Writing Formats

8 minute read
Writing Formats

Writing formats simply is a specific way of articulating thought or expressing ideas in a certain structure which can either as per the type of writing or the hallmark of an individual writer or it can even reflect the stylebook of an organization for which the writer is working for. The format elucidates the unique aspect of a person’s writing habits or a way of opting a specific style for imparting information content. If you are curious about writing formats like APA, MLA which are used for citations or writing styles for creative writing, then you have come to the right blog. This blog explains the major types of writing formats for citations such as MLA, APA or for creative writing.

Types of Writing Formats for Citations

When it comes to academic papers, there are certain writing formats which are used to organize the content and they can also help you get a better score in your project. These writing formats include Chicago, MLA, APA, Harvard, AMA, Turabian and IEEE. Using any of these citation styles, you can incorporate material written by other people into your own writing while also legitimately citing your sources so that you don’t get accused of plagiarism. We have explained some of the major citation writing formats explained below:

Chicago Style or CMS

Originally published by the Chicago University Press in 1906, the Chicago Manual of Style comes in two formats: Notes-Bibliography and Author-Date. In these two writing formats under CMS, Notes-Bibliography is extensively used in the discipline of Arts and Humanities and consists of numbered footnotes or endnotes. On the other hand, Author-Date is used in Sciences and Social sciences and consists of the author’s last name and year of publication cited briefly within the main text.


Chicago Style Format for Papers | Requirements & Examples
Source: Scribbr

MLA Style

This style of citation is generally used in various disciplines of humanities especially in languages. It was formulated by the Modern Language Association (MLA) and is popularly referred to amongst the students of languages and literature. The format of citation consists of a brief parenthetical citation within the main body of the text (generally with the last name of the author with the year of publication), which is followed by a ‘works cited’ page at the end. Some of the key features of the MLA writing format include:

  • The font used is Times New Roman with font size as 12.
  • Margins are structured with one-inch space on all sides.
  • The titles are always put in Italics.
  • The essay is always double spaced.
  • For the first line of each paragraph, the indentation is done as one half-inch from the left margin.


MLA Headings and Subheadings - MLA Format Heading
Source: Scientific Editing

APA Style 

Created by the American Psychological Association in 1929, the APA format is generally used in the fields of social sciences, education, engineering etc. It consists of an in-text parenthetical citation which mentions the last name of the author and the publication date, along with the page number if necessary. The text is followed by a page of references containing the full bibliographical information.


APA Format: Everything You Need to Know Here - EasyBib
Source: Easybib


Designed by Kate L. Turabian, this writing format commonly considered under the Chicago format due to its similarities and is popularly used by students working on research papers, dissertations, and theses. It meticulously covers a wide range of bibliography formats as you can easily cite everything from twitter posts to book chapters as well as blogs and other texts.


Chicago & Turabian Citation Style - HIST 1112 - World History II - PENG &  WANG - Library Guides at Georgia Southern University
Source: Library Guides

Harvard Style

Harvard referencing style is also amongst the renowned writing formats and was originally used by Harvard University students for citing sources in their academic assignments. Under this writing format, an author-date structure is used for in-text citations along with a reference list. 


Harvard Referencing: Part 2 - Research Process: A Step-By-Step Guide -  LibGuides at Dundalk Institute of Technology
Source: DKIT Libguides

Now that you are familiar with the writing formats for academic papers, let’s also explore the formats and styles for creative writing. In a sense, writing styles can be explained as the relationships a writer has with texts, the way the author employs grammar, imagination or any literary tools to give structure to the write-up. Here is a list of different styles of writing that will give you further clarity on this subject.

  • Narrative Style Writing
  • Analytical Writing
  • Expository Writing
  • Persuasive Writing
  • Argumentative Writing

Narrative Style

There are a number of elements that go into making a narrative piece as it majorly emphasizes answering, ‘What happened next?’. It involves an idea that an author conveys, characters with defined qualities and personality as well as the description of surroundings where the story takes place. Basically, the main purpose of the narrative writing style is to tell a story. Out of all the writing formats, you will easily find this one Fable, Poetry, Novels, Novellas, etc. Here is an example of the narrative style or format of writing:

After a while when he finally settled on the chair, holding a cup of tea, the sun was beginning to drizzle between the clouds that have made a grey stretch on the sky overhead. Looking at the changing colours in the sky, quite mesmerised, he took out a cigarette, hurriedly searched for the lighter he couldn’t find. Twirling this cigarette between his fingers, he furtively entered his father’s room, fished out the matchbox from the bedside drawer, closed his eyes and gently lit the cigarette. He billowed smoke in the air which formed abstract shapes he couldn’t decipher.

Analytical Writing

In analytical writing, you understand a given statement, idea, a person, subject or any theme and subsequently dissect it, analyse its cause and effect, compare it as well as present arguments regarding it. An example of this writing format or style is given below.

After some of the triumphs achieved during ‘Arab Spring’ which started as non-violent protests against dictatorial governments, the question remains what makes many people resort to violent measures to achieve their goals. If, for instance, Tunisia successfully was able to remove a dictator via peaceful protests then why people in different parts, like Syria, had to use violence against their own regime. And, why did the results achieved through violence were negligible or none? The evidence around the same proves that non-violence has been an effective way to achieve political goals.

Expository Writing

Expository writing is something that rests or is predicated on a descriptive portrayal of a certain subject or a theme. By this writing format, the authors aim to deliver facts and figures regarding a topic without quoting their personal opinions or views about it. Articles or essays written by following this format does not incorporate personal views and presents general views about a topic. Mostly, this format is chosen for writing textbooks, guides, how-to-do- articles, recipes, etc. Let us have a look at an example: 

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle has become the need of the hour. We are witnessing a range of new diseases taking a toll on human life. In a rush to make more money and lead a luxurious life we have forgotten to take care of our body. As it is necessary to have a healthy mind and body for a successful life ahead, how do we take time for ourselves if we are running on a tight schedule? Most importantly, eat healthy food. Adapt practices like walking to the metro station, office, drinking ample water, using stairs instead of elevators, early morning yoga etc. Such things will help you maintain your health. 

Persuasive Writing

Unlike other writing formats, persuasive writing is filled with meticulous usage of words containing opinions and thoughts. Here the writer weaves arguments based on logic as well as appeals to the emotion to convince a reader for certain activity or action. Such pieces of writing aim to align the thoughts of readers with that of a writer by using justifications, reasons and biases. Commercials, advertisements, affiliate marketing pitches, letters of complaint, etc. are often seen drafted in this format of writing. Here is an example.

With crime rates among teenagers growing rapidly, it is the job of the parents to regulate the exposure of children towards television or games that are considered to trigger such behaviours. If children watch movies of violent nature they tend to act in a more violent way, their behaviour changes in a radical way. And, sometimes their impressionable minds want to repeat those crimes in a realistic manner. So, parents, for the larger good of the society, should see to it that they moderate the content that is not suitable for the children.

Argumentative Writing

Mostly, people fail to differentiate between argumentative and persuasive writing formats. One major difference is that although it is not important for persuasive writing to cite statistical data or evidence while presenting the argument, for the argumentative writing format, write-ups must include data and scientific evidence. An example is given below.

As e-book devices are becoming a trending fashion, many voices are emerging that hardcovers and paperbacks should be discontinued as a medium of reading because people find it more convenient to read on an electronic gadget rather than reading through an actual book. And, instead of building huge libraries with huge stacks of books in it people can simply subscribe to digital libraries as well as buy online hundreds of e-books and carry them within a single device. However, such claims lose against the statistical data which shows that people read 20% – 30% slower on e-book devices and remember less than 20% of what they read compared to people who read an actual book.

Types of Writing

Here are the multiple types of writing, that are used in multiple aspects of life.


What are all the different writing formats?

There are four main types of writing: expository, descriptive, persuasive, and narrative.

What are the 6 genres of writing?

The six genres of writing: descriptive, expository, persuasive, narrative, technical and poetic.

What are writing skills?

Writing skills are specifics abilities that help writers put their thoughts into words in a meaningful form and mentally interact with the message.

What are the fundamentals of writing?

The fundamentals of writing include grammar and syntax which help make meaningful sentences.

What are creative writing techniques?

Use of an underlying theme, point of view, dialogue, anecdotes, metaphors and similes are some of the creative writing themes.

Hopefully, this blog was successful in providing you with the varied writing formats for academic as well as creative projects. Interested in pursuing creative writing courses? Reach out to our experts at Leverage Edu and we will help you find the best program and university that can equip you with the necessary knowledge and exposure to actualise your career aspirations! Sign up for a free session today!

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