Modern Language Association (MLA) Format Guidelines (Style Sheet)
Students of English are encouraged, and sometimes required, to use the MLA format
for essays, research papers and other polished writing assignments. In order to make
MLA easier to use, a modified and condensed outline of MLA format and bibliography
are provided below.
All MLA papers should be typed (black ink) and double-spaced. Everything in MLA is
double-spaced including headings, quotations, and bibliography entries.
The margins on each page should be as follows; 1-inch top margin, 1-inch bottom margin, 1-
inch right margin and 1-inch left margin.
MLA requires no cover sheets or title pages. (Do not include one, unless specified to do so)
MLA requires the first page to include a heading. The heading should be placed in the top
left corner. The heading includes, in this order, student name, instructors name, course
name, and date. See the example below:
Arlene B. Student
1 January 2011
All pages should be numbered, including your first page and your works cited (bibliography)
page. MLA requires you to place your last name and the page number ½ inch from the top
edge of the page and justified along the right margin.
MLA papers require a descriptive title. Let your reader know what specifically you are
covering in your paper. Your title should not be underlined, bold-faced, italicized, enlarged,
or otherwise different than the font you are using in your paper (font size 10 or 12). If your
title includes the title of another work that should be underlined or put in quotation marks,
only place the title in quotation marks or underline it.
Titles that are works published in a collection such as short stories, poems, TV episodes,
songs, articles, etc. should be put in quotation marks.
Titles of longer works (published by themselves), such as novels, plays, TV series, albums,
films, etc., should be underlined.
Bibliography/Works Cited/Works Consulted:
MLA requires you list your research sources. You must list these sources on the last page of
your paper. You may call this list of sources a works consulted list, or a work cited list. If you
cite information from your sources, you should call the list a works cited list; otherwise, you
should call it a works consulted list.
Your works cited or works consulted list should be the last page of your report. This page
should have the title centered and capitalized on the first line (either „Works Cited‟ or „Works
Consulted‟). The page should be double-spaced in its entirety.
Each entry should start at the left margin and continue to the right. If the entry falls onto a
second line, make sure to indent the second line and all subsequent lines fives spaces.
If you use ideas that are not your own, whether paraphrasing or directly quoting from a work,
you must cite the source. To cite a source, at the end of the sentence or quotation you
should place a parenthetical that contains the last name of the author of the work you used
(unless you stated it previously in the sentence) and the page number or page numbers the
information or quote came from. If you use more information from that same source, you
may place a parenthetical after the information with just the page number or page numbers.
Once you move on to a different source, you must again include the author‟s name and
page number(s). See the example below.
If you use the author‟s name in the sentence, you reference a source like this model:
Another particularly appealing passage is the opening of Garcia Marquez‟s story “A
Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” (105).
If you do not use the author‟s name in the sentence, you reference a source like this model:
It may be true that “in the appreciation of medieval art the attitude of the observer is of
primary importance . . .” (Robertson 136).
Notice you do not use the word page, or any abbreviation for the word page when citing
When using a prose quotation under four lines in length, incorporate it into your text. If the
prose quotation runs more than four lines, begin on a new line and indent the whole
quotation 10 spaces from the left margin. If quoting more than one paragraph, indent the
first line of each paragraph three additional space.
When using a verse quotation under four lines in length, you may incorporate them into your
text using a slash with a space on each side ( / ) to indicate where a line would normally
The speaker in Shakespeare‟s Sonnet 130 utilizes comparisons that are anything but flattering to the
object of his supposed love; “My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun; / Coral is far more red than her
lips' red; / If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;”
If quoting verse of four or more lines, the quotation should start on a new line and each line
should be indented ten spaces from the left margin.
An entry in a list of works cited characteristically has three main divisions—authors, title, and
publication information—each followed by a period and two spaces.
Listed on an attached page are models of works cited entries that you can use as a guide to
follow when creating your own works cited or works consulted list. Note that each entry
describes what type of work it is. If the author is not known, you typically start with the title
of the work and proceed from there.
Works Cited [example]
Brock, Dan W. “The Value of Prolonging Human Life.” Philosophical Studies 50
(1986): 4-1-426. [article from a scholarly journal]
Berry, Jason, Jonathan Foose, and Tad Jones. Up from the Cradle of Jazz: New
Music since World War II. Athens: U of Georgia P, 1986. [book by many authors]
Churchill, Winston S. The Age of Revolution. New York: Dodd, 1957. Vol. 3 of A
History of the English-Speaking Peoples. 4 vols. 1956-1958. [multivolume work]
“Computer.” Encyclopedia Americana. 1985 ed. [article from reference book]
Eschenlohr, Greg. “The Fall of the Roman Empire.” Social Studies Department.
High School. Anchorage, 1 Jan. 1999. [lecture]
Eschenlohr, Greg. Personal interview. 1 Jan. 1999. [interview]
Fuerbringer, Jonathan. “Budgetary Rhythms.” New York Times 20 Mar. 1987, late ed.:
A8. [article from a newspaper]
Grammar and Punctuation. Chart. Grand Haven: School Zone, 1980. [chart]
It‟s a Wonderful Life. Dir. Frank Capra. With James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel
Barrymore, and Thomas Mitchell. RKO, 1946. [film]
Levin, Harry. Letter. Partisan Review 47 (1980): 320 [letter to the editor]
Lobdell, Jared. England and Always: Tolkien‟s World of the Rings. Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 1981. [book by one author]
Mitchell, Jason P. Letter. "PMLA Letter." 10 May 1997. 1 Nov. 1999
Walsh, John. “U.S.-Japan Study Aim Is Education Reform.” Science 16 Jan. 1987:
274-275. [article from a magazine]
(SAMPLE FIRST PAGE OF AN ESSAY) Student 1
Arlene B. Student
1 January 2010
Ellington‟s Adventures in Music and Geography
In studying the impact of Latin American, African, and Asian music on modern
American composers, music historians tend to discuss such figures as Aaron Copland,
George Gershwin, Henry Cowell, Alan Hochaness, and John Cage (Brindle; Griffiths
104-39; Hitchcock 173-98), but they usually overlook Duke Ellington, whom Gunther
Schuller has rightly called “one of America‟s great composers” (318), probably because
they are familiar with only Ellington‟s more popular pieces, like “Sophisticated Lady,”
“Mood Indigo,” and “Solitude.” Still little known are the many ambitious orchestral suites
Ellington composed, several of which such as Black, Brown and Beige (originally
entitled The African Suite), The Liberian Suite, The Far East Suite, The Latin American
Suite, and Afro-Eurasian Eclipse, explore his impressions of the people, places and
music of other countries.
Not all music critics, however, have ignored Ellington‟s excursions into
longer musical forms. In the 1950‟s, for example, while Ellington was still very much
alive, Raymond Horricks, comparing him with Racel, Deius, and Debussy, wrote:
The continually enquiring mind of Ellington, . . . operating via its chosen
medium, . . . has sought to extend steadily the imaginative boundaries of the musical
form on which it subsists. . . . Ellington since the mid-1930s has been engaged upon
extending both the imagery and the formal construction of written jazz (122-23).