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MLA - How to Cite Your Sources

Basic Guidelines

MLA is generally simpler and more concise than other styles but there are still a lot of rules that need to be followed. Here are some of the basic guidelines:

  • Use standard, white 8.5 x 11-inch paper.
  • Leave margins of one inch on all sides of the page.
  • Do not make a title page for your paper unless specifically requested.
  • Put the page number preceded by your last name in the upper right corner of each page, one-half inch below the top edge.
  • Use arabic numerals (1, 2, 3...).
  • Double-space the text of your paper
  • Use an easy to read font (e.g. Times New Roman). The font size should be 12 pt.
  • Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks (unless otherwise instructed by your instructor).
  • In titles of works, capitalize all words except articles (a, an, the), prepositions (to, from, between, and so on), coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet), and the to in infinitives — unless they are the first or last word of the title or subtitle. 


The MLA Style Center also offers guidelines on formatting papers. This page includes information on margins; text formatting; heading and title; running head; works cited; tables and illustrations; paper and printing; and more.

Sample Papers

The MLA Style Center also offers sample papers to help you learn about organizing your paper. The papers also show how to use the MLA style to document sources and how to format margins, line spacing, and other physical attributes of a printed paper.