Essay format has nothing to do with the actual content of the essay, it is how you organize and present it. Essay format gives the physical look of your essay as the eye scans the pages without reading the words.
MLA Essay Format with Example
APA Essay Format with Example
Chicago Essay Format
Why Is Formatting Important?
It is estimated that essay formatting can account for at least ten percent of your overall grade. This can be the difference between getting an "A" or a "D." Thus, paying close attention to your formatting is a relatively easy way to improve your grade.
Since formatting is often done after all the research and writing is accomplished, many students are too tired to give formatting the proper attention. They may also be rushed for time since this is the last task they do. For these reasons, you may want to start your essay assignment early enough that you can do your formatting on a different day than you actually research and write your essay. You can also enlist professional services like ours to help you format your essay perfectly and perhaps proofread your final draft as well.
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What Formatting Styles Are There?
Most common formatting styles are MLA, APA, Harvard & Chicago. MLA is the most typical one, and if you are unsure how your essay should be formatted, use MLA as the default formatting style.
The essay formatting rules depend only on the formatting standards, as prescribed by MLA, APA or Chicago style guides. Many styles erroneously think that academic (or complexity) level of your paper will influence the overall essay format. This is obviously a myth: if you need to write an MLA style essay, it will look same for high-school, college or university level. The Same statement is also true for APA & Chicago formatting styles.
What Are the Differences in Formatting Styles?
Each formatting style sets its own requirements towards a number of things, including:
- Title pages
- Spacing between lines
- Page numbering
- Font size
- Proofreading etc.
Every formatting style has its respective formatting guide that can be easily purchased as a soft copy or a hard copy. There is, however, a great deal of information on each of these styles that is available online. Here are some useful links:
Numbering Pages and Paragraphs
Always number every page of your essay in consecutive order. Put the number for each page in the upper right-hand corner half an inch from the top and flush with the right margin. It is a good practice to include your last name before each number in case the pages get jumbled up with other essays. An example would be: Smith, 2.
Keep your numbers very simple. Do not put periods after page numbers and do not underline them. Do not put quotations marks around them. Do not use a fancy font or embellish them with graphics of any kind. Use Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3) instead of Roman numerals (I, II, III).
The Importance of Double Spacing and Leaving Wide Margins
Part of the purpose in writing an essay in an academic environment is to obtain constructive feedback from your teacher or professor. This allows you to improve with each re-write and with each subsequent essay you write.
In order to leave enough room for your teacher or professor to leave his or her comments, be sure to double space between each line of text. Be sure to also leave a one-inch wide margin on all sides of the paper.
Spacing Between Words and Sentences
Always leave a single space between each word in a sentence. You should also leave a single space after each comma, semicolon, and colon. Never leave a space in front of the punctuation at the end of a sentence. It is traditional to leave two spaces between sentences. However, it is has become increasingly acceptable to include only one space between sentences. If in doubt, ask your teacher or professor for his or her preference.
Indentation of Paragraphs and Quotes
Traditionally, the first line of a new paragraph was always indented. However, many teachers and professors now prefer that students start new paragraphs flush with the left margin of the paper. For this reason, if your instructor does not offer guidance on this when they give an essay assignment, you may want to ask them what they prefer. Whether you indent or not, be sure to be consistent throughout your entire essay.
If you do indent paragraphs, it is traditional to indent seven spaces or half an inch from the left margin. For quotes, it is traditional to indent ten spaces, or a full inch from the left margin, to set them apart more distinctly than paragraphs.
Spacing Between Paragraphs
Since you are double spacing between lines, it is best to insert four spaces between paragraphs so the eye can more readily distinguish between paragraphs.
How to Handle Titles in Your Essay Format
There should be a formatting distinction made between longer full-length works and shorter works such. Longer works should be underlined. These include books and plays. Shorter works should be placed inside quotation marks. These include newspaper articles, magazine articles, book chapters, essays, and blog posts. When in doubt, use quotation marks or consult the MLA Handbook.
The first letter of each word in a title should be capitalized with three exceptions. First, do not capitalize articles ("a", "an", "the"). Second, do not capitalize prepositions ("on", "of", "in", "over", "under"). Third, do not capitalize conjunctions ("and", "because", "but").
Never Write in All Capitalizations
Capitalization should be used sparingly or it will tend to irritate the reader and detract from your overall points. Although you may be tempted to capitalize every letter in an important headline, resist this temptation and add your emphasis in the words you choose.
Table of Contents Guidelines
Essays are much shorter than books. Therefore, most do not require a table of contents. However, if your essay is lengthy, or your instructor suggests it, you may want to include one.
For most essays, you'll want to include the following sections in your table of contents:
- Works Cited
You can also provide subsections for the body since this is the lengthiest part of your essay. Beside each section and subsection, include a page number, in a simple format, for easy reference.
How to End Your Essay
Many students feel it necessary to embellish the end of their essay with a fancy graphic. This is not necessary and may even annoy your teacher or professor. Simply end your essay with the last period of your last sentence and leave it at that. Similarly, you do not need to write "The End."
Be Sure to Bind Your Essay
You should always bind together all the sheets of paper in your essay because it is quite easy for loose sheets to become scrambled or even lost. If you use a stapler, be sure to staple the upper left corner so the page numbers on the upper right corner still show. The same is true if you use a paper clip. You may also want to take your essay to a business center and have the left edges bound.
Writing a good essay takes practice and patience. Don't be too hard on yourself if you don't get an "A" on your first few attempts. If you are not satisfied with your grades, schedule an appointment with your teacher or professor and politely ask them for suggestions on how you can improve. Be sure to ask them about essay format as well as the content of your writing.
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The Definition of a Narrative Essay
When asked to write a narrative essay, the reader or professor is generally looking for an entertaining piece of writing that will tell a story or relate an experience in great detail. While they are sometimes used as book report formats, narrative essays are generally required to be of personal information or insight on a subject. What subject to choose is often a trial, but following a few basic steps should make the process more manageable.
Choose 2 or 3 Topics to Explore
Begin assembling your narrative essay information by identifying the allowable [php]echo link_to('narrative essay topics','@topics?page=narrative-essay')[/php] as per your professor. The definition of a narrative essay is one that is written in first person, or with “I” statements, such as “I began the day in a great hurry to begin my research.” Consider experiences that stand out in your memory, or may be relevant to the audience. Be aware that some topics can be offensive, so avoid any controversial subjects and information.
Outline Your Information
When you have chosen a topic, create an outline of the main information you plan to include. Many professors prefer paragraphs with 4 -6 sentences each, and of course the beginning, middle, and end that flow together. Each paragraph must inform of the idea in the first sentence, have two or three supporting sentences, and then a concluding sentence about the idea that gives way to the next paragraph. Therefore, create the outline to fill that need for each paragraph you will need for the paper. For example, paragraph 1 should have an opening sentence (a), at least 3 supporting details (b), and a concluding statement (c). Your outline would look like this:
I. Paragraph 1 Introduce the location of the event
(a) What it looked like
(b) What it sounded like
(c) What it felt like
(d) Conclusion leading into the next paragraph
Details, Details, Details
You probably guessed it from the heading of this section, the key to the bulk of the paper is adding details. This means using descriptive words to put the reader in your shoes and help them experience the situation just as you did. This does not, however, give license to add unending descriptive words to pad the word count. Refer back to the basic outline, and put an explanation of the mood, the scene, or the anticipated event with each paragraph. Place the information in an order that will build interest, climax, and have a short resolution or conclusion. Use details to create an experience rather than simply relate a step by step description of an event.
Structure of the Paper
The structure of your paper will greatly depend upon your requirements given by your professor, or those listed in your course syllabus. Consult all the information given with the syllabus, and be sure your paper follows the format and structure needed for the course and the particular assignment. Then you can search that particular format on a search engine for any parts that you are not sure on how to do, such as proper notation of sources, etc.
Write, Edit, Rewrite
Make a rough draft to begin the process by forming a sentence for each detail. Read the first draft, and eliminate any extra information and adding clear narrative to create the moods. Read this draft and decide if the paper flows into an interesting story and conclusion. If possible, have someone else proofread the final copy before submitting to the professor. This process will produce the best possible work, and the best possible grade or rating!