Writing Basics: Proper Essay Paper Format and Structure

There are some specific writing basics that you should incorporate into your paper format and structure. These formats allow your reader to be able to read your paper easily. When you have a structure, it will make the paper look presentable. Here are some ways to format a paper.


Each paragraph should capture one idea in several sentences. The separation of paragraphs is used to separate ideas. When you are presenting many ideas, you don’t want to put them all in one paragraph because it makes it harder for the reader to follow. Each paragraph should also be indented so it is easier to distinguish a separation.


The paper should have margins that are the same on all sides in order to center the text in the middle of the paper. Certain formatting styles require that the margins be a certain length so it can be important to check if there is a required formatting style. For example, APA formatted papers require a one inch margin on all sides.

Page Numbers:

Page numbers are usually included in the header or footer of your paper. There are also specific requirements as to where your page number should go. An MLA format would have the page number displayed on the upper right hand corner of the header on all pages of the paper.


Most papers require the display of a title. It is important for many formats that you title your paper and display the title in specific places in the paper. For example, the title is displayed in the left hand margin of a paper and on its own title page when dealing with a APA formatted paper. An MLA formatted paper will just display the title once on the first page of the document and a title page is not required.


How the paper is structured is also important. The most common structure is the five paragraph structure. In this structure, there are five paragraphs in which the first is an introduction, the next three contain information supporting the thesis and the last is a conclusion.

Your teacher may require that you write you papers following a certain format. Be sure to check with the paper requirements to see if they chose a certain format to follow and learn the exact requirements of that format. You don’t want to lose points for making formatting mistake.

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