How To Format An Essay

This is a tutorial that will show you step by step how to set up an essay using MLA formatting. Please watch the video carefully. Each essay you turn in must be formatted correctly.

The only thing I would like you to do differently than this video teaches has to do with the date. In the video you will see the date listed as “December 12, 201X” This is incorrect. I need to you make sure your date is Day Month Year, written out with no punctuation (see the example and the picture below).

12 December 2014

You will also want the date to be the date the essay is due, not the day you are writing it.

For the teachers name, do not put Professor Harrison (I am not a professor). But you want it to be more formal so you can write my name as “Mrs. Harrison.”

The title of the class is “American Literature.”

So the Heading should look similar to the picture below:


For More Information, visit Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL)


2 thoughts on “How To Format An Essay

  1. Hello Mrs. Brandi, I am having a problem trying to lesson plan an essay in the midst of four days of journaling topics. It says to journal each day but then it says to pick one you journal on, and write an essay AND have it edited and typed. I usually plan at least a few days for an essay. One to plan thoughts (but that step will be done if they already have journaling done), one day to write a rough draft and hopefully with my schedule, edit the same day (no promises), and another to type the final draft). Basically, I’m thinking they journal one day and that is the one they are writing an essay on and then just journaling the other three topics. Can we allow a little more time so they can actually journal and then choose their essay? Maybe they had more to flow on one topic on one particular day more then the other; or had a better breakfast and the brain cells were working. Thoughts appreciated. Maybe I’m just the one that may need to do some adjusting. Thank you for all you do 🙂
    PS: I sure hope you understand what my thought process is….maybe I should be the one taking your class!

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      Actually, I don’t want them to worry too much about the writing process with this essay. This is an informal essay, and I am just using this assignment to give them something to format. 50% of the grade is just following the formatting directions. The other 50% is just based on their content (that they are saying something). I am not going to grade it on structure, or proving a thesis, or things like that. Basically, it is a journal that they type up and do spell check on. Please don’t stress about it. But if you want more days to work on revision, why don’t you have them pick the journal that they want to write an essay on, and have them start with that one near the beginning of this week. That will give them more time for revision. But a journal is really just fifteen minutes of writing.

      I don’t want them to stress out!!! 🙂 The writing of the essay shouldn’t take more than an hour (after they complete the journal.

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