Author Guidelines

Download a PDF Version of These Guidelines

When you format your submission, please follow the guidelines of the MLA Style Guide, 8th edition. Note that we include urls (or DOI numbers, as appropriate) in the list of works cited when citing online material; this is our effort to make references as findable as possible. 

We ask that all our reviewers follow this Guide for Anti-Racist Scholarly Reviewing Practices.


 If submitting an article, please include an abstract (maximum 200 words) following the title and preceding the epigraph (if you have one) and the body of your text. Do not add the word “Abstract” above the actual abstract; format as double-spaced and skip line between abstract and beginning of body text. If submitting a course design, book review, or contribution to “Composing With” or “Where We Are,” we do not need an abstract.

 Order manuscript sections as follows: body text, acknowledgments, notes, appendices, works cited. Please note that it’s fine if you don’t have acknowledgments, notes, and appendix sections.

 Use Times New Roman font, 12-point type, and double-spacing throughout (including works cited). Do not justify the text; align text left. Exception to double-spacing: single-space the syllabus portion of your Course Design.

 Type one space after periods, not two spaces.

 When referring to authors in the body of your text, be sure to include their full names upon first mention; use last names in subsequent references. 

 Except for languages, such as English, French, etc. the names of academic disciplines, majors, minors, and programs of study are not proper nouns and should not be capitalized

 Format ellipses as follows:

  • Quotation within sentence: Use three periods with a space before each and a space after the last 
    ( . . . ) to indicate that words have been excised from the original.
  • Quotation that coincides with end of your sentence: Use three periods with a space before each, and place sentence period after final parenthesis. Ex: In her discussion of multimodality, Kinnear writes, “A writer has a number of rhetorical strategies and techniques to use . . .” (191).
  • Quotation omitting a sentence: Use a sentence period followed by three periods with spaces and after each other. Ex: “A writer has a number of rhetorical strategies and techniques to use, depending on what the writer wishes to accomplish, what kind of response the writer hopes to spark in the reader. . . . Using something other than written definitions, categories, and descriptions of data could provide additional mediational means for the student researchers to make sense of their data” (191). 

 Add a running head with a short title and page numbering in the upper right corner.

 Please do not use boldface or other special type anywhere in the manuscript.

 Turn off auto note / numbering function and insert notes manually. Numbered notes should be placed as endnotes, not footnotes, after the end of the main text and before the works cited. That said, endnotes should be used sparingly. Where possible, embed citations for related content within parentheses in the body of the text; refrain from using the notes for commentary and essayistic additions. Added words amount to added printing costs, so please use notes for essential additions only.

☐ Title should be centered and use upper and lower case. Section headings should be left-justified and use upper and lower case (do not bold or italicize). If using sub-section headings, left-justify and italicize.

 Please double-check all references for inclusion, spelling, and quotation use. Use for spelling.

 The following Latin abbreviations should be set off in parentheses and be followed by a comma: (e.g., Harris) and (i.e., rhetoric). Common Latin abbreviations should be spelled out when not in parentheses. They translate as follows: “e.g.” = “for example”; “i.e.” = “that is” or “therefore”; and “et al.” = “and others” (note that et al. is not followed by a comma).

 Images and line-art should be submitted as image files in uncompressed TIF or JPG format and as separate files, at 300 dpi or higher. Be sure to include permissions for use of images created by others.

 When using date ranges, omit the first two digits of the second year if they are the same as the first two digits of the first year. Otherwise, write both years in full (e.g., 2000-03 or 1898-1901).

 If using numbers infrequently, spell out numbers written in one or two words (e.g., “thirty-three” and “one million” but “2.5 million” or “155”). If using numbers frequently, type numerals for measurements (“16 litres”) and for comparisons (or other situations where numbers are presented together and indicate similar things).

  • EXAMPLE: “In the ten years covered by the study, the number of participating institutions in the United States doubled, reaching 90, and membership in the six-state region rose from 4 to 15.”

Percentages should be numerals (e.g., “2% of students”). Chapters and other book divisions should be spelled out in lowercase (e.g., “chapter two,” “part one”).

 Em dashes are created by typing two dashes with no spaces before or after (“composition courses—such as first-year writing—were…”). En dashes are used when hyphenating multi-word compounds (e.g., “University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill”). For info on how and when to use em and en dashes, see


 Consult for MLA 8 basics. 

Please note that we do not list paywall urls (JSTOR, ProQuest, EBSCO, etc.) because such links are not open access. If a DOI number (which is most stable and therefore preferable) is not available when citing a source that you accessed through a paywall, cite it as you would a print source.

☐ If you refer to a source by multiple authors in the body of your text, cite the source in the works cited by listing the multiple authors. If you refer to that source by the first author’s name followed by et al., list the source this way in the works cited.

☐ In works cited, format dates as Day Month year, using numerals for date, abbreviated spelled-out months, and numerals for date (16 Mar. 2017).

> Abbreviations: Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.

 In works cited, use inclusive page numbers. In a range of numbers, give the second number in full for numbers through ninety-nine (2-3; 10-12; 21-48). For larger numbers, give only the last two digits of the second number, unless more are necessary (96-101; 103-04; 125-30; 145-62; 395-401).

 For maximum findability, we include permalinks or DOIs (see for info). If those aren’t available, use the address you see in your browser. For more on this issue, see our sample works cited page and/or the MLA guidelines. MLA offers the following additional information about citing online sources (see 

  • The URL (without http:// or https://) is now normally given for a Web source. Angle brackets are not used around it. If url is longer than 3 full lines, shorten it (see for basic guidelines).
  • Citing the date when an online work was consulted is now optional.
  • Placeholders for unknown information like n.d. (“no date”) are no longer used.

If you’re unsure how to cite an online (or any) source, consider visiting EasyBib, which formats citations in various styles using information that users input:

Thanks for taking the time to edit your manuscript carefully! Close attention to detail will allow us to move your submission into production more quickly.