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MLA Style Guide Eighth Edition

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Title of Source. The title is usually taken from an authoritative location in the source such as the title page. It is the name of the source you are using. Capitalize the following parts of speech in a title: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, subordinating conjunctions (although, because, unless, after, until, when, where, while, etc.). Do not capitalize articles, prepositions, coordinating conjunctions, the "to" in infinitives if they appear in the middle of the title. A colon separates the title from the subtitle unless it ends in a question mark or exclamation. Titles should be italicized or enclosed in quotation marks. Titles that are independent and self-contained (e.g., books) and titles of containers (e.g., anthologies) should be italicized. Titles that are contained in larger works (e.g., short stories) should be in quotation s. Exceptions to the above rule are: 1) Scripture (Genesis, Bible, Gospels, Upanishads, Old Testament, Talmud, etc.) Titles of individualized scripture writings, however, should be italicized and treated like any other published work.(e.g. The Interlinear Bible) 2) Names of laws, acts and political documents (Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, Magna Carta, Treaty of Marseilles, etc.) 3) Musical compositions identified by form, number, and key (Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A, op. 92) 4) Series titles (Critical American Studies, Bollingen Series, etc.) 5) Conferences, seminars, workshops, and courses (MLA Annual Convention, English 110)

The title of the work follows the author and ends with a period . Mitchell, Margaret. Gone With the Wind . New York: Macmillan, 1961.

A sub-title is included after the main title . Joyce, Michael. Othermindedness: The Emergence of Network Culture. U of Michigan P, 2000. Baron, Sabrina Alcorn et al., editors. Agent of Change: Print Culture Studies after Elizabeth L. Eisenstein. U of               Massachusetts P /Center for the Book, Library of Congress, 2007.

The title of a story, poem or essay in a collection, as part of a larger whole, is placed in quotation marks . Dewar, James A., and Peng Hwa Ang. "The Cultural Consequences of Printing and the Internet." Agent of Change: Print             Culture Studies after Elizabeth L. Eisenstein. U of Massachusetts P /Center for the Book, Library of Congress,             2007, pp. 365-77. 

Independent work in a collection When a work that is normally independent (such as a novel or play) appears in a collection, the work's title remains in italics. Euripides. The Trojan Women . Ten Plays, translated by Paul Roche, New American Library, 1998, pp. 457-512.

The title of a periodical (journal, magazine, or newspaper) is in italics and the title of the article is in quotation marks. Goldman, Anne. "Questions of Transport: Reading Primo Levi Reading Dante." The Georgia Review, vol. 64, no. 1, 2010           pp. 69-88. Note: This rule applies to all media forms such as the title of a television series, an episode in a television series, a song or piece of music in an album, a posting or article on a web page. See examples below. Television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer . Created by Joss Whedon, performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mutant Enemy, 1997-2003. Episode in a television series "Hush." Buffy the Vampire Slayer , created by Joss Whedon, performance by Sarah           Michelle Gellar, season 4, episode 10, Mutant Enemy, 1997-2003. Web site Hollmichel, Stefanie. So Many Books . 2003-13, somanybooksbkog.com Note: When giving a URL, omit http and https. Posting of an article on a web site Hollmichel, Stefanie. "The Reading Brain: Differences Between Digital and Print."           So Many Books, 25 April 2013, somanybooksblog.com/2013/04/25/the-reading-brain-differences-between-digital-           and-print/. A song or piece of music in an album Beyonce. "Pretty Hurts." Beyonce , Parkwood Entertainment, 2013,           www.beyonce.com/album/beyonce/?media_view=songs.

Untitled Source In the place of the title, provide a generic description of the source without italics or quotation marks. Capitalize the first word in the title and any proper nouns in it. Mackintosh, Charles Rennie. Chair of Stained Oak. 1897-1900, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Comment or review of a title in an online forum Jeane. Comment on "The Reading Brain: Differences Between Digital and Print." So Many Books, 25 Apr. 2013,            10:30 p.m., somanybooksblog.com/2013/04/25/the-reading-brain-differences-between-digital-and-            print/#comment-83030

Review of a title in an online forum Mackin, Joseph. Review of The Pleasures of Reading of an age of Distraction , by Alan Jacobs. New York Journal of Books, 2 June 2011, www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-review/            pleasures-reading-age-distraction.

Tweet Reproduce the full text without changing anything and enclose within quotation marks. @persiankiwi."We have report of large street battles in east and west of Tehran now. - #Iranelection." Twitter ,            23 June 2009, 11:15 a.m., twitter.com/persianwiki/status/2298106072.

E-mail message Use subject as the title. Subject is enclosed in quotation marks. Boyle, Anthony T. "Re: Utopia." Received by Daniel J. Cayhill, 21 June 1997.

Introduction, Preface, Foreword, or Afterword Capitalize the term in the works cited list but do not italicize or enclose in quotation marks. The term need not be capitalized in in-text discussion. Felstiner, John. Preface. Selected Poems and Prose of Paul Celan , by Paul Celan, translated by Felstiner              W.W. Norton, 2001, pp.xix-xxxvi.

Translations of Titles Place translations of titles for foreign works in square brackets in the works cited list. The translation appears next to the title.

Shortened titles The first time a title is mentioned in your work, it should appear in full. If the title is repeated in the work, it can be shortened to a familiar one (e.g., Skylark for Ode to a Skylark).

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The MLA Style Center

What is mla style.

Building confidence in the information and ideas we share with one another is perhaps more important today than ever before, and for nearly a century it has been the driving principle behind MLA style, a set of standards for writing and documentation used by writers to find and evaluate information, alert their audience to the trustworthiness of their findings through citation, and shape the expression of their ideas in conversation with others. 

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  • Trusted: The only authorized subscription-based digital resource featuring the latest edition of the MLA Handbook is available for unlimited simultaneous users.
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Contact [email protected] for more info.

MLA Handbook , 9th Edition

The ninth edition of the MLA Handbook , published in spring 2021, builds on the MLA's unique approach to documenting sources using a template of core elements—facts common to most sources, like author, title, and publication date—that allows writers to cite any type of work, from books, e-books, and journal articles in databases to song lyrics, online images, social media posts, dissertations, and more. With this focus on source evaluation as the cornerstone of citation, MLA style promotes the skills of information and digital literacy so crucial today. The new edition offers

  • New chapters on grammar, punctuation, capitalization, spelling, numbers, italics, abbreviations, and principles of inclusive language
  • Guidelines on setting up research papers in MLA format with updated advice on headings, lists, and title pages for group projects
  • Revised, comprehensive, step-by-step instructions for creating a list of works cited in MLA format that are easier to learn and use than ever before
  • A new appendix with hundreds of example works-cited-list entries by publication format, including websites, YouTube videos, interviews, and more
  • Detailed examples of how to find publication information for a variety of sources
  • Newly revised explanations of in-text citations, including comprehensive advice on how to cite multiple authors of a single work
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The MLA Style Center offers free online resources on MLA style, including an interactive MLA format template, answers to common questions on Ask the MLA, advice from the MLA editors, and more. Get updates by signing up for The Source newsletter, and follow us on Twitter @MLAstyle .

IRSC Libraries Home

MLA Style Guide, 7th Edition: Titles

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General Rules for Titles in Works Cited List (in progress)

In general, the title of a work is taken from the title page of the publication. Refer to section 3.6.4 of the MLA Manual for more about titles and quotations within titles. Section 3.6.5 discusses exceptions to the rules.

  • Rules for capitalizing are strict. Capitalize all principal words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.). Do not capitalize articles, prepostions, or conjunctions when they fall in the middle of a title.
  • Separate a subtitle with a colon and a space.
  • Italicize titles of larger works like books, periodicals, databases, and Web sites.
  • Use quotation marks for titles published in larger works like articles, essays, chapters, poems, Web pages, songs, and speeches.

Book titles

Book titles are italicized.

  • Writing Matters: A Handbook for Writing and Research (book)
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • All the Pretty Horses

Chapter title in a book or anthology

The book title is  italicized ; the title of the article or essay is enclosed in quotations.

Henderson, Carol E. "Refiguring the Flesh: The Word, the Body, and the Rituals of Being Loved in Beloved and Go Tell It on the Mountain ." Critical Insights: Toni Morrison . Ed. Solomon O. Iyasere and Marla W. Iyasere. Pasadena: Salem P, 2010. Print.

Beloved and Go Tell It on the Mountain (book titles) remain italicized in the article title.

Journals and Magazines

The title of the periodical (journal, magazine, or newspaper) is italicized. The title of the article or work is enclosed in quotations.

Danport, Sandra. " A Study of Malawian Households." Journal of Developing Areas ...

Gardiner, Andy. "Stanford Could Lose QB, Coach." USA Today ...

The title of the periodical (journal, magazine, or newspaper) is italicized. The title of the article or work is enclosed in quotations. Omit any introductory article in the newspaper title for English-language newspapers ( Palm Beach Post, not The Palm Beach Post ). Retain the article in non-English language newspapers ( Le monde ).

The title of the work is italicized if the work is independent. The title of the work is enclosed in quotation marks if it is part of a larger work. The title of the overall Web site is italicized if distinct from the the title of the work.

Park, Madison. "How Does a Baby Get To Be Obese." CNN.com ....

Salda, Michael N., ed. The Cinderella Project ...

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titles of essays mla

Sample Essays: Writing with MLA Style

Congratulations to the students whose essays were selected for the 2023 edition of Writing with MLA Style! Essays were selected as examples of excellent student writing that use MLA style for citing sources. Essays have been lightly edited. 

If your institution subscribes to MLA Handbook Plus , you can access annotated versions of the essays selected in 2022 and 2023. 

Writing with MLA Style: 2023 Edition

The following essays were selected for the 2023 edition of Writing with MLA Style. The 2023 selection committee was composed of Ellen C. Carillo, University of Connecticut (chair); Rachel Ihara, Kingsborough Community College, City University of New York; and Tarshia L. Stanley, Wagner College.

Caroline Anderson (Pepperdine University)

“ L’Appel du Vide : Making Spaces for Sinful Exploration in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ”

Hunter Daniels (University of South Carolina, Aiken)

“Biblical Legalism and Cultural Misogyny in The Tragedy of Mariam ”

Aspen English (Southern Utah University)

“Putting the ‘Comm’ in Comics: A Communication-Theory-Informed Reading of Graphic Narratives”

Raul Martin (Lamar University)

“The Book-Object Binary: Access and Sustainability in the Academic Library”

Grace Quasebarth (Salve Regina University)

“Finding a Voice: The Loss of Machismo Criticisms through Translation in Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits ”

Writing with MLA Style: 2022 Edition

The following essays were selected for the 2022 edition of Writing with MLA Style. The 2022 selection committee was composed of Ellen C. Carillo, University of Connecticut; Jessica Edwards, University of Delaware (chair); and Deborah H. Holdstein, Columbia College Chicago.

Kaile Chu (New York University, Shanghai)

“Miles Apart: An Investigation into Dedicated Online Communities’ Impact on Cultural Bias”

Sietse Hagen (University of Groningen)

“The Significance of Fiction in the Debate on Dehumanizing Media Portrayals of Refugees”

Klara Ismail (University of Exeter)

“Queering the Duchess: Exploring the Body of the Female Homosexual in John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi ”

Yasmin Mendoza (Whittier College)

“Banning without Bans”

Niki Nassiri (Stony Brook University)

“Modern-Day US Institutions and Slavery in the Twenty-First Century”

Samantha Wilber (Palm Beach Atlantic University)

“‘Pero, tu no eres facil’: The Poet X as Multicultural Bildungsroman”

Writing with MLA Style: 2019 Edition

The following essays were selected for the 2019 edition of Writing with MLA Style. The 2019 selection committee was composed of Jessica Edwards, University of Delaware; Deborah H. Holdstein, Columbia College Chicago (chair); and Liana Silva, César E. Chavez High School, Houston, Texas.

Catherine Charlton (University of King’s College, Nova Scotia)

“‘Coal Is in My Blood’: Public and Private Representations of Community Identity in Springhill, Nova Scotia”

Alyiah Gonzales (California Polytechnic State University)

“Disrupting White Normativity in Langston Hughes’s ‘I, Too’ and Toni Morrison’s ‘Recitatif’”

Meg Matthias (Miami University, Ohio)

“Prescriptions of (Living) Historical Happiness: Gendered Performance and Racial Comfort in Reenactment”

Jennifer Nguyen  (Chaminade University of Honolulu)

“The Vietnam War, the American War: Literature, Film, and Popular Memory”

Emily Schlepp (Northwest University)

“A Force of Love: A Deconstructionist Reading of Characters in Dickens’s  Great Expectations ”

titles of essays mla

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MLA Titles – How To Format Them With Examples

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MLA-Titles-Definition

The MLA format is a popular style used in  academic   writing , research papers, and dissertations . An imperative aspect of this style is the formatting of titles, which serves as a detecting tool to help understand the scope and nature of the work. In MLA , punctuation, capitalization, and placement of titles are vital in terms of conforming to its standards. Titles of more extensive works like books are generally italicized, while shorter works like articles are often placed within quotation marks . This article presents an in-depth exploration of MLA titles to promote academic integrity and avoid plagiarism .

Inhaltsverzeichnis

  • 1 MLA Titles – In a Nutshell
  • 2 Definition: MLA titles
  • 3 What is capitalized in MLA titles?
  • 4 How are MLA titles punctuated?
  • 5 MLA titles within titles
  • 6 Formatting exceptions for MLA titles
  • 7 Missing titles
  • 8 Abbreviating MLA titles
  • 9 MLA titles in other languages

MLA Titles – In a Nutshell

MLA titles are among the most sensitive parts of an academic essay , and many students begin losing essential points from this section very early in the paper. For the best results, always remember that:

  • Most titles should be in italics or quotation marks, depending on the type of work.
  • The titles of independent and self-contained sources like books and journals should often be italicized.
  • When citing shorter sources like articles or poems, use quotation marks around the titles.

Definition: MLA titles

In the MLA (Modern Language Association) formatting style, titles are vital in offering identification and context to academic work. MLA titles for self-contained, stand-alone works such as books, journals, films, or entire websites are usually formatted in italics. Conversely, if the title is a subset of a larger work like an article in a journal, a book chapter, or a page within a website, it must be enclosed in quotation marks. The keywords in an article’s title are typically capitalized to emphasize their significance. Uniformity is a defining characteristic of MLA style, which is evident in the title formatting in both the main content and the Works Cited list. The title block, similar to the entire document, adheres to a double-spaced format. Bold or enlarged font styles are not used; instead, the title is set in the same typeface and font as the rest of the paper to maintain consistency. The formulation of a title in MLA style is strategic, aimed at conveying both the overarching topic and the specific viewpoint within the paper, contributing to its informative nature.

What is capitalized in MLA titles?

While formatting MLA titles, articles, books, and other title terms should all be in upper case, but articles ( the, an ), prepositions , and conjunctions should not unless they are the first words in the title or subtitle.

MLA titles like “There is nothing left to lose”, “Gone with the Wind”, and “The Art of War”.

  • For titles of longer works ( books, periodicals ), use italics instead of underlining;
  • For titles of shorter works ( articles and poems ), use quotation marks.

How are MLA titles punctuated?

When a title ends in a question mark or exclamation point, the MLA 8th Edition does not recommend including a period. Instead, you are advised to insert a comma if doing so makes the sentence easier to read. For example, when the title is one of a series or is contained in a nonrestrictive clause:

A sentence like this: The center hopes its 1992 theme, Explore New Worlds—Read!, will draw attention to the field of geography.

Can be reworded like this: The center hopes to draw attention to the field of geography with its 1992 theme, Explore New Worlds—Read!

MLA titles within titles

According to the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook, unless the MLA titles end in a question mark or an exclamation point, a colon and a space should be used to separate it from the subtitle. Only use additional punctuation if it is necessary for the title or subtitle.

  • Mythmaking and Storytelling: Images from Film and Literature
  • Whose Music? A Sociology of Musical Language

Furthermore, on the title page, we replace the period with a colon when there is a space between a title and a subtitle. We leave the original mark when MLA titles and subtitles on the title page are separated by a question mark, exclamation point, or dash.

Formatting exceptions for MLA titles

The following names and titles are not capitalized or contained within quotation marks in MLA titles: Scripture (e.g., the Bible, the Koran, the Gospel) laws, acts, and documents related to them (e.g., the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Paris Agreement)

Missing titles

When a source doesn’t have a title, you should substitute a plain-text description of the source in this section of your MLA reference (sentence-case capitalization with no italics or quotation marks).

  • Exceptions to the standard format for untitled sources
  • Observe the usual formatting guidelines for sources containing containers.
  • In the title section, include any illustrative material.
  • Capitalization should adhere to regular MLA titles guideline.

Mackintosh, Charles Rennie. Chair of stained oak. 1897–1900, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Abbreviating MLA titles

If the organization’s name or source title is more than four words, condense it to the first word or phrase in the in-text reference, excluding any vowels (a, an, and the). The alphabetized word for the source in the Works Cited should be the first word in the abbreviated title or organization name.

Abbreviating MLA titles in the Works Cited List

Use a semicolon after the abbreviation if it ends in a lowercase letter. You may shorten the following terms as you make your works cited list: P., pp. or vol.

MLA titles in other languages

In such an instance, provide both titles and insert a slash between them when referring to a work in a bilingual volume whose titles are printed in both languages. When the title has a space on either side, the slash also has a space.

Leopardi, Giacomo. “Storia del genere umano / History of the Human Race.”

Non-Latin alphabetical languages

In your Works Cited List entry, format the headword the same way you would a headword in the Latin alphabet: enclose the term in quotation marks along with an italic abbreviation that indicates the appropriate part of speech that was provided by the dictionary.

Ireland

Can I use a question as the title of my paper?

Yes, you can. Make sure the subject is addressed, a decision is reached, and suggestions are offered.

What is the MLA rule for titles?

Most MLA titles must be presented in italics or quotation marks. The titles of independent and self-contained sources, such as books, should often be italicized. When citing materials that are part of longer works, such as journal articles, use quotation marks around their titles.

What words are not capitalized in title case?

While writing your title, some words, like articles ( a, an, the ), short words ( often fewer than four letters ), prepositions ( by, at, to ), and coordinating conjunctions ( and, for, but ) should not be capitalized.

Should I use footnotes to cite sources in MLA style?

No, you need to reference your sources in-text using the MLA titles style, in parentheses. You can use footnotes or endnotes to include information that doesn’t belong in the main text, but they are not required for citations. However, including these citations in a note can be a useful method to prevent clogging your text if you need to credit numerous sources all at once in the text.

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The Write Practice

How to Write a Book Title in MLA Formatting

by Joe Bunting | 2 comments

You're writing a paper for school and suddenly you stop in the middle of the sentence. You have to write a book title, but you don't how to format it. How do you format a book title in MLA style? Good news: you're in the write place (sorry, I had to).

In this post, we'll talk about MLA style and formatting, whether it's appropriate for your project, and most importantly, how to write a book title in MLA style.

How to Write a Book Title in MLA Formatting

What Is MLA?

MLA stands for Modern Language Association, a society primarily based in the United States but with international standing, that has a mission to “strengthen the study and teaching of language and literature”. Founded in the late 1800s by an American novelist and professor, MLA publishes a set of resources used by students and teachers, including the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers .

The MLA handbook is one of the main style manuals for students and scholars in the world, especially for anyone studying literature, film, or theater.

Should You Format Based on MLA Style?

If you're writing a paper for a class in literature, theater, or film, absolutely use MLA style. Outside of that, it depends. Here are the most frequent style guides associated with various disciplines:

  • Literature, Film, Theater:   MLA
  • Psychology:   APA
  • Science (Physics, Biology, Chemistry): CSE or APA
  • Journalism:   AP
  • Mathematics:   AMA
  • Publishing:   Chicago

You can find a full list of international style guides here .

Now that you know if you should be using MLA style, how do you format a book title with it?

How to Format a Book Title in MLA Style: Example

In MLA style, book titles are italicized, as so:

Henry Thorough argues in Walden  that the best life is lived in deliberate simplicity so as to discover what life truly is about.

In fact, most style guides, including MLA and   Chicago style, require book titles to be italicized , not underlined.

If the book title has a subtitle, the subtitle should be italicized as well and separated by a colon to be formatted correctly for MLA style, as in:

Natural History of the Intellect: the last lectures of Ralph Waldo Emerson

Should You Underline Book Titles in MLA Style?

If you are using MLA style, you should not underline book titles. Instead, italicize the titles.

However, AP style, the guide used by journalists, suggests putting titles in quotation marks, not italicization.

Still, I wouldn't recommend underlining a book's title. In fact, I couldn't find a single style guide that requires book titles to be underlined, but if you know of one that does, let me know in the comments!

Which style guide do you use most? MLA? Chicago? APA? AP? Or do you just write based on your own rules?!  Let me know in the comments .

Let's cement this formatting lesson in our minds by putting it to use right away with the following writing exercise .

What are your favorite books of all time? Write about what you love about them and why they are your favorites for fifteen minutes . Make sure to use the correct formatting for each title!

When your time is up, post your practice in the comments section . And if you post, please be sure to read a few practices by other writers and share your feedback with them.

Happy writing!

How to Write Like Louise Penny

Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris , a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

Want best-seller coaching? Book Joe here.

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how do you format the title if you’re writing on paper and can’t italicize?

Joe Bunting

When writing by hand, you can underline book titles.

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titles of essays mla

MLA format is a widely accepted style for writing and documenting scholarly papers, particularly in the humanities. It provides guidelines for formatting manuscripts , citing sources, and structuring works cited pages, ensuring consistency and clarity. Adhering to MLA format helps writers present their research in a professional and organized manner, facilitating readability and academic integrity.

What is MLA Format?

MLA format, established by the Modern Language Association, is a widely-used style for writing and documenting scholarly papers in the humanities. It features in-text citation , a “Works Cited” page, double-spacing, one-inch margins, and specific guidelines for formatting headings, titles, and quotations to ensure clarity and consistency in academic writing.

MLA Format Examples

  • Author’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Book . Publisher, Year of Publication.
  • Example: Smith, John. The Art of Writing . Penguin, 2020.
  • Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Title of Journal , vol. number, no. number, Year, pages.
  • Example: Doe, Jane. “Exploring Literature.” Literary Journal , vol. 5, no. 3, 2019, pp. 45-67.
  • Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Web Page.” Title of Website , Publisher, Date of Publication, URL.
  • Example: Brown, Lisa. “Understanding MLA Format.” Writing Resources , Purdue OWL, 15 Mar. 2021, www.owl.purdue.edu/mlaformat .
  • Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Chapter.” Title of Book , edited by Editor’s First Name Last Name, Publisher, Year, pages.
  • Example: Taylor, Robert. “Modern Poetry.” Anthology of Modern Literature , edited by Sarah Green, Norton, 2018, pp. 120-135.
  • Editor’s Last Name, First Name, editor. Title of Book . Publisher, Year.
  • Example : Anderson, Mary, editor. Cultural Studies . Routledge, 2017.
  • Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Title of Magazine , Date of Publication, pages.
  • Example: Clark, Emily. “The Future of Education.” Education Today , 12 June 2021, pp. 22-25.
  • Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Title of Newspaper , Date of Publication, pages.
  • Example: Adams, Michael. “Tech Innovations in 2022.” The New York Times , 5 Jan. 2022, p. B1.
  • Title of Film . Directed by Director’s First Name Last Name, performance by Lead Actor’s First Name Last Name, Production Company, Year.
  • Example: Inception . Directed by Christopher Nolan, performance by Leonardo DiCaprio, Warner Bros., 2010.
  • Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Video.” Website , uploaded by Uploader’s Name, Date of Upload, URL.
  • Example : Johnson, Mark. “ How to Write in MLA Format.” YouTube , uploaded by Academic Tips, 10 Feb. 2021, www.youtube.com/academic-tips-mla .
  • Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Paper.” Title of Conference , Date, Location.
  • Example: Lee, Anna. “The Impact of Social Media on Education.” International Conference on Education , 23 Apr. 2021, Boston, MA.

When to use MLA Format

MLA format is commonly used in the humanities, especially for writing papers and citing sources in subjects like:

  • Essay , research papers, and articles analyzing novels, poems, plays, and other literary works.
  • Papers exploring cultural phenomena, media studies, and societal impacts on culture.
  • Research involving comparative literature, translations, and linguistic studies.
  • Essays and papers discussing philosophical theories, arguments, and historical texts.
  • Research papers analyzing art movements, specific artworks, and artist biographies.
  • Analyses of plays, playwrights, theatrical performances, and historical context of theater.
  • Humanities-focused historical research papers, particularly those involving textual analysis.
  • Research involving film, television, digital media, and their cultural implications.

MLA format is preferred in these fields for its emphasis on detailed citation and textual analysis, ensuring clarity, consistency, and academic integrity in scholarly writing.

How to set up your paper in MLA Format

Setting up your paper in MLA format is crucial for academic writing, ensuring that your work meets the standards for scholarly communication. Follow these steps to format your paper correctly:

1. General Guidelines

  • Font : Use a readable font like Times New Roman, size 12.
  • Margins : Set all margins to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Line Spacing : Double-space the entire paper, including any notes and the works cited page.
  • Indentation : Indent the first line of each paragraph one-half inch from the left margin. Use the Tab key instead of the space bar.

2. Header and Title

  • Header : Create a header in the upper right-hand corner that includes your last name, followed by a space and the page number. Number all pages consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.).
  • In the upper left-hand corner, list your name, your instructor’s name, the course, and the date. Double-space this information.
  • Center the title. Do not underline, italicize, or place your title in quotation marks. Write the title in Title Case (standard capitalization), not in all capital letters.

3. In-Text Citations

  • When quoting or paraphrasing, include an in-text citation with the author’s last name and the page number from which the quote or paraphrase is taken, like this: (Smith 123).

4. Works Cited Page

  • Title : Center the title “Works Cited” at the top of the page. Do not italicize or underline it.
  • Entries : Begin each entry at the left margin; if an entry runs more than one line, indent the subsequent lines one-half inch from the left margin (hanging indent).
  • Alphabetical Order : List the entries alphabetically by the author’s last name. If no author is given, alphabetize by the title.

Example of the First Page

Jane Doe Professor Smith English 101 20 May 2023 Centered Title in Title Case The first paragraph of your paper begins here, with the first line indented one-half inch. Subsequent paragraphs should also be indented one-half inch from the left margin.

Example of a Works Cited Entry

Works Cited Smith, John. The Great Gatsby . Scribner, 2004.

Formatting Header and Title in MLA

Formatting the header and title correctly is an important step in ensuring your paper adheres to MLA standards. Here’s a detailed guide on how to set up the header and title for your MLA paper:

The header in MLA format is placed in the upper right-hand corner of each page, including the first page. Here are the steps to set it up:

  • Open your document in a word processing program like Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
  • In Microsoft Word: Go to the “Insert” tab and select “Header.” Choose the “Blank” option.
  • In Google Docs: Click on “Insert” and then “Headers & footers,” followed by “Header.”
  • Type your last name followed by a space.
  • In Microsoft Word: While the cursor is still in the header, go to the “Design” tab, click on “Page Number,” and choose “Top of Page” then “Plain Number 3.”
  • In Google Docs: While the cursor is in the header, click on “Insert,” then “Page numbers,” and select the option to have the page numbers in the upper right corner.
  • Set the font and size : Ensure the font is Times New Roman, size 12, matching the rest of your document.

2. Title Page Setup

MLA format does not require a separate title page unless specifically requested by your instructor. Instead, the title is placed on the first page of your paper. Here’s how to format it:

Information Block

  • Position the cursor at the top of the first page.
  • Your full name
  • Your instructor’s name
  • The course name or number
  • The date in the format: Day Month Year (e.g., 20 May 2023)
  • Double-space after the date.
  • Center the title of your paper. The title should be in Title Case, which means you capitalize the major words.
  • Do not use bold, italics, underline, or quotation marks for the title. Write it in plain text.

Example of the First Page Setup

Jane Doe Professor Smith English 101 20 May The Impact of Climate Change on Migration The first paragraph of your paper begins here, with the first line indented one-half inch. Subsequent paragraphs should also be indented one-half inch from the left margin.

Headings and Subheadings in MLA Format

MLA (Modern Language Association) format provides a flexible guideline for structuring your academic paper. While the MLA Handbook (9th edition) does not provide specific rules for headings and subheadings, it encourages consistency and clarity. Here’s a guide on how to create and format headings and subheadings in your MLA-style paper.

General Guidelines

  • Font and Size: Use a readable font like Times New Roman, size 12.
  • Consistency: Ensure that the format and style of headings and subheadings are consistent throughout the paper.
  • No Bold or Italics: Headings should not be bolded or italicized. They should be in plain text, maintaining the same font and size as the rest of the paper.
  • Title Case: Capitalize the first and last words and all principal words in headings and subheadings.

Levels of Headings

MLA does not have specific rules for the number of heading levels. However, using up to five levels of headings is common. Below is a suggested format for organizing your paper with headings and subheadings.

First-Level Heading (H2)

Centered, Title Case

Causes of Climate Change

Second-Level Heading (H3)

Left-aligned, Title Case

Human Activities

Third-Level Heading (H4)

Indented, Title Case, Ends with a Period.

Burning of Fossil Fuels.

Fourth-Level Heading (H5)

Indented, Sentence case, Ends with a period.

Deforestation and land use changes.

Fifth-Level Heading (H6)

Indented, italicized, Sentence case, Ends with a period.

Use of agricultural practices.

Examples of Headings in a Paper

Here’s an example of how to structure a paper using these headings:

Causes of Climate Change Human activities significantly contribute to climate change through various means. Human Activities Human activities that impact climate change include the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, and certain agricultural practices. Burning of Fossil Fuels. The combustion of coal, oil, and natural gas releases large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. Deforestation and land use changes. The removal of trees decreases the planet’s capacity to absorb CO2. Use of agricultural practices. Certain farming practices, like livestock production, increase methane emissions. Natural Factors Natural factors also play a role in climate change, albeit to a lesser extent than human activities. Volcanic Eruptions. Eruptions release particles that can cool the Earth by blocking sunlight. Solar Variations Changes in solar energy affect the Earth’s climate cycles.

Quotations in MLA Format

Quotations are an essential part of academic writing, providing evidence and supporting arguments. MLA (Modern Language Association) format has specific guidelines for incorporating quotations into your text. Here’s a detailed guide on how to format both short and long quotations in MLA style.

1. Short Quotations

Short quotations are defined as fewer than four lines of prose or three lines of verse. These quotations should be incorporated into the text and enclosed in double quotation marks.

  • Introduce the quotation with a signal phrase that includes the author’s last name followed by the page number in parentheses.
  • Place the period after the parenthetical citation.

According to Smith, “climate change is the greatest challenge facing humanity today” (123).

2. Long Quotations

Long quotations, also known as block quotations, are used for prose that is more than four lines or verse that is more than three lines. These should be formatted as a freestanding block of text and indented one inch from the left margin. Quotation marks are not used.

  • Introduce the block quotation with a signal phrase that ends with a colon.
  • Start the quotation on a new line and indent the entire block one inch from the left margin.
  • Double-space the quotation.
  • Place the parenthetical citation after the period at the end of the quotation.

Smith discusses the impacts of climate change in detail:

Climate change affects all regions around the world. Polar ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising, and weather patterns are becoming more extreme. These changes threaten the habitats of countless species, and the economic and social systems of human communities are also at risk. Immediate action is required to mitigate these effects and adapt to the changes that are already underway. (123)

3. Adding or Omitting Words

Adding Words: When adding words for clarity, enclose the added text in square brackets.

Smith notes that “immediate action [by global leaders] is required to mitigate these effects” (123).

Omitting Words: To omit words from a quotation, use an ellipsis (…). Ensure that the omission does not change the meaning of the original text.

Smith argues that “climate change affects all regions…and weather patterns are becoming more extreme” (123).

4. Quoting Poetry

For quoting poetry, maintain the original formatting as much as possible. Use a slash (/) to indicate line breaks within the text.

Short Poetry Quotations:

  • Enclose the quotation in double quotation marks.
  • Use a slash (/) to indicate line breaks.

In Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” the speaker reflects, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, / And sorry I could not travel both” (1-2).

Long Poetry Quotations:

  • Introduce the quotation with a signal phrase ending with a colon.
  • Maintain the original line breaks.

In his poem “The Road Not Taken,” Frost writes:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; (1-5)

5. Quoting Dialogue

When quoting dialogue from a play or script, each character’s speech begins on a new line, and the character’s name is written in all capital letters followed by a period.

  • Introduce the quotation with a signal phrase.
  • Start the quotation on a new line and indent each line of the characters’ speech one inch from the left margin.
  • Double-space the dialogue.

In Shakespeare’s Macbeth , the witches proclaim:

FIRST WITCH. When shall we three meet again In thunder, lightning, or in rain? SECOND WITCH. When the hurlyburly’s done, When the battle’s lost and won. (1.1.1-4)

Paraphrases in MLA Format

Paraphrasing involves restating someone else’s ideas in your own words. In MLA (Modern Language Association) format, it’s essential to credit the original source even when you paraphrase. Here’s a detailed guide on how to properly format paraphrases in MLA style.

1. General Guidelines for Paraphrasing

  • Restate the original text: Ensure that the paraphrase is in your own words and that it accurately reflects the meaning of the original text.
  • Provide an in-text citation: Include the author’s last name and the page number where the original idea can be found.
  • No quotation marks: Do not use quotation marks around a paraphrase since you are not using the exact words from the source.

2. In-Text Citations for Paraphrases

The in-text citation for a paraphrase is similar to that for a direct quotation. It includes the author’s last name and the page number in parentheses.

Basic Format: (Author’s Last Name Page Number)

Example: According to Smith, climate change poses a significant challenge to humanity, requiring immediate and concerted action from global leaders (123).

3. Incorporating Paraphrases into Your Text

You can introduce a paraphrase in several ways to smoothly integrate it into your writing. Here are some examples:

Using a Signal Phrase

Signal phrases introduce the source of the paraphrase and are typically followed by the paraphrased material and a parenthetical citation.

Example: Smith argues that immediate action is necessary to address the widespread impacts of climate change, which threaten both natural ecosystems and human societies (123).

Integrating the Paraphrase

Integrate the paraphrase directly into your sentence, ensuring it flows naturally with your own writing.

Example: The widespread impacts of climate change, including rising sea levels and more extreme weather patterns, require urgent action to mitigate damage to both ecosystems and human communities (Smith 123).

4. Multiple Authors

When paraphrasing a source with multiple authors, include all authors’ last names or use “et al.” for three or more authors.

Two Authors:

Example: According to Johnson and Smith, sustainable practices are essential for mitigating the effects of climate change (45).

Three or More Authors:

Example: Research indicates that sustainable practices are crucial for mitigating climate change impacts (Johnson et al. 45).

5. No Author

If the source has no author, use a shortened title of the work instead. Place the title in quotation marks if it’s an article or in italics if it’s a book or other standalone work.

Example: Measures to address climate change must be implemented urgently to prevent further environmental degradation (“Climate Action” 12).

6. Multiple Works by the Same Author

If you cite multiple works by the same author, include a shortened version of the title in the citation to differentiate between them.

Example: Smith argues that sustainable practices are necessary for environmental conservation (“Environmental Policies” 56) and that global cooperation is key to effective climate action (“Global Strategies” 78).

7. Citing Indirect Sources

If you need to paraphrase information from a source cited within another source, use “qtd. in” to indicate the original source.

Example: According to Brown, environmental education plays a crucial role in raising awareness about climate change (qtd. in Smith 89).

Example of a Paragraph with Paraphrases

Original Text: “Climate change affects all regions around the world. Polar ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising, and weather patterns are becoming more extreme. These changes threaten the habitats of countless species, and the economic and social systems of human communities are also at risk. Immediate action is required to mitigate these effects and adapt to the changes that are already underway” (Smith 123). Paraphrased Paragraph: Smith notes that climate change has a global impact, causing the melting of polar ice caps, rising sea levels, and more extreme weather events. These environmental changes endanger numerous species’ habitats and pose risks to human economic and social structures. Therefore, Smith emphasizes the need for swift measures to mitigate and adapt to these evolving challenges (123).

Using Abbreviations in MLA Format

Abbreviations can help make your writing more concise and clear. However, it is important to use them correctly and consistently. Here is a guide on how to use abbreviations in MLA (Modern Language Association) format.

  • Introduce Abbreviations: When you first introduce an abbreviation, spell out the full term followed by the abbreviation in parentheses. After this initial introduction, you can use the abbreviation alone.
  • Consistency: Use the abbreviation consistently throughout your paper after introducing it.
  • Periods: Use periods with certain abbreviations (e.g., a.m., p.m., U.S.), but do not use them for acronyms (e.g., NASA, MLA).

Types of Abbreviations

Acronyms and initialisms.

Acronyms are formed from the initial letters of words and pronounced as words (e.g., NASA). Initialisms are formed from the initial letters but pronounced as individual letters (e.g., FBI).

Example: The Modern Language Association (MLA) provides guidelines for formatting academic papers. According to MLA guidelines, authors should use consistent formatting throughout their work.

When citing sources, abbreviate the names of months (except May, June, and July) in the Works Cited page.

Example: Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.

Works Cited Entry Example: Smith, John. “The Effects of Climate Change.” Environmental Studies Journal , vol. 12, no. 4, Aug. 2020, pp. 123-45.

Common Latin Abbreviations

Certain Latin abbreviations are commonly used in academic writing. Here are a few examples:

  • e.g. (exempli gratia): means “for example”
  • i.e. (id est): means “that is”
  • etc. (et cetera): means “and so on”
  • et al. (et alii): means “and others”

Example: There are many theories on climate change (e.g., greenhouse effect, solar variability).

Abbreviating Titles and Terms

Use standard abbreviations for titles and terms when they appear in citations.

  • ed. (edition)
  • rev. ed. (revised edition)
  • vol. (volume)
  • no. (number)

Examples: Doe, Jane, ed. Anthology of Modern Poetry . 3rd ed., Penguin Books, 2019. Brown, Sarah. History of Medieval Europe . Rev. ed., vol. 2, Academic Press, 2018.

Abbreviating Locations in Works Cited

Abbreviate the names of U.S. states and countries in publisher locations.

  • Cambridge, MA

Works Cited Entry Example: Smith, John. The Great Migration . Cambridge UP, 2015.

In-Text Citations with Abbreviations

Use abbreviations in in-text citations as necessary to keep them concise. For example, abbreviate the titles of works that are long or frequently cited within the text.

Example: (Tolkien, LOTR 23)

Abbreviating Corporate Authors

When a corporate author is commonly known by an abbreviation, you can use the abbreviation after introducing it.

Example: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has made significant advancements in space exploration. According to NASA, the Mars rover has sent back valuable data (NASA).

Common MLA Abbreviations

  • ch. (chapter)
  • sec. (section)
  • trans. (translator)
  • UP (University Press)

Example of Proper Abbreviation Usage in a Paragraph

When citing sources, the Modern Language Association (MLA) recommends abbreviating the names of months except for May, June, and July. For instance, an article published in March would be cited as “Mar.” (MLA Handbook 123). Additionally, when referring to organizations like the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the abbreviation can be used after the first mention. NASA has reported new findings from the Mars rover mission (NASA).

Formatting Numbers in MLA Format

When writing papers in MLA (Modern Language Association) format, it’s important to know the guidelines for formatting numbers. Here’s a concise guide to help you understand when to use numerals and when to spell out numbers.

General Rules

  • Spell out numbers that can be written in one or two words.
  • Examples: one, thirty-six, ninety-nine, one hundred, fifteen hundred
  • Use numerals for numbers that require more than two words.
  • Examples: 101, 1,250, 7,891

Specific Cases

  • Spell out numbers when they begin a sentence.
  • Example: One hundred students attended the lecture.
  • Note: If rewriting the sentence to avoid starting with a number, it is acceptable. Example: There were 100 students who attended the lecture.
  • Use numerals for dates.
  • Example: June 5, 2024
  • Use numerals with a.m. and p.m.
  • Examples: 10:30 a.m., 5:00 p.m.
  • For round numbers, you may spell out the time if clarity is preserved.
  • Example: He arrived at six o’clock in the evening.
  • Use numerals and the percent symbol (%).
  • Example: The survey showed that 75% of participants agreed.
  • Always use numerals.
  • Example: Please refer to page 45 for more information.
  • Use a combination of numerals and words for very large round numbers.
  • Example: 2.5 million, 3 billion
  • Spell out simple fractions and use numerals for more complex fractions.
  • Examples: Two-thirds of the class, 3/8 of an inch
  • Use numerals for decades and spell out centuries.
  • Examples: the 1990s, the twenty-first century

Examples in Context

  • There are fifty-two weeks in a year.
  • The population of the city is approximately 1.2 million.
  • She bought three dozen eggs.
  • On April 15, 2022, the event will take place.
  • The meeting starts at 9:00 a.m.
  • About 40% of the respondents disagreed with the statement.
  • The results are discussed on page 23.
  • He has lived here since the 1980s.
  • The twentieth century saw many technological advances.
  • There are 52 weeks in a year. (Should be spelled out)
  • The population of the city is approximately one million two hundred thousand. (Use numerals)
  • She bought 3 dozen eggs. (Spell out)

Using Lists in MLA Format

Lists can be a useful way to present information clearly and concisely. In MLA (Modern Language Association) format, there are specific guidelines for incorporating lists into your writing. Here’s a guide on how to format both bulleted and numbered lists according to MLA style.

  • Introduce the list with a complete sentence followed by a colon.

Example: There are several reasons to visit the museum:

  • Ensure that each item in the list follows the same grammatical structure.
  • Free admission
  • Guided tours
  • Educational workshops

Bulleted Lists

Bulleted lists are used to present items that do not need to be in a specific order.

  • Introduce the list with a complete sentence.
  • Use a colon at the end of the introductory sentence.
  • Begin each item with a capital letter.
  • Use a period after each item if the items are complete sentences; otherwise, do not use periods.

Example: The museum offers the following activities:

  • Art exhibitions
  • Interactive workshops

Numbered Lists

Numbered lists are used to present items that need to be in a specific order, such as steps in a process.

  • Use periods after each item if the items are complete sentences.

Example: Follow these steps to register for the workshop:

  • Visit the museum’s website.
  • Click on the “Events” tab.
  • Select the desired workshop.
  • Complete the registration form.

In-Text Lists

In-text lists are used within a sentence and are typically introduced with a colon or parentheses.

Comma-Separated Lists:

  • Use commas to separate items in a simple list within a sentence.
  • Example: The museum offers guided tours, art exhibitions, and interactive workshops.

Semicolon-Separated Lists:

  • Use semicolons to separate items in a complex list within a sentence.
  • Example: The museum offers several activities: guided tours for all ages; art exhibitions featuring local artists; and interactive workshops on weekends.

Lists with Complete Sentences

When each item in the list is a complete sentence, use periods at the end of each item.

  • The museum offers free admission every first Sunday of the month.
  • It has a wide range of art exhibitions from contemporary to classical art.
  • Interactive workshops are available for children and adults alike.

Example in Context

Here is an example of how to integrate a list into an MLA-formatted paper:

Text Example:

Visiting the museum can be a rewarding experience for several reasons:

  • Free Admission: The museum offers free admission every first Sunday of the month.
  • Diverse Exhibitions: It features a wide range of art exhibitions, from contemporary to classical art.
  • Interactive Workshops: There are interactive workshops available for both children and adults.

In addition to these activities, the museum also provides guided tours and educational programs, making it an excellent destination for visitors of all ages.

MLA Format vs. APA Format

What is mla format.

MLA format is a style guide for writing and documenting research in the humanities, particularly in English studies, provided by the Modern Language Association.

How do you cite a book in MLA format?

Author’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Book . Publisher, Year of Publication. Example: Smith, John. The Great Gatsby . Scribner, 2004.

How do you format the first page of an MLA paper?

Include your name, instructor’s name, course, and date in the upper left corner. Center the title, and start the text on a new line, double-spaced.

What should be included in an MLA Works Cited page?

List all sources cited in the text, alphabetized by the author’s last name. Include full publication details for each source.

How do you format in-text citations in MLA?

nclude the author’s last name and page number in parentheses after the quote or paraphrase. Example: (Smith 123).

Do I need a title page in MLA format?

No, MLA format typically does not require a separate title page unless specified by the instructor.

How do you cite a website in MLA format?

Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Web Page.” Title of Website , Publisher, Publication Date, URL.

How do you handle multiple authors in an MLA citation?

For two authors, use both last names (Smith and Jones). For three or more, use the first author’s last name followed by “et al.” (Smith et al.).

How are block quotes formatted in MLA?

Indent the entire quote one inch from the left margin, double-space, and omit quotation marks. Place the parenthetical citation after the period.

What font and size should be used in MLA format?

Use a readable font like Times New Roman, size 12, and double-space the entire document.

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Home / Guides / Citation Guides / MLA Format / Creating an MLA title page

Creating an MLA title page

If you are writing a research paper in MLA style 9th edition for a class, then you may need to include an MLA format title page. An MLA title page is the cover of your paper, and they aren’t always required. So, how do you make a title page that adheres to the MLA formatting guidelines, and how do you know when you need one?

This page contains all the information you need to know to make the perfect MLA title page, so that you can prove that you are an expert researcher and get the best possible grade. This MLA sample paper will show you how the rest of your paper should be formatted.

Here’s a run-through of everything this page includes:

Title page vs. MLA heading on first page

Title page / cover page, first page: mla heading (no title page), troubleshooting.

The current edition of the Modern Language Association (MLA) handbook does not require a title page , but your teacher, professor, or other reader may require one. In this case, you will need to know the differences between a title page and an MLA heading, and which one to use depending on your reader’s preferences. Other citation styles look slightly different, like this   APA title page .

A title page, or a cover page, is a single page that comes before your MLA abstract (if required) and the content of your paper. It introduces your paper and quickly shows a reader the following information about your paper:

  • author name (your name, since you wrote the paper)
  • course information (if applicable)

It does not include any of the research paper itself.

First page with MLA heading 

MLA format recommends adding an MLA heading to the first page of your paper. This contains the same information as a title page, but the information is formatted differently and is on the same page on which your actual research paper begins.

Unless otherwise specified by your instructor or teacher, this should be how you format your first page.

Before you start typing your MLA research paper title page, you will need to gather some information.

What you will need

If you are creating an MLA heading on the first page of your essay instead of a title page, you will need most of the same information, but you will format it differently.

To create a title page, you need to include:

  • The name of your high school, college, or university (if applicable)
  • The title of your paper
  • The subtitle of your paper (if you have one)
  • Your first and last name
  • Your teacher or professor’s name (if applicable)
  • The class name or course number (if applicable)
  • The date the paper is due (in “day month year” format)

Formatting guidelines

Follow these formatting guidelines when typing your MLA title page:

  • Double-spaced
  • Times New Roman font
  • Size 12 font
  • The first letter of each word should be capitalized, with the exception of very short words such as the, and, of, or, a, an, for, in , etc.  However, the first word should always be capitalized.
  • Do not include a page number heading on your title page

Step-by-step instructions

Here are the steps you need to take to create the perfect MLA title page:

  • At the top of the page, type the name of your high school, college, or university (if applicable).
  • Skip down approximately one-third of the page and type the title of your research paper using title case.
  • If you have a subtitle, type it on the line following the paper title.
  • Skip down to the bottom third of the page and type your first and last name.
  • On the following line, type the course name and number (if applicable).
  • On the following line, type your instructor’s name (if applicable).
  • On the following and final line, type the due date of your paper in “day month year” format.

MLA title page example

Although it’s important to know how to create an MLA essay title page in case your instructor requires it, in most cases you will use an MLA heading on the first page of your paper instead.

Remember, you should only create a title page if your instructor requests it .

Otherwise, use these guidelines to create an MLA heading. If you create a title page, then you usually won’t need an MLA heading on your first page, but you should ask your instructor for their specific requirements.

To create an MLA heading on your first page, you will need to include some of the same information you would use for a title page, including:

  • Left-justified text for MLA header
  • Centered text for title
  • Right-justified text for page number header
  • In the top left corner of the first page of your essay, type your first and last name.
  • On the following line, type the due date of your paper in “day month year” format.
  • On the following line, switch from left-justified text to centered text and type the title (and the subtitle on the same line, if you have one) of your paper in title case. Do not italicize, underline, or place your essay title in quotation marks. Do not use quotation marks unless you are referring to other works in your title and need to enclose the referenced works in quotation marks.
  • Your research paper should begin on the following double-spaced line.
  • Create a right-justified text header one-half inch from the top of your paper that includes your last name and the page number.
  • All pages of your paper should be numbered with your last name and the numerical page number. The page including your MLA header, title, and the beginning of your essay is page one (1).
  • Your instructor may specify not to include a last name and page number header on your first page. Always follow your instructor’s guidelines.

MLA heading first page example

Solution #1: What should I do if my paper is a group project?

If you have written a collaborative paper with multiple authors, list each author on your MLA title page or in your MLA heading in alphabetical order, with line breaks between each.

If your paper has multiple authors, omit the name from your page numbers in the upper-right corner of your MLA-format paper.

Example MLA heading for a group paper:

Group-paper-MLA-heading-example

Example MLA title page for a group paper:

Group-paper-MLA-title-page-example

Solution #2: What should I do if my paper isn’t for a specific class?

If your paper is a thesis project for your degree, for example, or not for a specific class, you can omit that information from your MLA title page or MLA header.

Solution #3: Does my paper need a subtitle if I use a full MLA title page?

While an MLA title page allows for a subtitle beneath the title of your paper, it is NOT required to have a subtitle or make one up for your MLA title page.

If you didn’t intend to have a subtitle for your paper, there is no need to add a subtitle. Just leave that area of your MLA title page blank.

Solution #4: Will my MLA title page be part of my final page count?

A title page is not typically included in a paper’s final word count. Check with the teacher or professor assigning the paper to be sure, but it is highly unlikely a title page will count as a full page of your final paper.

Published October 25, 2020. Updated June 4, 2021

Written by Grace Turney , freelance writer and artist. Grace is a former librarian and has a Master’s degree in Library Science and Information Technology.

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The title page in MLA style gives basic information such as the name, the instructor’s name, the course name and number, the title of the paper, and the submission date. MLA style does not recommend using a title page unless specifically requested by your instructor; instead, it suggests creating a header.

The difference between a title page and a header in MLA style is that a title page appears as a page on its own before the main paper copy. A header, on the other hand, appears on the same page where paper copy begins.

Include the following elements on a title page. Follow the order as given below.

The university name

The title and subtitle of the paper

The course name and number

The instructor’s name

The submission/due date

If you are not required to create a title page, and only need a header, the following elements should be included in the header, in the order as listed:

While MLA does not generally recommend the use of a title page, some courses or professors may require it. The title page should include the university name, title of the paper, your name, the instructor’s name, the course name, and the submission or due date.

Formatting title page

MLA style does not have any specific guidelines for formatting a title page. However, you can use the below suggestions to format your title page if you are required to create one for your paper.

Page margins

All margins (top, bottom, left, and right) should be set at 1 inch.

The font should be clear and easy to read. A good option is Times New Roman font in size 12 pt.

Text on the title page should be double-spaced.

Elements of a title page

Include the following elements on the title page. Follow the order as given below.

Add a few blank lines before and after the title of the work. The title should be in title case and centered.

Beginning on the title page, the paper should also include a running head. The running head includes the your last name and the page number. This should be placed in the “header” area of the paper so that it is present on each page. Use the page number feature in your word processor so that the page number is generated automatically.

Example title page

Chegg University

Relationship Between Students and Their Teachers

Ishithaa Gopi

Psychology 127

Professor John Smith

21 September 2021

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How to Title an Essay

  • Essay Writing Guides

How to Title an Essay? Everything an Essay Guru Should Know

As soon as you sit down to compose an academic paper, you may be troubled by how to name your essay so that it reveals the essence of your text and grabs the audience’s attention at first sight. Ideally, that’s what a good title should achieve – informing and engaging. 

So, what’s the secret recipe for an ideal essay title ? How long should an essay title b e to comply with the college rules and formatting standards? 

The answer is not that straightforward, as you need to be inventive when creating an essay title . Some pro tactics will always help you move on and find a good title for an essay on any topic, and your task is to master the art of naming your works like a pro. 

Read on to get an exhaustive answer to the question, “ What is a good title for an essay ?” Your search for the best essay title ends here. Our guide covers the main principles of title formatting, structuring, and selection to make you a naming guru. We’ve also paired theory with practice and have given a series of catchy essay title examples to illustrate the manual. 

A Secret Recipe of a Good Essay Title 

To understand what a good title for an essay looks like, we need to understand its purpose. Wise people say that a reader shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Yet, in fact, that’s what usually happens, and this means that your essay headline will be the first (and sometimes the last) information the reader gets about your intellectual product. 

As a rule, paper titles serve the following goals: 

  • Inform the readers what your essay is about. 
  • Motivate them to go on reading. 
  • Excite their interest in the subject. 
  • Catch the readers’ attention to make them read until the end.

Using these features of a good essay title , we may easily arrive at a definition of a winning headline: 

  • A good title captures the main topic and essence of the essay. 
  • It differentiates your piece from hundreds of texts on a similar topic. 
  • It hooks the readers’ attention and urges them to continue. 
  • A good title also exemplifies your expertise on the subject. 

Essay Title Composition Rules You Should Know 

Now, let’s proceed to the essay title format , which also can’t be ignored when composing an academic paper. Professors may require students to use a variety of referencing styles, each of which has specific instructions about the essay or research paper title . 

Guidelines for Essay Titles in MLA Format 

How to title an essay in MLA? A good title for an essay in the MLA referencing style should follow these conventions: 

  • Use title case for notional words. 
  • Place the title at the center and do not underline, bold, or italicize it. 
  • Double-space the heading as the rest of your essay’s text. 

Guidelines for Essay Titles in APA Format 

How to title an essay in APA? The APA essay title format requires you to follow these instructions: 

  • The APA title is placed on the title page and then repeated on the first page. 
  • It should be capitalized (notional words). 
  • It should be centered on the page and written in the bold font. 

Guidelines for Essay Titles in Chicago Manual of Style Format 

How to title an essay in Chicago? When you’re writing an academic task in the Chicago style, your good title for an essay should be structured as follows: 

  • The title should be placed one-third of the page down from the page’s top. 
  • It should be centered and capitalized. 
  • No bolding or italicization is required.  

How to Title an Essay: Pro Guidelines 

Before we proceed to title ideas for essays , let’s briefly cover the step-by-step algorithm for arriving at a good title your professor will love. So, how to title an essay correctly by using a simple instruction? 

#1 Complete Your Essay 

A pro tip for crafting a good essay title is not to start your work with it but rather to end it. Try this tactic out, and you will see how simple it is to formulate a good headline after the whole text is ready. 

#2 Sum It Up 

Your road to a creative title starts with a recap of your essay’s content. You should re-read the text and summarize it in a couple of sentences to see what it’s exactly about. 

#3 Determine the Keywords 

You can create a good title by using the key phrases and words that capture the gist of your essay. So, pick 3-5 main words that characterize the content and make up several versions of the title using their combinations. 

#4 Mind the Format 

As we’ve already noted, a good headline should be composed in line with the referencing style you need to follow. So, you should check whether your essay should be in the APA, MLA, or other format and use appropriate guidelines in composition.  

#5 Rephrase 

Once you have the key ideas in one place, experiment with paraphrasing to find your good title . 

Creative Essay Title Examples 

Now, it’s time to cover some of the coolest essay titles that can make your paper stand out of the crowd and attract the professor’s attention with creativity and originality. We’ve compiled a list of examples of good titles for essays of various types so that you have go-to prompts regardless of the homework your tutor gives. 

Argumentative 

How to title an essay that should argue a point? When you write an argumentative essay , titling an essay should include the position you’re planning to argue. That’s why a good essay heading of an argumentative type should contain your stand. Some great essay names for argumentative pieces are: 

  • Importance of school uniforms in US public schools. 
  • Severity of the greenhouse effect problem in Canada. 

Compare and Contrast 

Creating an essay title for a compare-and-contrast type of paper is a no-brainer, generally speaking. It should name all the subjects you’re planning to compare and may also include the characteristics by which you want to conduct the comparative analysis. Some great paper titles in the comparative format are: 

  • Distinctive features of wild animals compared to domesticated ones. 
  • Online vs. offline learning. 

Analytical 

How to title an essay with an analytical approach? It requires in-depth analysis of an assigned subject using a variety of academic sources. Thus, a good headline for this piece of work should reflect your analytical standpoint and reveal the essence of your inquiry. Best titles for essays of this kind may look as follows: 

  • Therapeutic benefits of CBT for PTSD. 
  • Limitations of AI applications in creative professions. 

Persuasive 

Titling an essay in a persuasive format should look convincing and reflective of the stand you’re holding. A great persuasive essay heading may look as follows: 

  • The need for more nuanced sex education in public schools. 
  • The unmet needs of cyberbullying victims. 

Expository 

How to title an essay in an expository format? This is a form of writing that requires you to describe a specific subject and introduce it to the audience in as much detail as possible. Thus, this essay title format won’t require argumentation or emotional appeals; an expository essay headline should simply name the subject you will deal with. Good titles for essays of this type can be: 

  • Socio-economic reforms in Sweden. 
  • The peacemaking activities of the UN. 

Use these essay title examples as inspiration to create your own good headline once your next assignment arrives. 

Final Word 

Now you know everything about the principles of writing creative essay titles that impress the readers and have several essay title examples for guidance. If you still have many lingering questions about how to title an essay or what the best essay title should look like, don’t struggle with these academic hardships on your own. 

Come to our service and partner with one of our experienced writers. Each expert in our team knows how to pick a title for an essay , how to select the most suitable essay title format , and what impact great college essay titles produce on your grades. Transform your grades with our pros’ support and guidance, and creating an essay title will never be a challenge for you again. 

Evergreen To Kill a Mockingbird Essay Topics

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MLA Formatting Quotations

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When you directly quote the works of others in your paper, you will format quotations differently depending on their length. Below are some basic guidelines for incorporating quotations into your paper. Please note that all pages in MLA should be double-spaced .

Short quotations

To indicate short quotations (four typed lines or fewer of prose or three lines of verse) in your text, enclose the quotation within double quotation marks. Provide the author and specific page number (in the case of verse, provide line numbers) in the in-text citation, and include a complete reference on the Works Cited page. Punctuation marks such as periods, commas, and semicolons should appear after the parenthetical citation.

Question marks and exclamation points should appear within the quotation marks if they are a part of the quoted passage, but after the parenthetical citation if they are a part of your text.

For example, when quoting short passages of prose, use the following examples:

When using short (fewer than three lines of verse) quotations from poetry, mark breaks in verse with a slash, ( / ), at the end of each line of verse (a space should precede and follow the slash). If a stanza break occurs during the quotation, use a double slash ( // ).

Long quotations

For quotations that are more than four lines of prose or three lines of verse, place quotations in a free-standing block of text and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, with the entire quote indented 1/2   inch  from the left margin while maintaining double-spacing. Your parenthetical citation should come  after the closing punctuation mark . When quoting verse, maintain original line breaks. (You should maintain double-spacing throughout your essay.)

For example, when citing more than four lines of prose, use the following examples :

Nelly Dean treats Heathcliff poorly and dehumanizes him throughout her narration: They entirely refused to have it in bed with them, or even in their room, and I had no more sense, so, I put it on the landing of the stairs, hoping it would be gone on the morrow. By chance, or else attracted by hearing his voice, it crept to Mr. Earnshaw's door, and there he found it on quitting his chamber. Inquiries were made as to how it got there; I was obliged to confess, and in recompense for my cowardice and inhumanity was sent out of the house. (Bronte 78)

When citing long sections of poetry (four lines of verse or more), keep formatting as close to the original as possible.

In his poem "My Papa's Waltz," Theodore Roethke explores his childhood with his father:

The whiskey on your breath Could make a small boy dizzy; But I hung on like death: Such waltzing was not easy. We Romped until the pans Slid from the kitchen shelf; My mother's countenance Could not unfrown itself. (qtd. in Shrodes, Finestone, Shugrue 202)

When citing two or more paragraphs, use block quotation format, even if the passage from the paragraphs is less than four lines. If you cite more than one paragraph, the first line of the second paragraph should be indented an extra 1/4 inch to denote a new paragraph:

In "American Origins of the Writing-across-the-Curriculum Movement," David Russell argues,

Writing has been an issue in American secondary and higher education since papers and examinations came into wide use in the 1870s, eventually driving out formal recitation and oral examination. . . .

From its birth in the late nineteenth century, progressive education has wrestled with the conflict within industrial society between pressure to increase specialization of knowledge and of professional work (upholding disciplinary standards) and pressure to integrate more fully an ever-widening number of citizens into intellectually meaningful activity within mass society (promoting social equity). . . . (3)

Adding or omitting words in quotations

If you add a word or words in a quotation, you should put brackets around the words to indicate that they are not part of the original text:

If you omit a word or words from a quotation, you should indicate the deleted word or words by using ellipses, which are three periods ( . . . ) preceded and followed by a space. For example:

Please note that brackets are not needed around ellipses unless they would add clarity.

When omitting words from poetry quotations, use a standard three-period ellipses; however, when omitting one or more full lines of poetry, space several periods to about the length of a complete line in the poem:

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  1. MLA Titles

    MLA format for academic papers and essays Apply MLA format to your title page, header, and Works Cited page with our 3-minute video, template, and examples. 1631. Creating an MLA header Start with a header containing your name, instructor's name, course, and date, followed by the paper's title. 484.

  2. General Format

    The MLA Handbook is available in most writing centers and reference libraries. It is also widely available in bookstores, libraries, and at the MLA web site. See the Additional Resources section of this page for a list of helpful books and sites about using MLA Style. ... Use italics throughout your essay to indicate the titles of longer works ...

  3. MLA Formatting and Style Guide

    The Purdue OWL, Purdue U Writing Lab. Accessed 18 Jun. 2018. MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations ...

  4. Title

    Title of Source. The title is usually taken from an authoritative location in the source such as the title page. ... Conferences, seminars, workshops, and courses (MLA Annual Convention, English 110) The title of the work follows the author and ends with a period. Mitchell, Margaret. ... The title of a story, poem or essay in a collection, as ...

  5. PDF MLA GUIDES FOR WRITING AND RESEARCH

    R OOAN. & CH RI ST ENERR Y. 1.00. MLA GUIDES FOR WRITING AND RESEARCH 2020—21. FORTHCOMING APRIL 2021. ADOPT MLA GUIDES! Teach your undergraduate students effective research techniques, source evaluation, and citation by adopting guides from the authority on student writing. 2MLA MEMERS GET 30 OFF ALL TITLES.

  6. MLA Style

    The ninth edition of the MLA Handbook, published in spring 2021, builds on the MLA's unique approach to documenting sources using a template of core elements—facts common to most sources, like author, title, and publication date—that allows writers to cite any type of work, from books, e-books, and journal articles in databases to song ...

  7. MLA Style Guide, 7th Edition: Titles

    In general, the title of a work is taken from the title page of the publication. Refer to section 3.6.4 of the MLA Manual for more about titles and quotations within titles. Section 3.6.5 discusses exceptions to the rules. ... the title of the article or essay is enclosed in quotations. Example: Henderson, Carol E. "Refiguring the Flesh: The ...

  8. Punctuation with Titles

    Titles and Subtitles. Section 1.2.1 of the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook says, "Use a colon and a space to separate a title from a subtitle, unless the title ends in a question mark or an exclamation point. Include other punctuation only if it is part of the title or subtitle.". The handbook provides the following examples:

  9. Sample Essays: Writing with MLA Style

    Congratulations to the students whose essays were selected for the 2023 edition of Writing with MLA Style! Essays were selected as examples of excellent student writing that use MLA style for citing sources. Essays have been lightly edited. If your institution subscribes to MLA Handbook Plus, you can access annotated versions of the essays selected …

  10. PDF Modern Language Association (MLA) Documentation

    On a new double-spaced line, center the title (fig. 1). Do not italicize or underline your title, put it in quotation marks or boldface, or type it in all capital letters. WRITTEN BY 2+ STUDENTS: If the paper is a group project, create a title page and list all the authors on it instead of in the header on page 1 of your essay (fig. 2).

  11. MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics

    In-text citations: Author-page style. MLA format follows the author-page method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the page number (s) from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken must appear in the text, and a complete reference should appear on your Works Cited page. The author's name may appear either in the ...

  12. PDF Formatting Titles of Texts in MLA Style

    In general, a title is placed in quotation marks if the source is part of a larger work. A title is italicized if the source is self-contained and independent. • Use quotation marks for a short story/essay/poem from an anthology/collection; episodes of television series; song titles; articles from journals; and a posting/article from a Web site.

  13. MLA Format: Everything You Need to Know Here

    MLA research paper format requires that the entire research paper or MLA format essay includes double-spaced lines. Double-spaced lines should be found in between the written body of the work, in the heading, and also on the MLA reference page. ... MLA Heading & Title Page Instructions. The web page "Formatting a Research Paper" gives two ...

  14. Student's Guide to MLA Style (2021)

    MLA format for academic papers and essays Apply MLA format to your title page, header, and Works Cited page with our 3-minute video, template, and examples. 1631. Block quoting in MLA style MLA block quotes are indented 0.5 inches and double spaced, with no quotation marks. Cite the author and page in parentheses after the period.

  15. MLA Titles ~ How To Format Them With Examples

    MLA Titles - In a Nutshell. MLA titles are among the most sensitive parts of an academic essay, and many students begin losing essential points from this section very early in the paper.For the best results, always remember that: Most titles should be in italics or quotation marks, depending on the type of work.

  16. MLA Sample Paper

    MLA Endnotes and Footnotes; MLA Works Cited Page: Basic Format; MLA Works Cited Page: Books; MLA Works Cited Page: Periodicals; MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources (Web Publications) MLA Works Cited: Other Common Sources; MLA Additional Resources; MLA Abbreviations; MLA Sample Works Cited Page; MLA Sample Paper; MLA Tables, Figures, and Examples

  17. How to Write a Book Title in MLA Formatting

    In fact, most style guides, including MLA and Chicago style, require book titles to be italicized, not underlined. If the book title has a subtitle, the subtitle should be italicized as well and separated by a colon to be formatted correctly for MLA style, as in: Natural History of the Intellect: the last lectures of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

  18. MLA Format

    MLA format is a widely accepted style for writing and documenting scholarly papers, particularly in the humanities. It provides guidelines for formatting manuscripts, citing sources, and structuring works cited pages, ensuring consistency and clarity.Adhering to MLA format helps writers present their research in a professional and organized manner, facilitating readability and academic integrity.

  19. Creating an MLA title page

    Step-by-step instructions. Here are the steps you need to take to create the perfect MLA title page: At the top of the page, type the name of your high school, college, or university (if applicable). Skip down approximately one-third of the page and type the title of your research paper using title case.

  20. MLA Works Cited Page: Books

    Cite a book automatically in MLA. The 8 th edition of the MLA handbook highlights principles over prescriptive practices. Essentially, a writer will need to take note of primary elements in every source, such as author, title, etc. and then assort them in a general format. Thus, by using this methodology, a writer will be able to cite any ...

  21. MLA In-text Citations

    Revised on March 5, 2024. An MLA in-text citation provides the author's last name and a page number in parentheses. If a source has two authors, name both. If a source has more than two authors, name only the first author, followed by " et al. ". If the part you're citing spans multiple pages, include the full page range.

  22. How to Title an Essay? All Secrets Revealed

    Professors may require students to use a variety of referencing styles, each of which has specific instructions about the essay or research paper title. Guidelines for Essay Titles in MLA Format How to title an essay in MLA? A good title for an essay in the MLA referencing style should follow these conventions: Use title case for notional words.

  23. MLA Formatting Quotations

    Start the quotation on a new line, with the entire quote indented 1/2 inch from the left margin while maintaining double-spacing. Your parenthetical citation should come after the closing punctuation mark. When quoting verse, maintain original line breaks. (You should maintain double-spacing throughout your essay.)