What are Formatting Styles

Undoubtedly, you know there are different ways to cite sources, format a paper, and so on. These different formatting methods are called styles.

But, what are formatting styles? Usually, papers are not formatted until after all research work and writing is complete. By this time, most students are so weary they do not pay much attention to formatting. Additionally, they may be short of time since formatting is the last step in the process. Because of these factors, it is advisable to begin writing your essay in good time so that you have an extra (and separate) day at the end for formatting. Getting help from a professional formatting service – such as the one offered by Great-Writings.com – is also an option. We are knowledgeable in all the formatting styles and can complete your work to perfection and even proofread too if required.

Why Is Formatting an Essay so Important?

The Different Formatting Styles!

The more commonly-used styles include essay format APA, Chicago, Harvard, and MLA. In fact, MLA is among the most widely-used style and in the event you do not know what format to use in your essay, MLA is usually seen as the default style so you should use this.

A lot of people mistakenly believe that the style of a paper is influenced mainly by the level of education the assignment is for and/or the level of complexity. Clearly, however, this is not true. If it is the case you have to write an essay in the MLA style, its appearance will be the same regardless of whether it is for university, college, or high school level. This principle also applies to the APA and Chicago styles.

And, don’t forget that if you want an MLA format template or a template for any of the other formatting styles, Great-Writings.com can help.

Each of the formatting styles has its own unique requirements in a number of areas such as:

It is easy to find, for example, an APA format template or an MLA format template online. In fact, each of the formatting styles is accompanied by its own manual or style guide and these can easily be purchased in print or electronic format.   

Page Numbering and Paragraph Layout

Whatever essay format for college you have been asked to use, each page of your essay should be numbered. Place a consecutive number in the top right corner of each page flush with the right-hand margin and a half-inch from the top of the page. These numbers should not be underlined and periods are not required after them. Avoid the temptation to embellish page numbers with fancy fonts or any type of graphics. The Arabic numbering system is preferred to Roman numerals.

Why Double Line Spacing and Wide Margins are Important

Double spacing between lines and a 1” margin on all four sides of the page gives a professor or tutor sufficient room to write comments.

In this essay writing format, the words within sentences should always be separated by just one space. This also applies to commas, colons, and semi-colons. The punctuation marks at the end of sentences should never be preceded by a space. Traditionally, it was desirable to separate sentences with two spaces. Nowadays, however, it is more usual for sentences to be separated by a single space. If you are in any doubt, seek clarification from your tutor or professor.

When you use double line spacing, it is advisable to leave four line spaces between individual paragraphs. This allows the reader to see paragraph breaks more easily. 

Indentation Rules for Quotes and Paragraphs

In times past, it was usual practice to indent the first line of each paragraph. These days, however, the majority of tutors and professors prefer the first line of paragraphs to be aligned to the left-hand margin. In the event your course supervisor does not provide instructions on this aspect, it is advisable to ask them what their preference is. Regardless of whether or not you use indentation, just make sure you are consistent all the way through your essay 

In the event you choose to indent the first lines of paragraphs, the normal practice is to indent by a half-inch or seven spaces from the page’s left-hand margin. The usual indentation requirement for quoted material is one inch or ten spaces from the page’s left-hand margin. This distinguishes quotes more clearly from paragraphs. 

Dealing with Titles When Formatting an Essay

When it comes to format essay writing, it is necessary to make a distinction between the titles of shorter, partial-length works and full-length ones. Writers should underline the longer variety e.g. plays and books and place shorter ones e.g. those from essays, blogs, chapters from books, and articles from magazines and newspapers in quotation marks. If you are not sure, check the MLA style handbook or put the title in quotation marks.

It is necessary to capitalize the first letters of each of the words in a work’s title, except in the following three cases: Firstly, article words should not be capitalized e.g. “the,” “a,” and “an.” Secondly, preposition words should not be capitalized e.g. “in,” “of,” “on,” “over,” and “under.” Thirdly, conjunction words should not be capitalized e.g. “and,” “but,” and “because.”  

If you are using, say, MLA format in text citation, it is important to remember to use capitalization sparingly to avoid irritating your readers and/or distracting them from your main arguments/points. While there is often a temptation to use capitals for each letter in a main headline, try to resist the urge. Instead, choose words that will add emphasis.  

Tips on Ending an Essay

When students get to the end of an essay, a lot of them seem to think there is a need to finish off with some embellishment such as flashy graphics. There is no need for this and a professor or tutor might even find it irritating. Your essay should end when you place the final period at the end of your final sentence. Likewise, there is no need to add “The End” as a finale.  

The pages of an essay or paper should always be bound together because it is very easy for sheets to become loose, mixed up, or even get lost. In the event you decide to staple pages together, make sure you staple through the top left-hand corner so that the page numbering in the top right-hand corner is still visible. This also applies if you use paper clips to hold pages together.

A lot of patience and practice is required to become good at writing essays. You need not be overly harsh on your efforts if your tutor does not give you an “A” grade for the initial few essays you write. In the event you do not find your grades satisfactory, arrange to meet with your tutor or professor. Ask them politely if they can suggest ways for you to improve. As well as asking for their advice on the content of your work, remember to also ask their advice on formatting. 

If you want assistance with an APA format cover page, an MLA in-text citation, or any other type of writing assistance, or you are short of time, just get in touch with us and our professionals will help. We have a lot of talented and highly-experienced writers in our team and they can help you with every aspect of essay writing, including formatting. Furthermore, our services are sufficiently affordable that they are within reach of every student’s budget.