In order to create a standard on publishing, the Modern Language Association of America, introduced the MLA style in order to provide guidelines in writing and formatting articles. The main users of MLA format are scholars and students. There are several rules in order to produce an MLA paper. You should be aware of the basic rules in order to come out with an acceptable paper.
- Document. Apart from proper citation, MLA also provides a guide for the document output. The standard font should be set to Times New Roman, 12 points. You can easily set this up be formatting your document, click on the format button and choose the font. You can set this as default in order to minimize frequent formatting. The required margins for MLA are one inch on all the sides. Set your margins to a default one-inch on all sides by clicking the “file” tab, the select “Page Setup” and go to the “Margins” menu. Finally, the lines should be separated using double space standards. You can format the spacing after you’re done with the whole document by selecting all texts, and then use your keyboard to press “CTRL+2”. Alternatively, find the same command on the format tab, under “paragraph” section; set the spacing to double, instead of default single.
- Headers. Headers are integral part of an MLA report. The most common header required is your surname and the page number. To automatically add heater, click on the “view” tab and select the “header and footer” among the options; you will see gray boxes appearing on your upper and lower screen. Align the header to the right side and type your surname; add a space before you choose to insert the page number. Do not type the page number, as you need to automatically number your pages. Use the insert page number option on your header and footer tab.
- Indentations. When citing quotations that extend to more than four lines, you need to indent the quotation. Indent by pressing the tab button twice, or by clicking on the icon that represents increase in indentation. You can also set the indentation in the paragraph window under the format tab. Set the left indentation to one instead of the default zero.
- Citations. Citations are extremely important to prevent cases of plagiarism. MLA format dictates that you need to cite by using the reference’s last name and followed by the first name and middle initial. Follow this with the title of your reference’s work, enclosed in quotations marks. If you are citing a review, you need to clearly indicate the work used in reviewing. Follow up the title with “Rev. of” and insert the title of the original reference, quotation marks are not needed, and end it with the name of the original writer. Insert the name and the date of the publication, using the “day month year” format. Start and end the periodical’s name with an underscore and follow it up by the date. Add a colon at the end of the date and insert the page number or the section where you lifted the quotation or reference.
You should practice using MLA style so that you would eventually get used to it. Remember to save your work from time to time to avoid losing your data.