Download MLA (Modern Language Association) Outline Template | Fillable PDF | Word | RTF

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The Modern Language Association (MLA) dictates that you cite references to scholarly work you use in your own writing. This lends your work authority, but also credits authors with their original ideas.

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The majority of universities and scholarly publications, especially within the liberal arts, use MLA’s citation guidelines. The MLA also publishes formatting and style guidelines that professors generally like their students to follow for their final drafts. These guidelines don’t apply so much to outlines of papers, but you can still use them to get started when making an outline.

Here are some of the key MLA formatting guidelines to use in any outline or final draft:

  •  12-point font
  • Double spacing
  • 1-inch margins on all sides
  • 1 space after all punctuation marks
  • Indent first line of paragraphs 0.5 inch
  • Page numbers in upper right-hand corner
  • No title page (unless instructor wants one)

When you actually begin writing the paper, you will align a header at the top left that states your name, your professor’s name, the title of the course, and the date, all double-spaced. Then, you will skip another line and write the title of your paper aligned in the center, and then the writing will begin after you skip one more line.

MLA does have recommendations for headings within a paper, and you can use these to create an outline as well. You simply number each heading with an Arabic numeral, period, and space before the heading title. The MLA-style outline also calls for a few other pieces of information that may be absent from other outline formats. See the outline below as a guide.

Example

Here is an example of an MLA-styled outline.

[Your name]

[Professor’s name]

[Name of course]

[Date]

[Title of paper]

1. Thesis

2. First Main Point: Topic sentence

A. Subpoint:

1.

2.

3.

B. Subpoint:

C. Subpoint:

(Transitional statement)

 

3. Second Main Point: Topic sentence

A. Subpoint:

1.

2.

3.

B. Subpoint:

C. Subpoint:

(Transitional statement)

 

4. Third Main Point: Topic sentence

A. Subpoint:

1.

2.

3.

B. Subpoint:

C. Subpoint:

(Transitional statement)
5. Conclusion

6. Endnotes

7. References

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