How to Write an Abstract in MLA Style

How to write an abstract in MLA format step by step

How to Write an Abstract in MLA Style? MLA style (abbreviation for Modern Language Association) is one of the most common writing styles for academic papers and source citing in college humanities courses. An MLA abstract gives brief descriptions of the author’s motivation and the methods used in the project, next to the findings and conclusions. MLA style abstracts must be compact, concise, and relevant while capturing the essence of the text concluding in 100 to 200 words. The MLA abstract briefs and summarizes the finished research paper encouraging the target audience to read the main body of the research and its arguments. The MLA-style abstracts are required to be situated after the title page and right before the research text. Since you don’t need an abstract with the MLA format, it is better to consult a professor to check if your paper needs an abstract. 

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How to Write an Abstract in MLA Style
How to Write an Abstract in MLA Style


All the research circles require researchers to document the academic borrowings of any kind of research. However, the rules considering documentation may change due to academic circumstances. The humanities research, specifically those considering language and literature, are frequently written with MLA style. 

The “Modern Language Association” (MLA) is a professional academic association for language and literature scholars in the United States of America. This Association recommends the MLA style as the best style for composing academic manuscripts and scholarly research papers. MLA style regards the mechanical aspects of academic writing, such as quotation, punctuation, and the documentation of research sources. It has been almost fifty years that academic institutes have used the MLA style frequently. The advantage of this style is that it systematically enables the researcher to cross-reference their sources from the parenthetical references within the main text to the works cited section. With the MLS style, summarized parenthetical citations link to a list of cited works that are categorized alphabetically at the end of the research paper.

Why Do You Need An Abstract?

You can use an abstract for summarizing the research and giving the audience the gist of the contents of the research paper. Abstracts enable other researchers to access a brief explanation of your research content if they decide to use your work as a source for their own. So in writing an abstract, all the major points of the research should be regarded while avoiding too many details. Abstracts as such may be necessary with every style of academic writing, styles such as MLA, Chicago, and APA.

How Long Should an MLA Abstract be?

Normally, an abstract is to be as lengthy as 100 to 500 words. Although this limitation may change according to the academic circumstance, an abstract should not cover more than one page. Abstracts that are too long defeat their purpose as they cannot capture the essence of the research content. Most abstracts written with the MLA style have a range of up to 250 words. 

Tips for Writing an Abstract in MLA Format

  1. Decide what type of abstract you need.
  2. The abstract comes after the title page and before the research text.
  3. Try to keep your abstract limited to 6 or 7 brief sentences.
  4. Try to avoid copy-pasting the material from the text of your research.
  5. It’s better, to begin with, the concise statement of arguments provided in the research.
  6. It would be best if you write your abstract after the completion of the research paper.
  7. You should avoid Vague and complicated sentences.
  8. Don’t forget to briefly address your research methods, goals, and results.
  9. Summarize your research conclusion in the last sentence of your abstract.
  10. You can include the significant implications of your findings in the concluding sentence.
  11. Check the abstract to see if you have addressed all the main points of your research.
  12. Keep it concise and somewhere between 150 to 250 words.
  13. Proofread the abstract to avoid mistakes that discourage the reader from continuing.

Rules for writing an abstract in MLA style

Researchers must consider certain conventions when writing an abstract in the MLA format. These conventions regard the abstract content, length, formatting, and location on the paper.

Abstract contents

  • You should address the gist of the points discussed in the research
  • Explain your research purpose and benefits.
  • You should explain
  • The research methods for gathering data as well. 
  • Don’t forget to mention the results of your research.

Abstract length

Abstracts written in MLA format should address research goals, the research method of formulation, and the significance and relevance of the research. 

In the MLA format, the abstracts that are written for descriptive research are better concluded in 100 words. This is while the abstracts written for informative papers should conclude in 150 to 200 words. You should address research goals, methods of formulation, significance, and the results and findings of the research. Both of these types of abstracts should normally conclude in a maximum of two paragraphs. 

Abstract formatting

In order to prevent the disturbance of research consistency, the abstract must have the formatting that the rest of the research has. 

  • Standard font and size must be used for writing the abstract. 
  • Every line in the abstract must be double spaced. 
  • Paragraphs’ first lines must be indented by half an inch.
  • Abstract margins should be 1 inch from every side.

Abstract location in a paper

The abstract must come right after the title page and before the beginning of the research text.

In this article, you found out how to write an abstract in MLA style. Still, need help with your essay?

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