Format Essay Writing

Author: Deborah Croft | Designation: Product Manager at EA | Date Published: 14, June 2010


An essay is called an essay because it follows some basic essay formats. Every writer who tries to write an essay should understand and follow a standard essay format. Most teachers consider the format of the essay equal to the content of it. Often students are required to develop their essays in various styles like MLA style, APA style, Harvard, Chicago, AMA, oxford and few more. The essay format decides the entire structure and organization of the ideas. A standard essay form decides the title page, table of contents, main page and sub sections, introduction and conclusion and appendix.

Basic Standards of Essay

If you are to consider basics of a standard essay format, your essay should have an introduction, a body consists of three to twenty main points depending on the requirements, and a conclusion. Even though various essays demand the body to be extended or keep it short, you should have a minimum of three points. The introduction in a standard essay form should let the reader know what the subject of the paper is. You should also inform the reader about how your organized your paper is. This part should give a brief about your main points or evidence that proves your thesis statement. The last sentence of the introduction should be your thesis statement. The thesis statement should clearly state your argument or points you are going to prove in the essay.

Body of Essay

The body of the essay should also be clearly following the standard essay format and body is everything between your introduction and conclusion. Your body should have separate paragraphs for your supporting points and there are no strict rules on organizing your points. Some say you must describe the most important point last in order to keep the reader interested. In each paragraph you should have an introduction to each of your points and an explanation to it. You should also provide supporting evidences to your points like quotes and examples. The last part of your every point should tell the reader how you can relate it to the argument of the essay.

Essay Conclusion

The conclusion of the essay should restate the thesis of the essay. You should also prove the thesis using the points mentioned in the body part of the essay.


There are a number of other parameters to be considered when following a standard essay format. You should use good quality white paper and only one side is to be written. The page should be given margins according to the citation style you adopt. In case of title pages if instructed by your teacher, follow the instruction or you can write the title on upper one by third portion and leave the middle of the page empty. You should use the name of the professor and date on the bottom part of the page. When numbering the page, it is recommended to use your last name just before the number on the upper right hand corner of every page. You should not use a period after the number. There should be double spacing between the lines on your entire paper thus enable comments from your teachers. You can leave a single space between every word and two spaces between sentences, however there is no need of a space before a punctuation mark. The names of books, novels and plays should be underlined and quotation marks are to be used before and after the titles of shorter works.

Making your Essay Easier to Read

The capitalization should also be minimized only to necessary and only the first letter of each word in the title should be capitalized. If you are writing a long essay, you should include a table of contents which makes reading easy. It should go in the order of introduction, body, conclusion, works cited etc. you don’t require any special characters to end the essay with, just a simple period will do.


Further References
Essay Format & Standard


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MLA General Format

Summary:

MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (8th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

Contributors: Tony Russell, Allen Brizee, Elizabeth Angeli, Russell Keck, Joshua M. Paiz, Michelle Campbell, Rodrigo Rodríguez-Fuentes, Daniel P. Kenzie, Susan Wegener, Maryam Ghafoor, Purdue OWL Staff
Last Edited: 2016-08-11 04:27:59

MLA style specifies guidelines for formatting manuscripts and using the English language in writing. MLA style also provides writers with a system for referencing their sources through parenthetical citation in their essays and Works Cited pages.

Writers who properly use MLA also build their credibility by demonstrating accountability to their source material. Most importantly, the use of MLA style can protect writers from accusations of plagiarism, which is the purposeful or accidental uncredited use of source material by other writers.

If you are asked to use MLA format, be sure to consult the MLA Handbook (8th edition). Publishing scholars and graduate students should also consult the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (3rd edition). The MLA Handbook is available in most writing centers and reference libraries; it is also widely available in bookstores, libraries, and at the MLA web site. See the Additional Resources section of this handout for a list of helpful books and sites about using MLA style.

Paper Format

The preparation of papers and manuscripts in MLA style is covered in chapter four of the MLA Handbook, and chapter four of the MLA Style Manual. Below are some basic guidelines for formatting a paper in MLA style.

General Guidelines

  • Type your paper on a computer and print it out on standard, white 8.5 x 11-inch paper.
  • Double-space the text of your paper, and use a legible font (e.g. Times New Roman). Whatever font you choose, MLA recommends that the regular and italics type styles contrast enough that they are recognizable one from another. The font size should be 12 pt.
  • Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks (unless otherwise instructed by your instructor).
  • Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Indent the first line of paragraphs one half-inch from the left margin. MLA recommends that you use the Tab key as opposed to pushing the Space Bar five times.
  • Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner, one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your instructor may ask that you omit the number on your first page. Always follow your instructor's guidelines.)
  • Use italics throughout your essay for the titles of longer works and, only when absolutely necessary, providing emphasis.
  • If you have any endnotes, include them on a separate page before your Works Cited page. Entitle the section Notes (centered, unformatted).

Formatting the First Page of Your Paper

  • Do not make a title page for your paper unless specifically requested.
  • In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, list your name, your instructor's name, the course, and the date. Again, be sure to use double-spaced text.
  • Double space again and center the title. Do not underline, italicize, or place your title in quotation marks; write the title in Title Case (standard capitalization), not in all capital letters.
  • Use quotation marks and/or italics when referring to other works in your title, just as you would in your text: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as Morality Play; Human Weariness in "After Apple Picking"
  • Double space between the title and the first line of the text.
  • Create a header in the upper right-hand corner that includes your last name, followed by a space with a page number; number all pages consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.), one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your instructor or other readers may ask that you omit last name/page number header on your first page. Always follow instructor guidelines.)

Here is a sample of the first page of a paper in MLA style:

Image Caption: The First Page of an MLA Paper

Section Headings

Writers sometimes use Section Headings to improve a document’s readability. These sections may include individual chapters or other named parts of a book or essay.

Essays

MLA recommends that when you divide an essay into sections that you number those sections with an arabic number and a period followed by a space and the section name.

1. Early Writings

2. The London Years

3. Traveling the Continent

4. Final Years

Books

MLA does not have a prescribed system of headings for books (for more information on headings, please see page 146 in the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 3rd edition). If you are only using one level of headings, meaning that all of the sections are distinct and parallel and have no additional sections that fit within them, MLA recommends that these sections resemble one another grammatically. For instance, if your headings are typically short phrases, make all of the headings short phrases (and not, for example, full sentences). Otherwise, the formatting is up to you. It should, however, be consistent throughout the document.

If you employ multiple levels of headings (some of your sections have sections within sections), you may want to provide a key of your chosen level headings and their formatting to your instructor or editor.

Sample Section Headings

The following sample headings are meant to be used only as a reference. You may employ whatever system of formatting that works best for you so long as it remains consistent throughout the document.

Numbered:

1. Soil Conservation

1.1 Erosion

1.2 Terracing

2. Water Conservation

3. Energy Conservation

Formatted, unnumbered:

Level 1 Heading: bold, flush left

Level 2 Heading: italics, flush left

     Level 3 Heading: centered, bold

     Level 4 Heading: centered, italics

Level 5 Heading: underlined, flush left

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