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MLA Term Paper Format: a Quick Tutorial


A term paper is an assignment prepared by students as a part of a course program. Usually it involves independent research on a narrow topic, including a brief description of a phenomenon or an argumentative discussion about different concepts. Every term paper in humanities should be formatted properly. An MLA quick tutorial will help you to take into account the most important requirements.


MLA Format Basics


Use the following rules as a checklist when preparing an MLA format term paper:


  • - The text of your term paper should be double-spaced written in Times New Roman and in 12-pt font.
  • - All the margins are one-inch.
  • - The ideas and facts you borrowed from other sources should be cited properly.
  • - The cited articles, papers and databases compose a ‘works cited’ list placed at the end of the paper.
  • - In the right top of each page put its number.
  • - It is better to use present tense throughout the text. However, use past tense when talking about historical events.

MLA Format Details


Your supervisor may have special requirements for the format of the term paper. Make sure you ask if there are any details to pay attention to. For example, you do not have to prepare a title page using MLA style, unless your tutor wants you to. Therefore, your name and the paper title, the supervisor’s name and due date are placed on the first page along with the text.


Your paper can be organized into several sections; some of them may have sub-sections if needed. The MLA allows using a level system to divide the straight text into smaller parts easy to follow. It is a good idea to describe your paper’s structure in an introduction. Usually it’s about 1.5 pages long. The first section often contains some kind of a literature review and a historical context. Conclusion is supposed to be very specific and sum up the material in the term paper sections.


If you feel like some of your points require more explanation, you can use endnotes and give some more details. However, avoid wordy messages; try to write down brief bullet points. Remember that endnotes begin on a new page after the conclusion.


Fortunately, word processing software today allows students and researchers making works cited lists automatically and there is no need to learn tens of MLA sources citation rules. Nevertheless, you can easily find many online guides and simply follow the instructions.

Term Paper Guidelines

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