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MLA Style: MLA Basics

MLA Sample Paper

The attached document is a template from the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) you can use as a guide when writing your paper.

General MLA Guidelines for Formatting a Research Paper

  • Equipment: Use a word processing program on a computer to type your paper; print your paper on 8 ½ x 11 inch paper.
  • Line spacing:  Double-space the entire paper, including title, body, and entries on the Works Cited page.
  • Margins: 1 inch on all sides, ½ inch indent on the first line of each paragraph.
    Exceptions:
    * Works Cited
    page: ½ inch hanging indent. 
    * Page numbers: At top right on each page, ½ inch from top of page, 1 inch from right.
  • Header: Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner, ½ inch from the top, flush with the right margin. (Double-check instructions or guidelines from your professor; you may be asked to omit the page number on the first page.)
  • Notes? Include them on a page before your Works Cited page and format them the same as your Works Cited list.
  • First Page of Your Paper:
    • Include a title page only when specifically requested. Follow formatting guidelines from your professor.
    • At the top left corner of the first page, type your name, your instructor's name, the course, and the date (all double-spaced).
    • Center the title on the line below the last line of the header (with your name); begin your paper below the title.
    • At the top right corner of the first page, insert header with your last name and page number (see Header above).