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Before revealing significant details about essay format, it is important to highlight the fact that essay format actually has nothing to do with the actual content of the essay. The essay format only allows you to present the content in an organised manner. Essay format provides an essay with the physical look that allows the readers to scan the pages without reading the words.
Essay formatting is believed to account for ten percent of the overall grade at the very least. If you don't take the formatting of the essay seriously, it may become the difference between an "A" and a below-average grade. So, if you ask, what the importance of the essay format is, we would say it is as important as the content in the essay.
Unfortunately, most students don’t focus on this part since it is performed after all the research and drafting. They are either too tired to pay attention to the essay format or have very little time in their hands. It is recommended to start early with the essay editor for drafting process so that you can spare enough time for essay formatting.
Since you are about to write an essay on your own, we assume that you are aware of the referencing styles like MLA, APA, Harvard, Chicago, etc. Well, they also have particular sets of guidelines for essay formatting as well. Among the most common formatting styles, MLA is the most widely used.
Usually, the instructor who assigns you the essay; tells you about the preference of formatting style. Interestingly, if you are choosing a particular essay formatting style, no matter which level of academics you are in, the rules are the same everywhere. The college essay format of a particular style is similar to its high school essay format. If you are not instructed about any essay formatting style, you can go with the MLA style.
Every formatting style has a specific set of requirements for each of the following elements:
The font style, font size and the place of the texts in the title page of your essay are guided by the set of rules in the assigned essay formatting style. Read the formatting guide carefully and see what the requirement for title pages are.
There needs to be a single space between each word in a sentence. Also, there should be a single space following each comma, semicolon, and colon. There shouldn’t be any space in front of the punctuation at the end of a sentence. Earlier, the norm was to leave two spaces between sentences. However, it is now acceptable to use a single space between sentences. However, it is advised to get your professor's consultation on this.
It is recommended to number every page of your essay in consecutive order. Practice putting the number for each page in the upper right-hand corner flush with the right margin and half an inch from the top. Some experts even suggest writing your surname before each number (e.g. Lee, 3). It may help your teacher find your paper in case the pages of all the essays of the class get jumbled up. Also, use Arabic numerals instead of Roman ones.
The whole idea leaving double space between the lines and one-inch margin in all sides of the paper is to let the professor leave his/her comments. Check the formatting guide of the particular style to know the special rules for the margins in the essay.
Ideally, 12 pt is the standard font size for essay writing. However, you should always refer to the formatting guide.
The first line of a new paragraph used to be intended. However, students are now asked to prepare their essays with new paragraphs flushed with the left margin of the paper. It is always recommended to ask the professor and know his/her preference. And whether you choose to indent or not, make sure to be consistent throughout the essay.
When you are writing the title of the essay, each word in the title needs to be in the capital, with a few exceptions. Firstly, do not capitalise the articles, which are “a”, “an”, and “the”. Secondly, do not capitalise the prepositions (at, in, over, under, of, etc.). And lastly, do not capitalise the conjunctions (and, but, because, etc.). While writing the content of the essay, use the capitalisations sparingly. Ideally, you should capitalise the first letter of the first word in a sentence and the proper nouns in the content.
While it may seem insignificant to a lot of students to bind the sheets of paper in the essay, but it is very crucial to binding the pages together since those pages may get easily scrambled or perhaps get lost. If you are using a stapler, staple the pages at the upper left corner, so that the page numbers at the right corner don't get covered. However, it is recommended to have the left edges bound.
As mentioned, it is always better to download the softcopy of the guide of a particular formatting style and learn all the requirements before making any attempt at formatting your essay.
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