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Jan's Working with Words

    Report: MLA Guidelines

Below are some of the basic rules for doing a report in the MLA style. The full list of rules makes a large book!

Name info:

Place your name and the course information and the date in a block at the left margin beginning 1-inch from the top of the page. (This is just below the default 1" top margin.)


No title page is required. If you use one, center the title two double spaces below your name information.


Double-space all pages.
This leaves room for your instructor to mark errors.


Use a clear ordinary text font at 12 pt. font size. Times New Roman is commonly used but others are acceptable.


Use 1-inch margins on the top, bottom, left and right.


Each paragraph is indented in the first line by ½ inch.

Page #:

Put the page number at the right margin, ½ inch above the top margin. Precede the page number with your last name, like:    Smith 4


In the body of the paper, references are placed in parentheses using the author's last name and the page number(s) where the referenced information is located, like:
 (Brown 21-24). If there are two authors with the same last name, include their initials.


Only used for explanatory notes which elaborate on points discussed in the paper. Be careful. Why should this information be in a footnote and not in the body text?

Explanatory notes:

Double spaced. Superscript each note's reference number. Use ½ inch indent.

Works Cited:

Used instead of bibliography. Use a separate numbered page. Title of the page is "Works Cited", centered, 1-inch from the top of page. Double space all lines. Use a ½ inch hanging indent for all source entries. Author's last name goes first. Alphabetize entries.


Example report in MLA style with 2 body pages and one Works Cited page


A citation is a statement of the source of a fact, quote, or concept. Most of your sources will be published materials of one kind or another. So, you normally have to tell the author, name of the publication, where and where it was published, who published it, and what page the material is on that you used. For example, a book reference might look like this on the Works Cited page:

 Garcia, Fernando. Computers in Outer Space. Buenos Aires: HBL Publishing, 2009. 

In the document, for a parenthetical reference to this book you would write something like  (Garcia 112)  when the statement you used from the book was on page 112.

It can get complex, however. There are guidelines for encyclopedia articles, books in a series, books with multiple authors, magazine articles, web pages, database entries, personal interviews, unpublished sources like diaries, news broadcasts, radio programs, movies, speeches! The list goes on and on.

Examples of citations from different kinds of sources:

 Purdue Online Writing Lab Icon: Off Site
 Northwest Missouri State University Icon: Off Site
 Honolulu Community College Icon: Off Site
 University of Maryland Icon: Off Site

Report with Title and Works CitedWhat You Will Do

You will create a 5-page report for World Travel Inc. of information about their special trip offers and also about trends in the travel industry. You will use parenthetical references in the text with a Works Cited page for the sources, following the MLA style. Since this is not a report for school, you can use a fancier report template!

In the exercises you will have a chance to use the full MLA format for a school paper