The following guidelines are in accordance with the requirements of the MLA style. For further details, see the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 2009 (7th edition) or click here.
Diploma papers: 30+ pages
Dissertations: 40+ pages
Times New Roman 12, 1.5 line spacing, except for block quotes and footnotes (see Footnotes below), which should be written in Times New Roman, 10
Sections may or may not have headings. Headings begin flush left, using headline-style capitalization. The first paragraph after a heading or an unheaded section break is not indented.
Works Cited:
Times New Roman, 10, all but first line hanging
Running text
The first line of each new paragraph should be indented, except where it follows a heading. There should be no space between paragraphs.
Use the em dash (—) without any space before or after it to mark a break within a continuing sentence.
Please type all headings—chapter titles, main and sub-headings—with capital letters. Leave additional spacing above and below section headings and above and below indented quotes.
In-text citations
Accuracy of all reference data is the responsibility of the author. Quotes must reproduce the wording, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation of the original exactly. The following situations may constitute exceptions from this rule:
  1. A change in capitalization at the beginning of a quote may be made, without being signalled through the use of brackets, if the quote’s syntactic relationship to the preceding text suggests it. Changes in capitalization within a quote must be bracketed.
  2. The terminal punctuation may be omitted or changed to a comma if necessary, and internal punctuation before or after ellipsis points may be omitted.
  3. Notes and their superscript callouts from the original are omitted.
  4. Obvious typographical errors (e.g., “the”) may be corrected, but idiosyncratic spellings found in older works must be preserved. Spellings that are likely to be thought incorrect may be followed by sic in brackets.
Prose quotes that are at least four lines in length are set off from the text as block quotes. The first line is not indented.
In other words,
McCarthy’s Westerns employ elements of the tradition: cowboys, an American West heavily influenced by Hispanic culture, ranches, Indians, the frontier, settlers, cavalry, the gunfighter, and what happens when all of these things collide. For McCarthy the collision unveils a loss of innocence for the young and old male protagonists. (…) he works against convention by ensuring that, ultimately, all of his main characters fail or only partially succeed in their ambitions. (Greenwood 22)
Verse quotes of one line or two lines are run into the text. Verse quotes of more than two lines are set off from the text, and omitted lines are indicated with a line of dots approximately equal in length to the preceding line:
solid but airy; fresh as if just finished
and taken off the frame.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Directly after Mass, humming perhaps
 Quotes of dramatic dialogue include the characters’ names, followed by a colon and they too are set off from the text.
William: But how did you know I was here?
Andrew: Are you kidding? Who else would drive a car like that?
William: How would you drive it?
If the play is written in verse, like a Shakespeare play, the part of the play (act, scene, canto) followed by the line numbers should be given in the reference, all in Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3, etc.) separated by periods. Line breaks should be marked by a slash. For more than three lines, blocked quotes are appropriate.
After witnessing Hamlet leave with the ghost, Marcellus observes, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” (1.1.90). The ghost then addresses Hamlet:
I am thy father’s spirit,
Doom’d for a certain term to walk the night,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purg’d away. (1.5.10‐13)
Quotation marks
Double quotation marks should be used throughout, with single quotation marks used for a quote within another quote. Commas and periods go inside the closing quotation marks, unless there is a parenthetical reference following, in which case the required punctuation should be placed after it.
Greenwood sees them as “one of the primary modes through which McCarthy expresses this distinctive vision of the American cultural experience” (15).
Other punctuation marks (semicolons, colons, question marks, exclamation points) go outside the closing quote marks unless they are part of the quoted text.
“He is such a lovely person!” she exclaimed.
Why did the lawyer say “I need more time to prepare for this”?
Full stops, commas, colons and semi-colons should be followed by only one character space, not two.
Parenthetical references
Every time information from other sources is incorporated in the text as a quote or a paraphrase it must be appropriately cited in a parenthetical reference. Parenthetical references should be in shortened author – page number form. If page numbers are more than three-digit long, abbreviate the second number (e.g. 236-37); if not, keep page numbers unabbreviated (e.g. 27-28).
  1. One author, one text:
(Smith 74)
(Hoerder et al. [eds.] 111-36)
(Cf. Stanzel 1979a, 1979b)
   If the author’s name is mentioned in the text before the parenthetical reference, only the page number is necessary.
  1. If there are two or more texts by the same author, a shortened form of the title is added:
(Foucault, The Archaeology 70)
(Foucault, “Right of Death” 80)
  1. If the work cited has no author, an abbreviated version of the work’s title should be used.
(A View Of North America 208-12)
  1. If there are two or three authors, all surnames should be given. If there are more than three authors, only the first surname is given, followed by et al. and the page number.
(Romero, Hondagneu-Sotelo, Ortiz 57)
(Johnson et al. 55)
  1. If two or more authors have the same last name, provide both authors’ first initials (or even the authors’ full name if different authors share initials) in the citation.
  1. For a source quoted in another work, the citation should signal this through the use of “qtd. in” followed by the appropriate information on the secondary source.
According to MacDonald (qtd. in Smith 24), it is the last option ….
  In the Works Cited it is the bibliographical information on the secondary source that must be provided.
  1. If the work has multiple volumes, the number of the volume from which the citation is taken must be mentioned, being separated from page number(s) by a column (e.g. 1: 25-26).
  1. Entries from encyclopaedias should be referenced by providing the author’s (if available) or editor’s name and the page number.
  1. If no author’s name is given for a newspaper article, the title of the newspaper is provided in parenthesis, followed by the page number.
  1. For electronic sources, films or Internet sources appropriate citation means including the name of the author and/or title or website name in the parenthetical reference. If the online text has numbered paragraphs, the parenthetical reference should include the number of the paragraph. URLs are not to be included in the text, although a partial URL or a domain name should (e.g. Special attention is to be paid to the reliability of the Internet sources consulted, as not all web pages are appropriate for scholarly work.
Within the text, numbers indicating footnotes should come after any punctuation marks. The footnotes themselves should appear at the bottom of the page in Times New Roman, 10. Footnotes may contain material that cannot be conveniently included in the text, such as explanatory comments or additional bibliographic information.
Commonly used abbreviations include cf., chap. (chaps.), ed. (eds.), e.g., esp., et al. (used of people), etc. (used of things), fol. (fols.), i.e., introd., l. (ll.), lit. (“literally”), n. (nn.), pt. (pts.), repr., sec. (secs.), ser., s.v., vol. (vols.). If the cited source does not have a date, publisher or pagination, the following abbreviations must be used: n. pag. for sources without page numbers, n.d. for no date, and N.p. if name of the publisher is omitted.
Works Cited
The Works Cited list at the end of the article should include all sources mentioned in the parenthetical references. Works should be arranged alphabetically by authors’/editor’s last name or the title if the author is unknown. For second and subsequent entries for one author (or group of authors), publications are to be listed by year of publication (starting with the most recent), using three hyphens followed by a full stop (---.) instead of the author’s name.
Titles are italicized, with the exception of titles of texts in newspapers, academic journals or collections of essays, titles of short stories or poems, unpublished dissertations or conference papers.
All entries must state the medium of publication, Print, Web, DVD or Television.
  1. References to books
Sequence: Surname, first name (in full). Title (italics). Place of publication (one city only): publisher, year of publication. Medium of publication.
One author
Ifland, Alta. Elegy for a Fabulous World. Rome, Georgia: Ninebark, 2009. Print.
More than one author
Kawachi, Yoshiko and Richard Metheson. Narrative Fiction. 2nd ed. London: Longman, 1993. Print.
Editor(s) of an anthology or collection of essays
Hassan, Ihab and Sally Hassan, eds. Innovation/Renovation: New Perspectives on the Humanities. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1983. Print.
Book with no author
An uncommon soldier: the Civil War letters of Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, alias Private Lyons Wakeman, 153rd Regiment, New York State Volunteers. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1995. Print.
  1. Articles and essays
Essay in a collection
Albu, Rodica. “The Reception of W. B. Yeats in Romania.” The Reception of W. B. Yeats in Europe (The Reception of British and Irish Authors in Europe No. 11). Ed. Klaus Peter Jochum. London: Continuum International Publishing Group and School of Advanced Studies University of London, 2006. 174-187, 304-308. Print.
Article in a journal
Janik, Del Ivan. “History and the ‘Here and Now’: The Novels of Graham Swift.” Twentieth Century Literature 30.1 (1989): 74-88. Print. [ where 30. 1 reads as volume 30, issue 1]
Reprinted article:
Hunt, Tim. “The Misreading of Kerouac.” Review of Contemporary Fiction 3.2 (1983): 29-33. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Carl Riley. Vol. 61. Detroit: Gale, 1990. 308-10. Print.
Article retrieved on the Web
Sehmby, Dalbir S. “Wrestling and Popular Culture.” CCLWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 4.1 (2002): n. pag. Web. 29 Mar. 2009.
Article retrieved in a library database
The same information as for a printed journal article should be given, adding the name of the database in italics. The publication medium (Web) and the date of access should also be added. If there are no page numbers, or if the page numbers for each article in a journal appear in a new sequence for each item rather than continuously across the entire issue, write n. pag.
Brennan, Katherine Stern. “Culture in the Cities: Provincial Academies during the Early Years of Louis XIV's Reign.” Canadian Journal of History 38.1 (2003): 19-42. CBCA Complete. Web. 29 Mar. 2004.
  1. Entry from a dictionary or encyclopaedia
Guignon, Charles B. “Existentialism.” Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Ed. Edward Craig. 10 vols. London: Routledge, 1998. Print.
“Culture”. Compact Oxford English Dictionary. 3rd ed. 1989. Print. (Author not given.)
  1. Introduction, Preface, Foreword or Afterword
Bachelard, Gaston. Introduction to The Poetics of Space. Transl. Maria Jolas. Boston: Beacon Press, 1969. xi-xxv. Print.
  1. Review
Kirn, Walter. “The Wages of Righteousness.” Rev. of Cloudsplitter, by Russell Banks. New York Times Book Review 22 Feb. 1998: 9. Print.
  1. Magazine article
Quittner, Josh. “The Race for a Better Read.” Time 16 Feb. 2009: 34-35. Print.
  1. Conference proceedings
Conference proceedings are referenced like books, specific information on the conference (date and location) being added, if not already included in the title of the conference proceedings.
Balakian, Anna, and James J. Wilhelm, ed. Proceedings of the Xth Congress of the International Comparative Literature Association: New York, NY, 1982. New York: Garland, 1985. Print.
  1. Dissertations and theses
Published dissertations or masters theses are referenced like books, including the designation Diss. or MA/MS thesis, followed by the name of the university granting the degree and the year when it was awarded. If the dissertation or thesis was published, the title is written in italics; if not, double quotation marks should be used.
  1. Interviews

1. Personal interviews

Johnson, Thomas. Personal interview. 17 Jan. 2010.

2. Printed interviews

Alvarez, Julia. “Citizen of the World. An Interview with Julia Alvarez”. By Juanita Heredia. Latina Self-Portraits: Interviews with Contemporary Women Writers. Ed. Bridget Kevane and Juanita Heredia. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. 2000. 19-32. Print.

Electronic sources
Sequence: Last name, first name (author, compiler, editor, narrator, etc.). Title (double quotation marks). Title of the overall Web site (italics). Version or edition used. Publisher or sponsor (if not available use N.p.), date of publication (if nothing is available use n.d.). Medium of publication (e.g. Web, Film, DVD). Date of access.
Electronic version of a newspaper
Green, Joshua. “The Rove Presidency.” The Atlantic Monthly Group, Sept. 2007. Web. 20 July 2007.
A page on a Web site
“Joyce Wieland.” Celebrating Women’s Achievements: Women Artists in Canada. National Library of Canada, 2000. Web. 29 Mar. 2004.
Film on DVD
Macbeth. Dir. Roman Polanski. Perf. Jon Finch, Francesca Annis, and Nicholas Selby. 1971. Columbia, 2002. DVD.

Quick links

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