Anyone can walk into a library and compile a list of facts or answers to specific essay questions, completing an assignment within minutes. However, contemporary education systems seek to instill discipline and competency through assignments. Professors are more often than not interested in your ability to present a case rather than the facts of the case. Although providing the correct answer to an academic question is important, the student’s ability to follow instructions and abide by the generally accepted writing rules has more weight. Institutions of higher learning design curricula to nurture knowledge, among other critical skills applicable in real life. Formatting and demonstrating the writer’s ability to connect with people in their field of interest. The correct format also indicates understanding, not just the presentation of facts.
Essential Tips on Formatting an Essay
Make an outline
An outline is like a map for your essay. It helps you organize your document and plan your work in segments, allowing you to address the main ideas with precision. The outline is a guide, enabling a systematic essay writing process with defined sections addressing specific issues.
Adopt the basic essay structure
The basic essay structure has five paragraphs. The first one is the introduction, containing the purpose statement and thesis. This paragraph tells the reader what the essay is about and what to expect in the main body. The thesis statement is the primary argument and the supporting evidence. On the other hand, the three body paragraphs explain the supporting evidence. Each section must have a topic sentence highlighting the main idea and how it relates to the thesis. The supporting details elaborate on the idea with scientific evidence and explanation. At the end of the paragraph, one should include a concluding sentence hinting at the consequent idea and summarizing the section’s content. This process is repeated for the three body paragraphs. Finally, an essay must contain a conclusion or a summation of the ideas and a restatement of the writer’s perspective. In the concluding paragraph, the author restates the thesis and includes concluding remarks with recommendations for further research where necessary.
Utilize and incorporate white space
White space in writing refers to the space between characters, words, and paragraphs. Like punctuation marks, white space tells the reader where to start and where to stop. It defines the beginning and end of a section dictating the flow of your document. Using long sentences and paragraphs makes reading your essay difficult and reduces the reader’s interest. You must always ensure that your arguments are concise and precise without unnecessary jargon, wordiness, and tautology. Adopting this format will help you keep the sentences and paragraphs shorter. As a result, the reader can identify the topic and concluding sentences, differentiating the smaller arguments that constitute your thesis.
Seek professional assistance
College life can be challenging, with multiple assignments and limited time to balance life and education. After spending hours in the classroom, you are forced to spend more of your precious time in the library researching and completing daunting tasks. With custom writing services, you can save a significant portion of the day by delegating the research part of your assignment to professional academic writers and researchers. For instance, CustomWritings employs custom essay writers with master’s and Ph.D. level skills to assist students in research proofreading and editing in all disciplines. The writers can complete a personalized essay from scratch or improve a current document through editing. You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel.
Use online grammar and writing assistance tools
Technological advancement in document presentation has evolved with frequently emerging tools to improve writing. Competition among major document editors such as MS Word, WPS Office Writer, LibreOffice Writer, and Google Docs has led to tremendous improvement in these technologies. You can now create a document, check grammatical errors, counter-check the sentence structure, and improve your diction using inbuilt artificial intelligence. However, advanced technologies such as Grammarly, Ginger, and PaperRater can help you take your writing to the next level. With these paid services, you can fine-tune your essay, eliminating common mistakes and improving your argument. Most importantly, these tools help address sentence structure and word selection issues.
Common Essay Formatting Styles
Institutions of higher learning often dictate the preferred style of formatting an essay, including Harvard, Chicago, Turabian, APA, and MLA. These rules dictate the acceptable structure, font size, headings, margins, spacing, page numbers, title placement, and indentation. These aspects differ in different academic writing languages and dictate your ability to follow basic rules. Most formatting styles adopt a 1-inch margin and times new roman font style.
The two most popular essay formats
The two most common essay formatting styles are MLA and APA. They adopt relatively similar properties with minor differences. However, proper formatting in any writing language requires an in-depth understanding of the style and structure. The student must cross-reference with the writing guide before submitting their assignment. It is also important to constantly review and study sample papers online for various types of essay formats to familiarize yourself and improve your skills.
- The American Psychological Association (APA) format. The APA format is in its seventh edition, with minor but critical improvements from the previous versions. The current edition separates professional and academic documents, adopting the most basic structure for the latter. In the student’s version, you need not include a running head. Right-indented plain page numbers will suffice. The first page begins with a bold title in the title case, followed by the student’s name, affiliated institution, course, professor’s name, and the submission date. An abstract is not required in short essays but must be included in research papers. This section is written in a single space on the page following the title page. Conversely, the subsequent sections must be double-spaced and start with a bold title in the title case. You can separate your document with headers for presentation purposes or adopt the basic essay structure for smaller essays. In-text citations should contain the author’s last name and the year of publication. On the other hand, the reference page has a bolded heading, “References,” followed by the list of cited works. Different work types of essay formats have specific formatting styles but must contain the reversed author’s name, date, title, source, and unique identifier.
- The Modern Language Association (MLA). MLA is currently the ninth generation, although the eighth edition is the most common. This format does not have a title page. Author details, course, and date appear at the top left corner of the first page. The title follows with no additional spacing but, in the title case, immediately after. Page numbers appear in a running title indicating the author’s last name on the right-hand side of all the pages. In-text citations include the author’s last name and the page number of the referenced work. On the other hand, the reference page adopts the centered “works cited” header followed by a list of the references. Although each type of work cited has a unique formatting style, the reversed author’s names appear in full, starting with the surname. The references also contain the document’s title, container, and specific descriptors such as volume, number, year of publication, and page numbers.
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