced text. Double space again and center the title.

    • Do not underline, italicize, or place your title in quotation marks; write the title in Title Case (standard capitalization), not in all capital letters. 

    • If you are still not clear on how your paper should look, schedule an appointment with a TNCC librarian.

    Taken and adapted with permission from OWL Purdue.