Common MLA Style Mistakes

Students usually make some common MLA style mistakes while writing research or academic papers. However, these errors are not always allowable. Some of these common MLA style mistakes made by the students while writing MLA papers are the main reason behind their unimpressive grades and poor quality of papers.

Writing or formatting papers in MLA style is a very elusive work. This needs a lot of learning and practice. In order to avoid committing common MLA style mistakes in your research or academic paper, the present article shows some valuable instructions on how to avoid these common MLA style mistakes while writing your own paper.

Common MLA Style Mistakes While Writing Papers

Wrong Organisation

MLA referencing style generally has specific writing procedures. These procedures should be followed by the students without any excuse. Employing wrong structure in the MLA paper is frequently regarded as a failure to give notice to details. These errors often annoy the readers. By failing to follow the instructions, students basically reject themselves of a chance to excel. Thus, always check and ensure to structure your paper according to the MLA referencing style guidelines.

Performing the Opposite

MLA writing guidelines generally provide step-by-step instructions on how to do things. Always refer to these guidelines while writing your MLA paper. Make sure that before starting to write your paper, you have clearly understood the MLA style guide. Academic papers written without proper use of the writing regulations will only diminish your grades. Thus, always make sure that you clearly understand and follow the stated academic writing guidelines.

Misunderstand the Instructions

Majority of students, who submit MLA style papers, usually fail to match their teachers’ expectations. The reason behind this failure is a number of mistakes. These mistakes include misunderstanding particular writing guidelines. In order to avoid this mistake, students should carefully read and thoroughly understand each and every instruction. In case they fail to understand any instruction, they should immediately ask for clarifications.

Improper Referencing Style

In-text referencing should not be treated as just a requirement. Adequate attention should always be paid to in-text citations. Along with making mistakes and omissions, many students submit MLA papers that have reference style mistakes. Ensure that all the in-text citations are done in line with the specific formats. Always make proper use of the MLA referencing style guides to avoid making hasty errors.

Inappropriate Reference List

References should not be merely added in the MLA papers for the sake of it. References section should be formatted flawlessly and precisely. Many MLA papers submitted by students have mistakes in the references list. In order to avoid committing such types of mistakes, always refer to the MLA style guides for learning the proper way to format a perfect reference list for your MLA paper.

Poor content

Writing an MLA paper is considered to be difficult as students typically have too many factors to put into contemplation during the writing course. Along with the failure in studying the MLA style guide properly before writing, some students also fail to select an appropriate content. Ensure to express your ideas and notions in an understandable and comprehensive manner. Make sure to analyse the research findings in order to avoid submitting inadequately researched MLA papers.

The above discussed points offer guidance to avoid the most common MLA style mistakes while writing a research or academic paper. Following these guidelines methodically can be a little tricky at first. However, regular practice will ultimately make you more well-known and better acquainted with the basic rules of MLA style.

Writing an MLA Style Outline

Modern Language Association, which is commonly known as MLA, is one of the most widely used styles for writing. MLA-style manual for writing and referencing is regularly used by students studying languages and/or humanities. MLA style guide needs periods, quotation marks and commas in particular places while writing a paper, inserting quotes or organising a bibliography. For writing an MLA style outline, you need to put in references into the manuscript and also write an MLA-structured bibliography.

The present article on ‘Writing an MLA Style Outline’ will guide you in preparing an MLA style outline for your writing. Some useful tips for writing an MLA style outline are discussed below.

Tips for Writing an MLA Style Outline

  • Create a title for your outline. Arrange the title in the middle of the page header.
  • Insert page numbers consecutively at the top right-hand corner.
  • Avoid underlining or typing in bold the title of the outline.
  • Ensure to keep one inch margins on all sides of the manuscript.
  • Introduce quotations in your outline by inserting brackets following the quote. The brackets should include the author’s last name and the page number(s) by which the quote can be found.
  • If a reader wants to know more about any particular quotation, he/she can refer to the bibliography.
  • Ensure to keep a blank space between the author’s last name and the page number. The period should be put after the bracket close.
  • Compose your outline. Cite direct quotes and paraphrases. You only require MLA formatting for quotations, references, paraphrasing and bibliography.
  • Bibliography formatting should be started by entitling the section ‘Bibliography’. After inserting the title, strike ‘Enter’ twice prior to starting your first bibliographic entry.
  • Each new entry should start on the left-hand side. In case, the entry is longer than one line, the second, as well as the succeeding lines in the same entry should be indented with at least five spaces. This is known as the hanging indentation.
  • Insert the author’s last name first and the first name last. Separate the names by a comma in the bibliography. Insert a period after the first name and write the name of the book. Underline it and finish with a period. The book’s name should be followed by the place of publication, a colon, the publisher’s name, a comma and the year of publication. End with a period.
  • In case the book has more than one author, begin the reference with one of the authors’ last names. The author’s last name should come first, followed by a comma and then the first name. Insert a comma to illustrate that more authors are present and merely write the full name of the second author. Conclude the reference with the same formatting style as discussed in the earlier step.
  • In case there are no authors to be cited, begin with the name of the publication or the work itself. Name the organisation or institution, e.g., a university, if it is the chief publisher.
  • Underline the title of the work and insert a period. Write the place of publication followed by a colon, the publisher’s name, followed by a comma, and the year of publication, followed by a period.
  • Ensure that your outline is double-spaced throughout, as this is a part of correct MLA style formatting.
  • Ensure that the bibliography is alphabetised by the authors’ last names. In case there are no authors present, use the name of the work as the reference for alphabetising.

By following the given tips you can learn the basic technique for writing an MLA style outline. The above mentioned strategies will help you to learn and also guide you in writing an MLA style outline for your future use.