Essay Format

General Information Concerning Essay Format


Every essay must have a title. The rules for titles are that they use the same font and same font size as the rest of the essay. Capitalize the first, last, and important words in-between. This means you typically capitalize nouns and verbs. You do not capitalize (except if they are the first or last word in the title) articles (the, an, a), prepositions (of, below, near, above, etc.) or conjunctions (and, but, or, etc.). Typically you want the title to express the main point in the essay, but that point needs to be reduced to three or four words. The title should be centered, but when submitting via email this is often hard to do.


When submitting an essay, the header should look like this:

Your Last Name and Page Number

Your Name


Instructor's Name

Due Date

A Title that Predicts Essay Development

       First, every essay will have an introduction, Body, and Conclusion. It is often said that the introduction tells the reader what the essay will tell the reader (as well as introducing the "voice" or person behind the essay, what we call ethos), the body of the essay tells the reader what the essay is about, and the conclusion tells the reader what the essay just told them. Each assignment for this class will come with specific directions about the content of each of those three elements.

       Mechanically, the Modern Language Association (otherwise known as MLA) which governs the format for papers in the humanities, calls for one-inch margins (generally the default setting for MS Word), double spacing (which can't be done with ht-ml which is why this is single spaced) and a non-exotic font, typically 12 points. Indent each paragraph and do not put any extra space between paragraphs. MS Word tends to put some extra space between paragraphs. Don't worry about it.
       Italics and underlining are for specific purposes which we'll touch on later. They should not be uses willy-nilly nor should some funky font be used because it "looks cool." If you want to be mocked (not by me, just in general) then you will use Comic Sans. For papers, it's best to use a font with "feet" which are known as "serifs." Consider Times New Roman or something of that sort. Keep it simple. They read better. For the screen, sans serif (without feet) is generally the way to go.