Skip to Main Content

ENGL 1301 Cagle


"MLA Style" refers to the guidelines published by the Modern Language Association in the MLA Handbook.

                MLA 9th edition cover

The MLA Handbook publishes the Association's rules on how to format a paper, how to document research sources you use, and other matters of writing style. The Modern Language Association released a new edition of the MLA Handbook in 2021. You can read about the changes on the MLA Style Center website.

The MLA Handbook is available at the library reference desks and is available for purchase, but student writers can refer to help guides like this for almost any question about MLA style. 

If there's something this guide or the MLA Handbook doesn't cover, try searching the Ask the MLA-FAQ page from the MLA Style Center.

Why is MLA so important?

If you don't use a citation style to document the sources you used to help write a research paper, you're in danger of plagiarism.

Even if you don't mean to plagiarize, not citing your sources correctly might make it look as though you're passing someone else's words or ideas off as your own. There are serious consequences for plagiarism at Lone Star College. 

The best way to protect yourself from plagiarism is to get familiar with MLA style and use it consistently. 

For more help and information with MLA, you can use the MLA, 9th Edition LibGuide created by Librarian Tracy Williams.


MLA has rules for formatting your research paper. Your paper should have:

  • An easily readable font (most professors prefer Times New Roman)

  • 11-13 point size (most professors prefer 12 point font)

  • Double spacing

  • 1-inch margins

  • 1/2-inch indent on the first line of each paragraph in the body of your paper

  • Hanging indent on each Works Cited citation

  • Your last name and page number at the top right of each page header

  • Heading information at the top left of the first page: 

    • Your Name

    • Your Professor's Name

    • Class and section number 

    • Date

  • For more details see "Formatting Your Research Paper" on the MLA Style Center.

For help setting up your paper in MLA format, click through our Google Slides presentation with step-by-step screenshots using a desktop version of Word: