Tips on Double Spacing in an MLA Essay

The liberal arts and humanities departments for most schools require the use of Modern Language Association (MLA) style for students who are writing essays. It is important to know and understand the different aspects of the MLA style guidelines for writing papers and citing sources. One of the most important aspects is that of double spacing.

Setting up the Document

Before you start writing your essay using MLA style guidelines, set your document up correctly. This entails setting the double space function in the word processing program that you are using. This is vital not only to keep within MLA guidelines, but for pagination as well, since most professors specify the essay page length. The easiest way to set up your document is to go into the “Paragraph Format” section of the document menu and select “Double” under “Line spacing.” This should automatically double space each sentence.

Page Heading

According to the MLA style guideline, essays should not have cover pages Instead, a heading should appear at the top left portion of the essay that contains your name, the professor’s name, the course name and number and the date (written as xx Month xxxx). Type each of these pieces of information on a separate line in the aforementioned order. They must remain double-spaced.

Page Title

The essay must have a title, which should be centered. If the title is divided in two parts and separated by a colon, position the main title on the first line and the second portion of the title on a subsequent line. Again, this section should remain double spaced.

Long Quotes and Citations

Ensure that even long quotes — those longer than three lines in length — are indented and double-spaced. If for some reason the document forces the quote into a single-space format, simply highlight the affected portion of text, click “Paragraph Format” and re-select “Double” as the line spacing preference.

Works Cited

MLA guidelines dictate that even the works cited page be double-spaced. Create the works cited page as its own page after the end of the essay. Write out all of the sources used, making sure each line is double spaced. Then, select each source, go to “Paragraph Format” and select “Hanging” under “Indentation.” Review the essay to ensure double-spacing was used throughout.

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