What Is MLA Style?


Quick Answer

MLA style, supported by the Modern Language Association, is a citation style for referencing research and documents within an academic essay or scholarly article. MLA style is used primarily in the humanities for formatting written pieces on literature and language.

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Full Answer

When citing research and documentation with MLA style, writers must use a concise style of formatting that includes brief parenthetical citations throughout the text and a Works Cited or Bibliography page list of research used. The list is in alphabetical order by author or the first name of the title, according to the Modern Language Association.

In addition to citing sources, MLA style also provides general guidelines for formatting academic and scholarly papers. For example, MLA style stipulates that the text is typed on standard, 8.5 x 11-inch paper, double spaced and typed in a legible 12-point font, such as Times New Roman. Only one space is used after periods and punctuation marks, and the margins should be set to 1 inch on all sides of the paper. The first line of each paragraph should be indented by 1/2 inch. The header of the document should include page numbers in the upper right-hand corner unless stipulated otherwise by an academic instructor.

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