MLA Essay Format Example: Formatting Rules

If you are reading this article, you must be looking for a good MLA essay format example. That sounds familiar. As a student I often confused all those formatting styles and had to make changes to spacing, margins, and all the stuff just when submission date was close at hand.

I thought that the easiest way to format my paper is to find a good MLA essay format example and simply follow it. But somehow this approach always led me to failure. And you know why? This is because you have to understand what format is right for your essay, since there are lots of formatting styles that may be applied either to the whole document or to its separate parts. You may need, for instance, MLA format essay outline or just list of references organized in particular style.

That’s why I’ve tried to gather all essential updated information about one of the most widespread essay formatting styles and spell out all its peculiarities. But let’s start from the definition first.

MLA is a painfully familiar abbreviation for all the students, who are often required to write essay in MLA format or cite the references following this style. However, it’s important to note that MLA format doesn’t match all the areas of academic writing. Modern Language Association, short for MLA, designed this style for humanities and arts only. That’s why usually an example of MLA format essay is the writing on philosophical, language, arts or other humanistic disciplines.

Another important thing to keep in mind about formatting styles is that you can adjust body text to these styles or cite references in a particular format. Both are rather complicated issues, but I’ll try tackle the first question: how to write an essay in MLA format.

Writing MLA format essay outline

Most often MLA format essay example that you may find on the web will contain general formatting rules. But what if you are asked to write an outline that also needs to be formatted? Normally outline is optional for an essay or paper which follows MLA style, still some instructors may require it.

Writing MLA format essay outline is similar to creating a plan. However, when you do it in MLA style, there are some rules to observe:

  • Thesis statement is obligatory for MLA format essay outline. Not only this core statement serves a starting point for your essay but it also has to be mentioned in the outline. Normally, it will go first in your plan and will be written in all capital letters
  • Outline in MLA format essays includes only those ideas that relate to thesis statement directly. No details should be written in such outline
  • MLA format for essay outline suggests two possible structure patterns. These may be either full sentences for every point or short phrases or even words
  • As a rule, MLA outline has multilevel structure, which means that primary ideas go under Roman numerals, more specific points are marked by Arabic numerals, whereas still more concrete ideas are represented with

MLA format for essays: Some essential requirements

Now it’s time we moved to some peculiarities of MLA format for essays. But before we start I’d like to emphasize one important thing. Whenever you are asked to write essay MLA format rules should be necessarily specified since they are regularly updated. Below there are MLA style features which normally remain unchangeable:

  • An ideal MLA format example essay should be written in a legible font with 12 pt. If the font in this size looks illegible, you may apply larger size 14pt
  • Margins on all the sides are usually 1-inch
  • Essay format MLA has double spaces throughout the text. Even headings should be separated from the body text with double spacing, no extra spacing is allowed
  • Half inch or 6 spaces from the left margins should be set at the beginning of every paragraph

These are basic MLA formatting rules that will be enough for a five-paragraph essay. In case you are assigned research paper to be written in MLA style there are more formatting rules to observe.

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