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MLA Style Guide - From 7th to 8th edition: Update and changes: Paper Format

MLA 8th Edition Tutorial

 This useful and informative workshop video presented by Germanna Community College covers MLA format, MLA in-text citations, and the MLA works cited page! This online workshop covers the most updated version of MLA (8th edition).

Research Paper Format

Before anything else, always check with your professor regarding his or her requirements for formatting your research paper before submitting your final draft. What is being provided here, is a common format that tends to be used for MLA formatted research papers. 

Basic Tips

  • Margins - One inch (1") on the top, bottom and the sides of each page.
  • Page Numbers - Use your word processor software to create a header that includes your last name and the page number in the upper right-hand corner of the page, one-half inch (1/2") from the tope of the page. EVERY PAGE has this header. 

  • Title Page - MLA DOES NOT require a title page; instead, the first page of the paper should begin with four (4) lines, double-spaced, indicating your name, name of the course instructor, the name of the course, and the date. 
  • Spacing - Double-space every line (this includes long quotations and citations on the Works Cited page.)
  • Indenting - Indent the first line of every paragraph five spaces or one tab. Indent long quotations tend spaces or two tabs. ​
  • Font and Typeface - 12 point font in Times New Roman.

Images' Source: MLA: Formatting a Research Paper


To further read more information on the MLA 8th paper format, be sure to check out the information found at the Modern Language Association's website article named, "Formatting a Research Paper" or you can also read great information at Purdue Online Writing Lab's MLA Guide. 

Tables and Illustrations

Basic Rules

Be sure to place tables and any illustrations close to the text that relates to each of them individually.

  • They are usually labeled "Table" and then numbered such as Table 1, Table 2, etc.
  • Type the label plus the actual title flush left and on separate lines above the table.
  • Do not use all Caps. 
  • Always provide the source of the table and any notes that accompany it right beneath the table in a caption. 
  • Designate the table notes with lowercase letters instead of numbers in order to avoid confusion.
  • Double space throughout and use dividing lines as needed.

This sample from the MLA website illustrates the proper use of Tables in an MLA paper. 

To learn more about tables and illustrations be sure to refer to the MLA's Website for formatting papers. 

Works Cited Page

Core Elements

Each Entry in the Works Cited List is composed of facts common to most works - the MLA core elements that are assembled in specific order.  This image displays the proper order. 

Basic Tips

  • Continue the page numbering sequence from the main body of the paper.
  • Label the page Works Cited (do not italicize the words Works Cited or put them in quotation marks) and the words "Works Cited" should be at the top of the page and centered. 
  • Center the words "Works Cited" one inch (1") from the top of the page.
  • Continue double spacing​
  • Double space all citations, but do not skip spaces between entries.
  • If your citation takes up more than one line of the page, you must indent the remaining line(s) one-half inch (1/2") from the left margin.
  • Reverse the name of the author, in other words, the last name goes first, followed by a comma and then the author's first name. ​
    Example: Bob Stein would be Stein, Bob. ​​​​
  • Your list must be alphabetized by the author's last name. IF there is no author, then you alphabetize by the first word in the title of the work other than A, An, or The. 

New to MLA regarding Works Cited Lists

  • Online Sources: You should include a location to show readers where you found the source.  Many databases use a DOI (Digital Object Identifier). Use a DOI in your citation if you can;otherwise use a URL. Be sure to delete "http://" from the URLs.  The DOI or URL is generally the last element in a citation and must be followed by a period. 
  • All works cited entries end with a period.

Should you need more information with Works Cited, please refer to this article in Purdue Owl or you can refer to the Modern Language Association's article from their website called, "What's New in the Eighth Edition." 

Practice the Core Element standard for Works Cited by following along this tutorial from the Modern Language Association. 

Sample Papers in MLA 8th Format and more Useful Resources for Paper Formatting

This list provides samples of papers written using the MLA 8th format. If you click on any of the links, they will take you directly to the source with examples.