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Where does mla heading go?

5 Answer(s) Available
Answer # 1 #

You have graduated from 5-paragraph essays to MLA research papers, so it is time to learn what an MLA heading vs. a header is in MLA format.

Now that you know that each of these is different, explore how an MLA heading and MLA header are used in an MLA paper.

An MLA format heading and title are what you are going to use to start off your paper when you don’t include a title page. Every style guide is a little different. MLA, however, is all about simplicity. Therefore, in your MLA style paper, you can forgo the title page. However, you still do need to have some kind of heading on your first page to give your instructor some inclination of who this paper is from. In the heading of your MLA paper, you need to include a few key details:

Since this is a style guide, MLA headings must be formatted in a specific way. The heading information starts at the 1-inch margin. It’s in the upper left-hand corner of your paper, double spaced, and in a readable font. After your heading, you include the title of your paper, centered in title case.

While a heading is only found on the first page of your MLA paper, an MLA header is included throughout the entire work. An MLA header includes your last name and page number without punctuation or styling elements. The MLA headers work to keep all your pages organized.

Adding a running header in Microsoft Word is pretty easy. Once you’re in the document, just follow these simple steps for a running header.

Not everyone has Word. In that case, you might be creating an MLA running header in Google Docs. This process is just as simple as the Word steps.

When it comes to composing MLA section headings, think freestyle. Why? Because MLA doesn’t have a specific format when it comes to creating section headings in their style guide. All they ask is that whatever you choose to use for your headings, you remain consistent. Therefore, you might have your main section headings bold and centered. Your second-level subheading could then be italicized and centered like:

Main Heading


Whatever system you create for your section headers, just remember to use the same format throughout the entire paper. No need to lose points for something so simple. And if you define these in your MLA outline then you’re a step ahead of the game.

Marek Hannan
Answer # 2 #

The MLA heading and MLA header are both essential parts of the format, so if you want to know how to write a research paper in MLA, you need to learn the rules for both. In this guide, we’ll explain how to write both an MLA heading and an MLA header correctly and will also share an MLA format template you can follow at home.

Learning the MLA format is hard enough without confusing the words heading and header. Let’s take a closer look at them so you can learn what each one means and easily remember their differences when you start writing your paper.

An MLA heading is the title of an individual section or page in a piece of writing—portions of your paper that aren’t quite big enough to be chapters. For example, this section you’re reading now is under the heading “MLA heading vs. MLA header.” Headings help structure a paper and break up information to make it easier to comprehend. They’re also used as the titles of stand-alone pages, such as the MLA works cited page, where the MLA citation list goes.

An MLA header, also known as the running head, is a quick line of text at the top of each page with the page number and author’s surname. A requirement when writing in the MLA format, the MLA header allows readers to track each page with a page number and reminds them whose paper they’re reading.

Some headings, such as the titles for pages like the MLA works cited page or the section for endnotes, are necessary. However, other headings, like ones in the text itself, are optional.

MLA format recommends using headings as a way to organize your paper but warns against overusing them to compensate for poor structure. Therefore, aside from stand-alone page titles, headings should be used only when necessary, as a way to assist the reader, not the writer.

There are multiple kinds of headings, even in the same paper, that designate main sections from subheadings. Generally, headings are divided by level, such as heading level 1 or heading level 3. High-level headings (e.g., heading level 1) are used to divide the paper into main sections, while low-level headings (e.g., heading level 3) are used to divide the main sections into smaller subsections. This makes it easy to show the reader which sections belong in which categories.

For example, let’s say you’re writing a paper comparing unicorns and rhinoceroses. Your paper would have two main parts, one for unicorns and another for rhinos, both of which would use heading level 1 for their titles.

When you start discussing the various attributes of unicorns in the unicorn section, such as horn length or the presence of tails, you would introduce these subsections using heading level 2. That shows the reader that they’re still part of the bigger “unicorn” section. The same idea would also apply to the rhino section.

MLA format has no formal rules for the font sizes and styles of headings. However, it says that “a boldface, larger font indicates prominence; a smaller font, italics, or lack of bold can be used to signal subordination.” In other words, use the biggest, boldest heading for level 1 and use smaller, lighter (less bold) headings for lower levels. You can even use italics instead of bold for low levels.

MLA heading level 1 example

MLA heading level 2 example

MLA heading level 3 example

Your word processing program should already have presets for different levels of headings, so feel free to use those.

MLA also has a few particular rules for how to format your headings:

Headers refer to text that comes at the top of every page, including the title page and works cited page. A header usually mentions the page number but sometimes offers extra information like a chapter title. The opposite of a header is a footer, which refers to text that comes at the bottom of the page. Keep in mind that footers are different from footnotes.

MLA headers are much simpler to understand than MLA headings. Although other formats, like Chicago and APA, have different header styles, the MLA header is merely the surname of the author and the page number, in that order. No periods, hyphens, or any abbreviations like p. In practice, MLA headers should look like this:

Shakespeare 37

The header, or running head, goes in the upper-right corner of the page, half an inch from the top (breaking the 1-inch margin) and flush with the right margin. If the paper has several authors, and not everyone’s name fits in the header, don’t list any authors’ names and use only the page number.

Most word processors can handle MLA headers automatically. All you have to do is set it up once, and the rest will be generated for you.

One question we commonly get is, Does the MLA heading go in the header? The answer is no. MLA headers use only the surname of the author and the page number—nothing else.

[Author Last Name] [Page #]

Main Section 1 [MLA heading level 1]

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

Subsection 1 [MLA heading level 2]

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

Subsection 2 [MLA heading level 2]

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

Main Section 2 [MLA heading level 1]

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

MLA headings are the titles of individual sections or pages in formal writing; they are usually written in a larger font and in bold to stand out. For example, the heading of this section is “MLA heading and MLA header FAQs,” while the subheading is “What is an MLA heading?”

Affion Emmett
Answer # 3 #
  • 1-inch margins.
  • Double-spaced.
  • Left-aligned.
  • 12 point standard font (e.g. Times New Roman)
Idrees Manson
Answer # 4 #

Writers who properly use MLA also build their credibility by demonstrating accountability to their source material. Most importantly, the use of MLA style can protect writers from accusations of plagiarism, which is the purposeful or accidental uncredited use of source material produced by other writers.

If you are asked to use MLA format, be sure to consult the MLA Handbook (9th edition). Publishing scholars and graduate students should also consult the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (3rd edition). The MLA Handbook is available in most writing centers and reference libraries. It is also widely available in bookstores, libraries, and at the MLA web site. See the Additional Resources section of this page for a list of helpful books and sites about using MLA Style.

The preparation of papers and manuscripts in MLA Style is covered in part four of the MLA Style Manual. Below are some basic guidelines for formatting a paper in MLA Style:

Here is a sample of the first page of a paper in MLA style:

Writers sometimes use section headings to improve a document’s readability. These sections may include individual chapters or other named parts of a book or essay.

MLA recommends that when dividing an essay into sections you number those sections with an Arabic number and a period followed by a space and the section name.

MLA does not have a prescribed system of headings for books (for more information on headings, please see page 146 in the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 3rd edition). If you are only using one level of headings, meaning that all of the sections are distinct and parallel and have no additional sections that fit within them, MLA recommends that these sections resemble one another grammatically. For instance, if your headings are typically short phrases, make all of the headings short phrases (and not, for example, full sentences). Otherwise, the formatting is up to you. It should, however, be consistent throughout the document.

If you employ multiple levels of headings (some of your sections have sections within sections), you may want to provide a key of your chosen level headings and their formatting to your instructor or editor.

The following sample headings are meant to be used only as a reference. You may employ whatever system of formatting that works best for you so long as it remains consistent throughout the document.


Formatted, unnumbered:

Level 1 Heading: bold, flush left

Level 2 Heading: italics, flush left

Level 3 Heading: centered, bold

Pallavi Nazmul
Answer # 5 #

Create a header in the upper right-hand corner that includes your last name, followed by a space with a page number. Number all pages consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.), one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin.

Sayak Master