Know these 10 common mistakes college students make in MLA formatting and how you can avoid them

Writing a research paper has never been an easy task as it involves different guidelines that you must have to follow if you don’t want to lose your marks. No matter how great you have written your paper if you have not followed the proper citation and formatting guidelines then definitely you will lose your marks. Most of the students make some common mistakes in MLA style while writing academic or research papers and this is the main reason behind their poor grades. Writing in an MLA style needs lots of practice and learning. If the teacher has instructed an essay writer to write a paper in MLA format, then do not make the following common mistakes.

Why Use MLA?

The proper use of MLA style makes it very easy for your readers to comprehend and navigate a text that came from other sources. Sticking to the MLA guidelines allow your readers to strongly focus on your information as there will be no distraction because of unfamiliar formatting. Secondly, it always establishes your ethos and credibility among your readers. MLA style is mainly used for students and a writer of humanities, cultural studies, English studies, and Foreign language.

Quotation formats

Most of the students make the mistake of not putting the quotation mark correctly. You cannot simply add these just like in a college essay. To avoid this mistake, make sure that you have used this as described in the MLA citation guidelines. Suppose, when you need to cite the work within Collection or Anthology then it is important to put the title of work in quotation mark and in plain text (no italic or bold)


Remember! Citation is one of the most important parts of any assignment. Proper citation prevents plagiarism and shows your readers the credibility of your work. To properly cite sources in MLA style, it is important that you look at guidelines properly. Moreover, it is also essential that your readers can identify from where you have taken the required information. The information that you need to know when adding the in-text citation includes the author's name and the page number. This helps your readers to easily find the source that you have used in your paper and verify that information is correct or not.


This is another important thing that you need to consider. There is a proper format for MLA referencing. The referencing section should be written precisely and flawlessly. Most of the students make the mistake of adding a reference section. To avoid this mistake, check the MLA referencing guideline and format your reference list accordingly.

Page Number

Another mistake that is done commonly by most of the students is adding incorrect page numbers in the citation. When citing information from a journal article or book, it is important to collect accurate information. Although there is very little chance that someone will go and check the page number which you have listed but still it is always good to be on the safe side. Your hard work deserves to be respected and heard. Therefore, it is important to avoid these small mistakes.


Most of the students, as well as experienced researchers, can get confused in knowing when to use italics and bold. Here, once again it is important to check the guidelines of MLA to avoid this mistake. Check the font guidelines to avoid incorrect font usage.

For example, when you are citing a book, always make the title italicized and when you are citing a periodical then only italicize the newspaper or journal-title and not the article. Cover all the page layout main requirements for an MLA style paper. A paper with the proper format in MLA style include the following:

  • 12 pt. Times New Roman Font
  • The 1-inch margin on the paper side
  • Always indent the first line of every paragraph. You can use the tab key for this instead of the space bar.
  • Use double-space throughout the paper
  • Use a single space after punctuation marks and periods.

The page number should be added to the upper right-hand corner. This should be 0.5 inches from the paper top and in line with the right margin. Another mistake that most students make is adding a title page. Keep in mind! In MLA format, there is no title page, just running head which includes your last name right-aligned.


Poor content is another most common mistake that students make. Make sure that you have conducted research and added the information that most of the people have not found yet. This helps you to make your paper unique.


Most of the students add URLs in their papers that are not correct. Remember! You cannot add a URL but there are few exceptions based on your professor and university instructions. One more thing to remember is that Google is not the best source for your research papers, always try to include credible sources that you can trust.


It’s true, Research papers take a lot of effort and time but the contentment at the end is priceless. There is very strict instruction regarding the use of abbreviations in dates, authors, etc. Make sure that you have used all abbreviations correctly in a citation.

If you are still having difficulty, then there is nothing wrong to take help from your professor and colleagues. Just be sure that you have used the correct MLA format in order to produce a high-quality research paper.

The above-mentioned guide will help you format your essay or paper in the MLA format. However, if you are still confused, get help from an essay writing service at affordable rates.

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