What Does MLA Format Look Like?

The Modern Language Association (MLA) format, like all research paper citation formats, has a distinctive look to its appearance. When you cite in MLA format, you do not cite it the same way as you would for the American Psychological Association (APA), the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), Turabian, Associated Press (AP), or another kind of research format.

The MLA format has in-text parenthetical citations, along with references in a Works Cited Page at the end of the research paper. The in-text parenthetical citations consist of parentheses around the author’s last name and the page number of the book he or she wrote. For instance, if you are referencing a book within the text by Dr. Bart Ehrman, you would reference his name and a book of his (perhaps Lost Scriptures) as “(Ehrman, 120).” If you are referencing the source in a Works Cited Page or Bibliography, you would first write the author’s last name and first name (inverted), followed by the title of the work (either in italics or quotations depending on the genre), and the city, press, and publication date where the work was published. A typical Works Cited entry would appear as follows:

Ehrman, Bart. The Lost Gospels: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2005. Print.

There are benefits to knowing how the MLA format looks. One benefit of knowing the format’s appearance is that students will be better prepared to use the proper format in their research papers. Learning how to format a paper can be accomplished by reading diagrammed examples and creating your own citations.This is the reason why many how-to manuals come with diagrams in addition to instructions. Manual writers understand that how-to jobs, like research formats, can only be accomplished by reading a diagram example.

Another benefit of knowing what MLA format looks like is that students can save time and earn better grades. If students learn the MLA format, they will feel a sense of accomplishment and be rewarded. Knowing what MLA format looks like will help students properly format their research papers by giving credit to the sources they used in the research paper. There are also professional MLA editors for hire who can help to ensure the student has followed proper formatting and citation guidelines. Most are quite affordable, even for students who lack the time to work full time.

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