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MLA: MLA Style

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers

What is MLA style?

Students in the liberal arts and humanities are usually expected to submit papers based on the MLA style, the editorial style adopted by the Modern Language Association.

For college students, the most important aspect of the style is the method for documenting sources you have used in your research. 

Proper documentation requires that you acknowledge sources within your paper.  These are called parenthetical or in-text citations. You must also provide a complete list of the sources you cite at the end of the paper. This is called a works cited list. Every source in a works cited list must also be cited within the paper.

MLA style also provides rules for clear and consistent presentation of written material. There are rules for

  • punctuation
  • abbreviations
  • construction of tables
  • paper format, including headings, title page, page numbers etc.