Top 10 Essay Examples in MLA Format

Writing essays in high school can be a tough ask, especially when your instructor or professor asks you to write a specific type of essay. Not only do you have to go over your notes again or search online on how to write that essay, but you also have to consider the writing style as instructed. To make your work simpler, we have written an article to teach you to write the most common essays in high school and college- in the Modern Language Association (MLA) format. The essay examples you will find here should answer all your questions concerning how to format any paper in MLA. This knowledge should help you tackle any paper you come across in MLA.

Before looking at these examples, we first have to remind ourselves about the types of essays you will likely encounter in high school or college.

Narrative Essays

These essays are all about telling a story. Moreover, they are the most personalized. Some good examples are personal statements written for college applications.

A Narrative Essay in MLA Style

In 2014, I visited Europe for a vacation. We planned our vacation for a long time and were excited as it approached. When we finally landed in London, we knew what we wanted to do but soon discovered how much you could do there in seven days!

What impressed me most about England was the pace of life. Even though London is a busy city, everyone seemed to have somewhere important they were going, but they still took enough time to stop and chat with you along the way. I remember being there when it rained heavily as we walked through Hyde Park one Sunday afternoon. We wanted to explore the city and have a picnic, so we gathered our food and started making our way to the small covered bridge crossing one of the lakes. We looked up when we heard splashing sounds but soon discovered it was just the ducks swimming in circles around their island.

My favorite part of this experience came later when I decided to walk towards the Abbey. While crossing the bridge, I looked to my left and saw a man with two small dogs sitting all alone. Even though the day was halfway gone, he looked like he had been up all night; his eyes were tired and swollen. He looked sad, so I approached him to talk to him. My friend stayed back because she was shy, but I knew that he was the perfect person to talk to. We talked about how animals affected our lives and learned that his dogs were therapy dogs for children with autism. He praised their skills, which made me think of my grandfather’s dog, who alerted him when it was time to take his blood pressure medicine.

My favorite part about this experience was that I met someone who had the same interests as me. I felt I was part of his family for a few minutes before we said goodbye and kept walking.

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Descriptive Essays

Descriptive essays are papers that vividly describe a topic. There’s the element of imagery used in this kind of paper.

A Descriptive Essay in MLA Format

When I think about my favorite hobby, I am instantly transported back to the fourth grade. It is early in the morning but not too cold yet. My dad and I are standing on the dock of a lake; we have loaded our poles with bait and are ready to go fishing.

The sky is painted with hues of gold and purple, and the only sound I can hear is that of birds chirping. The water at my feet glistens as it reflects the beautiful sky above me. Hundreds of fish are jumping out of the water in unison, which creates a cool wave-like motion throughout the lake. As I drop my line into the water, my heart begins to race. I know that today will be a good day; I just feel it!

When I think of fishing, this is what pops into my head: Michigan sunrise on a lake surrounded by trees and loved ones.

I’ve been fishing with my dad since 2001 and have very fond memories of this time. It is a very fun activity, and I often reminisce about my childhood when I think of it. Fishing is one of those hobbies you can do with anyone because all you need are your fishing rod, bait, and some good friends!

My favorite aspect of fishing in our local lake in Pleasant Ridge is that there’s always good company. Whenever I go fishing with my father or grandpa, we never fail to reminisce about old times and have a good time.

I love going to Pleasant Lake because of the natural beauty surrounding it. The lake is surrounded by soft grassy hills that gently slope into sparkling water. Tall trees surround the lake, making it impossible for the sun to peek through the branches. Sunlight only bounces off of the water and off of my rod as I fish for bluegill, bass, and crappie. Fishing is great for bonding with loved ones because it doesn’t require any talking or interaction. It’s just you, your pole, and your thoughts.

Definition Essays

Definition essays mainly focus on defining an idea. They provide an in-depth explanation of a concept or term. These essays are normally found in academic and research fields.

A Definition Essay in MLA Format

Canadian cuisine is a style of cooking that encompasses the foods and foodways of Canada. It involves various recipes and styles that have been developed by many cultures over time, combined with ingredients native to Canada. Various European settlers brought their own culinary traditions to Canada’s table; French settlers were probably the most prominent group, but there are also traces of English, American, Scottish, and many others as well.

Most importantly in this context is the First Nations cuisine of Canada’s native peoples, which is thriving today and a great source of pride for their communities. Much like Native Americans in the United States, it has been shaped by regional availability of traditional ingredients, for example, wild rice, maple syrup, and salmon.

The Canadian cuisine is a combination of what the First Nations people brought to the table as well as local ingredients like walleye fish from Lake Winnipeg or Eastern Canada lobster. In many ways, it was similar to French cuisine in that these two cultures are so closely tied together—this similarity is especially obvious in Quebec.

Expository Essay

Expository essays are used to explain a topic objectively. These essays are meant to test a student’s knowledge of a subject matter.

An Expository Essay in MLA Format

In his book titled Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, Jim Collins wrote about why some companies succeed while others are not so successful. He developed a theory known as Level Five Leadership or Self-Efficacy. This leadership level consists of three distinct levels, which are achieved by the leader through his own desire for greatness, commitment to excellence, and will to win.

Jim Collins’ definition of leadership is very broad in scope compared to other authors who have written about this topic. With this expanded definition, a new conceptualization of leadership emerges: leaders are those who accept the responsibility to act because they believe it is right, regardless of the consequences; they are willing to stand up for their ideas and ideals, even at the risk of being wrong or failing.

Compare and Contrast Essays

In compare and contrast essays, you are given two subjects and are required to state their similarities and differences. A good example of a compare and contrast essay describes the similarities and differences between Republicans and Democrats.

Compare and Contrast Essays in MLA Style

The United States has been in an arms race with the Soviet Union since the end of World War II. Over that time, each country has tried to outdo the other by creating new forms of weaponry or improving on old ones. The result is a never-ending cycle designed to keep the U.S. military strong and capable of defending the country in case of battle.

The U.S. has been developing nuclear weapons since it dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, when World War II ended. From that point until 1991, when President George Bush signed into law a worldwide ban on nuclear testing, millions of Americans emerged from the womb with the radioactive remains of nuclear tests in their bones. After a 1974 agreement to stop underground testing, most U.S. research and development into nuclear weapons was focused on improving accuracy and increasing the explosive power of existing bombs (“U.S. Nuclear Weapons Testing”).

Although Congress banned funding for developing new types of nuclear weapons in 1994, the U.S. continues to rely on nuclear weapons as one of its main defense methods and deterrence against other countries. For example, a nuclear weapon in the hands of a rogue nation North Korea (DPRK), would present serious problems for South Korea, Japan, and possibly even the United States if North Korea were to attack with that weapon.

Likewise, the United States currently has weapons in its arsenal that can destroy an entire country or continent (“Nuclear Weapons: Types and Effects”). This means a terrorist group could seize control of one of these devices and cause devastating damage to a major metropolitan area. In this regard, nuclear weapons are the same as firearms—they are both useful in defense but can also be used to destroy above and beyond the original intent (as well as by groups that do not have permission to use them).

The two subjects of firearms and nuclear weapons are similar in terms of overall purpose. Both were designed for military purposes—to protect the country’s borders from attacks or to provide a strong deterrent against invaders. However, both can also be used in offensive attacks, which are not allowed under international law. Therefore, it is important to look at firearms and nuclear weapons with an eye to the future, keeping in mind possible changes that could occur and how those changes would impact their original purpose.

Cause and Effect Essay Example

Cause and effect essays examine how one event (the cause) has affected another (the effect).

The following is an example of a cause-and-effect essay in MLA style.

Due to lack of funding, the natural habitats of many animals and plants are being destroyed or severely damaged. Many people believe this is a good thing because all species have evolved at different rates, and some should be allowed to die out, while others can be preserved for future generations. However, just as many people believe that without proper care, these species may never be seen again.

The cause of habitat destruction is the almost unrestricted use of natural resources for human consumption. In the past, areas that had been untouched forests or swamps were considered unusable by humans. However, in today’s global economy, even these areas are being used as cheap labor sources and developing goods for export (Hochschild 231).

The greatest cause for habitat destruction is the failure of a centralized government to limit private ownership of land. If there were a central government, public officials could control and regulate how much forest was cut down or built on by private citizens. Instead, there is only a loose collection of national boundaries that fail to protect most areas from such exploitation (Hochschild 231).

In the future, there are several practical solutions. National boundaries could be restructured into smaller sections encompassing larger populations living in rural and urban environments (Hochschild 232). However, doing so would mean less land for individuals to use as they see fit.

Alternatively, national boundaries could be reconstructed into one large city with a population of one billion people. This would allow more space for animals and plants to live peacefully, but it might not be the best solution either. In contrast, both solutions are possible in theory (Hochschild 232); neither guarantees that nature will always thrive or survive.

Process Essays

Process essays describe how something works. When writing these essays, always remember to write the process chronologically to ensure the text flows and transitions properly.

Process Essays in MLA Style

The process of photosynthesis occurs in three main steps. First, the leaves take in carbon dioxide gas (CO2) from the air and water through tiny holes called stomata. This is done by using energy from sunlight to break the bonds between hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O), which creates a molecule of hydrogen, or H2. The CO2 gas enters the stomata, which is then turned into a carbon-rich molecule called sugar (C6H12O6). Finally, chlorophyll chemically combines with sugar to produce carbohydrate and oxygen gas (CO2 + O2 = CO2) are released through regular respiration. This process occurs daily and results in the growth of plants.

Persuasive Essays

Persuasive essays are written to sway the readers to take the author’s side of a particular argument based on the information presented. The most distinguishing factor about persuasive essays is their heavy use of moral and emotional reasoning to sway the readers.

Persuasive Essay in MLA Style

The United States education system requires an overhaul. The goal of this reform should be to provide each child with an equal chance at success, regardless of their economic background or location. Children who have access to computers and high-speed internet are often more successful than those who do not since they can access a wide range of educational resources for free. These students also have the opportunity to learn complex computer skills, such as coding and programming.

While children in wealthy communities tend to have easy access to high-speed internet and computers, those who live in rural areas or lower-income communities are often at a disadvantage. Some students cannot even afford a computer, despite living within walking distance of their schools. Children who have no access to computers are falling behind their peers in various subjects, including math and science.

This disparity is causing students in less affluent areas to fall further and further behind in the global economy. As jobs become increasingly available online, all children must have equal opportunities for success, regardless of where they come from or what they can afford.

Argumentative Essay

Like persuasive essays, argumentative essays try to convince the readers to consider the author’s point of view. An argumentative essay differs from persuasive essays in that an argumentative essay uses more facts and objectivity to convince the readers.

Argumentative Essay in MLA Format

Tobacco is a dangerous drug that has been shown to cause both short- and long-term effects. Tobacco use contributes to over 500,000 deaths in the United States each year. This alarming statistic could be greatly reduced if more people were educated about its dangers. Since tobacco is legal, most people do not realize that it is a drug. It is often assumed that tobacco is harmless since many adults use it without any apparent side effects. The long-term dangers of tobacco use are especially concerning; however, cigarette smoking is the primary contributor to lung cancer, emphysema, and heart disease. Tobacco also causes strokes and low birth weight babies when used during pregnancy.

In addition to the long-term effects, tobacco use also has immediate consequences. Tobacco smoke contains an excess of 4,000 chemical compounds, at least 70 of which are known to cause cancer. Smoking can cause instant addiction and withdrawal symptoms when it is stopped. The list of harmful side effects associated with tobacco use is endless; however, many people still use tobacco daily. Nearly one-fifth of the population in the United States uses tobacco, and this number will not decrease without education about its dangers.

The harmful effects of tobacco are undeniable and preventable. It is time for an education campaign that provides information about the dangers of using tobacco products. Tobacco use is an addiction that many people are not even aware they have. People need to understand the severe dangers of tobacco use in order to make informed decisions about their health and well-being.

Review Essays

The point of a review essay is to analyze a piece of work, whether it is a novel or film, to evaluate its effectiveness. Reviews are always written objectively.

Review Essays in MLA Style

The Dark Knight is a film about the caped crusader, Batman. The plot of the movie is fairly complex, and it takes place in various locations in America. Throughout the movie, Batman goes after Harvey Dent (Two-Face), played by Aaron Eckhart. In addition to pursuing Dent, Batman has other problems to deal with. Gotham City is in a state of transition because Bruce Wayne is retiring from being Batman. His replacement, John Blake, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, continues the fight against crime.

The Dark Knight was an excellent movie because it incorporated real-life situations into a fictional story about crime-fighting. Alfred (Rutger Hauer) even mentions that the world is so dark that Batman must exist. He then tells Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) that he can never retire from crime-fighting because Gotham needs him more than ever.

The movie also took a realistic approach to its villain. The Joker had no special superpowers, weapons, or abilities; however, he could destroy the lives of many people throughout the film. Heath Ledger did an excellent job of portraying The Joker because he appeared to be insane and unpredictable. He also showed a blend of humor and darkness in his portrayal as well. Overall, The Dark Knight was an excellent movie that should not be missed by anyone who enjoys well-written scripts with a realistic approach to acting.

The Dark Knight was a great movie that incorporated real-life situations into an interesting fictional story about crime-fighting. Bruce Wayne is one of the only people in Gotham who believes that his city can be saved, and over time he learns to trust John Blake’s ability to continue the battle against evil forces. The relationship between Batman and Joker is the most compelling plot point throughout the film because it shows how an evil person can influence good people. Overall, the movie was a great piece of work that incorporated excellent acting ability with well-written scripts and real-life situations.

Typical MLA 8th Edition Paper Format

Any paper that requires MLA formatting will use the following guidelines:

  • Use one-inch margins for your paper
  • Paragraphs are indented half an inch from the left margin. Use a hanging indent or indent the first line of each paragraph.
  • Double spaced paragraphs
  • Use Times New Roman or Arial fonts, accompanied by a 12 point font size.
  • At the top of the page (1 inch from the top), write your name, instructor’s name, the course name, and number and due date.
  • For your header, include your name and the page number in the upper right-hand corner of the page.
  • Center the title and write it in capital letters.

Creating MLA Style Citations

The main basis of MLA formatting is to acknowledge all the sources that you used for your paper. Any information about the source should have a parenthetical citation as well as an entry at the end of your paper in a section titled, “Works Cited.” These entries are usually separated by double spaces.

In-text citations in MLA are made up of the author’s last name and the page number, separated by a single space. For instance, (Markham 25).

Works Cited Page

For the Works Cited list, please consider the following details

Each entry should have the following:

Author’s last name, first name in inverted commas.

Title of source, italicized. Medium of publication.

Edition information, if any- for example, paperback or hardback, etc.

City and state of the publishing company. Publisher’s name.

Year published.

Pagination details-for example, 123 pages or the page numbers.

Final Remarks

These are some of the essay types you will encounter as a writer. Focus on each example, and soon enough, you will be comfortable writing not just any essay type but the MLA format in general.

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