Modern Language Association (MLA) sets regulations followed in writing publications and research papers, and MLA 9th edition is the recent installment comprising rules intended to help writers format their essays. This article provides general guidelines and specific instructions for formatting a paper using MLA 9th edition.
General MLA 9th Edition Formatting Guidelines
- Use Times New Roman 12 pt. font (unless otherwise instructed), double-spaced.
- Set the paper as 1-inch (2.54 cm) margins
- Page numbers on the upper-right corner
- Your last name precedes the page number in the upper-right corner
- No separate title page is needed unless requested
- Use hanging indent in the bibliographical entries
MLA 9th Edition Title Page
As stated, the title page is not always required in an MLA paper. However, use the following format to style your title page if needed.
Typically, the title comes on the first page of your paper, as shown in the figure below. As indicated in the image, the title of the paper is centered, not bold, and combines upper and lower cases.
MLA 9th Edition Headings
Headings in MLA 9th edition help structure and organize your ideas by showing hierarchy and consistency. MLA has three heading levels: level 1, level 2, and level 3. These three headings are left-aligned and use the format shown in the figure below.
MLA 9th Edition Body
The first line on all paragraphs is indented, as shown in the figure above. The indent is a one-half inch from the left margin, with no spaces between paragraphs. The text is double-spaced throughout the document, which gives the paper consistency. Further, block quotes (quotes longer than four lines of prose or three lines of poetry) should be indented one inch from the left margin and appear without quotation marks, as shown in the figure below.
MLA 9th Edition Works Cited List
All the sources used throughout the paper must be mentioned on a new page titled “Works Cited.” Every entry on this list comprises some core elements organized as follows:
Author, title of source, title of container, other contributors, version, number, publisher, and publication date.
List the author’s last name followed by a comma and other full names as they appear on the work. End this element with a period—for instance, Patterson, James. The in-text version of this work is (Patterson 44).
Title of Source
The title of the source comes after the author. If your source is a book or journal, the titles such as (Patterson, James. The Impact of Global Warming) should be italicized. Conversely, when quoting other sources like articles, newspapers, or blogs, place the titles within quotation marks and not italicized as follows (Patterson, James. “Reporting on the Recent Weather Changes”). Capitalize every word besides articles and prepositions.
Title of the Container
This element indicates if your source is part of a larger volume or journal.
This comprises other people involved in creating your source. The following descriptions appear before the names of other contributors, such as: adapted by, directed by, edited by, translated by, narrated by, etc.
The version is similar to the edition
This is your source’s volume or issue number of a journal like (vol. 2, no. 3)
This element shows the name of the publisher followed by a comma. In multiple cases, especially online publications without an author provided, and the organization is the same as the publisher, only state the organization’s name.
The final element is the date publication was produced, and it follows the publishers such as (SAGE, 2010).
These elements help create and format MLA 9th edition bibliography. The complete references appear in the figure below.
Download a free template MLA 9th edition template.