What Is the MLA?

The Modern Language Association (MLA) is a professional association for teachers and scholars of English and Foreign Languages. It is important for college students to know about it and the American Psychological Association (APA), because both publish standardized guidelines for certain elements of academic writing, for instance, author and title formatting, textual citations, and bibliographic citations.

There are five principle categories that students need to be aware of regarding MLA formatting guidelines.  They are as follows:

1.How to Format Essays

12 point font

1 inch margins

Include a heading listing student name,
professor name, course, date

•Include a title for the essay (note that essay title
will not be underlined, italicized, or put in quotes)


2. How to Refer to Authors in Essays: Use full name when author is first mentioned, then refer to author by last name only

3. How to Format Titles of Works Referred to in Essays
For longer works, e.g., novels, films, plays,

  underline titles and use title case

For shorter works, e.g., articles, essays,poems, titles are put in quotation marks 

  4. How to Format Textual Citations

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