Basic Tips on How to Start Off an MLA Essay

If you’re wondering how to start off an MLA essay, follow our basic tips you’ll have an essay on a deadline without a hitch.

MLA formatting could seem like a little bit more work than the other formatting styles if you’re not used to it. However, most scholars are of the opinion that it is a straightforward method of formatting information.

Students sometimes want an MLA sample paper to complete their assignments. An assignment is a great place to start understanding the format and how things work. Once you get familiar with it, you can tailor a sample paper that will look amazing.

To ensure that the user’s final product is properly formatted, samples can be used to swap in the user’s own text. So, what exactly is MLA?

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What is MLA?

Modern Language Association (MLA) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the English language. MLA style is a formatting system created to assist you in navigating the writing process.

MLA is recognized worldwide as the most accepted style of formatting any type of academic work pertaining to the English language.

There are MLA formats for Introduction, body paragraphs, conclusion, and Works Cited. Let’s take a look at how these MLA formatting for these sections work!

How to Start Off an MLA Essay

A basic MLA essay starts with a title. Then the first sentence begins, introducing the topic and characters.

The body of the paper is divided into three parts. Each section should include a narrative, a quotation, and a summary of the information within that section.

The conclusion should follow the same formula, ending with a statement summarizing what the author wants the audience to take away from their argument. Let’s delve into details!

Introductory Paragraph

If students are familiar with the basic guidelines for the MLA title page, they will notice that the introduction in the sample MLA paper. It usually begins with a memorable phrase designed to pique the interest of the target audience.

The introduction should serve as a paper’s overview while also setting the stage for the topic at hand. This section of the MLA sample paper should account for about 10% of the total essay.

The MLA format requires that you state explicitly the major argument in the final sentence of the introductory paragraph, known as the thesis statement.

Body Paragraphs for an MLA Essay

Each paragraph’s introductory topic sentence in the MLA sample paper should refer back to the thesis statement. The standard practice is to include a keyword from the thesis statement in the topic sentence.

Each of these paragraphs serves to bolster the central argument of the paper. The second sentence, using MLA citation guidelines, should provide proof or an example that backs up the topic phrase.

Simply put, one must provide references to the sources one uses to back up claim(s) made in the main body of the text. The MLA in-text citation also requires the page numbers of the source material from which a quote or paraphrase was taken.

Next, the author should add a few lines to contextualize the supporting evidence. Note that you should link evidence and topic sentences by explanation sentences.

Therefore, each paragraph should conclude with a sentence that demonstrates how that paragraph supports the thesis statement and leads naturally into the following one.


The final section of an MLA format sample paper should elaborate on how the work addresses all the claims made in the thesis statement.

An essay’s conclusion should, at a minimum, contain a restatement of the essay’s primary arguments. No novel concepts should be introduced in this paragraph.

In addition, the final paragraph of an essay should connect the introduction and conclusion. Sample MLA papers do not typically include suggestion paragraphs, but they are acceptable in some circumstances.

The final paragraph of such an essay should give the reader a sense of the bigger picture with regard to the subject at hand. In addition, one should avoid going on and on in the final paragraph.

A reasonable conclusion, for instance, should account for about 10% of the total word count of the work. The final paragraph of an essay needs to provide a comprehensive overview of the entire piece.

MLA Sample Paper- Works Cited Section

There needs to be a dedicated page in the MLA sample paper for the Works Cited section. The Works Cited section includes a list of all the references used.

The Works Cited section in your MLA paper should begin on a different page after you’ve written the conclusion. In-text citations should have all sources listed in alphabetical order.

Each entry needs to properly cite its sources. Examples of required information for a bibliography include authors’ names, book titles, and publication dates.

Digital resources should point to their respective internet locations via DOI identifiers or URLs.

Points to Note

Journal article submissions should also provide a range of pages, as well as the volume and issue numbers.

All main words in the titles of sources and journal names must be capitalized in this instance. They should students in college and university, who will be required to write essays many times during their education careers. Students should keep in mind that this style of writingbe presented in title case.

Books included in the MLA sample paper should have their publication information included in the entry. It is obligatory to supply publisher names.

Whenever possible, students should also include the location of the article. As a final touch, the title “Works Cited” should be centered on the last page. All capital letters, no italics, no underlining.


An MLA essay requires students to cite their sources and explain their rationale. This style of writing is important for research papers for high school, college, and university exams.

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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