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How to Organize an MLA Format Essay Correctly

MLA is one of the known writing styles applied to academic papers. We have gathered a complete set of useful guidelines for formatting papers in MLA style. Feel free to follow them to format your pieces of writing properly.

It is necessary to state that the MLA style is widely used for formatting papers written in liberal arts and humanities. There is a good handbook for those producing research papers containing explicit instructions on how to organize academic works in this style.

The MLA handbook published in 2016 has been recently updated. Note that the initial specifications remain unchanged. However, particular alterations have been made to the process of writing papers. By the way, you have an opportunity to download a helpful MLA format essay example which you can use for formatting your papers. Thus, you will save much time.

How to Format Your Papers

When preparing academic works in MLA, you need to use a standard 8.5x11 inches sheet of paper.

Title Page

There is no need to create a title page unless it is specified by the instructions provided by your professor. Take a look at the following example of the MLA paper cover page:


Times New Roman, 12pt font is to be used unless any other font is required. Such fonts as Courier New & Arial, Georgia are good options as well.


  1. Set 1 inch margins on all sides
  2. ½ inch margins are to be used from the top to your name
  3. A title should be centered but not italicized
  4. The paragraphs containing quotations that are more than 4 lines long should be 1 inch indented. No quotations marks are to be used.

Page Numbers

The pages should be numbered in a consecutive order by using Arabic numerals, i.e. 1, 2, ... etc. Ask your professor whether the first page should be numbered. The page numbers are to be placed in the upper right-hand corner of a sheet of paper.


  1. Your paper should be double-spaced
  2. One space is to be placed after punctuation marks, i.e. full stop, colon, etc.


Each paragraph should be ½ inch indented. It is advised to press the TAB button once rather than the space bar five times.


Capitalization is to be applied to headings. Additionally, headings should be centered but not italicized, underlined, or bold.


As MLA is an “author page” formatting style, it is necessary to specify the author’s name and the page number you have taken the quotation from. In-text citations are organized in the following way: (Author’s Last Name 2).


Ice melting causes significant climate changes that in their turn have a considerable influence on people’s health (Burns 14). A large number of species of animals and plants are in danger of extinction because of intense human activity Martin & Taylor 237).


  1. The bibliography page should be placed at the end of your work.
  2. The title of this page, i.e. “Works Cited” should be centered.
  3. Citations are to be double-spaced.
  4. Make the so-called hanging indent. In this case, it is required to indent the second and following quotation lines by 0.5 inches.

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