Note that the section including the student’s name, course number, professor’s name, and date, as well as the title, should all be double spaced. Here’s how to create a proper header in Microsoft Word: go to “Insert” on the word-processing tool bar; select “Header,” then “Blank.” type in your last name only; select alignment to the right (rather than left or center); after your last name, space once, and then click on Page Number in the header tool bar. Select “Different First Page” so that the header does not appear on the first page, but appears instead on every page beginning on the second page. Save and close the header window. The program will automatically set up a proper header on all your subsequent pages and number them accordingly. A header is already formatted for you here, if you look at page two.
Be sure to check your spelling, grammar, and usage throughout the paper. The grading rubric only allows for only so many errors per page for each grade level. MLA citation errors and documentation errors must be kept to a minimum for a paper to earn a C, and they must be non-existent for a paper to earn higher than a C (in accordance with departmental policy). Note that commas and periods always appear inside quotation marks, while semicolons, colons, question marks, and exclamation points do not. Remember that the titles of novels, plays, films, and epic-length poems, such as John Milton’s Paradise Lost or the film Watchmen, appear in italics. The same is true for critical and reference books such as Natural Supernaturalism by M. H. Abrams. On the other hand, shorter poems, short stories, and articles/essays appear in quotation marks—for example, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” by T. S. Eliot. This allows us to distinguish between James Baldwin’s “Going to Meet the Man” and Going to Meet the Man—the former being the title of a short story and the latter being the title of the collection in which the story appears. Also, note that two hyphens—with no spaces before or after them—will create a dash. In the absence of parentheses, commas and periods go inside quotation marks while other punctuation marks go outside, except in the rare case when the punctuation mark is part of the quotation. Example: At the end of Raymond Carver’s short story “Gazebo,” a couple’s relationship comes to end, just like in “Chef’s House”; however, we find reconciliation and reconnection at the end of “A Small, Good Thing.”
If you have any formatting or documentation questions, then you can consult the MLA
Handbook. Use only Times New Roman typeface in 12-point font size and a 1” margin. I will not read essays submitted in different faces or sizes. When you need to cite a long passage of more than four lines of prose, you use a block quote:
A quotation of more than forty or fifty words needs to be in block quotation form. Its right margin should be set at 1 inch. (Note that paragraphs are indented half an inch.) The quotation should be double spaced, without quotation marks at the beginning or end of the quoted material. However, if the quotation includes a mixture of dialogue and narration, or if two or more characters engage in dialogue, then replicate the way the passage appears on the page. The parenthetical citation follows the last item of punctuation. (16)
To quote fewer than four lines of poetry, use slashes to indicate line breaks. For example: Elizabeth Bishop’s “In the Waiting Room” begins, “In Worcester, Massachusetts, / I went with Aunt Consuelo / to keep her dentist’s appointment” (1-3). Be sure to add a space before and after each slash mark. To cite four or more lines of poetry, use block quotation format.
MLA format is designed to be easy, consistent, and, above all, repeatable. Simply lay this template over your paper. If your formatting is different in any way, then reformat. Check all margins, headers, titles, and spacings. Remember to use only one space after a period, not two. And try not to use ALL CAPS or italics or underlining or bold when you want to stress a word or analytical point. Better to imply it with your language and argument. If your argument needs these typographical marks, then you may want to retool your argument. Privilege strong analytical verbs in the active voice and subject-verb-object sentence constructions, for example: Here Shakespeare questions three early-modern assumptions about masculinity. Use quotation marks to identify words being analyzed as words. Example: Words like “Indian” and “Negro,” and phrases like “half breed” have a long and troubling linguistic history.
When citing a secondary source, always use a “cueing device” to introduce the quotation. Example: In her 1990 study Playing in the Dark, Toni Morrison notes that “in matters of race, silence and evasion have historically ruled literary discourse” (9). When introducing a quotation, never use commas after “such as” and “that,” which you will do occasionally, especially when quoting just a phrase or excerpt. Example: Morrison further explains that living in a “wholly racialized world” (4) demands new linguistic strategies for writers and readers alike. Do use commas with every other introduction, unless you precede the quotation with a complete sentence. Then, use a colon. Example: Calhoun, the narrator of Charles Johnson’s Middle Passage, struggles to understand the metaphysics of the slave ship he inhabits: “She would not be [. . .] the same vessel that left New Orleans, it not being the nature of any ship to remain the same on that thrashing Void called the Atlantic. [. . .] And a seaman’s first duty was to keep her afloat at any cost” (36). Ellipses are best used in the middle of quotations rather than at their beginning or end. Use brackets to show that you, as the writer, have chosen to eliminate a phrase or sentence, which distinguishes your ellipses from those that exist in the original text. Use one space between each period.
Note that in block quotations, the period comes at the end of the long block passage, followed by a parenthetical citation and no subsequent period. This is not true with in-text documentation, which should look like the examples in the previous paragraph. If you need to make a minor adjustment to a quotation, such as turning a pronoun into a proper name for the sake of clarity, use brackets. For example, “Following [Squibb’s] orders, I helped prepare mess, and mess it was, for the biscuits were hard and full of weevils” (37). If quotation marks appear around a word or words in an in-text passage you are citing, such as when dialogue is mixed with narrative, use single quotation marks. Example: In Middle Passage, Calhoun struggles to grasp the enormity of what Falcon has just told him: “My brain had stopped functioning a full five sentences ago. [. . .] Considering thoughts of this sort was like standing on the edge of a cliff. ‘Captain,’ I said, swallowing, ‘you’ve got a god on ship?’” (102). Finally, you need a works cited page to complete your document.
Author’s Last Name, Author’s First Name. Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher’s
Name, Year of Publication.
Author’s Last Name, Author’s First Name. “Title of Article or Essay or Poems or Story.” Title of Anthology. Ed(s). of Anthology. Place of Publication: Publisher’s Name, Year of Publication. page numbers of entry. (see Barthel entry below)
Author’s Last Name, Author’s First Name. “Title of Article or Essay or Poems or Story.” Title of
Journal. Volume Number.Issue Number (Year of Publication): Page Numbers. (see Doolen entry below)
Author’s Last Name, Author’s First Name. Website’s Name. Date of Publication. Date of Last Access. .
Film’s Title. Dir. Jane Doe. Perf. Actor X, Starring Y, Actor Z. Studio, Year.
Director’s Last Name, Director’s First Name, dir. Film’s Title. Perf. Actor X, Actor Y, Actor Z. Studio, Year.