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Always consult your syllabus and assignment sheets. They may differ from information you see here (or anywhere else) on citing your sources and formatting your paper!

Paper Formatting

Why does paper formatting matter? Using a consistent style helps the reader focus on your content, rather than your formatting.

For more information on formatting your paper according to MLA style, check out the MLA Handbook (print) and the MLA Style Center (online)


Align to the left margin. Leave the right margin uneven. Do not use full justification.

Do not insert manual breaks in words at the end of a line.


Choose an easily readable typeface in a standard size (such as Times New Roman (12 point)).


All paragraphs should be indented 0.5 inches from the left.

Indent the text of block quotations by 0.5 inches from the left.

Line Spacing:

Double space the entire paper, including any quotations, notes, and the works cited page.


Except for the running head, use a margin of 1 inch on each side, unless otherwise specified.

Page Numbers:

Page numbers should be in the top right corner, with your last name followed by a space before the page number.


Title pages are generally not needed in student papers. In the top left of the page (one inch from the top and flush with the left margin), list the following, each on a new double-spaced line: your name, instructors' name(s), course number, and date submitted.

On a new double-spaced, centered line, type the paper title using title case heading. Use the same font size and style as the rest of the paper. Do not use a period at the end.

Begin the text of your paper on a new, double-spaced line after the title.


Avoid overusing headings. No heading level should have only one instance. All headings should be flush with the left margin, except the paper or chapter title, which is centered. Be consistent in the styling of all headings. All headings should use title case heading.

Headings should be styled in descending order of prominence. In general, boldface indicates highest prominence and italics indicates lowerst prominence, with regular text (no bold or italics) in between.

Works Cited

Modern Language Association. Formatting a Research Paper, 2020. Accessed 24 Aug. 2020.

Modern Language Association. "How do I style headings and subheadings in a research paper?" Ask the MLA, 13 Dec. 2018, Accessed 24 Aug. 2020.