How To Write an Essay: Proper Formatting and Structure?

Writing an academic essay can be a daunting task. It’s easy to express ideas in person since you can rely on facial expressions, tone of voice, etc. The essay provides a bigger challenge: persuading readers with words alone. In order to capture readers and communicate your message effectively, your essay should flow smoothly from beginning to end.

While it helps to hire professional academic writers from companies like Harrisco, it certainly pays to know how to write well just in case there’s no time to rely on the professional services of others.

Formatting the Essay

Different universities, journals, and publications have their own preferred formatting styles such as the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Psychological Association (APA) formats. Professional writing services like Harrisco are aware of each institution’s specific requirements, but generally, some aspects of formatting are universal. For instance, most journals prefer double-spacing, Times New Roman, and 12 pt. size font.

Outlining the Essay

Typical essays require an introduction, body, and conclusion. Start your essay with a compelling introduction of the overall topic, keeping in mind that this is also where you should state your main hypotheses/claims. The body usually contains three or more paragraphs of facts which support the main topic. Finally, the conclusion should act as a synthesis of the entire essay, restating the thesis statement and oftentimes leaving the reader with a call-to-action.

Citing in the Essay

A well-written essay should be backed up by relevant information. It is especially important to cite sources when you’re using other authors’ ideas or words in your work. Citing sources not only helps you avoid plagiarism, but it also shows your readers that your ideas are authentic since they are supported by concepts, research, etc. from respected individuals in your field.

APA In-text Citation

Follow the format of (author’s last name, year of publication, page number). For example, “Roses are red. (Doe, 2020, p.10).”

MLA In-text Citation

Follow the format (author’s last name, page number). For example, “Roses are red. (Doe, p.10).”

Editing Your Essay

Never submit your essay without scrutinizing it first. It’s rare for a first draft to be the final draft since essay writing requires serious editing. It is recommended to work with an academic editor from companies like Harrisco to provide an “outsider’s perspective” on your work. Academic editors will check for inconsistencies in data, informal language, passive voice, and more.


Writing academic essays is a skill that everyone can learn. It might take time, but gradually, writing will become less difficult. Soon, the words will flow much easier, allowing you to communicate your ideas more effectively.

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