Useful MLA Format Examples

No matter the field of study you are writing your academic paper in, the ideas, concepts and works of other academics you are referring to should be cited properly. It is a common rule everyone working in the academic area should follow.

MLA Reference Style

This formatting style is one of the most widespread formats used for organizing academic papers. It is adopted by the majority of educational establishments. MLA is also considered the most appropriate style for formatting academic pieces of writing in Literature. More than a thousand of scholarly journals, magazines and other publications apply this particular style to arranging their articles.

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General Guidelines on Formatting Papers in the MLA Style

You will need to make several changes to the structure of your initial page to meet the requirements of the MLA style.

Adjust the Margins

You need to set 1-inch margins on all sides.

Make a Running Head

An academic work formatted in MLA needs a header. Check the following format:

Last Name

Blank Space

Blank Space

Page Number

As to the number of pages, you have to be certain about how to format them properly. There are some cases when there should not be any number on the first page.

Spacing between the Lines

The lines should be double-spaced.

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Other Formatting Specifications

  • The MLA style requirements are not as strict as those set by other referencing styles. Still, it is necessary to employ a specific font of a particular size.
  • Before producing the paper, ensure the heading you have created will be set on all its pages.


If you intend to mark the first page of your work as “Heading A,” each of the following pages should be also marked in this way.

Note that the subheadings should be formatted by following the same rule. For instance, if you want to feature your subheadings as 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, etc., the same format should be applied to the subsequent subheadings.

Formatting in-Text Citations

MLA as well as any other formatting style, requires using in-text citations for rephrased or quoted -ideas to indicate the work they have been taken from.

Text or parenthetical citations have to be organized in a specific way. It depends on the method used for presenting the data.

In order to quote the author of the publication you are mentioning in your academic work, the parenthetical citations should be formatted in one of the ways given below:

Author’s Name said that “mention the very information” (305).

My work contains “the very quotation” (Author 305).

Author’s Name has examined the way this method was developed (305).

As it is seen, every in-text citation has to contain the author’s name and the number of page where the used data is mentioned.

Examples of the MLA Format

Depending on the type, each used source is cited in its own way in the MLA style.

Check the examples provided below to know how to format citations and references in each specific situation.


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When the Author Is Known

I have improved my work by using the concept defined by Martin as “essential” (305)

My work is defined as “essential” (Martin 305)

My work has been defined by Martin as “essential” (305)

People have been characterized as “excellent players” (Martin 5)

The data provided in the abovementioned examples will be mentioned on the “Works Cited” page in the following way:

Martin, First Name. Book Title. City: Publisher, Year. Print.

Unknown Author (Cite the Title of the Article and the Number of a Page)

My paper will be more captivating if I refer to the concept that “the flowers are natural wonders…” (“Article on Flower Garden” 10)

In the “Works Cited” list, the facts provided in the example presented above will be organized in the following way:

“Article on Flower Garden.” Magazine Name, Month, Year. Print.

Authors who Have the Same Last Name (Use the Initial of the First Name)

Though a lot of people support this statement (K. Author 305), some still consider it invalid (I. Author, 987)

On the “Works Cited” page, the aforementioned example will have the following look:

Author, K. Book Title. City: Publisher, Year. Print.

Author, I. Book Title. City: Publisher, Year. Print.

Publications with Several Authors

If there are three or less authors, you need to indicate all of them in the parenthetical citation.

If there are more than three authors, you are to indicate all of them for the first time. Each subsequent time, you need to use the last name of the author who is listed first followed by the abbreviation et al.

Take a look at the following example:

 Author 1, Author 2, and Author 3 state that this theory is rather partial (407).

The mentioned authors claim that “this theory is rather partial” (Author 1, Author 2, and Author 3 407).

The data provided in the examples given above will be formatted on the “Works Cited” page in the following manner:

Author’s 1 Last Name, Author’s 1 First Name. Book Title. City: Publisher, Year. Print.

Author’s 2 Last Name, Author’s 2 First Name. Book Title. City: Publisher, Year. Print.

Author 3, Author’s 3 First Name. Book Title. City: Publisher, Year. Print.

Web Sources

If the author’s name is known, it should be cited in the text. In case the author’s name is unknown, you can cite the article’s title.

For example:

The most efficient way of making chocolate is to use fresh cocoa beans (Author’s Last Name, “Article Title”).

The data presented in the example given above should be presented on the “Works Cited” list in the following way:

Author’s Last Name, Author’s First Name. "Article Title," Website Name. URL. Webpage.

Works Cited

It is the last page of your work. It should include all the sources you have used for examining your topic. Keep in mind that the citations have to be left aligned.

For example, the quotation presented in the “When the author is known” section, should be presented on the “Works Cited” page in the following way:

Martin, First Name. Publication Title. Country: Publisher’s Name, Date. Print

The “Works Cited” list should be arranged in the alphabetical order. Double spacing is to be applied.