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Essay Formatting Guide - MLA

Page history last edited by Don Pogreba 11 years, 7 months ago


Please Follow MLA format for All Papers

  • Type the paper. 

  • Double-space the paper.
  • The margins should be 1" on all four sides of the paper.

  • Use 12-point type. Use an easy to read font, please.
  • Use white, 8" X 11" paper only.

  • Indent each paragraph 1/2" (approximately 5 spaces from the left margin).

  • Justify the paper on the left margin only.

  • Type your last name and page number on every page in the top right corner one-half inch from the top, using a header.
  • Type your name, your teacher's name, course name and number, and date on separate lines of the first page, beginning flush with the top left margin. Center your title on page one. Your title should be the same font size as the rest of the paper. Do not underline the title; do not put the title in quotation marks; do not put the title in all caps; do not place the title in bold letters, and do not place the title in italics.


Heading Sample

Ima Good Student

Mrs. Edelen

Honors English II

12 September 2007


Heading in the upper left hand corner

  • student name – first and last
  • course and period of the day
  • teacher’s name
  • date (date month year -- 5 September 2007)
  • name of assignment
  • draft number (if applicable)
  • double space the heading


Page number

  • upper right corner of each page -- Edelen 1, Edelen 2, and so on.  Use the Header function to format



  • double space below the heading
  • center title on first line of first page
  • capitalize the first word and all other important words
  • double space between the title and the first line of the paper
  • do not punctuate your title


Page Layout

  • one side only
  • all margins should be either 1 inch or the Microsoft default of 1 ¼ inches
  • double space (even the drafts)
  • number each page in the upper right hand corner
  • indent the first line of each paragraph one tab



  • use staples to fasten sheets together; please do not fold corners
  • submit neat and legible final drafts – no crossed out words, no torn edges


Timed writings

  • write in a legible manner
  • cross out mistakes or errors with a single line
  • one side only
  • single-spacing is acceptable in this situation


Researched writings

  • use MLA format as indicated in the HHS Research Guidebook


Writing Expectations for Formal Assignments

Students should ask the following questions as they plan and review their work.

  1. Does the paper follow the mode and length of the assignment? Does it convey and accomplish a clear purpose? Is it true to that purpose throughout or does it stray?
  2. Does the structure of the paper help the reader to understand its ideas? It must be separated into paragraphs that indicate relationships and transitions between ideas.
  3. Does the paper follow MLA format, which includes a specific title? MLA also requires double spacing, 1-1.25 inch margins, and 12 point font.
  4. Unless the assignment allows for dialogue or a personal example, have I avoided using “you,” “we,” “I,” and other first and second person pronouns?
  5. Have I been academically honest? Have I cited all sources of quoted and paraphrased material with in-text citations and a Works Cited page? Did I underline titles of books, plays, or films? Did I place in quotation marks the titles of poems, essays, or songs?
  6. Have I proofread for misspellings and typographical errors? I should pay special attention to the use of words on the “egregious errors” list and to the spelling of author or character names and the title.
  7. Did I avoid using contractions or abbreviations?
  8. Did I revise to eliminate clichéd language or redundant phrases?
  9. Have I stapled every paper over one page long before class begins?
  10. Did I proofread a third time—with fresh eyes and after taking a break from the assignment?



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Additional Resources

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