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Transcript of MLA Format
Pay careful attention to the information
that follows. From this point forward,
you are responsible for all of it.
A User's Guide
So what is MLA anyway?
MLA stands for Modern Language Association.
It is a set of conventions, or rules, that govern how academic texts are written in English and many of the Humanities.
MLA style has been widely adopted by schools, academic departments, and instructors for over half a century. The association's guidelines are also used by over 1,100 scholarly and literary journals, newsletters, and magazines and by many university and commercial presses. The MLA's guidelines are followed throughout North America and in Brazil, China, India, Japan, Taiwan, and other countries around the world.
Other research fields, such as the sciences, use other sets of rules, such as APA.
Sample First Page
Things to notice:
Standard, white 8.5 x 11 inch paper
All text must be 12 point Times New Roman font
All text must be double-spaced
All margins must be 1 inch
The first line of each new paragraph is indented 5 spaces (1 tab)
What's a Header?
It's a field that's inserted into the area above the normal printing space.
In Word 2013, you select the Header drop menu in the Insert tab. Select the Blank style and then click on the Home tab.
In the Header field at the top of the page, change the font to TNR. Right-justify the text (make it start on the right side of the screen). Then type your last name followed by one space. Now click on the Header & Footer Tools tab and click the Page Number drop menu. Select Current Position and then Plain Number.
Done! It will now automatically insert your last name and the correct page number on each page. You only need to do all this once.
What's a Heading?
This is different than the header.
The heading identifies the paper. It only appears once on the first page of a document.
The order is important. It goes:
The name of this course
The date, which is written Day Month Year with no commas
A title in MLA format appears on the first page immediately after the heading.
The title is centered on the page.
That's it. No underling, no bolding, nothing.
Referencing other texts is an essential part of writing an academic paper.
Titles of longer works are italicized
books, magazines, short story collections, poetry collections, albums, etc.
Titles of shorter works are in quotation marks
articles, essays, short stories, short poems, songs, etc.
There are A LOT of special rules for citation beyond this that we'll introduce soon.
Remember that all the rules of expository writing apply including:
1. Write in 3rd person
2. Use present tense verbs to discuss literature
These events never happened, but pretend they're happening now
3. Use formal tone and vocabulary
No slang, no abbreviations, no contractions
This seems like an awful lot to remember. What if I forget?
Well, the first thing you need to do is learn
about whatever it is you've forgotten. Check
Schoology or the many handouts I'll be
For specific questions, consult the excellent
Purdue Online Writing Lab where you'll find
just about any answer you might need.
You'll also lose points. The penalties will
start out small but grow each marking
period, so get a handle on this as fast as
possible. It's easy points.
Aren't these just nitpicky little details?
No. They're important little details. And details matter.
Spend the time necessary to dot your proverbial i's and cross your proverbial t's. It's worth it.
If there is anything you don't understand about these rules, now is the time to ask. Remember the warning. You're now responsible for this information. That means the next piece of work I receive should correctly follow every convention.
Learn it. Love it. Live it.
C-3 Gather and organize information and data