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MLA Citation Guide

The 9th edition of the MLA Handbook includes instructions for formatting your research project on pp. 1-14. The same guidelines are available on the MLA Style Center's Formatting Your Research Project page. If your instructor gives you specific instructions for formatting a paper, you should follow them, even if the instructions are different than MLA's suggestions. (See also MLA's sample papers.)

  • Your paper should be double-spaced throughout, including the heading, title, body, and Works Cited page.
  • Use a typeface and font size that is easy to read. MLA recommends setting the font size at 11, 12, or 13. One good example is 12-point Times New Roman.
  • Your paper should have one-inch margins.
  • Each page of your paper should have your last name and the page number in the upper right corner (MLA calls this the running head). Your last name/page number should be one-half inch from the top of the page.
  • Your first page should have your name, your professor's name, the course name, and the date in the upper left corner. Do not use a cover sheet.
  • Your Works Cited page should be on a separate page at the end of your document.
    • Center the title Works Cited at the top of the page. (If you are citing only one source, use the title Work Cited.)
    • The first line of each entry on your Works Cited page should be one inch from the edge of the page (flush with the margin). The second and following lines should be one and one-half inches from the edge of the page (a hanging indent of 0.5 inches). For an image of this, see MLA's Works Cited example.
  • You may print your paper single-sided or double-sided - it is up to your instructor. If your instructor has no preference, it's up to you.