Dr. Karen Palmer

MLA stands for Modern Language Association. In most Humanities and English courses, papers should follow MLA formatting guidelines. In general, that means that papers will

  • Have a one inch margin on all sides
  • Use 12 pt. Times New Roman font
  • Be double-spaced
  • Contain a heading at the top left containing the student’s name, professor’s name, class name, and the date.
  • Contain a unique title centered on the first page.

Order of Pages

MLA requires the following set order of pages with each listed page on the list starting on a new page. If your paper does not require one or more of the pages, skip over those pages, but maintain the order of the pages you do use.

  • Body of text
  • Notes
  • Citation list
  • Appendices

No title page is needed unless your instructor requests it. Instead of a title page, MLA requires that you double-space your name, instructor’s name, course name or number, and the date at the top left. Next, continuing to double space, center the title on the page and start your text under the title.

Page Numbers and Paper Identification


Page numbers should be placed at the top, right margin one-half inch down from the top of the page. Before the page number, use your last name in a running head.


Make margins one inch on both sides and top and bottom.

Headings and Subheadings

Use double spacing with no additional returns. There are five levels of headings in MLA style.  image

If you have only two headings, use only the first two formats and so on. Typically, you will have two or three levels, but you might have as many as five levels. Keep in mind that the title does not count as a heading level, you should use the levels consistently, and you must have a minimum of two headings at each level.


Choose a font that is straight forward with no curly flairs or other “fancy” twists, such as Times New Roman or Arial. Use 12-point font.

Paragraph Indentations

Indent the first line of each paragraph one-half inch from the left margin by using the tab key (rather than spacing over).

Line Spacing

Double-space all text, including titles, subheadings, tables, captions, and citation lists. Do not skip additional spaces between lines anywhere in your paper.

Spacing after Punctuation

Leave only one space after all punctuation (both inside and at the end of sentences).

Example of MLA Formatted Paper




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Formatting: MLA Style Copyright © 2023 by Dr. Karen Palmer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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