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Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Formatting an essay

What is formatting? why is it required?

Content remains the king for an essay. Accurate information must be presented while they are submitted as an assignment for universities and colleges. With content, formatting also needs to be given equal important. Though content does not have any direct relation with formatting, it does add a required tone to it.

Formatting is a layout or a material form which makes an essay look presentable. It helps in making an essay look more appealing to the eyes. 

What is the importance of formatting an essay?

  • Essays with great quality are read well but if they are formatted properly, they are given closer attention to while reading.
  • Better presentation skills always are adored more at the end of the day. Well-formatted essays are given more priority over others which are not formatted.
  • Essays with proper formatting are given better grades. 

Here are the elements required for formatting an essay:

After discussing the basics of formatting and why it is important, we will now focus on what are the elements required while formatting an essay.

1.Font: Font size should be fixed to 12-points and the standard font style which should be followed is Times New Roman. It is advisable to avoid the use of non-serif font style. Fancy styles will make it difficult to read. 
2.Spacing: There are two parts for spacing the essay; spacing between words and spacing between paragraphs.

i.The spacing between sentences:
It is recommended to use single spacing between each word and each sentence. Also leaving a single space in front of a punctuation mark is necessary. Asking a professor or the guide for clarifying the doubts is encouraged.

ii.The spacing between paragraphs:
To distinguish between two paragraphs that started and ended, it is good to insert two spaces in between them. This makes it clear and lucid to read. 

3.Title: Title is a brilliant method which should be included to capture the reader’s attention. Essays are more approachable if the title added to it is catchy enough.

Things to note while formatting:
1.The first letter of the title must be capitalized
2.It becomes approachable if the title is engaging and urges the reader to read further
3.The catchy title often ends with a question mark (?) or an exclamation mark (!)
4.The title of an essay must be placed in the center of the page as it acts as a heading to lead the essay forward.
5.Care should be taken not to use a period(.) at the end of the title
6.If there is an inclusion of proper noun or something specific mentioned about the essay, there must a mandatory use of quotation mark(“ “)
7.The font style of the title should be same as the rest of the content follows
8.Using longer words must be avoided

There should be an inch of a gap from left, right, top and bottom throughout an essay.

Indenting a paragraph becomes necessary to make it look presentable. To make things look better, each word of a paragraph must be indented with half an inch (which is equivalent to five spaces).

There is another practice of not indenting the content where every first word of the paragraph is flushed to the left margin. However, it is advisable to take guidance from the instructor to clarify doubts regarding the indentation.

1.There are four kinds of alignment, left, center, right and justify
2.It will be appropriate to align the content using left alignment
3.It becomes necessary to neglect the use of “justify” alignment

7.Page numberings: It is a good practice to number the pages of an essay. It must be used in a consecutive manner for better readability.
1.These numbers must be placed in the top right corner of each page
2.The page numbers must not contain periods while writing a formal essay
3.Fancy font styles must be discouraged
4.They must not be underlined nor they must be italic or bold
5.Use of numerals such as 1,2,3 must be encouraged than the use of Roman number like I, II, III

8.References and citations: A research paper which is written from scratch needs to well research before they are written. Referring them to the paper from where it was used makes it a non-plagiarized content.
Quotations, summaries must be mentioned as references. Citing gives a clear picture to the paper being written. 

Types of formatting styles:

Most common formatting styles that are found are MLA, APA, Harvard, Oxford etc. Each formatting style differs but has a better impact on an essay being presented. These are the elements that need to be considered while an essay or a research paper is written.

These are few of the formatting tips for formatting an essay which will highlight an essay in a better manner. 

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