If you are preparing an essay or research paper for a social science class, the chances are high that you are going to need a few tips on writing an essay MLA style. More often than not, when you get on the college level, there are two writing styles in which professors are looking for, they are APA (American Psychological Association) style or MLA (Modern Language Association) style. The differences are varied and depending on the professor whose class you may be taking. Nonetheless when your syllabus mandates that MLA style be used, you are going to need a few tips on writing an essay MLA style.
A MLA essay will need to be pre-formatted in order to meet the standard layout guidelines as set forth by the Modern Language Association.
First and foremost, whether you are using Microsoft Word or Wordperfect Suite software you must set your default font as Times New Roman, 12 point. You should be sure to check that the font in your word processing software is not set to 10-point. If you find that it is, then change it to Times New Roman, 12-point.
It is important that you make sure that you set the margins of your paper to one inch on each side, only use one space after periods and indent the first lines of each of your paragraphs exactly one half-inch from the edge of the left margin. When doing your indents, use the tab key instead of using the space bar. Also, you should make sure that you double space throughout your essay. MLA style requires double spacing throughout a work.
When writing an essay if you have any titles, you should italicize them for emphasis. Additionally, endnotes should be listed on a separate page, directly before your bibliography or works cited page. You need not make a title page unless your professor requests it. Otherwise on the first page of your essay you should type your name in the upper left corner of the page. One the line directly below your name, type in your professor’s name and below that you should type the name of the course, and finally below that you should write the date in which you are typing up the material.
In the upper right corner you are going to insert your page numbers, but make sure that your last name is on the left side of the page numbers. Center the title of your essay on the line below the date. If necessary, use italics to emphasize any titles of longer works that you are making reference to.
When writing a MLA styled essay if at any time you have sections, then you should use numbers followed by a period in order to divide them accordingly. For example, if you had three sections that you were going to discuss within your essay you would number them like so, “1. Section One, 2. Section Two, 3. Section 3” and so forth. After each number be sure to space once prior to typing in the section name.
MLA style references a bibliography as a works cited page. When typing up your works cited page there are a few things that you should do. Depending on how many sources you have and the type of sources that you used (whether a book, article, or Internet-based source), then you will want to pay special attention to the author’s name, title of the book, publication date, publisher and place of publication. Let’s say that you used books only as your sources of information. You will want to list the sources in alphabetical order by the authors last name. For instance, if you had two sources you would list them as follows:
Johnson, James. U.S. Trade Relations. New York: Hummingbird Press, 1989.Print.Main, Jerry. Campside Sounds. Boston: Rice Press, 1992. Print.
While the abovementioned sources are simply fictional samples and do not reference real books, it gives you a better idea on how to format your bibliography (works cited).