How to Format an Essay- Guide from an Expert

essay format

As a fundamental requirement, following a specific essay format is a must communicate effectively in your academic work. Writing an essay is more than transferring your ideas into sentences. It extends to planning and understanding the requirements of essay writing. Of these requirements, an effective essay format is crucial; otherwise, you risk losing valuable marks.

Most institutions will require you to structure your paper in a particular format–the MLA, APA, and Chicago formats. So how do you know that you have followed the most appropriate essay format? Below is a guide to help you apply standard essay format to communicate the best of your ideas concisely.

What is an Essay Format?

Having a clear understanding of an essay format forms the foundation of writing a good essay. So, what is an essay format? This is a guideline that determines the arrangement of your paper. It includes how your title page should appear, including the body paragraphs, conclusion and citations.

How to Format an Essay

When writing your essay, the first thing that you need to consider is how you will arrange the paper. That means that you need to put in mind where and when to include the vital elements. These include the title page, abstract (if any), introduction, body, and citations. But how do you arrange these elements?

A proper essay structure should begin with a title paper. The introduction should follow this, then body paragraphs, and finally the conclusion. The reference page then comes in to wrap everything up. Remember to capitalize, underline, and highlight your text where appropriate.

Related: Simple guide on how to write analytical essay

How to Create a Title Page

A title page is one of the most critical sections of your essay. It not only identifies you, as the author, and informs the reader of what the essay is all about, but also communicates if the writer understands the specific format. In that regard, understanding the do’s and do not’s of creating a title page is vital. Here is a list of things you need to factor when creating a title page:

  1. Double-space your title page; only single-space when instructed to do so
  2. Always use Times New Roman, 12 fonts, unless otherwise
  3. Write the title of your essay
  4. What follows is your name, course name and number
  5. Next is the institutional affiliation
  6. Beneath your institution should be the due date

While they are essential, the above elements vary depending on the format chosen.

Essay Format Outline

Perhaps you are wondering what an essay format outline is all about. An essay outline can be defined as a general plan of how you intend to organize your paper. It is more of structuring and organizing your main arguments in the form of paragraphs.

That said, the principal parts of an essay include:

  • Title Page: Consists of the title, your name, course and due date.
  • The introduction: this is where you introduce your essay. Use this section to mention what you intend to discuss through a thesis statement. Your thesis should help you create full-body paragraphs.
  • Body Paragraphs: these support your main argument. They should be a minimum of three and should discuss the subtopics raised in the thesis statement. Each paragraph should start with a topic sentence that relates to the thesis. The sentences must be supported by facts retrieved from credible sources.
  • Conclusion: also, where you wrap up your essay. It is where you restate the thesis and summarize vital arguments.
  • References: List all the sources used in your essay in this section in alphabetical order.

What is the Standard Essay Format?

As mentioned above, a standard essay format should consist of five vital elements. Following a standard essay format should help you write appropriate content. Most often, you will be required to write your essays in different styles – APA, MLA, Chicago, AMA, and Harvard styles, among others. A standard of essay format must include the title page, introduction, subsections, conclusion, references and appendix (if need be).

How Do You Structure an Essay?

How to structure an essay is a significant concern to most students, especially those who are just starting. So, should you be looking forward to improving your essay writing skills, seek to understand what a good essay structure constitutes. Keep in mind that writing a good essay requires you to:

Know where to start

Always start your essay with a hook that sparks energy. Use this chance to communicate what you intend to achieve by writing the essay. If possible, mention some of the vital points you will be expounding. In short, the idea here is to give the reader an overview of everything logically and coherently.

The Body of the essay

This is the second and most important part. While it is the longest, it should be crafted in such a way that it communicates the intended message. Begin your body paragraphs with a new idea, a topic sentence that refers back to the original argument. Further sentences should expand on the main point. If anything, each paragraph should discuss a new idea.

The end

Also, the last section, this is where you provide a summary of your main argument. It is appropriate to draw your final remarks or judgment in a way that connects the essay to areas that require further investigation.

What are the five parts of an Essay?

When answering the question “what are the five parts of an essay?’’ we tend to think about the standard 5-paragraph structured essay. However, it never has to be five different parts. If anything, a 5-paragraph essay structure is made up of:

  • An introduction – provides a brief highlight for your reader
  • Three-body paragraphs – are centered around different sub-arguments relating to the thesis
  • A conclusion – holds original analysis and reiterates the key points

How to Write an Essay in MLA Format

mla format

MLA (Modern Language Association) stresses on a simple format for academic and research papers. Any essay written in MLA format should:

  • Be double-spaced
  • Include one-inch page margins
  • Contain a header, page number and the author’s last name. These should be half an inch from the top of the page
  • Include the author and professor’s names, course title and date
  • Include a title
  • End with a work cited page (use hanging indent)

Essay Format APA

apa format

Like the MLA format, APA essay format also follows specific guidelines. Your essay should:

  • Be double-spaced on an 8.5″ x 11″ paper, with 1″ margins on all sides.
  • Be typed in Times New Roman font, 12 pt.
  • Include a running head at the top of each page
  • Title page, with the topic, author’s name, institutional affiliation and due date
  • The title should be typed in upper and lowercase letters and should be a maximum of 12 words in length
  • Include an abstract, introduction, body paragraphs, conclusion and a reference page (use hanging indent)

Chicago Style Essay Format

The Chicago style is also another format that is frequently used when writing papers. Follow these guidelines when setting up your essay in a Chicago format:

  • Set all sides on one-inch margins
  • Indent your paragraphs by half an inch
  • Use Times New Roman, 12 pt
  • Double-space your text
  • Number the pages in the top right corner, begin with the first page
  • The cover page should be centered; write the title at the middle of the page, your name should follow, then your professor
  • Course title and date should be at the bottom of the page
  • Avoid underlining or using bold on your cover page
  • Avoid numbering the cover page
  • What follows the cover page is the body, conclusions, appendix (if appropriate), notes and bibliography
  • Footnotes should be at the bottom of the page and be single-spaced, where citations occur
  • Note numbers should be put at the end of the sentences
  • Indent each first line of each note
  • The bibliography and endnotes should appear on a separate page, remember to use a hanging indent

Proper Essay Format Example

A standard essay constitutes three essential parts. These are the introduction, body, and conclusion. Following this format ensures you deliver an organized paper. To have a clear idea of this format, you can review available essay format examples. These should guide you throughout your academic life.

Narrative Essay Format

Like other essay types, a narrative essay also requires a clear structure. This structure includes:

  1. The introduction; made up of the hook, supporting arguments and a thesis statement.
  2. The body; consists of background information.
  3. Conclusion; also, the moral of the story, the significance of the event and the call-to-action.

Scholarship Essay Format

College application may, at times, require you to prove your writing prowess. One such way is through scholarship essay. However, the challenge presents itself when you are clueless on how you should go about structuring your essay. These guidelines are essential for anyone willing to write a successful scholarship essay. Apply them where necessary:

  • Use 12-point font
  • Double-space your work
  • Avoid using script fonts in body paragraphs
  • Set the inch margins by 1 – 1 ½
  • List the scholarship title and your name at the top of the page
  • Title your essay when appropriate
  • Sign your essay to confirm that the work is original and belongs to you

Related: Persuasive essay- An exclusive guide, topics, ideas and examples

Bottom line

Follow this essay format guideline to plan and write your essay effectively. These credible tips can get you an A+ essay. Contact support in case you need help with essay format.

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