Essay Format - A Complete Writing Guide with Examples (2023)

By Barbara P.

10 mins read

Reviewed By Rylee W.

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  • What is an Essay Format?
  • Types of Essay Formats
  • Basic Parts Of An Essay Format
  • Formatting an Essay
    • Title Page Format
    • First Page of An Essay
    • Cite According to Essay Format
    • Format The Bibliography
  • Essay Format Examples

Drafting a perfect college essay is very important for students for their academics. And to write a perfect essay, its formatting is important.

An essay is a formal piece of writing. Any formal writing requires proper structure and formatting. You can not just jumble up information and expect your essay to be effective. Its clarity depends on the format you choose.

This blog is written to give a better understanding of an essay format and the general guidelines of each type of format to present the gathered information in a disciplined way.

What is an Essay Format?

An essay format is a way in which the information is organized for your essay. The format of an essay has a lot to do with the presentation of the text. If your essay is poorly structured or lacks a format, your readers will have difficulty understanding the main argument and the idea.

Readers will never continue reading something that is confusing or gives the impression that a writer is sloppy.

A standard format to write your essay or paper is through the linear approach. In this, each idea is presented to make it easier for the readers to understand. If you know how to structure an essay, you are halfway through.

Importance of Essay Format

An essay format is important for so many reasons. It helps the readers understand the ideas and thoughts presented in the essay in a logical flow by the writer. Not just that, readability is essential. If the information is just presented randomly, the clarity will be missing.

Also, if the essay doesn’t appeal to the eyes, it will not grab the people’s attention. So the way an essay is written decides whether it would be read by the audience or not.

In addition to this, the format is important for the writer as well. As it provides a guideline, it works as a checklist for a writer. To make sure every important aspect is discussed in the essay, a format is used.

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Types of Essay Formats

There are 3 basic formatting styles or types in which all essays and papers are formatted. They are:

(Video) How to write a good essay: Paraphrasing the question

  • MLA
  • APA
  • Chicago

Whether you are writing a research paper or a general academic essay, you have to choose a format to draft it. Students are often assigned a format by their instructors, so they should read the guidelines carefully.

In order to understand each essay format type, we shall discuss it in detail.

MLA Format

MLA format style is quite common in the humanities world. Papers and essays that are to be written in this format should fulfill the following requirements.

  • The font you are using should be Times New Roman in 12pt.
  • Double spacing.
  • No extra space between the new paragraphs
  • One inch margin on both sides of the paper
  • Page number in the header.
  • Essay title in the center of the page.
  • Sources mentioned in “work cited”

APA Format

Unlike MLA format, APA format is used for scientific papers and essays. Essays are written for behavioral or social sciences follow this format. Following are the guidelines for the American Psychological Association format:

  • Font or Text in Times New Roman 12pt
  • One inch margin (both sides)
  • Double spacing in the text
  • A short title on the upper left-hand corner in the header
  • The page number on the right in the header
  • A title page with the information, including the writer’s name, institution, instructor, and date.
  • Reference page (for the citation)
APA Format Essay Example (PDF)

Chicago Format

This format is a bit similar to the other format style guides. This format includes:

  • Double spacing
  • Margins (one inch both left margin and right margin)
  • Times New Roman 12pt font size
  • Page number in the header
  • Footnotes on quoted and paraphrased passages
  • An alphabetical arrangement of citations on the bibliography page.
Chicago Format Essay Example (PDF)

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Basic Parts Of An Essay Format

A typical and general format that an essay uses is simple. Every type of essay can be written in that format. Following are the parts that an essay format is based on:

In order to make sure that your academic essay is effective, each of the parts should be drafted professionally. Continue reading to understand each part in detail.

Continue reading to understand each part in detail.

  1. 1. Cover Or Title Page
  2. The cover or title page is the first page on which the topic of your paper or essay is presented. Along with this, the title page includes other information such as the name of the writer, instructor, institution, course, and the submission date.

  3. 2. An Abstract
  4. An abstract is a brief summary of your essay or research paper. It is usually a 300-word long paragraph and precisely presents the purpose of the essay, the main thesis statement, and the design of the study.

    (Video) MLA Style Essay Format - Word Tutorial

  5. 3. Table Of Content
  6. When you are drafting a long essay or paper, a table of content is developed. In this table, headings and subheadings are presented along with their page numbers. The reader navigates your work using this table of content.

  7. 4. Introduction
  8. An introduction is the first section of your essay. When writing a short essay of about 300 - 1000 words, a writer directly starts with an introduction after stating the essay topic.

    An introduction of an essay is as important as the body of it. The introduction discloses the main idea of the essay and attempts to motivate readers to read the essay. Apart from the presentation of the main idea, it also contains background information about the topic.

    A writer then forms a thesis statement which is the main argument of an essay. A thesis statement is the essence of the essay, and all other information provided in the body of an essay justifies it and proves it.

  9. 5. Main Body
  10. The main body of your essay is the soul of it. Without it, the thesis statement will just be meaningless. The information you gather on the topic is presented in the body which acts as evidence to prove the argument right or wrong depending on the writer.

    A format helps the body give a logical flow that walks the reader towards the end. The point to prove your argument is to persuade the reader that your thesis statement is right. Make sure you give a topic sentence to all your body paragraphs.

  11. 6. Conclusion
  12. Then comes the conclusion part of the essay. This is the final verdict of an essay writer. In this, a writer avoids giving new ideas to the readers and tries to sum up the whole conversation. This is done by restating the thesis statement in different words and providing a summary of the key ideas. At last, “call to action” is given.

  13. 7. Appendix
  14. An appendix is formulated when a writer uses unusual terms, phrases, and words in the document. This is a list prepared to describe those unordinary words for the readers.

  15. 8. Bibliography
  16. When gathering information for your essay or paper, a writer has to consult different sources. Therefore, when using such sources and information in your content, a bibliography is created to provide their references.

    A bibliography is a reference list presented at the end of the essay where all the cited sources are given along with the details.

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Formatting an Essay

Formatting an essay means working on the essay structure. When writing an academic essay, make sure that every part is drafted according to format. Your title page, in-text citation, essay outline, and reference list should be following the chosen format.

To understand the formatting of the different parts better, continue reading.

  • Title Page Format
  • According to the MLA style, the title page of an essay should be written in the following way:

    • Writing the name of the writer, course, instructor, and date.
    • Double spacing between paragraphs
    • Institute’s name in the top center of a page
    • Title of your essay or paper
    • Font Times New Roman (12pt)

    If you are using an APA style formatting for your essay, make sure to format your title page in the following way:

    • Title written in all caps
    • The margin on both sides (1 inch)
    • 12pt font Times New Roman
    • Name of writer and institute

    A title page is the first thing that an instructor sees in your assignment. Therefore, it is very important to form it in a neat format.

  • First Page of an Essay
  • Before you start writing your essay, format your first page. To do this, add a header in which you give your last name and the page number. Place the header on the right-hand corner of your page.

    (Video) Essay Format [Outline & Examples]

    Follow this for every page of your essay except the last page; the “work cited” page

    On the left upper corner, write your name, instructor’s, course’s, and the date. Put the title in the center and use double-spacing throughout the essay.

  • Cite According to Essay Format
  • When you are conducting research for your essay, you will come across a lot of text which will complement your essay topic. Without knowing the consequences, people take the text from the internet and add it to the essay.

    Citing the source properly is essential. If you do not cite the sources properly, you will be accused of plagiarism, a crime in the writing world. Therefore, even if you are using other’s words in the form of quotation marks or rephrasing it, it needs to be cited to avoid plagiarism.

    Get to know which style of the in-text citations is recommended by your instructor and follow that. In APA format, the citation is done in the following way:

    • Give the author’s name (last name), followed by the publication date and the paragraph number of the original work.

    The other way is to cite in MLA style:

    • Give the author’s last name and the page number of the publication you are taking words from.

    Therefore, cite your sources according to the essay format and make your essay writing phase easy.

    Format The Bibliography

    The last page of your essay is the “works cited” page. This page is written in the way presented below:

    • Sources are alphabetically arranged
    • Double spacing is used on the entire page
    • Hanging indention is also used.

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    Essay Format Examples

    There are several types of academic essays that students get assigned. No matter which type the essay is, it has to be properly formatted. Carefully examine the formats provided below for the different essay types:

    College Essay Format (PDF)
    Narrative Essay Format (PDF)
    Descriptive Essay Format (PDF)
    (Video) How to format your paper in APA style in 2022
    Scholarship Essay Format (PDF)

    Writing a good essay includes the proper representation of the text. For this purpose, formatting is done. Unfortunately, when students rush to finish their assignments, they often end up with poorly formatted content. This not only results in untidy writing but also makes students lose their grades.

    If you are out of time or having any issues in producing structured content for your essays, you can get help from professionals online.

    Writers at provide high-quality writing services to students of every type and style of writing. Get assistance from our expert to help you write flawless and ‘A’ worthy essays, term papers, and research papers for you.

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    Essay Format - A Complete Writing Guide with Examples (1)

    Barbara P.

    Essay Format - A Complete Writing Guide with Examples (2) Essay Format - A Complete Writing Guide with Examples (3) Essay Format - A Complete Writing Guide with Examples (4)

    Literature, Marketing

    Barbara is a highly educated and qualified author with a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university. She has spent a significant amount of time working in the medical field, conducting a thorough study on a variety of health issues. Her work has been published in several major publications.

    (Video) APA Essay Format (7th ed.) | Essay Writing | The Nature of Writing


    What is the format for essay writing? ›

    A basic essay consists of three main parts: introduction, body, and conclusion. This basic essay format will help you to write and organize an essay. However, flexibility is important. While keeping this basic essay format in mind, let the topic and specific assignment guide the writing and organization.

    How do you write an essay guide? ›

    Tips for effective writing
    1. Start writing early —the earlier the better. ...
    2. Keep the essay question in mind. ...
    3. Don't try to write an essay from beginning to end, especially not in a single sitting. ...
    4. Write the introduction and conclusion after the body. ...
    5. Use 'signpost' words in your writing. ...
    6. Integrate your evidence carefully.
    Mar 18, 2022

    What are the 5 parts of writing an essay? ›

    An outline is often used to demonstrate the content of most five-paragraph essays:
    • Introduction.
    • Body. First Point. Second Point. Third Point.
    • Conclusion.

    How do you title a complete guide in an essay? ›

    Here are things you need to remember for your title:

    Your Title should be an attention grabber. It reflects the tone of your essay. Your readers need to be able to understand what your essay is about. It should contain some main keywords from your essay.

    What is a guide writing? ›

    A guide might be a leaflet or handbook, giving instructions on a topic or procedure. It is typical for a guide to use subheadings so that the reader can see the main points at a glance. The order of these headings will depend on the purpose of the guide.

    What are the 6 steps to writing an essay? ›

    6 Step Process for Essay Writing
    1. Step 1: Determine the genre.
    2. Step 2: Analyze the topic.
    3. Step 3: Create a plan.
    4. Step 4: Research.
    5. Step 5: Start Writing.
    6. Step 6: Edit and submit.


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