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MLA Term Paper: Basic Information about Format

Following specific instructions on an assignment is what students are trained to do from the beginning of their education. When an instructor wants to have a paper handed in MLA (Modern Language Association) format, what they are looking for is that the content collected is presented in a specific writing formation. Just as the expectations of people’s behavior in public society comes with limits and rules, so does the MLA style of research writing. This paper will look a bit different than any other paper you have written. Don’t let the process intimidate you, because in the end it is all just writing and MLA is just a different method. Once it is mastered a student can produce papers in this style as quickly and efficiently as any other.

Citations are important

One of the MLA requirements is using parenthetical citation to reference all work. This is nothing to panic about, because it is quite easy to do. Each of your resources are numbered in your bibliography or works cited page. Every time you cite something from that source, you include in paragraphs the number of the resource and the page of that resource the fact or quote is located on. It is a much simpler, clearer and more efficient than creating footnotes at the bottom of every page. This part of the MLA writing process should be a joy for a writer to perform.

General Guides to Follow

  • The paper should use standard paper 11x8.5 inches in size which is pretty standard.
  • The text should be double spaced and in a font that can easily be read. Many suggest Times New Roman, but definitely stay away from fonts that have creative expression. There needs to be enough contrast between the regular and italics version of the font that it can easily be distinguished.
  • It should be written in 12 point font.
  • When using punctuation, make sure to only leave one space immediately following any punctuation of any kind.
  • Margins should be set on your paper at exactly one inch on all sides.
  • Paragraphs should be indented one half inch from the left side of the margin. That should be five spaces and the tab can easily be set on your keyboard.
  • For consistencies sake a common header should be created in order to label the entire paper as yours.
  • All pages should be clearly numbered. The number should be in the upper right hand corner even with the margin and an inch from the top.
  • Italics should be used for the titles of books and other works cited in your paper.
  • Any endnotes should be included and clearly listed right before the works cited page of your paper.
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