A Few Tips About Proper Essay Format

Solid Writing Skills Are Not Enough

Some students like to belive they can effortlessly glide through their English and communications classes, simply because they have strong writing skills and good control of the language. However, a professional presentation is just as important in a paper as strict writing ability is. A sloppily edited or poorly formatted paper looks unimpressive and suggests that the writer has put no effort forward, after all. Furthermore, many college instructors base some of their writing grades on how a paper is edited and formatted.

Proper Essay Formatting Can Make or Break You

A paper that is well laid out and formatted according to the correct standards is easy to read and readily comprehensible to anyone in the field. If your essay flows correctly and adheres to standard guidelines, then your reader will feel welcome and comfortable navigating the document, and they will feel respected as a consumer of your prose.

If your paper is poorly formatted or not formatted at all, conversely, this suggests you have very little respect for the reader. Poor formatting can lead to a paper rejection (or rejection by an admissions or hiring committee), so make sure you always put the effort in.

How Can You Ensure Correct Formatting?

Do not rely on your guts or your class’ grading rubric to make certain that your paper is formatted according to the correct style guidelines. Formatting correctly requires a highly organized and effortful process, and should not be taken lightly. Here are some suggestions for making sure your document is up to formatting standards before it is turned in or submitted.

  1. Do not assume a particular formatting style is expected unless you have been told explicitly. When in doubt, inquire directly about what formatting style is desired.
  2. Devote as much time to formatting your paper as you did to writing or editing it. Set aside a minimum of five hours to edit a ten page paper, for example. Do not wait until the last minute.
  3. Locate a copy of the manual of style and formatting guidelines, and make sure it is appropriate for the style you’re expected to follow. Make sure to purchase the most updated version of the style manual.
  4. Work steadily on formatting your paper, and focus on big changes before small ones. Change the chapter structure before your write the table of contents, for example.
  5. Double check the finished product, and make sure to review a hard copy of your manuscript. Make sure all page numbers are correct, measure the margins with a ruler, and ask someone else to review your draft.