Cathy A.
Cathy A.

Essay Format - Learn The Basic Writing Style with Examples

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Published on: Dec 29, 2019

Last updated on: Mar 17, 2023

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Every high school student has to write essays now and then. However, essay writing is not only about narrating information or views on a piece of paper. Instead, a good essay has a proper structure and format according to the universally accepted guidelines.

Most of the time, your institution or subject instructor mentions the essay formatting style that they require. For example, it could be MLA, APA, or Chicago, depending upon your field of study. Each essay format presents the essay in a proper format.

Read this article further to understand the usage of different essay formatting styles. This article also provides the necessary guidelines that you can use to learn to structure your essay.

What is an Essay Format?

Essay format refers to the arrangement of your essay, its paragraphs, and its structure. It also determines the presentation of your essay as a whole. The formatting guidelines inform you about the layout of the essay and its structure. This format must be followed to get good grades or increase your essay’s chances of getting published.

The most notable details in an essay format are the title page, text alignment, text presentation, essay structure, paragraph structure, and citation style. Some of them have standard measures followed in all types of formatting, while others are also different.

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Types of Essay Formats

Majorly there are three types of essay formats. These are briefly described below:

  1. APA Format: APA stands for American Psychological Association. It is mostly used in the field of social sciences and behavioral sciences. The latest APA style manual is the 7th edition, updated in October 2019.
  2. MLA Format: Another formatting style is MLA, which students from the field of humanities use. MLA is an acronym for Modern Language Association. This referencing style is preferred by people doing scholarly writing.
  3. Chicago Format: The third type of formatting style is Chicago. Students belonging to the field of business, arts, or history majorly use this style. This formatting style was first used in 1906. As the name indicates, it was presented by the University of Chicago Press.

Apart from these, there are a number of other referencing and formatting styles also. All of them are different from each other and when writing a paper following any of them, you must follow the guidelines properly.

Different Parts of an Essay

The basic parts of an essay that must be formatted to create a good essay structure are as following:

  • Outline of the Essay

    Most institutions ask their students to mention an essay outline at the start. It is just a point-wise description of the essay. The order of the paragraphs in the essay is kept intact in the outline also.

  • Introduction

    The first paragraph of the essay should be its introductory paragraph. This paragraph should be one paragraph that describes the topic briefly. It could also describe the terms of the topic or its background.

  • Thesis Statement

    A thesis is a three to four-sentence statement that briefly explains your perspective of the topic. In an argumentative essay, it states your stance on the topic. The thesis statement should always be placed at the end of the introduction paragraph.

  • Body Paragraphs

    After the introduction paragraph starts the body of the essay. The body paragraphs explain the details about the topic. You should always mention one detail in one paragraph.

    Also, make sure that your body paragraphs are linked with each other. This is done through transition words and phrases. So they are linking words like In addition to, moreover, furthermore, etc.

  • Conclusion

    The last paragraph of the essay is the conclusion paragraph. It sums up your whole essay in a single paragraph. It should also be one paragraph only and should not include any new information.

How to Format the Essay Paragraphs?

The structuring of the essay also includes the formatting of its paragraph. The standard paragraph format for essay paragraphs is as follows:

  • Topic Sentence

    The first sentence of the paragraph is a topic sentence. The topic sentence should tell the reader what the paragraph is about.

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  • Supporting Details

    The second and third sentences of the paragraph comprise the supporting detail. The supporting details mention the information about the topic sentence or the topic of the paragraph.

  • Evidence Sentence

    After supporting details, the next is the evidence sentence. It states the example, fact, quotation, or other information that proves the topic sentence.

  • Concluding Sentence

    The last sentence of the paragraph is the conclusion sentence. The concluding sentence should tell how the paragraph links to the thesis statement or the topic of the essay.

Overview of a Standard Essay Format

The standard formatting of the essay can be done according to the following structure:

  • Title Page

    The title page of the essay should include the author’s credentials. It should also include the publication details and, most importantly, the topic of the essay. The title page can also include other information like the instructor’s name, subject name, etc., based on the institution’s requirements.

  • Margins of the Essay Pages

    Each page should have margin on all sides. It should be a one-inch margin. This is the standard margin size.

  • Line Spacing

    There should be a similar line spacing in the whole essay. Check the line spacing for lines within the paragraphs and also the spacing in between the paragraphs.

  • Font Size and Style of the Text

    The essay should have the same font style. The most commonly used standard font style is Times New Roman. The font style of the essay other than the headings should also be the same. Usually, it is kept at 12 pt.

  • Page Headers

    There should also be page headers. They can consist of the page numbers, topic name, or the author’s name.

  • Headings and Sub-Headings

    If any, the headings and subheadings should be formatted to be prominent in the rest of the text. The essay’s topic is the main heading or the essay title, so it should have a greater font size than the rest of the text. It can also be made bold.

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Text Alignment

The text of the essay, other than the headings, should be justified for its alignment. The alignment of the essay should only have a half-inch indentation.

Essay Formatting Guidelines According to MLA Style

What is the MLA format for an Essay?

If you want to create an MLA format essay, then you should follow the below-mentioned formatting criteria.

  • Keep the font size to 12pt.
  • Double line spacing should be followed in the whole text. There shouldn’t be extra space in between the paragraphs.
  • The margin size will remain 1 inch.
  • The header should be placed on each page. It will consist of the author’s last name and the page number.
  • The instructor’s name, grade, and date are mentioned on the page’s upper left corner.
  • The title or the main heading of the essay should be centrally aligned.
  • The references of the essay should be mentioned in a separate section. It should have the title of the “Works Cited” page.

Essay Formatting Guidelines According to APA Style

According to the APA essay format, the paper can be formatted according to the following measures:

  • Times New Roman and 12pt will be the font style and size of the text.
  • This formatting style also follows double-line spacing.
  • The margin size also remains to be 1 inch.
  • The header will also be placed on every page. The right corner of the header will have the page number, and the left corner will have the topic of the essay. Again, try to keep the topic as short as possible.
  • The title page in APA formatting includes the author’s name, institution name, instructor’s name, and the date.
  • The citations are added at the end in the ‘References’ page.

Essay Formatting Guidelines According to Chicago Style

An easy key to format your paper according to the Chicago style is the set of guidelines mentioned below:

  • It will follow the standard margin size of one inch.
  • The text will also have the same double-spacing.
  • The text’s font size will be 12pt and style will be Times New Roman.
  • Every page will have a header. The header will have the current page number.
  • If there is any paraphrased text or quoted information, this formatting style requires you to reference it in the footnotes of every page.
  • At the end of the essay will be the bibliography section. All the references should be listed in alphabetical order in this section.

This formatting guide can be used to style all kinds of academic papers, including essays, research papers, publication articles, etc. In addition, it helps you understand the formatting of the essay paragraphs, text citations, and references at the end.

We understand that reading these guidelines may not be enough to understand the formatting well. It could be possible that you do not have time to go through this whole article.

Essay Format Examples

We have attached some samples below as examples of all types of formatting styles. These samples also guide you to format some commonly written types of essays.

If you have read all the guidelines and gone through the samples, and require more help. Don’t Worry. is here for you. We offer a ‘write my essay’ service that will provide you quality essays at affordable rates.

So place your order now.

Cathy A.


Cathy A., Literature, Marketing

Cathy has been a trusted source of high-quality writing for more than five years. With her in-depth knowledge of mass communication from her Master's degree, she always produces work that meets the needs of her clients. In fact, they often leave her 5-star reviews for being an outstanding writer who is very passionate about their craft.

Cathy has been a trusted source of high-quality writing for more than five years. With her in-depth knowledge of mass communication from her Master's degree, she always produces work that meets the needs of her clients. In fact, they often leave her 5-star reviews for being an outstanding writer who is very passionate about their craft.

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