Ultimate Guide On Major Essay Formats: MLA, APA, Chicago


Ultimate Guide On Major Essay Formats: MLA, APA, Chicago

Writing academic essays, most students get in touch with essay formatting. Every discipline has particular preferred essay format; however, getting a new assignment, a student should always check the format requirements for the paper, as far as there can always be an exception. To avoid challenges while getting acquainted with the particular essay format and get acquainted with three major paper formats, check our detailed guide on the basic information about MLA, APA, and Chicago formatting.  You do not need to check multiples guides on different formats, as we have collected all the essential information in this article.

   

5 paragraph essay format

Getting a new college assignment to write a 5 paragraph essay, you will also get strict requirements concerning the paper format. No matter the format your instructor or professor asked you to follow, a basic 5 paragraph essay consisting of the introductory paragraph, three main body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph would look mostly the same. The core difference between various formats is in organizing the main page, title, and indents. The main body content is usually organized in a similar way, except for the differences in indents and margins of the page, and in-text citations used throughout the text. 

 

Basic essay format

The basic essay format is five paragraphs. In particular, introductory paragraph, at least three main body paragraphs, and concluding paragraph. Let’s have a closer look at each part.

Introduction 

The introduction paragraph, whether it is the opening of a five-paragraph essay, composition, or long report, aims to grab readers' attention. This part of an academic paper informs the reader about the topic. Also, an introductory part explains why readers should care about the issue discussed in the paper. It is not just the opening paragraph with general information, but it is a well-structured essay part that adds enough intrigue to the audience to get them to continue reading the whole essay, no matter its length. In short, the introduction is a chance to make a first impression most positive and engaging. To make your introduction really impressive, do not forget to involve such points:

  • hook
  • general information
  • core ideas preview
  • thesis statement

Main body 

The main body of the essay is a major part of the paper content that consists of at least three  balanced paragraphs which should include:

  • topic sentence
  • core ideas
  • evidence
  • arguments
  • facts / examples
  • ideas supporting a thesis statement
  • closing sentence.

Conclusion

The conclusion remains to be the easiest part to write when working on an academic essay; however, most students make lots of mistakes writing conclusions. The perfect concluding paragraph should consist of:

  • restated thesis statement
  • summary of core findings
  • paraphrased core ideas
  • call to action or further research 
  • concluding sentences

Most common essay formatting styles: MLA, APA, Chicago

To format essays properly, students should be aware of the standards in academic writing in accordance with the particular paper format mentioned in the paper instructions. There is no need to study every single essay format in order to succeed in academic writing; students should be strong in the main points of the three core formats that are most commonly used in college papers. Have a look at the examples on how to format an essay properly, according to APA format, MLA format, or Chicago format.

 

MLA essay format

MLA is the most commonly used format in essay writing. Check its main features below.

1.General guidelines 

MLA essay format is preferred to write in such disciplines as English and some other humanities. The 8th edition of the MLA manual reviews such formatting of margins, spacing, alignment, page numbers, font, and font size:

  •  1-inch margins on all sides
  • Double-spacing
  • Left alignment
  • Page numbers in the upper right-hand corner, a one-half inch from the top, the right margin
  • Times New Roman font 
  • 12 pt the font size.
 

2.Title page

MLA format does not presuppose a separate title or cover pager. On the first page, there should be  the student's Name, instructor's Name, the course, and the date in the upper left-hand corner with a one-half inch from the top and the left margin. There should also be a centered paper title capital uppercased, and body paragraphs with half-inch indent from the left margin of each first line of the paragraph.

3.Header

The header is placed in the upper right-hand corner of every paper page with a one-half inch from the top and the right margin. It should include the student's surname and page numbers.

4.Headings

According to the MLA formatting style, the essay should be divided into sections by numbered or unnumbered section format. The numbered format looks like:

  1. Heading One
  2. Heading Two
  3. Heading Three
  4. Heading Four
  5. Heading Five
The unnumbered sections format looks the following:

1-level heading: Heading One (bold, flush left)

2-level heading: Heading Two (italics, flush left)

3-level heading: Heading Three (centered, bold)

4-level heading: Heading Four (centered, italics)

5-level heading:Heading Five (underlined, flush left)

5.In-text citations 

 In-text citations in MLA look like:

  • (Author's Name page) - basic rule
  • (“Title” page) -unknown author 
  • (page; vol./bk./pt./ch./sec./par. number) - articles with multiple editions
  • (Last Name both initials page) - authors with same last names
  • (Author's Name, Author's Name, Author's Name page)- multiple authors
  • (Book title / "Article title" page)- multiple articles are written by the same author
  • (Author’s Name page; Author’s Name page) - multiple in-text citations

6.Referencing. Works cited page 

The basic rules for a print book, periodical, and online source in MLA formatting are:

Print book: Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. City of Publication, Publisher, Publication Date.

Periodical: Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Journal, Volume, Issue, Year, pages.

Online source: Author. Name of Site. Version number, Name of institution, date of resource creation, DOI, URL /permalink. Date of access.

 

APA essay format

APA is also one of the most commonly used formats. APA and MLA might seem similar at first sight, but only at first. These formats have differences in formatting heading, title page, in-text citations, as well as references.

apa format

1.General guidelines 

APA essay format is preferred to write in such disciplines as Education, Psychology, and Sciences. The APA manual reviews such as formatting of margins, spacing, alignment, page numbers, font, and font size needed to follow:

  •  1-inch margins on all sides
  • Double-spacing
  • Left alignment
  • Times New Roman font/Calibri/ Arial/Lucida Sans Unicode/Georgia/Computer Modern.
  • 12 point font size/11-point font size/10-point font size

2.Title page

Title page in APA involves such information:

  • Paper Title  
  • Author's Name
  • Institutional affiliation
  • The author note
  • The course number and Name
  • Instructor name
  • Date

3.Header

APA header is a shortened version of  a paper title. It should include not more than 50 signs and include a shortened title and number of the page.

4.Headings

1-level headings: Heading One (centered, boldface, title case)

2-level headings: Heading Two (flush left, boldface, title case) 

3-level headings: Heading Three (flush left, boldface italic, title case)

4-level headings:  Heading Four. (indented, boldface title case) 

5-level headings: Heading Five. (indented, boldface italic, title case)

5.In-text citations 

In APA format, the basic rule for an in-text citation is (Last Name, year).

6.References page

According to APA formatting style, the basic rules for a print book, periodical, and online source are:

Print book.  Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle (E. Editor, Ed.). Publisher.

Periodical. Last Name, F. M., & Lastname, F. M. (Year). Title of the article. Title of Periodical, Vol. (Issue), page numbers. DOI

Online source. Title of page. (Year, Month Date). Website name. Retrieved Month Date, Year, from URL

Chicago (Turabian) essay format

Chicago or Turabian is another of the three most common formatting styles. While APA and MLA share some features in common, Chicago is absolutely different from MLA

chicago format

1.General guidelines

Chicago formatting style of the essay is preferred to write in such disciplines as History, Philosophy, Arts, and Religion. The Chicago manual reviews such formatting of margins, spacing, alignment, page numbers, font, and font size needed to follow:

  •  1-inch margins on all sides
  • Double-spacing
  • Left alignment
  • Times New Roman font/ Courier
  • 12 point font size/11-point font size/10-point font size

2.Title page

The title of the work in Chicago style should be centered, double-spaced, a third of the way down the page. The title consists of the student's Name, class information, and the date.

3.Header

  1. Page numbers start in the header of the first page of the paper with the author's last Name and Arabic number 1.
  2. Subheadings are used just for longer papers.

4.Headings

Heading One / Heading One 

Heading Two 

Heading Three / Heading Three 

Heading Four 

Heading Five / Heading Five. 

5.Footnotes

According to the Chicago style, footnotes and endnotes reference some pieces of work throughout the content. Therefore, a superscript number is placed after a quote or a paraphrased part, as below:

"Quote1."

  "1. Quote".

6.Referencing. Bibliography or references page  

According to Chicago formatting, the basic rules for a print book, periodical, and online source are:

Print book.  Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Place of publication: Publisher, Year of publication.

Periodical. Last Name, Firstname. "Title of the article." Name of Journal, no., (year): pages.

Online source. Last Name, Firstname. "Title of Web Page." Name of Website. The publishing organization, publication, or revision date if available. Access date if no other date is available. URL.

Have trouble formatting your essay? 

To format an essay properly, it is necessary to read a lot of helpful formatting guides and remember to use the particular margins, spacing, alignment, page numbers, font, and font size in your essay. However, our academic experts underlined the most important information about MLA, APA, and Chicago format in a clear and concise manner. Therefore, reading this essay guide, you get the idea of the essay structure with a proper introduction, main body, and conclusion. Also, you are ready to write a paper in one of the major formatting styles, whether it would be MLA, APA, or Chicago format. 

If you have trouble with understanding any of the aforementioned aspects in essay formatting, you can easily apply for some academic assistance and write each of your essays following all the main points in a few hours.