Essay Format - A Step by Step Guide To Follow

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Getting the format right is one of the most challenging things in essay writing. An essay format is basically some general guidelines that an academic paper follows. The format has much to do with the text’s presentation to make it more legible and attractive.

Having an appropriate format will ensure that the reader will have ease while accessing your ideas. In addition, it gives the impression that you are a great writer.

Let us explore essay format in detail as it is the basic component of any type of essay.

What is an Essay Format?

An essay format is a set of guidelines that tells how your essay should be structured. These guidelines tell the font style and size, the spacing between paragraphs, margin around the page, and everything else.

Formatting your essay means to make your essay consistent with your essay’s formatting guidelines. It means to enhance the appearance of your essay and make it look more presentable and professional. Your essay’s format or layout depends on the type of writing or reference style you are using.

Types of Writing Formats

Different styles of writing format include:

  • APA Format
  • MLA Format
  • Chicago Format
  • Turabian Format
  • IEEE Format

These styles are used in different kinds of academic work, and all of them have different guidelines and requirements.

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How to Format an Essay?

An essay format is a set of guidelines that decides how your paper’s elements should be arranged. It includes the title page, essay structure, outline, citations, etc.

Here is a detailed step-by-step guide on how to format an essay.

  • 1. Create A Title Page

    Below are the detailed descriptions of different citation styles. Keep in mind the following guidelines when you are creating the title page for your essay.

    APA Essay Format

    APA is the most common format used in essay writing, so getting familiar with its requirements is important.

    • Font: Times New Roman 12pt font size
    • Spacing: Double spacing throughout the page
    • Title Page: essay title, author name, institution name, course name, instructor name, and date.
    • Page Number: For page numbers, insert the header and add a shortened title at the top left

    MLA Essay Format

    MLA is another important format. Follow these guidelines to write an essay in MLA style.

    • Font: Times New Roman 12pt font size
    • Spacing: Double spacing
    • Margin: One-inch margin on all sides of the page
    • The title should be in the center and above the first line of your essay
    • Last name and page number on the upper left-hand corner of the page

    Chicago Style Essay Format

    Chicago is also a frequently used essay format in academic writing that primarily focuses on the source of origin.

    • Margin: One-inch margin on the right side
    • Spacing: Double spacing everywhere
    • Font: Times New Roman 12pt font
    • Last name and page in the header of every page
    • It requires footnotes on quoted passages or paraphrased text.
  • 2. Structure the Essay

    It will be a great help if you make a structure for your essay before you start writing.

    • Include a header on the top right half-inch below the top edge of the page. This will be applied on every page of the paper except the Works Cited page.
    • Write the heading in the upper left corner.
    • The title should be in the center.
    • Start writing the first paragraph of your essay right after the title.
  • 3. Craft an Essay Outline

    Every type of academic paper has three parts: the introduction, the body of your essay, and the conclusion.

    • Introduction

      1. Start with a good hook statement
      2. Provide some background information
      3. End it with a strong thesis statement

      Writing an essay introduction needs you to focus as you cannot add all the information at once, and you cannot leave your readers guessing about the topic.

    • Body Paragraphs

      1. Start every paragraph with a topic sentence.
      2. Include the facts or evidence to support your thesis statement
      3. Concluding sentence

      The body paragraphs could be three or more paragraphs depending upon the issue being discussed.

    • Conclusion

      1. Draw the key points by looking back at your thesis statement
      2. Provide some final thoughts on the arguments mentioned in the body paragraphs
  • In-Text Citation

    Whenever including the work that does not belong to you, use in-text citations to show the reader where you found it. There are different styles of citation. Make sure to use the one specified by your teacher.

    For example, APA format follows the parenthetical citation format like the one given below:

    [Author/publisher name]

  • Works Cited Page

    Once you have finished the writing, now it is time to create the Work cited page. Here you have to list down all the sources you have used in your essay.

    • List down the sources in alphabetical order.
    • If the reference takes two lines, indent the second line to the right by one inch.
    • Different forms of sources such as web, books, print, etc., should be formatted differently.

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Essay Format Example

Here is a basic academic essay format that you can look at to write and organize your essay correctly for your better understanding.

Essay Format Sample (PDF)

College Essay Format (PDF)

Argumentative Essay Format (PDF)

Narrative Essay Format (PDF)

Scholarship Essay Format (PDF)

Persuasive Essay Format (PDF)

Descriptive Essay Format (PDF)

Short Essay Format (PDF)

Expository Essay Format (PDF)

Are you still confused about the essay format?

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