Rules for writing an essay

Abbreviation, Acronyms, Initialisms

An abbreviation (from Latin brevis "short") is a shortened form of a word or phrase. Usually, but not always, it consists of a letter or group of letters taken from the word or phrase. For example, the word "abbreviation" can itself be represented by the abbreviation "abbr." or "abbrev."

Acronyms and initialisms are abbreviations, which are formed using the initial letters of words or word parts in a phrase or name.

General rules of using Abbreviations,  Acronyms and initialisms in essay papers


Full caps capitalize every character of every word.
Heading caps capitalize the first and last words and all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and subordinating conjunctions.

  • Books and Articles
  • Do not capitalize ...
  • Sentence caps capitalize just the first letter of the first word, the first word after a colon, and proper nouns in a title, label, or phrase.

  • Ethnic/Racial Groups.
  • Geographical Names.

Compound Words (Hyphenation) Writing

Compound words are two or more words that work together in a specified order.

  • Full-time compound words are hyphenated whatever their role in a sentence as an adjective or a noun.
  • Conditional compounds are hyphenated as adjectives, but not when used as nouns.
  • Prefixes. Most common prefixes do not require a hyphen

Emphasis: Italics & Quotation Marks

Italics and quotation marks are used in the text to highlight words, note and translate words in a language foreign to a reader, indicate irony (scare quotes), or mark words and letters that are referred to as words, not to the meaning they convey.

  • Italicize: Keywords, Titles, Foreign terms
  • Quotation Marks: Common words used in a special sense, Coined words, slang, nicknames, and words or phrases used ironically, Foreign word,s Title


In nontechnical contexts, the following are spelled out: whole numbers from one through one hundred, round numbers, and any number beginning a sentence.

  • What to Spell out?
  • Numerals are used for…
  • Making plurals

Block Quotations

Longer quotations are formatted as block quotes. Block quotes are continuously indented from the left margin the same distance as a paragraph indent. They are required with longer quotations, although what constitutes longer varies widely.

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