Simple MLA Format: A Beginner’s Guide

If you’re new to academic writing, understanding the formatting requirements of different citation styles can be overwhelming. One of the most commonly used citation styles is MLA (Modern Language Association) format, which is used in humanities and social sciences. In this article, we’ll provide a simple MLA format guide for beginners, including the basics of in-text citations, works cited pages and formatting guidelines.

What is Simple MLA Format?

Simple MLA format is a set of guidelines for formatting academic papers and citing sources in the humanities and social sciences. It provides rules for formatting papers, in-text citations, and works cited pages. MLA format is commonly used in literature, language, and cultural studies.

In-Text Citations in Simple MLA Format In-text citations are used to give credit to sources within the body of your paper. In MLA format, in-text citations include the author’s last name and the page number(s) where the information was found, separated by a space.

Example: (Smith 45)

If there are two authors, include both last names separated by the word “and.” If there are three or more authors, include the first author’s last name followed by “et al.”

Example: (Smith and Johnson 23) or (Smith et al. 56)

If the source does not have an author, use the title in place of the author’s name.

Example: (“Article Title” 10)

Works Cited Page in Simple MLA Format

The works cited page is a list of all sources cited in your paper, arranged alphabetically by the author’s last name. Each entry should include the author’s name, the title of the source, the publication information, and the medium of publication.

Example: Smith, John. The Art of Writing. Penguin, 2020. Print.

Formatting Guidelines in Simple MLA Format

When formatting your paper in MLA style, there are a few guidelines to follow:

  1. Use 12-point font (Times New Roman is recommended) and double spacing throughout the paper.
  2. Include a header with your last name and page number on each page, aligned to the right margin.
  3. Include a title page with your name, instructor’s name, course name and number, and date of submission.
  4. Use one-inch margins on all sides of the paper.


Simple MLA format can seem overwhelming at first, but by following a few basic guidelines for in-text citations, works cited pages, and formatting, you can ensure that your academic papers are properly formatted and cited. Remember to always check with your instructor or the MLA handbook for specific formatting requirements, and to proofread your paper carefully to ensure that it meets all of the necessary guidelines. With practice, you’ll become comfortable with MLA format and be able to produce well-formatted academic papers with ease.

Related Pages

Tags: , , , , , , , ,