When you write essays in your college, your professors will ask you to follow two essay formatting styles: American Psychological Association(APA) style and Modern Language Association(MLA). The MLA essay format is used most commonly in colleges in the USA and knowing how to write essays in this format will help you throughout your college education.
The MLA essay format was developed by the Modern Language Association. It originally was developed for researchers, scholars, and students who are based in literature and language fields. Since this essay format is easier to read, it has now spread to other study fields also.
WHY IS THE MLA ESSAY FORMAT POPULAR AND WHAT RULES ARE FOLLOWED?
The guidelines in the MLA essay format are flexible. Thus, teachers and professors prefer this essay format for their research papers in schools and colleges. While some rules are flexible, there are some basic rules which one has to stick to. Those rules are:
- A standard 8.5 x 11 white paper to be used. While some have adapted to the electronic means now of submitting an essay in the MLA format, many still prefer the traditional printed one. Only white papers are preferred, colors like ivory, off-white are a big no-no.
- All pages have to be numbered.
- All sides need to have a 1-inch margin. The running head should be the only thing that is seen in the margin. Most word programming applications have a default setting of 1-inch margins, but it is better to check before starting with your essay.
- The font should be readable. Any font works for essays in the MLA format, but the most commonly used fonts are Times New Roman and Arial. The font you use should also be identified when using bold or italic fonts. A standard font size of 12 works well for your content unless another font size is given to you.
- Double-spaced paragraphs should be followed in the heading, in the body, and also on the reference page.
- Only one space is to be given between sentences.
- New paragraphs have to be indented. Indent every first word of the paragraph and sentences should begin half-inch from the 1-inch margin. Using the tab button is enough to get the half-inch measurement and no need to measure it manually.
- The binding rules for your essay will be given by your professor. Otherwise, a simple staple at the top-right will suffice. Some instructors also allow paper clips or binder clips.
OTHER IMPORTANT RULES TO BE FOLLOWED IN AN MLA ESSAY FORMAT
1. MLA HEADING & TITLE PAGE
The MLA heading can be placed on top of the first page of your essay. While there aren’t any official title page guidelines in the MLA format, you can place the title page at the starting of your assignment. Your guide will be specific about the title page requirements so follow that.
2. USAGE OF QUOTATIONS
Quotations when used in an essay, help in proving a point or liven the atmosphere of the page. Too much of quotes do not look good in the essay, so use them only where required. Use quotes from well-known people in the industry and give them credit for their contribution and work towards the field they were an expert in.
3. PARAPHRASES IN MLA FORMAT
Paraphrases are created when the text from another source is weaved into the personal content and the writing style of the student. Although paraphrases are modified for identification purposes, crediting the source in your work is important. Paraphrases help in demonstrating the ability to reiterate information in a proper and meaningful way. It gives the instructor a clear understanding that the student has understood the topic thoroughly.
Abbreviations are commonly used for websites, journal articles, and blog posts. But when it comes to essays in MLA format, abbreviations should rarely be used. It is recommended to spell them out for their full forms and meanings. This avoids any misunderstanding and confusion by your reader.
Writing essays in the MLA format is extremely easy once you get the fundamental rules correctly. Do not forget to edit and proofread your MLA essays before submitting them. Various sources can provide you with adequate information on what MLA essay format is and how it can be followed.