English Composition
This is the "MLA and Citation Guide" page of the "English Composition & Literature" guide.
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English Composition & Literature  

Last Updated: Aug 2, 2014 URL: http://watkins.libguides.com/englishcomp Print Guide RSS Updates

MLA and Citation Guide Print Page

MLA-The Basics

MLA Style—The Basics

  • Font size should be 12 pt maximum
  • All papers must be double-spaced
  • Leave only one space after punctuation marks
  • Indent all paragraphs


First page

At left margin & double-spaced

Your name

Instructor name




Title should be centered and have relevance to your topic


Subsequent pages

Last name, page number @ the top of each page, right alignment





Using Outside Sources

Using outside sources

Paraphrasing involves putting a passage from source material into your own words. A paraphrase must also be attributed to the original source.         Paraphrased material is usually shorter than the original passage, taking a somewhat broader segment of the source and condensing it slightly.

Summarizing involves putting the main idea(s) into your own words, including only the main point(s). Once again, it is necessary to attribute summarized         ideas to the original source. Summaries are significantly shorter than the original and take a broad overview of the source material.

Quotations must be identical to the original, using a narrow segment of the source. They must match the source document word for word and must be attributed to the original author

  • Quotes should never begin or conclude a paragraph. Remember, quotations are there to support your ideas and those ideas need to be supported from your point-of-view

In-Text Citation

 Use the ellipses when omitting a word in quotations.


[ ] If you add letters or a phrase or change the verb tense, use brackets.


In-Text Citation

MLA format follows the author-page method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the page number(s) from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken must appear in the text, and a complete reference should appear on your Works Cited page. The author's name may appear either in the sentence itself or in parentheses following the quotation or paraphrase, but the page number(s) should always appear in the parentheses, not in the text of your sentence.

For example:


Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (263). 

Romantic poetry is characterized by the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (Wordsworth 263).

Wordsworth extensively explored the role of emotion in the creative process (263).


Longer quotes over four lines require a different format:

For quotations that are more than four lines of prose or three lines of verse, place quotations in a free-standing block of text and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, with the entire quote indented one inch from the left margin; maintain double-spacing. Only indent the first line of the quotation by an additional quarter inch if you are citing multiple paragraphs. Your parenthetical citation should come after the closing punctuation mark. When quoting verse, maintain original line breaks. (You should maintain double-spacing throughout your essay.)

Subject Guide

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Bibliography/Reference Page

  • Start on a new page and type the word Bibliography centered and bold at the top of the page
  • Double-space all reference entries
  • Entries must be in alphabetical order
  • Bibliography should be the same font style and size as the research paper.
  • Bibliography should be the last page of your paper; not a seperate document

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