Cleveland State University

The Writing Center

Formatting your WAC Paper

The format of your paper in any class creates an immediate impression:  it’s either one that says you value the class or one that says you did not take time to do small things well.  This handout addresses some of the concerns faculty have regarding formatting.  When you eventually write at work, the impression your texts create will have an impact, so you want to be concerned with the text’s appearance now.

What Professors Most Dislike in Formatting

Here is a list of what many professors dislike:

  • margins wider than 1”
  • spacing anything other than double
  • extra spacing between paragraphs
  • font that is anything but 12 point
  • font that is anything but Ariel, Times New Roman, or Courier
  • improper citation in the text
  • improper citation in the reference list
  • print that is difficult to read
  • any kind of mark or stain on a text
  • signs that you don’t know the appropriate style manual to use (e.g. APA, MLA, Chicago, CSE)
Help with Formatting

The style manuals like MLA or APA are written for researchers, not students, so the links below will help you get the information you need quickly.
Here is a link to the best MLA handout:
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/research/r_mla.html
Here is a link to the best APA handout:
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/research/r_apa.html
Here is a link to the Diana Hacker handbook website that will show you sample papers you can use to see formatting:
http://dianahacker.com/writersref/model.html
Here is a handout on online citation:
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/print/research/r_docelectric.html

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Cleveland State University
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RT Library 124
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Dr. Mary McDonald
216.687.6982
Fax: 216.687.6943
Dr. Mary McDonald , Director

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