PAPER FORMAT GUIDE
- TITLE. Every paper must have one. It doesn't have to be on
a separate title page though.
- PAGE NUMBERS. Every paper longer than one page should have
page numbers. Word and WordPerfect don't do this automatically -- you
must select it. (In all other respects, WordPerfect is much better than
- FONTS & MARGINS. Do not use font sizes larger than 12
point or 10 cpi, or margins greater than 1 inch. (Note: another
annoying feature of Word is that the default margins are set at 1.25.
- STAPLE. Don't ever turn in loose sheets of paper or fold the
corner in place of a staple. A paper clip is an acceptable substitute,
but not as good. If you don't want to buy a little "Cub" stapler
that you can carry in your backpack, you can always ask to use a stapler
in any secretary's office.
- CITATIONS can be either as footnotes/endnotes or in parentheses
in text. See the section on "Academic Honesty and Questions of Plagiarism"
in the Course Catalogue for guidelines on citing
your sources. For citation formats, see no. 11 below.
Note: In the case of edited volumes (collections of articles)
or encyclopedias, citations must be given by the name of the author
of the article you are quoting or referring to, not the editor
of the book. And citations must be keyed to the bibliography;
that is, the author's last name in the citation must be in the alphabetized
list of the bibliography. See item 12.b below.
- BIBLIOGRAPHY. Any paper using sources outside of assigned
class readings must include a bibliography (see no. 12 below).
- FOREIGN WORDS, except for proper names, should be in italics.
- BOOK TITLES are always in italics; article or chapter
titles are always in "quotes." By convention, the Bible and the books
of the Bible (e.g. Genesis) are not italicized.
- QUOTATIONS longer than about three lines should be indented
from both sides and single-spaced, with no quotation marks. Do not put
quotations in italics.
- GRAMMAR AND PUNCTUATION. Here are some common errors:
- Every sentence must have a subject and a verb or predicate.
Words ending in "ing" are gerunds, which function as nouns; they
cannot be verbs.
- There is no comma between the subject and the verb or predicate.
- Colon (:) means "as follows."
- Semicolon (;) means ", and" ("comma and"). Also, a semicolon
is used as a separator between items (where commas are normally
used) when one or more of the items contains a comma internally.
- To avoid run-on sentences, use this test: if two parts
of a sentence can each function separately as sentences on their
own, they cannot be separated by just a comma; they must
either be separated by a semicolon or divided into two sentences.
- Punctuation goes inside quotation marks; footnotes go outside.
- "They," "their" and "them" are plural;
you cannot use them to refer to a subject that is singular (i.e.
to avoid using "he or she" or "him or her").
To avoid gender-specific pronouns, either use the plural consistently
(e.g. "people" as the subject instead of "a person"), or use "one,"
or use "he/she," "he or she," "him/her," "him or her," etc.
- A "tenant" is someone who rents an apartment
or house; a "tenet" is a principle or doctrine.
- The phrase meaning "as such" is per se, not
- "One and the same," not "one in the same."
- The simple past tense of the verb "to lead" is "led"
(not "lead," which is an element).
- Avoid "free-floating" quotations. That is, a
quotation should always be introduced in some way, such as: As Smith
says, "....", or "According to Smith, "...."
- Never say "based off" -- or even worse, "based
off of." It's based on.
- CITATIONS. There are two acceptable formats: Footnotes/endnotes
is the preferred method in the Humanities, at least for longer papers,
while parentheses are generally used in the social and natural sciences.
However, for shorter papers in the Humanities (e.g. take-home essay
questions), parentheses are fine. If you use parentheses, you must
include page numbers (unlike papers in the sciences).
You may either follow the guidelines below OR the MLA OR
Chicago Manual of Style guidelines, which are both
available at the Info desk of the library. Here
is a tabular version of the MLA citations formats.
Note that in footnotes and endnotes, unlike bibliographies, authors'
names are first name first.
- First occurrence:
Book: 1 Firstname Lastname, Book
Title (Place: Publisher, date), x.
Article in encyclopedia or edited volume:
1 Firstname Lastname, "Article title," in Editor
(first name first), ed., Book Title (Place: Publisher,
Article in journal: 1 Firstname
Lastname, "Article title," in Journal Title, vol. ,
no. (date), page(s).
Website: 1 Firstname Lastname, "Page title,"
<web address (URL)>, date of document (if known) or
- Subsequent occurrences:
1 Lastname, page(s). (Pages not necessary
If there is more than one item in the bibliography by the
same author, add the title (or a short form of it) to specify
1 Lastname, Title, page(s).
- Repeat of immediately preceding note:
2 Ibid., x. (if it's the same work but a different
- Parentheses (must be part of the sentence, i.e. the period
If there is more than one item in the bibliography by the same
author, add the date to specify the item:
(Lastname date, page(s)).
- BIBLIOGRAPHY. Any paper using sources other than assigned class
reading must have a bibliography, alphabetized by authors'/editors'
last names, in a single list; not separated by type, as below,
and not numbered.
You may either follow these guidelines
OR the MLA OR Chicago Manual of Style guidelines,
which are both available in the library.
Lastname, Firstname. Book Title. Place: Publisher, date.
- Article in book (or encyclopedia):
Lastname, Firstname. "Article Title," in Editor (first name first),
ed., Book title. Place: Publisher, date. Pages. [Replace
the word "Editor" here with the editor's name. Page
numbers not necessary for encyclopedia article.]
- Article in journal:
Lastname, Firstname. "Article Title," in Journal title,
vol., no. (year), pages.
Lastname, Firstname. "Page title," <web address (URL)>,
date of document (if known) or date accessed.
- USING WEBSITES:
- Wikipedia. Although much of the information on Wikipedia
is correct, it is not a reliable academic source because no qualifications
are necessary to post on it, and no accountability is possible because
articles are not signed. However, you can use it to find good academic
references, which may be listed at the end of the article (although
there might also be unreliable sources listed there).
- Google and similar search engines can only find resources
on the free internet; they cannot lead you to resources that are
found only on subscription-only sites, such as most academic journals.
Therefore it is much better to start with the Kenyon library site
or your course website.
- Websites must be critically evaluated just as published books
and articles are; most of the material on the web is junk. Here
are two sets of recommendations for evaluating websites:
Edit date: 8/31/12