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Modern Language Association Essay

The Modern Language Association (MLA) format is the most used format in doing papers especially with Liberal Arts and Humanities subjects (Purdue Owl). This format is based primarily on the author’s name and page number format. But before we start discussing how to cite sources, we must first learn how to properly format the paper using MLA. According to the OWL at Purdue website, the paper size should be a standard 8. 5 x 11 inches with 1-inch margin on all sides.

The paper should be double-spaced using a formal font style such as Times New Roman in 12 pts. On all pages of the paper, a header that includes the last name of the owner of the paper and page numbers should be placed. The first lines of the paper should be indented to the left and one line apart: First and Last Name of the owner of the paper, name of professor, Subject/Course, and the date. Once these things are set up, the paper could now be officially started; the title of the paper should be at the center one line following the date (Purdue Owl).

There are two basic ways of doing an in-text citation using MLA format. The first is using signal phrases — naming the author first in the sentence and then placing in parentheses the page number where the citation came from after the cited words. The second is including the last name of the author in the parenthetical citation, written before the page number and without any marks between them. If a particular source has no author mentioned, there are also two ways on how to properly cite the material.

First is to use the title of the work as a signal phrase or place a shortened version of the title in the parenthetical citation. In case of sources where an organization can be used as the source, use the name of the organization as if it was the author. If page numbers are missing, like in web sites, just include the name of the author, again, either as a signal phrase or a parenthetical citation (“MLA in-text citations” 2).


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