What Are the Borders for the MLA Format?
MLA style is a writing style created by the Modern Language Association, which is dedicated to "strengthen[ing] the study and teaching of language and literature." Intended to standardize the documentation style for research papers penned in the humanities fields, the seventh edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers also provides clear instructions for formatting such documents.
With few exceptions, the main body of the paper should have 1-inch margins on all sides. The first page will look slightly different, though. Following the full name of the author and the class information -- located in the upper left corner of the title page -- will be a centered title immediately preceding the body text. Additionally, the first line of new paragraphs in an MLA paper should be indented 1/2 inch from the paper's standard 1-inch margins. Finally, if a direct quotation cited in your paper extends longer than four lines, each line should be indented 1 inch -- the block quote will be indented 2 inches in total -- from the left margin of the paper. If there is more than one paragraph being quoted, the first line of each paragraph in the quotation should be indented an additional 1/4 inch. Don't place quotation marks around a block quote.
In the upper right hand corner of each page, place a header that includes your name and the page number. This header should be 1/2 inch from the top of the paper and flush with the right margin, which is 1 inch from the edge of your document.
- Modern Language Association: About the MLA
- Modern Language Association: What Is MLA Style?
- Purdue Online Writing Lab: MLA Formatting and Style Guide
- MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Seventh Edition; Modern Language Association (Print)
- Purdue Online Writing Lab: MLA Formatting Quotations
First published in 2005, Kyle Whitney has covered news and sports in the Midwest, Washington, D.C., and Beijing. His articles have appeared in newspapers and magazines in Michigan and China. Whitney is currently a local government reporter at a daily paper.