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Contributors:Kristen Seas, Allen Brizee.
Summary:

Welcome to the OWL Workshop on MLA Style. This workshop will introduce you to the Modern Language Association (MLA) Style for writing and formatting research papers. To get the most out of this workshop, you should begin with the introductory material below, which covers what MLA Style is, why it is used, and who should apply this style to their work. Then you are invited to browse through the OWL's various handouts on different aspects of MLA Formatting and Citations standards, both as sources appear in-text and in final reference page. Click here to read about the 2009 MLA updates.

MLA Overview and Workshop

Welcome to the OWL Workshop on MLA Style. This workshop will introduce you to the Modern Language Association (MLA) Style for writing and formatting research papers. To get the most out of this workshop, you should begin with the introductory material below, which covers what MLA Style is, why it is used, and who should apply this style to their work. Then you are invited to browse through the OWL's various handouts on different aspects of MLA Formatting and Citations standards, both as sources appear in-text and in final reference page.

Note: This workshop should answer most of your basic questions about using MLA Style. However, if you are writing a complex document such as a thesis or lengthy manuscript, or if you have detailed questions, you should consult The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (Seventh Edition), which you can usually find at your local library or in many bookstores.

The MLA also has a website that allows you to order the handbook online. The site also includes some answers to frequently asked questions on basic details of MLA Style that you can consult. Purdue's OWL also has a list of Additional Resources covering MLA Style as well.

What is MLA Style?

MLA Style establishes standards of written communication concerning:

Why Use MLA?

Using MLA Style properly makes it easier for readers to navigate and comprehend a text by providing familiar cues when referring to sources and borrowed information. Editors and instructors also encourage everyone to use the same format so there is consistency of style within a given field. Abiding by MLA's standards as a writer will allow you to:

Who Should Use MLA?

MLA Style is typically reserved for writers and students preparing manuscripts in various humanities disciplines such as:

MLA Formatting and Notation Style

You should start by becoming familiar with the general formatting requirements of MLA Style, as well as the different standards for notation that MLA writers are expected to use. Because MLA is different than other writing styles, such as APA, you should pay attention to every detail of the Style, from general paper layout to abbreviations. The following pages will introduce you to some of these basic requirements of MLA Style to get you started in the right direction.

General Format

Footnotes and Endnotes

Formatting Quotations

Abbreviations

MLA Citations and Works Cited Page

As with any publishing style, the most difficult aspect of MLA Style to master are the requirements for citing secondary sources accurately. The pages included here walk you through the details of incorporating citations into the text of your paper as well as how to compose a works cited page of references at the end of your paper. Read these guidelines carefully. It is important that you refer to your sources according to MLA Style so your readers can quickly follow the citations to the reference page and then, from there, locate any sources that might be of interest to them. They will expect this information to be presented in a particular style, and any deviations from that style could result in confusing your readers about where you obtained your information.

In-Text Citations: The Basics

Works Cited Page: Basic Format

Works Cited Page: Books

Works Cited Page: Other Common Sources

Works Cited Page: Periodicals

Works Cited Page: Electronic Sources

Works Cited Page: Other Non-Print Sources

Please Note: If you know exactly what you're looking for concerning MLA, you can use the OWL Navigation to the left by looking under "Research and Citation" and clicking on "MLA Formatting and Style Guide." You may also use the search box at the top of the navigation bar to find resources.