While many students may view MLA style as a torture device, it’s actually a just set of guidelines for formatting papers. The guidelines are established by the Modern Language Association (MLA), and they encompass everything from what kind of font to use to how wide to set the margins.

Here are the basic rules for setting up MLA style in your paper:

MLA style: The basics poster
Font: Times New Roman, 12pt
Spacing: Double-spaced
Margins: One inch, all sides
Heading: Your first and last name, the teacher's name, the course name, and the date in DD MM YYYY format. 
Running Header: Include your last name and the page number in the upper right corner of each page.
Center the title of your paper; do not bold, underline, or italicize.
MLA guidelines have been simplified for clarity. For example, fonts can range from 11-13pt, and you are not required to use Times New Roman font. Ask your teacher about any specific preferences he or she may have.

You will also need a Works Cited page at the end of your paper that lists the sources you used throughout. The idea here is that if your reader wants to read more from a particular source, they will be able to locate that source based on the information on your Works Cited page. Showing where you found your information also lends credibility to your writing.

For example:

In the second paragraph above, the writer used the articles “Bear Series” and “Senses & Abilities.” Per the MLA style guidelines for Works Cited pages, the entries for these sources should look like this:

Example MLA Works Cited page with two references listed
There are many websites that can help you format your citations, including Citation Machine and EasyBib.

Without a Works Cited page, the reader may have a difficult time finding these articles. With the Works Cited page, the reader can go directly to the sources via the URLs provided, allowing them to read further and assess the validity of the information.

Teaching Resources

Want this poster for your classroom? You can purchase a digital download version at the Super ELA! Teachers Pay Teachers store.