The Perfect MLA Guide and Why You Shouldn’t Trust MLA Generators

What does it take to write a perfect MLA essay paper? What exactly is an MLA essay? Have you been assigned an MLA essay but are not sure how you should handle it? These are just some of the aspects that this article seeks to explore. Hopefully, by the time you are done reading it, you will have the basic knowledge about how to structure, cite your work and format your list of sources accordingly. Other aspects about MLA citation that we will be exploring include:

  • How to format an MLA header
  • Citing multiple authors in MLA
  • Citing websites in MLA
  • Formatting your MLA paper
  • Citing a website without an author in MLA and so forth

About MLA

MLA, short form for Modern Language Association, is the organization that develops the MLA citation style. The 8th MLA edition was the most current edition by the time this article was being written. Although we will also try update this guide as the MLA format is being revised, it is always advisable for students to be updated on recent changes in the style.

MLA was developed to enable students, scholars and researchers or other stakeholders to format their papers using a uniform structure. The citation style allows such as students and researchers to document sources in a reproducible and uniform manner in their scholarly work. The MLA style was initially developed for, and is mainly used in, language and literature related disciplines. However, other disciplines have also embraced the style.

Who Should Use the MLA Style and Why?

As it may have been alluded earlier, the MLA style is used by students, researchers or other writers especially in various disciplines in the humanities school of thought. These disciplines include such as cultural studies, English studies, Literature and so forth. While these are the major fields of study where MLA is mainly used, other disciplines have also embraced the use of the style.

MLA is used to simplify any piece of writing for the reader to follow through and easily comprehend familiar cues from borrowed information. The use of MLA, as well as other citation formats, also helps to maintain consistency in the style of writing within a given field.

Also, use of the MLA helps to assure your reader that your work is credible by being mindful of the needs of your fellow researchers cum readers. The citation also helps to ensure that the readers’ attention is on your ideas by not distracting them with formats that are complicated to comprehend or follow through.

Reasons Why MLA Generators Might Mess You Up

A simple search on the web on MLA help or guide gives numerous results on the so called online MLA generators. However, if your objective is to ensure correct formatting of your sources, are you safe using these online MLA generators?

First thing you need to appreciate is that, MLA is differentiated from other forms of citation mainly by its formatting. It is how you structure your title page, how you format the various heading levels, how you do in-text citation as well as how you format your works cited section that defines what an MLA paper is. It is not about your content but rather the organization of your paper. Much of attention is given in your formatting of the works cited section. Wrongly formatting the works cited implies that you did not use MLA.

Why then would you take chances with an online MLA generator? Are you certain that the generator is up-to-date with the recent changes in MLA style? I bet not! That’s why you should reconsider doing your works cited section manually or else paying someone to edit our essay for you as per the MLA citation style.

Reputable Resources Offering MLA Style Guide

Apart from this guide, there are other resources out there that you can use to advance your mastery of the MLA citation style.

The first resource is the MLA Style Center. This resource is a reliable MLA generator. Since it is provided by the MLA itself, the resource provides correct works cited list for you. You can also learn how to format your research paper as per the MLA style. Other benefits of this resource center is that you can ask questions pertaining MLA style as well as get sample MLA papers to further help you complete your essay.

The other resource is the MLA Handbook. This is an organized handbook providing instructions on the documentation in MLA system, principles guiding citation of sources as well as academic writing mechanics. You can also learn on issues such as plagiarism, academic dishonesty, and how to evaluate sources for credibility and relevance. The handbook also provides you with a worksheet to use to create a works cited list entry.

Lastly, the Purdue Online Writing Lab is another source you can use to help you understand the MLA style. The OWL resources is an amazing area you can learn all you need in MLA style. The resource has information on how to do the works cited section and the in-text citation. It also has sample papers to guide your writing.

As stated above, this guide is also comprehensive in writing a paper in MLA. In this article we will be providing you with all the information you need to perfect your MLA style formatting. More so, we ensure that this guide is regularly updated to reflect changes in the MLA style. Now, let’s explore the citation style.

General MLA Style Rules

  • Only white paper should be used
  • 8 1/2 –by-11-inch paper should be used unless requested otherwise by your instructor
  • The paper margins should be set to 1 inch on all the sides
  • Use tab key to indent your first lines where applicable instead of using the spacebar
  • Italics should be used to indicate titles of longer works but only when necessary
  • Your paper should have a header numbering all pages in the upper right-hand corner. The page number should be preceded by your surname (last name) as will be shown later.
  • You should include your name, instructors name, course title and date in that manner in the top left-hand corner.
  • The title of your paper should not be italicized, underlined or placed in quotation marks. Title case should also be used when writing the title of your paper.
  • The list of sources used should always begin on a new page titled ‘Works Cited’. The ‘Works Cited’ title should not be in bold, italicized or in quotation marks.

MLA Formatting Guide

The image below shows a sample of how your first page should be organized unless directed otherwise by your instructor.

MLA title page

On the other hand, the last page should be formatted as illustrated in the image below:

MLA works cited page


Apart from these formatting requirements, you should also pay attention to the formatting of the various heading levels in your essay. In MLA each heading should be formatted as explained below:

  1. Heading Level 1: Should be flush left, bold and in title case. The sentence of the subsequent paragraph should be flush left as well in a new line.
  2. Heading Level 2: Should be flush left, in title case and italicized. Subsequent sentence should begin immediately after the period
  • Heading Level 3: it should be centered, bold and italicized. Sentence of subsequent paragraph should be flush left in a new line.
  1. Heading Level 4: Should be centered, in title case and italicized. Subsequent paragraph should be in new line and flush left.

In-Text Citations

In MLA any idea borrowed from another source should be cited by including the author’s name and page number from where it was obtained. You can do this either by including the name of the author and page number at the end of a sentence. You can also include the name of the author in the text and the page number at the end of the sentence. Here are examples of the two ways of citing an idea in MLA.

  • The concept of globalization has been associated with adverse effects on the environment (Erin 24).
  • According to Erin, the concept of globalization has been associated with adverse effects on the environment (24).

When doing a direct quotation of a quotes longer than 4 lines, block quotes are used instead of the normal quotation marks. In the block quotes, the quote is indented to the right.

One of the major problems that students face when using MLA is how to in-text a source whose author is a corporation. In this case, the corporation is used as the author. For instance, for a source by Apple Inc., one can cite it as (Apple Inc. 3).

Paragraph numbers are used in case a source lacks page numbers – this is not usually a requirement. Also, this approach is only applicable in case the source has few – or rather when it’s easy to count number of paragraphs.

How do you cite same idea or several of them by different authors? If this is a question you are asking yourself, all you need to do is to use a semi-colon to separate different sources. The various sources cited in this case should be organized in an alphabetically ascending order. For instance:

The concept of globalization has been associated with adverse effects on the environment (Cornell 45; Erin 24).

How do you cite multiple authors in MLA? This is one aspect in MLA citation that one needs to pay keen attention to. In MLA one or two authors are listed when citing them. In this case, ‘and’ is used to separate between the two authors such as (James and Irene 2). However, in the case of three or more authors, only the first author is listed followed by ‘et al.’ such as (Peter et al. 3). This is different from the ‘Works Cited’ section whereby all the authors are listed with a comma preceding ‘and’.

Citing various sources by the same author is a puzzle to most student, However, it does not have to be like that once you’ve read this guide. If you are citing various sources by the same author, you are supposed to include a shortened title of the source to specify the exact source from which the idea was obtained. The example below will help you understand this approach –

The concept of leadership has various definitions as well as different leadership styles being proposed (Peter, “Effective Leaders” 4). Peter explains that the variation in definitions of leadership and the existence of numerous styles of leadership are attributed to dynamic corporate environment and rapidly changing consumer needs and preferences (“The Concept of Leadership” 2).

Works Cited Page

This section should always start on a new page titled ‘Works Cited’ even when only one source is used. As earlier mentioned, entries should be organized in an alphabetically ascending order.

Now, let’s head straight for the bull’s eye. The general format for citation in MLA is:

Author’s Name. Title of the Resource. Title of container (except for standalone books such as novels), contributors’ names if any (editors or translators), edition, Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher’s Name, Date of Publication, Location (pages, paragraphs URL or DOI).

  1. MLA Citation of Books with Examples

Basic format for book:

Author’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publication Location, Publisher, Publication Date.

Some examples of book citation include:

Winkler, Ingo. Contemporary Leadership Theories: Enhancing the Understanding of the Complexity, Subjectivity and Dynamic of Leadership. Heidelberg, Physica-Verlag, 2010.

Marquis, Bessie L, and Carol J. Huston. Leadership Roles and Management Functions in Nursing. Philadelphia, Wolters Kluwer, 2009.

For two or more books with the same author, the sources are organized in an ascending order by title (with article ‘A’, ‘An’ and ‘The’ in the title ignored). The name of the author is provided for the first entry only. Three hyphens are used for subsequent sources as shown in the fictional example below:

Petersen, James. Effective Leadership Approaches. St. Martins, 2000.

—. What is Leadership. Illinois, 2012.

  1. MLA Citation of Electronic Sources with Examples

The general format for citing electronic sources is:

Author. “Title.” Title of container, Contributors (editors or translators), Edition, Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Date of Publication, Location (pages, paragraphs and/or URL, DOI or permalink).

In the case of a website (If there is a specific author, name is included before the title), MLA requires use of www. In case the link has https://, you should remove it.

Example of a website citation:

The Purdue OWL Family of Sites. The Purdue Writing Lab, 2019, Accessed 11 Jan 2019.(example borrowed from Purdue Owl)

For specific pages in a website, the correct formatting is as shown below:

Nunez. Kirsten. “Artichoke White Bean Dip Recipe.” eHow, 12 Sep. 2019, Accessed 11 Jan 2019.

  1. MLA Citation of Periodicals with Examples

Olson, James M., Vernon, Philip A., Harris, Julie A., and Jang, Kerry L. “The heritability of attitudes: a study of twins.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 80, no. 6, 2001, pp. 845-860.

NB: In case only one page is used in asource,‘p.’ is used in place of ‘pp.’

Newspaper articles are cited as shown below:

Brubaker, Bill. “New Health Center Targets County’s Uninsured Patients.” Washington Post, 24 May 2007, p. LZ01. (example obtained from Purdue Owl).

These are the major sources that students use and which present difficulties citing. If you need more information on how to cite different types of sources such as movies, speech, songs and so forth, you can check out the MLA Handbook or review the Purdue OWL MLA guide.

‘Can Someone Edit and/or Format My Essay in Accordance to MLA Style?’

Are you still not sure if you have met the various MLA style requirements? Are you wondering if you can pay someone to edit and/or format your paper to meet MLA style requirements? If you have any MLA writing need, you can always consider paying an expert writer to help you.

Paying a writer helps you be certain you have met all the requirements of MLA style. An expert writer has experience and knows how to format your essay, as well as ensure correct citations – both in-text and works cited section. In so doing, you will met MLA style requirements and as a result, be certain that you won’t fail because of violating your citation format requirements.

You can also pay someone to do an essay in MLA. This is even much better as the writer will ensure that even the sources used are well evaluated to only use relevant and reliable sources. Having an essay done from scratch will prevent chances of plagiarism due to incorrect citation or failure thereof.

The essay content is pertinent in your writing. You will have strong points with reference materials for further research and an approach to consider using while working on your final essay draft. Why wait anymore? Let an expert handle your MLA essay.

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