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Question about MLA Formatting

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  • Question about MLA Formatting

    Recently, a colleague of mine was rather snippy in dismissing my perspective of a certain element of essay formatting according to the Modern Language Association. Of course I reviewed the guidelines and have reaffirmed that I was correct despite my colleague's certainty that I was incorrect.

    Is anyone here an "authority" on MLA formatting for formal essays? If so, I'd like to discuss this small point and understand your perspectives on this particular rule (that is not clearly delineated but surely settled according to various authorities and their "sample papers").

    A sincere thanks to any thread participants!

  • #2
    Originally posted by Zaphod View Post
    Recently, a colleague of mine was rather snippy in dismissing my perspective of a certain element of essay formatting according to the Modern Language Association. Of course I reviewed the guidelines and have reaffirmed that I was correct despite my colleague's certainty that I was incorrect.

    Is anyone here an "authority" on MLA formatting for formal essays? If so, I'd like to discuss this small point and understand your perspectives on this particular rule (that is not clearly delineated but surely settled according to various authorities and their "sample papers").

    A sincere thanks to any thread participants!
    I'm not really an "authority," but I have been an advisor and editor for academic work. Most of the time, when it's anything more complex than last name, comma, first name, period [etc.] I just look at Purdue's page, click the most likely-looking category, cross my fingers and hope for the best. Still, I'd be glad to give my input.
    I promise that if you treat me as a reasonable person -- someone who is open to good arguments and clear explanations -- I will treat you as one in return.

    If, on the other hand, you don't consider me a reasonable person, why would you want to talk to me, and why would I want to listen to you?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by ajarntham View Post

      I'm not really an "authority," but I have been an advisor and editor for academic work. Most of the time, when it's anything more complex than last name, comma, first name, period [etc.] I just look at Purdue's page, click the most likely-looking category, cross my fingers and hope for the best. Still, I'd be glad to give my input.
      I also use Owl at Purdue. It seems we have done similar work. (Yeah, I pull up Owl and find what's closest and just go for it like you do).

      My question concerns line spacing. When pushing "Enter" at the end of a paragraph, Word automatically adds a 10 point space so that the space is wider between paragraphs. This adds extra space in the heading of an MLA paper and after paragraphs. According to Owl at Purdue the entire essay is double spaced with no added space between paragraphs (unless that paragraph incorporates a heading for itself and the next few paragraphs in a section). This is easy to see in the sample essay and the sample works cited page.

      I know for a fact that some professors take off points for more than just a double space, but some don't. I was somewhat taken aback by my colleague who insisted I was incorrect.

      Have you ever confronted this issue?

      Thanks sgain.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Zaphod View Post

        I also use Owl at Purdue. It seems we have done similar work. (Yeah, I pull up Owl and find what's closest and just go for it like you do).

        My question concerns line spacing. When pushing "Enter" at the end of a paragraph, Word automatically adds a 10 point space so that the space is wider between paragraphs. This adds extra space in the heading of an MLA paper and after paragraphs. According to Owl at Purdue the entire essay is double spaced with no added space between paragraphs (unless that paragraph incorporates a heading for itself and the next few paragraphs in a section). This is easy to see in the sample essay and the sample works cited page.

        I know for a fact that some professors take off points for more than just a double space, but some don't. I was somewhat taken aback by my colleague who insisted I was incorrect.

        Have you ever confronted this issue?

        Thanks sgain.
        I haven't; I use Open Office, which doesn't add extra space between paragraphs by default; you have to go into the Format--Paragraph--Line Spacing menu if you want to add it. I'm guessing that Word has a way of removing the extra space, because the thesis essays I've looked at from our university didn't seem to have it.

        I would also guess that it's the older professors who would take points off, because they see it as a form of padding, an attempt to make an essay with the extra spacing look longer than it really is. That would seems like an anachronistic response to me, because today the word-count can be easily seen no matter how many pages you use.
        I promise that if you treat me as a reasonable person -- someone who is open to good arguments and clear explanations -- I will treat you as one in return.

        If, on the other hand, you don't consider me a reasonable person, why would you want to talk to me, and why would I want to listen to you?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by ajarntham View Post

          I haven't; I use Open Office, which doesn't add extra space between paragraphs by default; you have to go into the Format--Paragraph--Line Spacing menu if you want to add it. I'm guessing that Word has a way of removing the extra space, because the thesis essays I've looked at from our university didn't seem to have it.

          I would also guess that it's the older professors who would take points off, because they see it as a form of padding, an attempt to make an essay with the extra spacing look longer than it really is. That would seems like an anachronistic response to me, because today the word-count can be easily seen no matter how many pages you use.
          Yep. There's not a specific note from MLA about being careful in Word, and yes, it's easy to fix, but something "newbies" won't know about to then take that certain step to fix it.

          Yes, eliminating that spacing makes you write a few more sentences if you're going to a page limit.

          Thanks for the confirmation! Much appreciated.
          Last edited by Zaphod; 11-07-16, 09:41 PM.

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