MLA Style: Most Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

A research paper has never been called a breeze and this is because of all the rules you have to follow. There is a standard and if the standard is not adhered to, you could lose some important marks. Students work hard on achieving higher grades and the same mistakes seem to be preventing them from it. Do not allow any of these common MLA style mistakes be the deciding factor on your score. There is a reason why these mistakes are so common. It’s mostly based on the fact that students don’t pay too much attention to these areas of the research paper.

You want to focus on the content of your paper, while still avoiding making these mistakes. If you search online, you can find an MLA format helper without might trouble. The problem is, you want to have an eye for these mistakes, in case a computer program also gets it wrong. It is about being responsible for the end result, even if you get some help. There is nothing wrong with finding help because of the enormity of a research paper. Just be sure to know the correct format yourself, in order to do well going forward.

Quotation formats

Using quotation marks when using MLA style is often done incorrectly. This is because you cannot simply add these as you would if you were writing an essay. It does take a lot to remember these guidelines, so be sure to have it by your side while working.


As a writer, I understand the importance of proper citation, but it gets even trickier when using MLA format. Have a careful look at the guidelines because it’s there to protect you. With MLA in text citation, you cannot do it the same way as in an online article. Be sure to take extra care here. If you are doing it incorrectly, it can result in you being accused of plagiarism.


It’s one thing to make a list of your references, but there is a format for that as well. By this time, you might be realising that there is a format for every page. Depending on which institute you are attending, it can differ. Some require alphabetical order and others want the surname of the author first. Be sure to read your university’s guidelines, which would be given to you before starting your paper.

Page Numbers

Something as simple as incorrectly numbering your pages can be the difference in points scored. Do not allow this insignificant mistake take away from the hard work you have done. When you look at your MLA format bibliography, students pay a lot of attention to get it right. The same should apply for every other part of the paper. Your research deserves to be heard and your view respected. This is why all of these common mistakes should be avoided if possible.


Knowing when to use bold or italics can confuse any person busy with a research paper. Once again, you want to check your university’s guidelines to avoid making this mistake. It seems insignificant, but it is actually highly appreciated if you have spent the time to go over the font guidelines. Some universities do not allow underlining and request that you use italics instead. You can also use your quotation marks correctly here in order for you to eliminate the incorrect usage of fonts.


These mistakes were probably seen as it can be easily avoided, but poor content is going to be to the detriment of your paper. Make sure you research and then research some more because you can never know too much about a topic. You want to try and find some information that many people haven’t found yet, or you want to make your own view on the information unique. Do not write a generic paper, because this mistake always costs students the most. You thesis statement has to be proven without a doubt in the mind of your professor. Only then, have you succeeded.


Even though the internet is not taboo when it comes to doing your research, you cannot enter URLs into your paper. There are the exceptions, but that will be based on the university or your professor. The standard is that it should not be included. Of course, you still have to cite these sources, so be sure to check the guidelines. Also keep in mind that Google is not always the best source for academic information and you want the bulk of your research to be done in the library. If you are using the internet, use credible sources you know you can trust.


Research papers can take a lot of your time and energy, but the satisfaction at the end of it is priceless. You are going to have to put in a lot of work and you might as well do it justice. Look out for these common mistakes and do not fall into this category of students who do it often. If you do happen to make one of these mistakes, it won’t be the end of the world.