MLA Format FAQs

by Stephen on January 25, 2012 · 36 comments

in MLA Format

1. Does my paper need a cover page?

No. The Modern Language Association (MLA) does not require you to create a cover page when you complete your research paper. If your instructor requires a cover page, simply follow the instructions here: MLA cover page.

2. Should I bold, italicize, or underline my research paper’s title?

Your research paper’s title should not be bold, italicize or underline. It should be in the same text as your paper. Visit here for an example, under “the opening page“.

3. Do I have to put my last name and page number on every page?

Yes, you must put your last name and page number on every page, including the first page (the opening page) and your Works Cited pages.

4. Do I have to double-space the whole paper?

Yes, you must double-space the whole paper, including the heading, the title and the Works Cited pages. Simply double-space everything, but do not add extra spaces besides the double-space.

5. Do I have to use Times New Roman font?

The MLA does not require you to use Times New Roman as long as the font you choose is easily readable.

6. How do I handle the citation when one author quotes another?

This happens frequently. As in Donald Kagan‘s book, The Peloponnesian War, which often quotes Thucydides. Using MLA format, you may write:

Kagan approvingly quotes Thucydides, who says that Athens acquired this vital site “because of the hatred they already felt toward the Spartans” (qtd. in Kagan 14).

In your Works Cited, you include Kagan but not Thucydides.

7. Some MLA citations, such as newspaper articles, use the names of months. Which ones should I abbreviate and which ones should I spell out?

Use three-letter abbreviations for all but the short names: May, June and July.

8. Instead of Works Cited, can I use Bibliography?

No. The MLA requires your Works Cited page to begin with Works Cited, centered, one inch top margin. Visit here for an example, under #3, the Works Cited page.

If you have any MLA format questions, please post them using the comment form below. Take care!

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephen January 27, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Question: On my first page, do I enter my paper’s due date or the day I turn my paper in?

Answer: You enter your paper’s due date, not the day you turn in your paper. Take care.


Rob January 28, 2012 at 10:19 am

What is the proper format for both in text reference and Works Cited if a Kindle is used as your book source. I thought the in text was supposed to be (Author, Chapter #, Para. #) and then the works cited was:
Last, First Title Kindle Web. Pub. Date

I was trying to quote my textbook as the source in my paper and apparently my “citations need fixing”. Did I leave something out?



Eliza February 17, 2012 at 1:02 am

How do I cite lecture notes in my paper and in Works Cited?


Stephen February 17, 2012 at 9:03 am

Hello Eliza,

For MLA citations, please visit here

Works Cited Examples:

Class Notes: Lecturer last name, first name. Class Notes. Course. Location. Date of lecture.

Stewart, Ms. Class Notes. English 3 Honors/IB. Trabuco Hills High School, Mission Viejo. 26 Sept. 2003

Lecture: Speakers Last Name, First Name. “Title of Presentation.” Sponsoring Organization. Location. Date.

Harris, Muriel. “Writing Labs: A Short History.” 2003 Writing Center Conference. National Writing Centers Association. La Swank Hotel, Seattle. 28 Mar. 2003.

Source: Saddleback Valley Unified School District


Rob March 2, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Cool thanks for the response! :/


John March 14, 2012 at 11:43 am

I saw under FAQs that it is not permitted to use bibliography instead of works cited. I was wondering who came up with that ‘rule’? Bibliography is the proper term to use when talking about works referred to in the paper.


Stephen March 14, 2012 at 11:50 am

A paper in MLA, we must use “Works Cited”. It is a MLA Format rule created by the Modern Language Association.


Katie March 19, 2012 at 4:38 pm

A teacher has requested the paper in MLA-format and asked for an abstract. My understanding is there is not an abstract in an MLA-style paper, only APA. Can you elaborate on this? If it is acceptable in MLA style, should it appear on page 2, as in APA?


Stephen March 19, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Hi Katie,

You are right, the abstract page is available in APA but not in MLA. If your teacher requires you to have one, it is better to check with him/her for advice to make sure you have your paper done exactly as your teacher’s expect. If your paper has a cover page, placing the abstract page on page 2 looks good. Take care!


Holly April 12, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Where can I find the rule about formatting a movie, book, or article title in my paper? I know some are underlined, italicized, or put in quotes. What is the rule?


Stephen April 12, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Please visit here => see under the subtile “MLA Format Works Cited Templates”. You can also use a generator to generate the Works Cited list automatically for you.


Holly April 13, 2012 at 2:06 am

Do the same rules apply for works cited as in the actual paper? My intro includes reference to a movie, an article, a song, and a TV commercial. I’m looking for resources on how I need to differentiate.


Stephen April 13, 2012 at 9:11 am

In your paper, you would use in-text citations. See examples here.


Rob June 4, 2012 at 8:51 pm

The link you provided didn’t answer the question. If a movie title is within the text is it underlined, italicized, and in quotation marks?

Mady April 14, 2012 at 1:32 pm

If I am using several sentences in a row that are paraphrased and from the same source and page, do I have to cite each individual sentence or just the last sentence? It seems wrong to have 3 sentences in a row have the same citation.


Luke April 15, 2012 at 3:36 pm

If your quote ends in a ? or !, do you put a period after the brackets. ex. “oedipus and willy loman are men!” (luke 1).
Is that right or should there be no period?


Winson April 18, 2012 at 8:29 am

Can I use a question as the title of my paper?


Stephen April 18, 2012 at 8:48 am

Hi Wilson! The title should not be a question. Depending on instructors, you may get a reduced score if you do.


Victoria June 1, 2012 at 4:06 am

When writing a long quote set off as a block do I need to write it in a smaller font size? And do I have to separate it from the rest of the writing by adding extra spaces? Because I am only pressing the enter button once in order to make it understandable that it is a block set off from the rest of the paragraphs. Thank you for your help!


Stephen June 1, 2012 at 8:04 am
Victoria June 1, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Dear Stephen,
Thank you for your reply, it was very helpful!


Andy November 25, 2012 at 6:41 pm

In Microsoft Word, what is the spacing between paragraphs.


Stephen November 25, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Hello Andy.

Short answer: Double-space the entire research paper.

See “Text Formatting” on this page:


Ruth December 1, 2012 at 12:04 pm

I have to include a cover page with my research paper, do I still need to include my full name and title on the opening page?

Also, my professor has asked that we include a bibliography, will this take place of the Work Cited page?


Stephen December 1, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Hello Ruth,

Please see this page => look under the “Alternate First Page” section for an example of the opening page when you have a cover page.

Right, Bibliography is the Works Cited page. Take care!


Jen December 11, 2012 at 10:53 pm

For the heading on page one, must the date be formatted day month year?


Stephen December 12, 2012 at 10:08 am

Hi Jen,

You can use either “day-month-year” style or “month-day-year” style. Whichever style you use, be consistent throughout your paper.

The MLA handbook said: “If you begin with the month, be sure to add a comma after the day.” Example: December 12, 2012


Breanna January 21, 2013 at 2:12 pm

How do i cite a picture?


Brian April 4, 2013 at 8:40 am

What exactly IS the difference between Works Cited and Bibliographies? Layman’s terms, please.


Mary June 1, 2013 at 2:57 pm

How do you cite an essay inside the college text book


Joey August 11, 2013 at 10:02 am

Can a MLA paper be written in first person and use personal pronouns?


Lucky7 November 11, 2013 at 8:19 pm

What is the proper way to write Washington, DC address that all have a quadrant associated with them?

for example,

100 Irving Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20002


100 Irving Street NE
Washington, DC 20002


Kylie November 12, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Does MLA format have to be in third person?


AnonymousWriter November 24, 2013 at 4:10 pm

How do I cite a program?


Theresa Padilla May 5, 2014 at 11:42 pm

What is the difference between a title page and a cover page?


Roger May 23, 2014 at 2:00 am

Whats is the difference and similarities between ‘response essay and Research essay”?
please also help me with the format for response essay


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