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Citing Sources

General Formatting: Guidelines

These are general rules for formatting your paper. For more information and examples, see the "Formatting Research Papers" page on the MLA website 

  • Use a font that is easily readable (e.g., Times New Roman). Whatever font you choose, the italicized type should be distinguishable from the regular type.
  • Set the type to a "standard size" (e.g., 12 point).
  • Double space throughout the entire paper.
  • Set margins to one inch all around.
  • The text should be left-justified only (i.e., flush on the left side, naturally staggered on the right side).
  • Leave only one space after periods unless your professor has instructed otherwise.
  • Do not allow words to be hyphenated or "broken" from one line to the next.
  • Indent paragraphs one-half inch. The tab key preset is appropriate.

*NOTE: The first page of your paper has additional formatting guidelines.


In a title or subtitle, capitalize the first word, last word, and all principal words. (pp. 54-70)

Capitalize the following parts of speech:

  • Nouns
  • Pronouns
  • Verbs
  • Adjectives
  • Adverbs (ex: slightly, quickly, fast [as in, "Thinks Fast"])
  • Subordinating conjunctions (ex: after, although, because, before)

Do NOT capitalize the following parts of speech unless they are the first word of the title or subtitle:

  • Articles (ex: a, an, the)
  • Prepositions (ex: of, between, in, against, for)
  • Coordinating conjunctions (ex: and, but, or, so)
  • The to in infinitives (How to Throw a Baseball)

Teaching Japanese Culture: A Contextual Approach to Achieving Fluency for the Young Learner

Notice the article "A" is capitalized because it is the first word of the subtitle. The article "the" is not capitalized because it falls in the middle of the subtitle.

Insert Header and Page Numbers

For an MLA-style paper, your last name and the page number must appear on all pages in the upper right corner. Use MS Word's functions to do this rather than typing it in manually. Download instructions below to learn how to do this in MS Word 2007.

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