Unlike some other formal styles for writing scholarly papers, MLA Style does not
specify a large number of specific pages that you must include in your paper. APA Style,
for example, requires a title page, an abstract page, and a table of contents, among several
other types of optional pages. MLA Style, however, does not even require a title page.
I will discuss optional pages you can use in your MLA Style paper in this article, along
with some methods you can use to format your paper in MLA Style.
1) TITLE PAGE.
MLA Style makes a title page an optional choice for the writer. If
you decide to use a title page, center the text. The title page may contain the title, author's
name, mailing address, e-mail address, and contact telephone numbers. Some instructors
will require you to include the name of the faculty advisor, the date of submission, and the
members of the committee that will accept the work. With MLA Style, a separate title page
is not numbered. If you're writing an extremely formal paper, such as a thesis or
dissertation, you almost certainly should include a separate title page, unless your instructor
specifies differently. If you include the title on the first page of the main text, you should
number it, but this format is limited to a less formal paper.
2) APPROVAL PAGE.
The approval page, which contains all signatures of approval
from members of the thesis approval committee, is optional.
3) ABSTRACT PAGE.
The abstract page, which is a short summary of the purpose
of the paper, is optional.
4) BIOGRAPHY PAGE.
The biography page, which provides a short description of
the author and his or her accomplishments, is optional.
5) DEDICATION PAGE.
The dedication page, which allows the author to dedicate
the thesis to a person or multiple people who helped with the paper, is optional.
6) EPIGRAPH PAGE.
The epigraph page, which may contain a poem or quotation, is
7) TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE.
If the paper is long enough to have sections, you
may include a table of contents page.
8) LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS AND TABLES.
This page, if applicable, lists all of
the illustrations and tables you used in the paper, sorted by the pages on which they appear.
The preface, which is an optional page, may introduce the paper by
discussing a related idea that doesn't quite fit within the parameters of the main text.
10) MAIN TEXT.
With the main text, simply select a readable font, usually Times
New Roman at 12 points. Double space throughout the main text, and indent all
paragraphs by one-half inch.
MLA Style does not require headings, chapters, or any other method for breaking up
the main text. MLA Style also does not prohibit any methods for breaking up the text,
however. If your instructor doesn't specify a method for breaking up the text, you can use a
few different optional methods. If you choose to use chapters, you can use the following
methods for breaking up the text within the chapters.
You can use an extra blank line to separate ideas. Just hit the Enter key an additional
time after completing a paragraph. Keep in mind, though, that this method might be
ineffective if the blank line occurs at the end of a printed page. Some writers combat this
problem by typing three asterisks, centered on the page, in place of the blank line. Others
actually type "[blank line]" flush left in place of the blank line.
You may use headings to break up the text and organize similar ideas. MLA Style
prefers using an Arabic number with each heading. You also should type each heading
flush left with no extra blank lines before or after the heading. For example:
1. Economic Growth 2006
2. Economic Growth 2007
3. Economic Growth 2008
Finally, you may simply use an Arabic number to signify related ideas in the text. Just
type "1" centered on a blank line before the first idea, "2" centered before the second idea,
and so on.
If you choose to list endnotes, you need to use a separate page
immediately following the main text. An endnotes page is optional in MLA Style.
12) WORKS CITED.
The Works Cited page in MLA Style is a list of all sources you
referenced in the main text. The listing of all sources requires you to follow a specific set of
The glossary page, which is a list of all confusing and unusual
terms used in the text, along with definitions, is optional.
If you choose to include an optional index page, it will list the various
proper nouns and ideas that you've included throughout the main text, listed alphabetically
and linked to the page numbers on which the items appear.
You can use an MLA formatting software
to correctly format and write papers in MLA Style
, available at http://www.masterfreelancer.com/mla-writing-style-software.php