essay format

How To Select The Best Essay Format To Use

An essay format is basically a structure that has to be adopted while creating an essay. Essay formats vary from one country to another, and it all depends on the local requirements that decide the format of an article in a particular region. And that is solely why most of them are named after a region.

This piece will look at several essay formats and offer descriptions of what they are and where and how they are used. So, without any further ado, let’s get started.

Writing Essays In MLA Format

The Modern Language Association (MLA) style was developed to provide standardized literature and language researchers. Today it’s used in all disciplines, but mainly by humanities students because of its simplicity compared with other papers written at school or home. Teachers prefer this format as well because there aren’t any extra items that don’t apply on an academic level, like personal experiences; they just want their students to be topic-specific.

The structure of the MLA essay format is usually four paragraphs, three with information and one with a quote or example.

The first paragraph of the essay is an introduction, the second is the body, the third is the conclusion, and the fourth includes the references. The writing styles vary according to the subject, but they are all organized in one way or another. If you’re not sure how to structure an MLA format essay, you can follow these simple steps:

  • Gather your thoughts on a topic – Make sure you choose something that interests you because it will be easier for you to engage your audience. Essays are meant for sharing personal thoughts, so pick something that resonates with you personally.
  • Draft an outline- You list all your main ideas and research on a topic. List all the main points of what you’re going to write about.
  • Write Essay – The essay writing part is where you add more details and information, filling in the blanks on the outline you created above. You also include some examples that back up the claims that you already made in your outline. Keep adding new ideas while supporting them with valid evidence from sources such as books, journals, lectures, and studies.
  • Revise Essay- Once you have a complete draft, it’s time for revisions. Check if everything is connected to the original idea of your essay, and read through it one last time before submission.

The works cited page should be the last paper of your MLA essay format. This practice helps you track all sources, and it’s crucial because anything not on here might have been lost in translation.

The first thing that goes under this heading is “works cited” – a list organized by the author with brief titles if they’re books or periodicals then followed by publication information such as date, year issue released, and volume number pages numbers. But don’t forget to add references at least once per source, too: author-name title and any other information. These will appear chronologically based on what’s written down there; make sure everything is formatted accordingly before turning over the final copy.

Writing Essays In APA Format

The American Psychological Association is a well-known organization that most often hosts conferences and publishes research in the field of psychology. APA essay format style papers follow this specific format to ensure strict formatting guidelines are met, such as literature cited at the end of each paragraph using citation styles like Harvard or Chicago/Turabian Citation Guides.

Below is the guide used in writing an APA essay format piece:

  • The first page of the APA essay format: The first page should contain your name in the capital alphabet and the student’s institutional affiliation. You also include any relevant course markings below the title, consisting of numbers assigned within courses taken while studying under one instructor. You may also include final grades received during semester finals or term paper assignments and any other information that the instructor gave.
  • The abstract: The next part of the APA essay format is the abstract which consists of a single paragraph within the range of 150 to 250 words. It summarizes all the research you have put into the essay you are about to explain. This part includes the research topic, the questions, methods employed, results, analysis, and the bottom line. Most APA essay format writers actually prefer drafting the abstract after completing the paper.
  • The essay: This part should explain the findings in detail, but you must keep it short and precise. These pieces have no room for the usage of fluff and extra works to fill in the pages. APA essay format becomes ideal for drafting scientific essays and other academic pieces.
  • The references: After writing the essay’s body, the least part of the APA essay format is the reference section. Here, you follow the different designs for the MLA essay format. This page is titled ‘REFERENCES,’ followed by all the references written in alphabetical order.

This is basically how you write in the APA essay format style.

Writing Essays In Turabian Format

The Turabian essay format is also called the Chicago essay format. It is the least used essay format. This format has no in-text citations and works with footnotes. If you are not interested in using either of the Essay writing services, this style could prove to be the best for you.

This essay format is a product of the University of Chicago Press. This essay format is very comprehensive, with a rule governing every single element in the piece. Historical writers are the ones that use the Chicago essay format most.

Here is the structure of the Chicago essay format:

  • The title page: Like the APA essay format, this one also starts with a title page. But this has to be done in a particular way. The words must be centered by pressing the Enter button seven times to be a third-down of the page. You then hey in the paper’s title in capital letters, press Enter 8 times, type your name, press Enter, then key in the course name. Lastly, press Enter once more than key in the date.
  • The abstract: This part is only used when you are writing a research paper. If not, simply skip this part and head straight to draft the essay itself.
  • The essay: This part of the Chicago essay format, you start with an introduction, then the body, and finally a conclusion. Depending on the contents of your piece, you still write concise language that is straight to the point.
  • The footnotes: Also called endnotes to finish off the Chicago essay format. These are the citations. You place the superscript number at the end of the sentence for the reader to link it to the footnote below the page.
  • Bibliography: lastly, there is the reference page titled ‘Bibliography’ suppose you used footnotes or ‘References’ if you used parenthetical author, date in-text citations.

If you use this guideline, you will have written a Chicago essay format piece.

The primary comparisons of the three essay formats

Font and font size

APA uses Times New Roman in the 12-point size. Chicago employs Times New Roman, Palatino, or Times in any size but never less than 10 points. Lastly, the MLA essay format uses Times New Roman or any other readable Serif font in the 12-point size.

The margins and spacing

The margins on the APA essay format are at least 1-inch on both sides. The Chicago essay format is 1 to 1.5-inches, and MLA is 1-inch on both sides. All the APA essay formats, the MLA, and Chicago essay formats use double spacing, but Chicago does not use that spacing in the block quotations.

The use of numerals

Numerals in the APA is that you must spell out the numbers if they are below 10. In the Chicago essay format, you use words to name numbers between 0-100. But if the numbers exceed 100, you use digits. Lastly, in the MLA essay format, you spell out the numbers that can be written in one or two words. Others use digits. On MLA, you also use digits suppose you are naming a measurement, for instance, 50 kgs.


In all essay formats, all the paragraphs are indented ½ an inch.


Quoting in the MLA format, you use a direct quote that is longer than four lines in block form. Chicago essay format dictates that you directly mention 100 or more words; statements should be quoted in block form. The same is expected if the quotations are longer than five lines. Lastly, APA quotes are in block form if the statement has more than 40 words.

Bottom line

You need a format to draft an essay, regardless of whether it is an argumentative essay or a scientific college essay. Today, with blogging and informal writing, you might find a bit of everything here and there, but these three essay formats are the most used in formal and academic settings. And now, you know exactly how to write each.

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