Language Center

Writing Tips

MLA Style and Format Questions

Answers to all of the following questions concerning MLA style and format issues are based on information in the 6th edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. The Language Center and the Volunteer State Community College library have copies of this book for your use while on campus.


Should I use a cover (title) page?
How do I create a header?
What is the difference between a heading and a header?
Should I indent, skip lines, or both between paragraphs?
When is a quotation considered "long"? How do I format a long quotation?
What size margins do I use? What line spacing should I use?
Should I underline the title of my essay?

Punctuation and Grammar

Do I always need a comma before "and"?
When should I use a colon?
Does it make a difference if I use a comma and coordinating conjunction or a semicolon when joining two sentences?
What are the coordinating conjunctions?
How do I identify "introductory material" in a sentence?
How can I tell if a sentence is a run-on (i.e., fusion)?
Does an apostrophe go before or after the "s"?
What is a sentence fragment?
What is a comma splice?
Can I use contractions (e.g., don't, you'll, they're, etc.)?
What is the difference between "affect" and "effect"?
Do "every day" and "everyday" have the same meaning?
What is the difference between "lay" and "lie"?
Should I underline or italicize titles?
What is a passive sentence?
Didn't find the information you needed? Please call the Language Center at (615) 230 - 3323. We look forward to helping you!