MLA refers to Modern Language Association and the MLA style or the format indicates the method or the format of writing devised by the association for application in the field of humanities especially in literature and language. It is otherwise a much simpler format for writing as compared to the other formats and it uses parenthetical citations which are text keyed to an alphabetical citations list appearing at the end of the document. It is widely used in academic writings and has been adopted by the academic institutions and schools for over half a century.

MLA format of writing is used in middle school for writing essays and research papers on literature and language. It is mainly a format that focuses on the language and literature papers but is also used in other papers related to humanities such as geography, history, philosophy etc. The in text citations is one of the characteristics of the MLA format and is used for the convenience of making direct references.

The MLA research paper format: a guide for middle school students

MLA format is an easy to understand and use and is widely used by students in their research papers. An appropriately formatted research paper would constitute the following:

  • MLA format uses double space between texts, citations, quotations and the notes.
  • The margins used for this format are usually one inch from all the sides.
  • The first line of every paragraph starts a half inch away from the margin and for better indentation it is better to use the tab key over the space key.
  • After punctuation marks, only a single space is allowed.
  • The page numbers should appear at the top right hand corner, placed exactly half inch from the top and in the same line with the right hand side margin.
  • Names of books, pamphlets, periodicals, plays, films etc should either be italicized or underlined.
  • For making any sort of personal comments or for introducing citations or a quoted line, only present tense should be used.
  • Past tense should be used only while reporting any historical events or quoting a passage that has been written in past tense.
  • Plagiarism or copying texts from elsewhere should be strictly avoided. The research paper should be completely original and self written. Plagiarism can lead to cancellation of the paper totally.
  • In text citations are used that link directly to the references.

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