Everything You Need to Know About Essay Formatting double space between paragraphs
Here is an article on essay format. Correct essay format is a piece of cake if you read this article.
It is dedicated to correct essay formatting, setting right margins, giving your essay a proper layout, creating catchy subtitles & properly indenting your paragraphs.
If you are using only two levels, the first level of heading (i.e. introduction) should be centered in upper and lower case letters. The next level should be flush to the left margin (NOT indented), italicized, in upper and lower case letters
. If you use a third level, that heading should be indented
, italicized, with only the first letter of the first word in upper case AND it should be followed with a period, after which you write your first sentence, without using a paragraph return. If you use more than three levels of headings, you need to check the APA manual for the correct format.
Feel free to use this article while writing your own essay. Remember that correct essay format can make up to 10% of the grade, thus making a difference between an A and a B, or a D and an F.
Date: Mar 16, 2017
Essay format has nothing to do with the actual content of the essay, it is how you organize and present it.
Essay format gives the physical look of your essay as the eye scans the pages without reading the words.
When you include information from an outside source, you will typically either 1) paraphrase the original author’s words or 2) use a direct quote, writing down EXACTLY what was written in the original text. To avoid plagiarizing when you paraphrase, you need to change both the
content AND form of the information you read
-- it is not enough to shuffle the words around (from passive to active voice, for example
) or substitute synonyms within the same sentence structure. If you are having difficulty paraphrasing something without falling into this trap, you should consider
including direct quotes, (which you indicate with quotations marks), from the material in question.
It is estimated that essay formatting can account for at least ten percent of your overall grade. This can be the difference between getting an "A" or a "D." Thus, paying close attention to your formatting is a relatively easy way to improve your grade.
Since formatting is often done after all the research and writing is accomplished, many students are too tired to give formatting the proper attention.
They may also be rushed for time since this is the last task they do. For these reasons, you may want to start your essay assignment early enough that you can do your formatting on a different day than you actually research and write
Actually, these manuals have a real reason for being, other than driving students crazy. By providing a uniform way of presenting information, these style guides assist the writer in preparing their papers in a manner that will be understood by most readers. For example
, because the information needed for a reference to be complete is specified, readers are assured that they can obtain a copy of a particular cited work themselves, if they are interested. Without ALL of the parts of a citation
, references can be near impossible to track down.
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What Formatting Styles Are There?
Most common formatting styles are MLA, APA, Harvard & Chicago. MLA is the most typical one, and if you are unsure how your essay should be formatted, use MLA as the default formatting style.
Pages View → Show Toolbar (or option + ⌘ + t) → Format button → Style pane → under Spacing, in the box labeled After Paragraph, enter the measurement.
The essay formatting rules depend only on the formatting standards, as prescribed by MLA, APA or Chicago style guides. Many styles erroneously think that academic (or complexity) level of your paper will influence the overall essay format.
The American Psychological Association (APA) has produced a publication manual that includes all of the rules that you need to know to produce a manuscript that conforms to their standards. This manual, now in the 5th edition, has been accepted as the gold standard by many
academic disciples. Other common academic style manuals include The Chicago Manual of
Style and The Modern Language Association Style
Manual, (also known as "Chicago" and "MLA"). If you are a graduate student
, it is a really good idea to purchase the style manual accepted by the majority of the faculty in your department. In Special Education at UNM, you should purchase the
APA manual. It is available in the campus bookstore. Make sure you get the most recent (5th) edition.
This is obviously a myth: if you need to write an MLA style essay, it will look same for high-school, college or university level. The Same statement is also true for APA & Chicago formatting styles.
What Are the Differences in Formatting Styles?
Each formatting style sets its own requirements towards a number of things, including:
- Title pages
- Spacing between lines
- Page numbering
- Font size
- Proofreading etc.
Every formatting style has its respective formatting guide that can be easily purchased as a soft copy or a hard copy.
There is, however, a great deal of information on each of these styles that is available online.
As with first-line indents, you want the space to be large enough to be easily noticed, but not so large that the paragraphs seem disconnected. A space equal to 50-100% of the body text size will usually suffice. The larger the point size, the more space you’ll need between paragraphs to make a visible difference
Here are some useful links:
Numbering Pages and Paragraphs
Always number every page of your essay in consecutive order. Put the number for each page in the upper right-hand corner half an inch from the top and flush with the right margin.
Formatting your references:
Your reference list starts on a new page and should have the word 'References' centered at the top of the page (not bold, not underlined, and only the first letter capitalized). All references must be double spaced. Do not add an extra line in between references. The new (6th) edition of the APA manual has gone back to the old style of using "hanging indents," which means that the first line of each reference goes all the way to the left margin, with the following lines of each reference indented. You can set this up on your computer by using the ruler at the top of your screen. Drag the bottom triangle to the right by 1/2 an inch, leaving the top triangle all the way to the left (the opposite of how you set your paragraph indents). That should make all of
your author names stick out to the left, while indenting the rest of each reference.
It is a good practice to include your last name before each number in case the pages get jumbled up with other essays. An example would be: Smith, 2.
Keep your numbers very simple. Do not put periods after page numbers and do not underline them.
Where do I put the periods and commas?
The APA manual provides the format for each kind of citation you might use, such as journal articles, web sites, conference presentations, etc. You need to look up the correct format in the manual.
It is really important for students taking graduate level classes to own a current copy of the APA manual. For an example of a reference section formatted in APA that includes journal articles, chapters from edited books, and authored books, click here* For up-to-date information about
citating electronic sources (i.e. web pages) follow this link: http://www.apastyle.org/elecref.html. This does not, however, replace the need to own your own copy of the APA manual.
Do not put quotations marks around them. Do not use a fancy font or embellish them with graphics of any kind. Use Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3) instead of Roman numerals (I, II, III).
The Importance of Double Spacing and Leaving Wide Margins
Part of the purpose in writing an essay in an academic environment is to obtain constructive feedback from your teacher or professor. This allows you to improve with each re-write and with each subsequent essay you write.
: All papers should be double-spaced throughout, (including the reference section) with one inch margins all around. Do not add extra lines between paragraphs or sections. The font should be 12 pt and you need to use a "serif" type style (with the hooks and curly-cues), such as Times or Courier. All paragraphs should be indented
half an inch, NOT five spaces. Only one space should be added between the period at the end of a sentence and the first letter of the next.
In order to leave enough room for your teacher or professor to leave his or her comments, be sure to double space between each line of text. Be sure to also leave a one-inch wide margin on all sides of the paper.
Other styles are certainly found; combining the two is sometimes done, but generally considered excessive, while having nothing to indicate a new paragraph other than the line-break of the previous line, is not unheard of, particularly in cheaper paperbacks. More obscure options such as running the line on and placing a picrow (¶) between them, can be found, but are extremely rare.
Spacing Between Words and Sentences
Always leave a single space between each word in a sentence. You should also leave a single space after each comma, semicolon, and colon. Never leave a space in front of the punctuation at the end of a sentence.
Word Right-click in the text and select Paragraph → Indents and Spacing. Under Spacing, in the box next to After, enter the measurement.
It is traditional to leave two spaces between sentences. However, it is has become increasingly acceptable to include only one space between sentences. If in doubt, ask your teacher or professor for his or her preference.
It can be a good idea to set up a style in your word-processor for such indicators of a break. This again allows you to change the style to match a new style-guide, or to reliably find-and-replace all of them.
Indentation of Paragraphs and Quotes
Traditionally, the first line of a new paragraph was always indented. However, many teachers and professors now prefer that students start new paragraphs flush with the left margin of the paper.
- Posts: 517
- Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2008 7:14 pm
No, you should write it like a college essay: Double-spaced, 11 or 12 pt. font, indented first line of every paragraph.
- Posts: 19
- Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 12:14 pm
ccs1702 wrote:No, you should write it like a college essay: Double-spaced, 11 or 12 pt. font, indented first line of every paragraph.
For this reason, if your instructor does not offer guidance on this when they give an essay assignment, you may want to ask them what they prefer. Whether you indent or not, be sure to be consistent throughout your entire essay.
Applicants used to be able to attach their essay to the application, a feature that required the writer to make all kinds of decisions about formatting. The most recent version of the Common Application, however, requires that the essay is entered in a text box, and you won't have any spacing options
. The website automatically formats your essay with single spaced paragraphs with an extra space between paragraphs (a format that doesn't conform to any standard style guides
). The simplicity of the software suggests that essay
format really isn't a concern. You can't even hit the tab character to indent paragraphs.
If you do indent paragraphs, it is traditional to indent seven spaces or half an inch from the left margin. For quotes, it is traditional to indent ten spaces, or a full inch from the left margin, to set them apart more distinctly than paragraphs.
My reference book for MLA and APA says that you need 5 spaces whenever you start a paragraph.
Spacing Between Paragraphs
Since you are double spacing between lines, it is best to insert four spaces between paragraphs so the eye can more readily distinguish between paragraphs.
How to Handle Titles in Your Essay Format
There should be a formatting distinction made between longer full-length works and shorter works such. Longer works should be underlined.
In other non-fiction writing, you do it because you need to completely change what you are talking about, and the paragraph does not directly follow the previous. Consider a new section with a new heading, either on the same level as the current section, or as a subsection of it. On the one hand, if this makes sense then the new section with new heading will help the reader. On the other, if it makes absolutely no sense, it probably shouldn't be
considered a break at all, and you should just start a new paragraph normally. You should add extra space if there's a vague argument for a new section, but not a very compelling one.
These include books and plays. Shorter works should be placed inside quotation marks. These include newspaper articles, magazine articles, book chapters, essays, and blog posts. When in doubt, use quotation marks or consult the MLA Handbook.
You have your choice. The white space goes either between paragraphs, or else in front of them, but probably not both.
The first letter of each word in a title should be capitalized with three exceptions. First, do not capitalize articles ("a", "an", "the"). Second, do not capitalize prepositions ("on", "of", "in", "over", "under"). Third, do not capitalize conjunctions ("and", "because", "but").
Never Write in All Capitalizations
Capitalization should be used sparingly or it will tend to irritate the reader and detract from your overall points. Although you may be tempted to capitalize every letter in an important headline, resist this temptation and add your emphasis in the words you choose.
These tell the reader how your text is organized -- they are VERY important. You need to decide how many levels of headings you will need, before you can figure out what they look like. For example, many college papers will
have at least two levels. The first level includes the major categories, such as the introduction, whatever you name the body of your paper, and the conclusion or discussion (or both). You may then also want several sub-categories in the body of your text. For example
, if you are writing about theories of second language development, you would use a sub heading for each of the major theories you discuss. If you then break any of these categories into smaller groups, you would need at least one additional level.
Table of Contents Guidelines
Essays are much shorter than books. Therefore, most do not require a table of contents. However, if your essay is lengthy, or your instructor suggests it, you may want to include one.
If you are self-publishing, then you need to worry about it more. Take a look at what similar works have done. As a rough guide, use the indenting style above if it's going to be about the size of a typical paper- or hard-back book, and use the block size if it's going to be about A4 or US-Letter size. Use line spacing somewhere
around 20% of the size of the font (i.e. if a 10pt font, then somewhere around 12pt total height of each line; different fonts will
work better slightly above or below that, but generally not much above or below), and have the space between paragraphs the same as that total line-height (so 12pt in this example
). You can do well to go outside of that guideline, but you need to read up on scale and rhythm in typography if you are going to do so.
For most essays, you'll want to include the following sections in your table of contents:
- Works Cited
You can also provide subsections for the body since this is the lengthiest part of your essay. Beside each section and subsection, include a page number, in a simple format, for easy reference.
If the application provides formatting guidelines, you should obviously follow them. Failure to do so will reflect negatively on you. An applicant who can't follow directions on the application is someone who is likely to have problems following directions on college assignments
Body. Subtopic 1 .............................................................................................................................................................................................3
Body. Subtopic 2 .............................................................................................................................................................................................6
Works Cited ...................................................................................................................................................................................................15
How to End Your Essay
Many students feel it necessary to embellish the end of their essay with a fancy graphic. This is not necessary and may even annoy your teacher or professor.
Thank you for your advice! Now I have a clear image of what my PS should look like. Thank you!
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After carefully looking at the image, I noticed that there are 6 spaces in the beginning of every paragraph...
Simply end your essay with the last period of your last sentence and leave it at that. Similarly, you do not need to write "The End."
Be Sure to Bind Your Essay
You should always bind together all the sheets of paper in your essay because it is quite easy for loose sheets to become scrambled or even lost. If you use a stapler, be sure to staple the upper left corner so the page numbers on the upper right corner still show.
The following are just a FEW of the most important rules. For more information, check out the manual (make sure you get the 6th edition) and/or go to the APA website.
The same is true if you use a paper clip. You may also want to take your essay to a business center and have the left edges bound.
Writing a good essay takes practice and patience. Don't be too hard on yourself if you don't get an "A" on your first few attempts. If you are not satisfied with your grades, schedule an appointment with your teacher or professor and politely ask them for suggestions on how you can improve. Be sure to ask them about essay format as well as the content of your writing.
Quotations and citations are extremely important. These rules help you to clearly identify where you got your information. The reader needs to know whether you obtained the information from some source or whether that provided is your own interpretation. If you do not make this clear, you could run into concerns about plagiarism. To avoid this, you absolutely need to indicate WHO said WHAT, WHEN and WHERE.
If you need more help, or you simply have limited time, contact us for professional help. We have a talented team of experienced writers who can help you with any aspect of your essay(s), including essay format.
There are reasons why double-spacing is the standard for the essays you write in high school and college: double-spacing is easier to read quickly because the lines don't blur together; also, double-spacing gives your reader room to write comments on your essay (and yes, some admissions officers do
put comments on essays for later reference).
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