academic writing help

English coursework help: main formats

When given a writing assignment to complete for your English coursework, a formatting type will typically be specified. There are several types of format that might be used. Your instructor may give rules to follow their own personally preferred format (font, margins, citation types), or an official format like those of the APA (American Psychological Association), MLA (Modern Language Association), or the Chicago Manual of Style.

Understanding Format Requirements

Whether your instructor chooses their own custom format or prefers one of the common official formats, there will be several things to consider to be certain your English coursework is correctly formatted.

  • Font style
  • Font size
  • Line spacing
  • Indent
  • Margins
  • In-text citations
  • Reference list
  • Page numbers
  • Header/footer
  • Cover page
  • Binding


Much of your formatting requirements will be centered upon the appearance of your paper. Most formats require Times New Roman font or similar. Formatting rules also frequently require a certain size of font, which is expressed in points. The size of the paper’s margins, (top and bottom, left and right) is also usually specified. Line spacing, or the distance between each line (and whether there should be an additional line between paragraphs) is usually a requirement as well; most academic formats require lines to be double spaced. If there are page numbers or other header/footer material required, your formatting guidelines will express the correct font size and placement of these items. The indent refers to the space between the edge of the margin and the first word in a paragraph.

Citations and References

Each academic format requires different citation styles as well. Some use in-line citation, like APA and MLA papers, while others use foot- or endnotes. In addition to citation rules, there will be specific rules for the format of the works cited or reference list. Follow these rules very carefully to avoid accusations of plagiarism or to have your grade negatively impacted due to a simple mistake.

Other Formatting Requirements

In addition to the formatting of the paper itself, you may be required to create a cover sheet. Your cover sheet will usually incorporate the paper title, your name, the name of the course, the name of your instructor, and the date. Your instructor may also prefer a particular type of binding, whether it be staples, a folder, or a certain type of report cover. In any case, follow formatting guidelines to the letter to receive the best grade possible.