I'm currently writing an acedemic paper on the topic of computation time. I have to include several equations similar to the following:


I am wondering if there is any special formatting or citing I would have to do for the above equation if I am writing this paper in MLA style.

  • Just to be clear, are you asking about how/if you need to cite these equations, or how to format these equations (the latter would be dependent on what word processor you are using, not what citation style you are using)?
    – auden
    Mar 14, 2017 at 2:42

1 Answer 1


There are a set of rules to go by when writing equations into an academic paper. Depending on the kind of equation, it'll be one of three types:

  • In-line equations
  • Displayed, but unnumbered, equations
  • Displayed and numbered equations

In this case, O(N2) is an In-line equation. Given that, the only changes to be done would be to italicize the characters 'O' and 'N'. Rather than writing out O(N2), you should instead use O(N2).

For further reading on this topic, a useful PDF can be found here.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.