MLA format essay: All you need to know- Thesisessay

Mla essay

As a student, writing MLA format essay  is inevitable.  You to follow specific rules when writing your MLA format. Read on to understand how to write and format your MLA essay properly.

To write the perfect paper, you must be well-versed with the MLA style. With coherent essay paragraphs and extensive research, you can score highly. Use a variety of sentence structures to express your thoughts. Since you are writing an essay, always use a formal tone.

Below are essential guidelines that you can refer to when working on your MLA format paper.

Related: How to format an essay- Guide from an expert

What is MLA format essay?

The Modern Language Association (MLA) is an essay format which students use for research papers. Nowadays, students are encouraged to use the format in literature essays and non-language ones.

The latest edition of the MLA format is the eighth version. While some tutors may still accept older editions, it is best to use the recent one when writing your paper. For printed assignments, use high-quality white paper only. Your instructor should guide you on the paper size to use.

How to write an essay in MLA

Writing a research paper using MLA format is easy, but you have to be cautious. This is because you may make mistakes which can cost you a good grade. The first step is writing your header.

MLA format essay heading

The MLA heading for your essay should come with four parts. These are your full name, the name of your tutor, the title of the course or class and the paper’s date of submission. As you write your header, remember that you should use one-inch page margins and it should be double-spaced.

Provided below is an example of a header for an academic paper that uses the MLA style:

Andrew N. Johnson

Professor Mary

English 401

4 Dec 2019

Always use standard lettering when writing your mla essay title. The first word must start with a capital letter, and the same case applies to all proper nouns. There should be no bold fonts, italics, underlines or quotation marks. However, if your title has the name of another source, you can italicize it. You should not include a period or any punctuation mark at the title’s end.

When writing an MLA format essay, you also have to write the running head, and the page numbers.

MLA running head

This is the heading that you should place on every page’s top right corner. Make it as brief as possible. It should have your last name, followed by the page number. The running head must be ½ inch from the page’s top. It is easier to set automatic page numbering when writing the page number.

In most instances, numbering starts from the second page of your paper. Even though, some instructors have no problem if your number the first page.


You should arrange your MLA format academic paper in paragraphs. Use double-space and indent the first word of each. Start every sentence a half-inch from the page’s left margin. Instead of manually measuring the space, you can press your keyboard’s “tab” button.

Mla font size

Use a readable font when typing your paper. Most students prefer Times New Roman or Arial, but you can ask your teacher what they would prefer. A font size of 12 is more popular and acceptable, but you can also go for 11-point font size.


You will need several sources when writing your research paper. They must be relevant to your project’s title. Instead of copying what a source’s author says, you can choose to paraphrase their work. Paraphrases should provide a summary; written in your own words depending on how you understand the given text. You can also use a different writing style as long as it best communicates the message.

Since the information you are paraphrasing is not yours, you must credit the work’s author. Make sure you use the right MLA format when doing it.

Example of a paraphrase

Source:  “Students should invest their time well to allow for maximum productivity“- Anna Joseph

Paraphrase: Anna Joseph says that it is essential for a student to make good use of their time. Otherwise, they might not achieve their full potential in academics and all their other endeavors.

To make sure you paraphrase an author’s words perfectly, understand their text first. Doing it may require you to read their work several times. Refrain from using direct word substitutes lest your instructor penalizes you for plagiarism. Your paraphrasing ability shows how well you can analyze content, connect the points and deliver them in a unique and relevant manner.


There is no harm in using quotes when writing your MLA format research paper. They add emphasis to your points. They also allow you to defend your arguments. You should use quotations sparingly and make sure you show your source. Ensure you cite credible peer reviewed sources.


When using the MLA format to write a research paper, it is not recommendable that you use abbreviations. Instead, use the full words so you don’t confuse the reader. Sometimes using an acronym is acceptable. For instance, instead of writing the “United States”, you can use the “US”. You should not include periods between capital letter abbreviations. However, you can do it for lower case ones.

For instance: for example- e.g.

Do not shorten the names of months when writing the body of your academic paper. If, however, they have over four letters, you can abbreviate them.


June- June

September- Sept.

MLA essay introduction

The introduction of your research paper is the first paragraph of your essay. It should follow all the guidelines of the MLA format. Always use it to introduce the reader to your topic. The tone you use sets the context of your paper. Therefore, make sure it is the right one. Do not forget to state your attitude towards your subject, and why you think it is relevant.

The introductory paragraph should be precise, but it is dependent on your tutor’s instructions. Its last sentence should always be the essay’s thesis statement. When constructing it, use the right diction. Your words will tell the reader your stand about your research paper topic. Avoid using contradictory or vague phrases.

MLA format research papers

Regardless of the number of essays that your tutor will instruct you to write, you must ensure that you do it well. They enable you to expand your creativity. You can also freely express your views about a particular topic. Additionally, you may provide practical solutions to a problem facing the world today.

Writing research papers that lack logic and order can lead to poor grades. They make it difficult for you to share your thoughts with the reader. If the thesis statement is weak, your instructor will wonder why you decided to write the paper in the first place. It might also make your points irrelevant.

MLA format citing

When writing academic papers, you have to document the sources you used for research. For MLA format citing, follow all the rules for MLA style.  Your citation must include the following details:

  • The name of the source’s author
  • The title of the page, website, article, journal or book
  • The name of the publisher
  • The date of publishing
  • The URL of the source

You can write the citation manually, but you may also do it automatically using your PC.

These papers also need mla in-text citations. They usually use the author-page method. They must have the author’s last name together with the number of the page where you got your quotations or paraphrasing from.

Work cited MLA format

There are several rules you should follow when writing your references or citations. You must write them on a new page, and with double spacing. Never skip spaces between the entries. Also, if you are citing online sources, always add a location so that your readers can know where you found it. Arrange your entries in an alphabetical order using the authors’ last names and ensure that each reference ends with a period.

Mla format citation example

If you are looking for a sample MLA format academic paper, there are lots of them on the internet. They come with various topics. Go through them as you practice writing essays using the MLA style. Ensure that they are from reputable sites so you don’t get any misleading information.

Related: Term Paper: Exclusive guideline, tips, topics and examples

Bottom line

If you are working MLA format essay, do not panic. It is easy. You can look at the guidelines we have provided in this article. Also, do not hesitate to contact Thesisessay for help. We can assist you in constructing your thesis statement, structuring your essay and presenting your points adequately.

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