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MLA Heading and Header Formats (With Examples)

MLA Heading And Header Formats

Referencing the content in your academic papers is vital to ensure your papers are not plagiarised. There are different referencing styles that an academic paper or essay writer can use in their academic papers. Out of these, the most widely used and preferred is the MLA referencing style. However, several students find this referencing style confusing to use and make errors in their papers with the format or style of using it.

This is why a complete MLA referencing style is discussed in this blog that will help you use this citation style with no effort at all! Scroll down to find out more.

MLA Style Of Referencing – An Overview

Academic papers need their content to be cited to ensure the information they are offering is 100% factual backed by studies and research, and the original author's work is credited.

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The MLA referencing was developed by the MLA (Modern Language Association), an educational board founded in 1883 to promote language and literature. The MLA referencing style is used for acknowledging different types of sources used while writing academic papers like essays, dissertations, academic publications and articles, research papers, and scientific studies.

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The MLA referencing style is simple and easy to use. This is also why it is the preferred method of referencing used by several students, researchers, and academic scholars. In addition, it has a two-part documentation system that is based on using parenthesis.

The two parts used here are:

  1. In-Text Citation

These comprise short citations in parenthesis, embedded in the content, or within the body of text.

  1. Works Cited

The second part is the Works Cited list, following the original in-text citations. This list provides detailed information about the references, like the sources used. Again, the lists are arranged in alphabetical order.

The MLA referencing style is used mainly in citing Humanities, Arts, and Philosophical documents.

Moving on, let's look at how the MLA referencing style is used in papers.

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How To Use The MLA Referencing Style?

The guide given below will help you cite in the MLA referencing style for

  1. In-Text Citations

The usual type of information included in an MLA in-text citation is the author's surname and the page number you are citing. However, if you have already mentioned the author's name in your sentence, you only need to mention the page number.

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Remember that you do not have to use any commas or parenthesis. The entire reference will appear at the end of your sentence with the reference or the quotation from your source. The punctuation mark should be included after you are done writing the citation. After that, you should include a full reference in the Works Cited list, which will appear at the end of your paper.

Let’s take a look at some examples through which you can use MLA in-text citations:

  • When the author’s name and page number is present

Suppose the author’s name is Jeremy Reeves. Then your in-text citation will look like-

Reeves states that…….” Or (Reeves 122), where 122 is the page number.

  • When more than one author is present

Author names are listed alphabetically. For example, your authors are James, Paul, Smith.

The in-text citation will look like –

(James, Paul, and Smith 122)

  • No authors

Here you will have to use the book's name in place of the author.

If your book is – A brief history of time, then your in-text citation will look like-

(“A brief history of time” 122)

  1. Works Cited

At the end of your academic paper, you should have a full reference list that mentions the sources you have used in your in-text citations. Your entries should have the following core components:

  • Author
  • Title of book/title of the source
  • Other contributors
  • Version
  • Number
  • Publisher
  • Publication date
  • Location

You will have to write your entries in alphabetical order, corresponding with the author's surname. If you have more than one title by the same author, list them by the alphabetical names of titles.

Author names are listed as – Last name, First Name, Middle name. So, for example, if your author's name is Jessie James West, then your citation will look like- West, Jesse, James.

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Some of the other rules regarding the Works Cited list are:

  • You will have to capitalize the first word of your list, along with other principal words
  • When you are using multiple publishers, include them all by placing a semicolon after each name
  • When different cities are listed for one author, use the city which is mentioned first

For example, when the author and editor is given-

The author's name is Terry Coach

Book’s name is Hilly Radisson

The publication date is 1988

The publisher is Penguin Publishing

Then, your Works Cited reference will look like:

Coach, Terry. Hilly Radisson. Penguin Publishing, 1988.

When you have books with two authors, suppose Jeremy Brunty

Then your Works Cited reference will look like:

Coach, Terry, and Brunty Jeremy. Hilly Radisson. Penguin Publishing, 1988

Now that you know how to cite in the MLA referencing style let's look at some important things that you need to keep in mind while using this referencing style.

  • Titles of books, chapters, and plays should be in italics
  • Titles of individual chapters, essays, and works should be in quotation marks with no italics
  • Each word in the titles should be capitalised
  • The first line of your reference list should have a hanging indent

Final Thoughts

Use this concise yet comprehensive MLA citation guide to master this style of referencing.

However, if you still find using references too complicated for you, you can contact our academic experts at

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We get it, not every student can use citations correctly in their academic papers. This is because several rules and formats must be followed to use citations properly. This is why if ever you feel like citing your academic papers is an arduous task for you, do not hesitate to contact us.

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