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Handling writing styles: how to write a MLA paper


There are many popular styles of referencing and in text citations available, each of which is similar but the differences are the most important part. The main reference styles are Harvard, APA, MLA, and Chicago. Using these reference styles helps you to properly cite the sources you use so that information can be found by those who read your work with ease. It is a means of supporting your work with evidence and research and categorizing it properly. MLA is one of the most popular reference guides for English papers while Chicago is used in standard history courses. APA is often associated with psychology or business while Harvard is a go-to of international formats everywhere. It is important to check with your professor as to the exact style required for any project.

There are many writing styles out there and each course seems to request a different one be used. But have no fear. If you are taking a course which requires MLA format you can follow the guide below.

For an MLA paper your paper begins with a title of the paper centered in the top of the first page. There is no need for a separate title page unless it is specifically required or requested by your teacher or assignment. You want the front to look like this on the first page:

  • Gary Q. Student
  • Professor Smith
  • English 344
  • 4 May 2014

Your Title Goes Here

After this you want to include your introductory paragraph followed by the body of your text. Each new paragraph should be indented. You should make sure that you use standard size 12 font for your text with Times New Roman as the font type unless otherwise mentioned. You want to also double space all of your text. Be sure to cite your sources both in your text when a quote or data is used and at the end in the bibliography. For these you should adhere to the MLA style guide for your course to ensure you are formatting each name correctly based on the source type. In text citations need only the author name and the page number.

If you are quoting something that is longer than four lines you need to indent it one inch from your left hand side margin and you do not need to use quotation marks. After this you add the conclusion and place the bibliography at the end.

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