Skip to Main Content

American History 148

MLA Formatting


MLA Style Guide (OWL) (Online Writing Lab) from Purdue University-this is one of the most comprehensive resources you will find on citation and paper formatting.

Basics of MLA Formatting and Citations

MLA Citation Style video:

Formatting an MLA Style Paper-the Basics


  • 1 inch margins on all sides



  • Your name
  • Your instructor's name
  • Course number
  • Date


  • On a new, double-spaced line, center your paper's title, without any punctuation or special font styling.


  • Number your pages in the following format:
  • Your Last Name 1
  • Your Last Name 2
  • etc.
  • Page numbers go in the upper right corner, 1/2 inch from the top and flush with the right margin.



For more information, see the MLA Style Center's guide to Formatting a Research Paper.


Works Cited

Citing your work is an important part of the research and writing process.  While your voice and thoughts definitely needs to be in your paper it is important to acknowledge the ideas, research and thoughts of others as they appear in your work. 

Imagine a conversation with a friend or family member--you might say I heard or I read or I saw...and you would probably say where you go that information.  For example "I read this article in the New York Times but Kate Murphy on COVID..." just as we already do in everyday life we also need to put that in our papers.  These are in-text citations here are two examples of what these often look like:


In-text citations give a brief amount of information that ultimately leads your reader to your Works Cited.

MLA style uses parenthetical notations to identify the source (author's last name) and the specific location (page reference) from which you borrowed material.


According to John Wiltshire, Jane Austen's novels have a "narrative confidence" that makes them appealing to many readers (16).


Jane Austen's novels have a "narrative confidence" that makes them appealing to many readers (Wiltshire 16).


  • The list of works cited goes at the very end of your paper on a new page.
  • Keep the page numbering on the Works Cited page(s).
  • Center the title, Works Cited, an inch from the top of the page.
  • Begin each entry flush with the left margin.
  • If an entry runs more than one line, indent the subsequent line(s) 1/2 inch from the left margin. This is called a hanging indent.

WORKS CITED PAGE Citation Basics

Material Type Works Cited
Book with one author Austen, Jane. Persuasion. Oxford University Press, 2004.
eBook, with login required Wiltshire, John. Recreating Jane Austen. Cambridge University Press, 2004. eBook Academic Collection (EBSCOhost).
Essay or Chapter from an Anthology Poovey, Mary. "Jane Austen's Literary English." A Companion to the History of the English Language, edited by Haruko Momma and Michael Matto, Blackwell Publishing, 2008, pp. 464-470.
Article from a Scholarly Journal in a Database Hopkins, Robert. "Moral Luck and Judgment in Jane Austen's Persuasion.Nineteenth-Century Literature, vol. 42, no. 2, Sep. 1987, pp. 143-158. JSTOR,
One Page of a Website or One Blog Post Vic. "Jane Austen's Descriptions of a House and a Home." Jane Austen's World, December 3, 2008,