How to Put Your Paper in the Proper Essay Format

Having the right format is absolutely necessary for any paper. In your assignment prompt, it should list exactly which format to use, or give you an option of some to choose from. Adhering to the rules of your designated essay format is a relatively simple thing to do once you figure out exactly what they are. It’s important that you get them right though, because if you get confused or mixed up with another format, your professor will almost certainly reduce your grade. They may not even accept your paper until it’s properly cited, structured, and formatted.

APA and MLA are by far the two most popular choices for professors and academic purposes. They’re not hard to follow, especially with this handy resource for how to do them properly. Here are the guidelines for each. Also, at the bottom of this handy guide is a brief example to demonstrate how to cite an except or quote using each format.

A.P.A Essay Format Rules and Guidelines

APA is very common, so it’s good to know the rules for how to properly write a paper with its guidelines. APA essay format UK, US, and AU must have the following:

  • One inch margins
  • Indent the first word of each paragraph
  • Times New Roman size 12
  • Double space
  • Page header including title and page number
  • Separate Title Page
  • Abstract
  • Separate References page

MLA Format

Also used commonly in academic setting, MLA is quite similar to APA. There are only a handful of differences; you’ll notice by comparing the guidelines. If you need to convert your essay from APA to MLA or vice versa, the process is simple and shouldn’t take much more than a few minutes. Here are the rules for MLA essay format university, UK, US and AU.

  • One inch margins
  • Indent the first word of each paragraph
  • Indent set-off quotations
  • Any font as long as italics differ from the regular typeface and it’s easy to read
  • Font size 12
  • Double space everything
  • Only one space after end of sentences
  • Header or title page
  • Tables and graphs need citations directly below them

Other Options for Essay Format UK

Chicago style may be used, but it is far less common, as is CBE style. Chicago style is often used for publications like magazines or newspapers, so if you are taking a writing class, they may assignment you something in Chicago style just for practice using something other than APA and MLA. Some classes use only Chicago though, so it’s important to check your syllabus. Scientific or formal academic publications are rarely put in Chicago style.

CBE style is sometimes used in place of APA or MLA depending on the requirements of the paper and the topic. It uses a different method of referencing that may be advantageous to the professor for grading or fact checking purposes. Each professor has their own preference for format, but generally, if you know APA and MLA you should be able to get through the vast majority of your classes without a problem.

Essay Format Examples for APA and MLA

Here’s how to cite a line or block of text in APA:

One of the most interesting quotes is, “Each unit is a measurement of itself whether there is a scale in place or not.” (Franklin, 2002, p. 132).

The name of the author, year and page number must be included when taking an excerpt from another work.

In MLA, the parenthesis at the end of the quote would look like this:

(Franklin, “Measurements of Time” 132).

The name of the author, title of the publication, and page number must be included.