Essay Format - Learn the Basics of Formatting in Different Styles

Written by

Nova Allison

5 mins read
essay format

Essay writing is an important and unavoidable part of every student's life. But, writing an essay is more than just jotting down ideas and bullet points.

It involves a whole structure and system that involves a well-structured outline and a coherent format to organize and place all the information in one place.

Usually, educational institutes have a standard format and outline that every student must follow when writing an essay or paper. The commonly used formats include APA, MLA, and Chicago.

These formats are different from each other but their main purpose is to present the information in a structured and coherent manner.

In this blog, you will find complete and detailed information about different essay formats.

These formats could be applied to all kinds of high school and college essays and papers.

Read this comprehensive guide and format your assignments properly.

What is an Essay Format?

The word "essay" comes from the French term ‘essai’, which means "attempt." An essay is a short piece of writing on a particular subject.

Writers use essays to express their opinions or points of view about different subjects. Essays are often used in school assignments, but they are also common in many professions.

An essay format is a structure or framework that writers use when they create essay texts. The purpose of an essay format is to ensure that all essays have a similar structure and layout, which makes them easier for readers to understand.

There are different kinds of writing styles. All of them have different formatting requirements and guidelines. Usually, students write in APA, MLA, and Chicago style.

Standard Format Guidelines for Essays

Here are the standard format guidelines that you must follow to write and submit a well-organized essay or paper.

  • The page's margin on all sides is one inch.
  • Proper line spacing, could be either single or double spacing.
  • Using the correct font style and size is crucial, for instance, New Times Roman 12pt.
  • The page headers must contain information like the last name of the writer or a shortened form of the paper's title.
  • Headings and subheadings in the correct format.
  • Page numbers are added to each page.
  • The indentation must be half an inch.

The following is a sample essay format that you may use as a guide while writing essays or any other type of academic writing.

sample essay format template

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Essay Format - MLA Style Guidelines

The MLA format is the most popular style of writing papers in the humanities. The following is a list of the basic rules for creating an essay in MLA format:

  • The font should be New Times Roman and the size should be 12pt.
  • Make sure there is no extra space between paragraphs and that the paper has double spacing.
  • The paper should have 1-inch margins on all sides.
  • Every page has the same last name and page numbers in the header.
  • In the upper left corner, type your name, instructor's name, class name, and date.
  • The title of the essay should be centralized.
  • To apply indentation, press the Tab button.
  • In the MLA paper, the list of sources is listed and added on the 'Works Cited' page.

Here is the MLA-style format sample.

MLA style format

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Essay Format - APA Style Guideline

APA is an acronym for the American Psychological Association, which is most often used in scientific papers. This format is commonly used by social sciences and behavioral students.

Below are the basic and complete guidelines to format an APA-style paper or essay.

  • The text should be written in Times New Roman font and the for size should be 12pt.
  • The spacing should be double throughout the paper.
  • The paper must have a 1-inch margin on all sides.
  • The page number is added at the top right of the page and a shortened page title is added at the top left of the page.
  • The title page must include details like the complete name of the student, the complete name of the educational institution, the date of submission, and the name of the professor.
  • The sources are listed and added on the 'References' page.

Here is the APA-style format sample.

APA style format

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Essay Format - Chicago Style Guidelines

The Chicago style is a set of prescriptive rules for formatting papers and essays. Text citations and footnotes are essential for a successful Chicago-style essay.

Here are the guidelines for formatting a paper in Chicago style. Below are the complete guidelines to write a Chicago-style paper and essay.

  • The paper must have a 1-inch margin on all sides.
  • The paper should be double-spaced.
  • The style of the text should be Times New Roman and the size should be 12pt.
  • The last name of the writer and the page number will be added to each page.
  • Chicago style format includes both footnotes and quoted passages from the original source.
  • The Chicago-style bibliography is comparable to the MLA format. On the page entitled ‘Bibliography,' list all of the data in alphabetical order.

Here is the Chicago-style format

Chicago style format

Hopefully, this quick tutorial helps you understand the many components of a well-written document.

Follow the above suggestions for creating strong essays that are logical and easy to understand.

After you've formatted the document, go through it carefully to remove any formatting errors. Make sure the paper follows the institution's required format.

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Basic Essay Outline - How to Create a Proper Outline?

To include all of the important details, each essay requires an introduction, body paragraph, and conclusion.

The following outline describes the basic structure of all sorts of essays and research papers.

  1. Introduction
  2. Body of your essay
  3. Conclusion

Here's a more in-depth explanation of each stage in the essay creation process.

    1. Introduction

    Start your essay by laying out the context and providing some background information. Remember to include a strong thesis statement or assertion at the end of this to convey the paper's main point.

    2. Body of the essay

    Each body paragraph should begin with a topic sentence and include the major points in support of the thesis.

    This usually contains three paragraphs, each discussing a different point. But, the number of paragraphs could be different and could be more than three also.

    It depends on the scope of the essay or paper topic.

    3. Conclusion

    In conclusion, summarize the article and restate the thesis statement. Provide a call to action or some information for readers to consider.

    Learn how to construct a conclusion and better tie everything together by bringing all of your important points together.

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