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What is MLA Format with Examples (Quick Read)

by | Aug 10, 2022 | Academic Writing

Writing your essay in MLA format might seem challenging at first, but hopefully, these quick questions and answers will help you write a great essay, plus we’ve included examples! Start reading this quick guide, and click the links to read more!

What is MLA format for an essay?

MLA format was created by the Modern Language Association—hence the acronym—and is a widely used styling for research papers and academic essays. If you’re a college student, you’ll notice that MLA format is required in liberal arts and humanities subjects. Learn how to format your essay in MLA style using Microsoft Word here

What does MLA format mean?

MLA style refers to the style recommended by the Modern Language Association (MLA) for preparing scholarly manuscripts and student research papers,” according to MLA format or MLA style essays are a special format of essay writing that focuses on how you space your text, use punctuation, organize your content, and how you cite your sources. If you’re new to writing an MLA style essay, don’t worry. We can help you format your essay step-by-step. Here is a video on how to format your MLA style essay in Google Docs. 

When is MLA format used?

You’ll most often use MLA style in humanities subjects such as early creative writing, English, filmmaking, literature, philosophy, etc. In early college courses, professors may allow students to write in the format they are most comfortable using, but quite often MLA is chosen because it is one of the easier essay formats to learn. Learn how to format your essay in Microsoft Word here

How do you do MLA format in Google Docs?

It is possible to format your MLA style essay in Google Docs. Thankfully, Google docs is completely free if you have a Gmail account. If you don’t have a Gmail account, you can create one for free. Learn how to format your MLA style essay using Google Docs by clicking here

How many paragraphs should I write in MLA format?

The amount of paragraphs in your MLA essay depends on what your professor assigned. It’s a better idea to focus on either your word count or your page count instead. Find out what your professor requires for your essay in regards to how many words or pages are needed for your essay. For high schoolers and freshman college students, you’ll often write essays in the 3-5 page range, which usually equates to 1250 double-spaced words and approximately 2 to 3 paragraphs per page. 

How many words should my essay be in MLA format?

Your final word count in your MLA essay greatly depends on the assignment details given by your professor. Check with your professor to find out how many words your final essay should be. For high schoolers and freshman college students, beginner essays usually run 3-5 pages. A common 5-page essay, double-spaced, typically runs approximately 1250 words. Learn the basic rules of MLA format here.

How do you cite a book in MLA format?

Citing your book sources on the Works Cited page doesn’t have to be hard! Your book citation should include the following: Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. City of Publication, Publisher, Publication Date.


Krakauer, Jon. Under the Banner of Heaven. Sydney, Pan MacMillan, 2004. 

If a book has more than one author, you’ll start your MLA citation like usual with the first author mentioned in the book and then tack on the second author. 


Pratchett, Terry and Neil Gaiman. Good Omens. New York, Workman, 1990.

How do you cite a website in MLA format?

The key difference between electronic citations and others is that you’ll use the website URL rather than the page number of most of the sources you’re citing. 

Here’s a basic MLA citation format for website sources: 

Last Name, First Name. “Title.” Title of Journal, Other Contributors, Edition, Volume Number, Publisher, Publication Date, Location (URL, DOI, or permalink). Read more about MLA style citations here.

What’s an example of an MLA format essay?

Sometimes seeing a full MLA format example is all you need to fully understand how to use this essay style. We’ve put together a full essay example for free download. This essay example includes a real MLA style essay and it includes notes and tips in the margins. You can download your free MLA format example essay here

Mel Beasley
By Mel Beasley

Mel Beasley has a bachelor’s in creative writing and journalism from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He brings 9+ years of digital marketing and writing experience to the table by writing for publications such as Lumina News and Encore Magazine. He spent 2 years as a college-level writing tutor, and is a certified writing tutor through the CRLA, which is a prestigious cert recognized by the Association for the Coaching & Tutoring Profession. He is a professional SEO blogger with experience writing for brands such as Boardworks Education and The Greater Wilmington Business Journal. One of his latest website and marketing projects has been building the website for the now New York Times Bestselling author, Nina de Gramont.


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