MLA Format Checklist
This document is meant to help you write the best paper you can byreminding you of common errors you can check for. Proofreading is often mosteffective if you print off the document and thentake a break from it before looking at it again, and even better if you can getsomeone else to look at it. Don’t forget you can always go to the Writing Centrefor help, and most profs are willing to look at drafts if you have the paperdone early enough.
To book an appointment using Google Calendar, visit
You can create your own checklist of common errors you frequently make.


First Page

  • Does the top left have your name, the prof’s name, the course and the date?
  • Are those 4 lines double spaced?
  • Is the prof’s name spelled properly?
  • Is the date formatted day month year with no commas (ex. 21 December 2012)?
  • Is the title centered, with no bolding, underlining, or italics?
  • Is the rest of your paper double spaced?

Whole Paper

  • Are the margins all 2.54cm?
  • Do you have page numbers?
  • Have you indented the beginning of every paragraph?
  • Did you use 12 pt, Times New Roman or Courier font?
  • Have you made it so there is only 1 space between paragraphs (you usually have to manually change this)? Click here for more info.
    (In MLA format, there should not be a double space between paragraphs. It is a common mistake and in fact, is the default on most computers using Microsoft Word. To fix this, go to the "Page Layout" tab at the top and click the bottom right hand bottom beside paragraph (in the tool bar). There, select "Don't Add Spacing between paragraphs of the same format".
  • Is it all double spaced?

Works Cited Page

  • Does it have a page number on it?
  • Did you entitle it Works Cited?
  • Is the title center, with no bolding, underlining, or quotation marks?
  • Is the page double spaced, just like the rest of the document?
  • Are the second line (and every line following it) in a “hanging indent”? (link to explanation)
  • Are the entries alphabetized?

After you write:


  • Does your introduction lead into your thesis statement at the end of it?
  • Does your thesis statement make an argument?
  • Is your thesis statement at the end of your introduction?
  • Does every single sentence go towards proving the argument that you are trying to make?
  • Did you restate your thesis at the beginning of your conclusion?
  • Does your conclusion summarize the information you have presented (no surprises in the conclusion!)?


  • Are all your citations at the end of sentences?
  • Do you have citations every time you need them, even when you’ve paraphrased?
  • Have you properly used block quotes?


  • Have you avoided contractions (don’t, won’t , can’t, didn’t)?
  • Have you used it’s/its properly? For more information click here.
  • Have you used their/there properly? They're is a contraction and should not be used in university writing. For more information click here.
  • Have you used “s” properly (for pluralizing or making possessives)?
  • Have you written out dates properly (1980s not 1980’s)?
  • Have you properly used who and whom? For more information click here.
  • Have you used affect and effect properly? For more information click here.

Word Choice

  • Have you avoided passive voice? For more information click here.
  • Have you avoided casual language?
  • Are your pronouns consistent?
  • Have you used “s” properly (for pluralizing or making possessives)?
  • Have you taken out redundant comparatives (most clearest, more bigger)?
  • When you use the word "I", has the prof has requested or approved it? If not, you may want to reword.

Your own common mistakes

If you need any help with your writing, the writing center is available to helpstudents, for free, with any papers they want help with. The staff there canhelp you develop your writing skills in any format, as well as proofread.
The Writing Centre is located in Edmund Casey Hall, Room 102.
To make an appointment go to

Last modified: Wednesday, 27 February 2013, 1:41 PM