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Formatting Your Essay – The Right Way

Students often believe that essay formatting is not a particularly critical part of essay composition. In some ways, they’re right. The formatting style of an essay is not, in any sense, as important as the content itself. Great ideas and concepts can still come in slightly messy packages, can’t they? Here’s the problem, though. Even if an idea is good – even if an idea is absolutely brilliant – it loses its potency when wrapped up in a dirty, unfinished and disorganized way. Essay formatting does have an important purpose. It keeps ideas clear, improves reader understanding and better communicates the information, evidence, arguments and key points proposed in the essay. To produce top-quality essays, students need to learn proper formatting. This is exactly how students should format their essay – the right way!

First of all, be aware of the particular formatting regulations of your assignments. APA and MLA formats have different requirements and guidelines than strict, bare-bones essay writing. If you’re assignment has t be written in MLA, APA or another academic format, look up formatting rules for these particular essay types before every putting pen to paper.

Aside from cover pages, bibliographies and other formatting requirements outlined by specific essay styles, general essays all have the same basic format. Typically, you will compose an essay in 12-point font with 1-inch margins in a Times New Roman font style. This is generally the most accepted basic essay format. From there, we delve into more detail. Paragraphs will often need to be double-spaced for easier reading, but this is not always the case. Other specifications will likely be outlined by your teacher, but generally, these are the only rules you definitively need to apply.

From there, we enter the more familiar form of essay format. Essays, as you may well know, require three parts: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. The introduction and the conclusion should generally only use one paragraph. As you are only using these sections to introduce your paper and it’s purpose, or close out with a concluding wrap-up, they do not necessarily need to be lengthy. The body of your paper is where formatting really comes in to play. The body is essentially used to provide support and evidence for your eventual conclusion. It’s important that you separate major points into individual paragraphs. Don’t stuff two reasons, three pieces of evidence or several items of research into one massive paragraph. Keep ideas with their related evidence and separate from other ideas. This will make your paper easier to follow and your evidence easier to understand. Be mindful of all of these formatting concerns, and you should have no trouble with your next essay.

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