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What’s the Proper Format for an Essay Paper?

You did a greatjob researching your topic. You did well writing a stunning essay in the subject. Moreover, you put some titanic effort to self-edit yourself and proofread the whole text through from A to Z.

But there’s a question. An important one: “Did you apply a proper format style to your work?”

Every student knows that if a paperis referenced/cited/formatted improperly, the grade will be lower no matter how good the content is.

That’s why now we’ll take a look at two key formatting styles students should follow while completing their written assignments.

APA and MLA. What’s the difference?

As a matter of fact, the greatest distinction is the scope of subjects these formats are usually applied to. APA is used when you write a paper in Social Sciences like Psychology, Sociology, Social Work, etc. In its turn, MLA is used when you need to write a paper in Humanities like Arts, Literature, History, etc.

Now let’s see what peculiarities and individual requirements each of the styles has.

7 essentials of the APA format style

  • It allows the use of Past Tenses.
  • Lines are double-spaced.
  • Sources used in the work are referenced at the end of the paper in a bibliographic order.
  • Sources are referenced as follows: last name, first name initial (e.g. Smithson, J.).
  • After the original authors name is cited in a sentence, it is required to specify the year of publishing [(e.g. “Alan Roberts (2009) believed that nature is the mother of…”)].
  • Quotes that have more than 40 words in them are intended (press the Tab key once).
  • In the upper right corner of every page, you have to place the page number and a short title of your paper.
  • It requires the use of Present Tenses only.
  • Lines are double-spaced (just like with APA) but there are no line breaks between citations.
  • Literature sources are listed in a bibliographic order not as references but as “works cited.”
  • Sources are referenced as follows: last name, first name (e.g. Smithson, Jeremy).
  • After the original authors name is cited in a sentence, it is required to specify the page number at the end of the citation [e.g. “Alan Roberts believed that nature is the mother of…”, (31)].
  • Citations that are longer than four lines are indented two-fold (press the Tab key twice).
  • A one-inch margin is required on the top of your paper, on the right, on the bottom and on the left.

7pillars of the MLA format style

The things that arein common

Although the two are used separately and serve difference purposes, APA and MLA have lots in common. Just see for yourself.

  • Every reference source you use and any piece of information your embed in the contents of your paper is properly cited.
  • 12-point Times New Roman fonts are used.
  • Your essay or research have to be double-spaced by defaults.
  • There has to be a title above the first line of your work, centered, and without quotation mark, exclamation mark, underlying, Italic and bold font.
  • The first line of every paragraph has to be indented.
  • The entire text always has to be aligned to the left corner of the page.
  • In the upper left corner of the first page there has to be a heading including your full name, your teacher’s name, your class and the date(these are four stand-alone line).
  • The structure of essays is universal: Introduction, the Main Body, Conclusion.

At first, it all seems difficult. But the skill comes with practice, so do some background reading on APA and MLA format styles. You may ask your instructor or lecturer for detailed guidelines.

As for now, always be attentive with referencing the quotes and extracts you use to back up your point of view and provide vivid examples. Your grade depends on it as much as it depends on how well you researched the topic and drew up an outline alike.