Editing for: MLA (Modern Language Association)

Adult writing something on a notepad

This blog post is one of the educational series in which we’re highlighting the most basic (and often ignored) aspect of a research-style that must be incorporated in every single paper be it a term paper or a dissertation. The purpose is to educate you as well as let you know how small things can have a major impact.

As for MLA (Modern Language Association, Latest ed. 2016), their research-citation style is quite different from that of APA (link). No doubt that after the APA, MLA is the second most widely used citation style adopted across universities and publication houses around the globe mainly for areas:

  • English language and literature
  • Foreign languages and literatures
  • Literary criticism
  • Comparative literature
  • Cultural research (humanities)

The most important things

First, the revised MLA 8th Ed. (2016) has been rethought from the viewpoint of the digital era and its increasing dependence on digital content production, dissemination, and storage. That said, let’s have a look at the most basic aspects of this style:

  • Generally an A4 (8.5 x 11-inch) paper is what you need to print a document written in MLA
  • 1″ margin on all 4 sides of the paper (same as APA)
  • Unlike APA, MLA does not mandate using Times New Roman font only. You can use any font as long as its regular and italicized versions stand apart (are clearly noticeable).
  • Font size the same, 12 point
  • Doubt-spaced lines
  • 0.5 inch left indented first line of your paragraphs (tab key should be used instead of pressing space 5 times)
  • First page, upper-right corner for the page number; however, the instructor may give different instructions for this
  • Longer titles are always written in italics. Italics can also be used to add emphasis to a quote.
  • Unlike APA, MLA does not need a title page (unless instructed). See the specimen below:

specimen of MLA title page

Did you notice that unlike APA, the MLA header does NOT contain the short title of your paper? Instead, it contains your last name followed by a space and then the page number. Such are the wonders of these styles’ conventions!

As for the headings in MLA, it is recommended for the papers that the writer use Arabic numerals (1, 1.1, 1.2) for the headings. However, there are no hard and fast rules about the headings format. Usually, the instructor would require you to use the same plain font for the headings as well as they are already numbered, centrally aligned, so naturally stand out from the paragraphs.

Similarly, for books, the headings formatting usually depends on the discretion of the writer and/or the publication house. Numerals is something you should keep in mind.

It is also possible for an instructor to have you follow the standardized MS Word heading format.

Overall, MLA citation is rather loose and is open to modification from your institutional policies for writing. However, the basics covered in this post are followed by almost every institution.

Our experience as a professional editing company also informs us that most of the MLA-based orders that we cover have some modified versions that an instructor imposes on her students.

We hope you found this post beneficial for your understanding. Should you be needing any further assistance, have a query, or an order to place with us, please feel free to send us an order request from www.myparaphrasing.come/ordernow.html or just drop us an email at myparaphrasing/at/gmail [dot] com. We assure you a timely response with the best of our abilities.

Happy reading!