What Are Some Common MLA Format Errors According to Purdue OWL?


Quick Answer

Common Modern Language Association formatting errors include incorrect in-text citation within the body of the paper and improper or missing punctuation on the Works Cited page. Purdue Owl, the Purdue Online Writing Lab, does not necessarily list common errors, but it does give examples for formatting, in-text citations, and Works Cited pages for MLA research papers.

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Full Answer

MLA style is used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities fields. To correctly execute MLA formatting, one must pay extreme attention to detail. The Purdue OWL site, created by Purdue University, is a resource that helps students and scholars properly follow the format.

The first basic formatting rules for MLA are 1-inch margins, double-spaced pages and a header with the author's last name followed by the page number. Properly integrating quotes and citing sources is another crucial step that could be overlooked. To do this correctly, start with a short introductory phrase, then insert the quote and follow it with a proper in-text citation. This means typing the author's last name and the page number from which the quote came from enclosed in parentheses, with a period outside the final parenthesis.

Common mistakes on the Works Cited page include forgetting to put "Works Cited" centered on the top of the page, not putting sources in alphabetical order and forgetting the hanging indentation for all sources longer than one line.

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