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MLA Citation Guide (9th Edition): Works Cited & Paper Format

This research guide is based on the MLA Handbook (9th edition)

Setting Up Your Paper

Check out these quick tips for formatting your MLA Style paper

Margins: Add 1 inch margins on all sides.

Header (Individual papers): Starting with your first page, add your last name followed by page number (e.g., Chen 2) at the top right corner of the page. 

Title Page & Header (Group project): Include a title page if several students have written the paper. (See sample paper for example) Starting with your second page, add the students' last names followed by the page number at the top right corner of the page. If all last names do not fit in a single line in the header, you may just include the page number.

Line Spacing: Double-space your text.

Paragraph Alignment & Indentation: Indent the first line of each paragraph by 0.5 inch. Align your paragraphs to the left margin.

Font: Unless specified by your instructor, MLA recommends choosing an easy to read typeface set to 11 pt, 12 pt, or 13 pt. This includes:

  • Calibri
  • Arial
  • Times New Roman
  • Georgia

Quick Rules for an MLA Works Cited List

Your research paper ends with a list of all the sources cited in the text of the paper. This is called a Works Cited list.

See examples in the "Sample Paper & Works Cited List" box on this page.

Here are eight quick rules for this list:

  1. Start a new page for your Works Cited list (e.g., if your paper is 4 pages long, start your Works Cited list on page 5).
  2. Center the title, Works Cited, at the top of the page and do not bold or underline it.
  3. Double-space the list.
  4. Start the first line of each citation at the left margin; indent each subsequent line 0.5 inches (also known as a "hanging indent").
  5. Put your list in alphabetical order. Alphabetize the list by the first word in the citation. In most cases, the first word will be the author’s last name. Where the author is unknown, alphabetize by the first word in the title, ignoring the words a, an, the.
  6. For each author, give the last name followed by a comma and the first name followed by a period.
  7. Italicize the titles of full works: books, audiovisual material, websites.
  8. Do not italicize titles of parts of works, such as: articles from newspapers, magazines, or journals / essays, poems, short stories or chapter titles from a book / chapters or sections of an Internet document. Instead, use quotation marks.

End-of-Paper Checklist

Finished your assignment? Use this checklist to be sure you haven't missed any information needed for MLA style.