How to Format Page Extents in MLA

In academic writing, it’s important to follow certain rules for how you show page numbers. For the Modern Language Association (MLA) style, getting this right helps your work look neat and professional. One important rule is how you write the numbers when you’re talking about a range of pages. Let’s break down this rule in simple terms.


Page extents are just the range of pages you’re talking about. This could be where you found a quote or information that you’re using in your own writing. So, it’s important to get this right to show exactly where your information is coming from.


MLA style asks you to put pp. before the page numbers to show there’s more than one page involved. So, if you’re talking about pages 7 to 9, you write it as pp. 7-9. The same goes for pages 7 to 11, or 13 to 17. Keep it simple and use pp. before the numbers.


If you’re talking about pages with three or four numbers, there’s a specific way to write them in MLA style. You only need to write the second number with two digits, unless it jumps into the next hundred or thousand. For example, if you’re talking about pages 134 to 178, you write it as 134-78. If it’s pages 1345 to 1367, you write it as 1345-67.

Maintain Consistent Formatting Throughout: Ensuring the correct formatting of page extents in MLA style is crucial for the professional presentation of your academic work. By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure that your readers precisely locate the pages you’re referring to. Consistently maintaining simplicity and clarity reflects your commitment to professionalism and aligning with academic standards. Remember to apply these rules diligently whenever citing page numbers in your writing!

Use En Dash for Page Ranges: In MLA style, utilize the en dash (–) to denote page ranges, rather than hyphens or other punctuation marks. The en dash provides a clear and visually distinct separator between the beginning and ending page numbers. 


Let’s look at some other examples to see how this works:

Example  In MLA 
Pages 6 to 9 pp. 6-9
Pages 8 to 11 pp. 8-11
Pages 12 to 15 pp. 12-15
Pages 46 to 99 pp. 46-99
Pages 171 to 341 pp. 171-341
Pages 1693 to 1723 pp. 1693-1723

These examples show you exactly how to write page extents in MLA style. Following these simple rules helps your writing look professional and makes it easy for others to understand where your information is coming from.


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Tomas Elliott (Ph.D.)

Tomas Elliott is an assistant Professor of English at Northeastern University London. His research specialisms include the history of theatre and film, European modernism, world literature, film adaptation, transmedia studies and citation practices. He read English and French Literature at Trinity College, Oxford, before completing a PhD in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania.

Learn how to cite in MLA