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HEADINGS AND SUBHEADINGS

HEADINGS AND SUBHEADINGS

Author: DAVID SHAFFER
Objective:

The objectives of this packet are threefold:
1. Explain how to signal important points within the paper by using headings and subheadings.
2. Explain how to format headings and subheadings.
3. Illustrate appropriate language for headings.

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Tutorial

Headings and Subheadings: What and Why

Headings and subheadings, in concept, are pretty simple. Think of your paper as a play. For headings, think "Acts." For subheadings, think "Scenes."

Even if the only thing you have for headings is chapter numbers, that will do, and in fiction, that is often the case. But in high school, college, and post-grad papers and theses, which are non-fiction, chapter titles may be of more help, because they announce the chapter topic, and assist the reader in following the flow of the paper.

The point of subheadings is to lead the reader through the chapter, and to simultaneously keep the reader engaged, i.e., interested. Each subheading must relate to the heading, or chapter title. In some cases, you may need "second level," even "third level," subheadings (the main subheading being the "first level"). Chapter headings and subheadings should follow the same sequence and wording as the outline.

Source: DB Shaffer; Dr. Andrew Johnson (www.OPDT-Johnson.com)

Quick Tips

On Headings and Subheadings
Like many of you, my stack of reading material is greater than my time to read. But several months ago I created a system that enables me to quickly sift through the stack and read the important stuff rather than let it pile up. Now, when new material arrives on my desk, I decide in an instant what to keep and what to toss. And that decision starts with the headings. I know, we all do this, but it was the act of weeding that made me realize how important a heading can be and how few people know how to write a good one. So here are some tips for writing headings and subheadings in plain language that can make a difference in whether your writing gets tossed or read.
Tip #1: Write your heading as a question.
A simple heading that poses a question can draw readers further into the text. Just be
sure you provide the answer early in your content. This tips works especially well
with average readers.
Tip #2: Keep it simple and obvious.
A heading that gets right to the point will win more readers. Simple subheadings offer
readers a break and help them decide whether to keep reading.
Tip #3: Use simple formatting.
You don’t need to bold, italic, and underline your headings. Together they are
overkill. Just bold. And please, do not use all caps. They slow all readers down and
hamper comprehension.
Tip #4: Use a clean typeface.
Font readability is often debated among experts, but I believe, as many do, that the
best typeface for text is serif, such as Times New Roman. For headings, the best is
sans serif, such as Arial.
Tip #5: Use headings and subheadings to help you organize information.
If you want to reach a wider audience, chunk information by using short subheadings
that tell the reader what comes next.
The next time you sit down to write, use these simple tips to grab and hold your readers’ attention.

MLA Formatting and Style Guide RE Section Headings and General Formatting

MLA Formatting and Style Guide

Summary: MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th ed.) and the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (3rd ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

Contributors:Tony Russell, Allen Brizee, Elizabeth Angeli
Last Edited: 2010-11-16 10:21:00

General Format

MLA style specifies guidelines for formatting manuscripts and using the English language in writing. MLA style also provides writers with a system for referencing their sources through parenthetical citation in their essays and Works Cited pages.

Writers who properly use MLA also build their credibility by demonstrating accountability to their source material. Most importantly, the use of MLA style can protect writers from accusations of plagiarism, which is the purposeful or accidental uncredited use of source material by other writers.

If you are asked to use MLA format, be sure to consult the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th edition). Publishing scholars and graduate students should also consult the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (3rd edition). The MLA Handbook is available in most writing centers and reference libraries; it is also widely available in bookstores, libraries, and at the MLA web site.

Paper Format

The preparation of papers and manuscripts in MLA style is covered in chapter four of the MLA Handbook, and chapter four of the MLA Style Manual. Below are some basic guidelines for formatting a paper in MLA style.

General Guideline

  • Type your paper on a computer and print it out on standard, white 8.5 x 11-inch paper.

  • Double-space the text of your paper, and use a legible font (e.g. Times New Roman). Whatever font you choose, MLA recommends that the regular and italics type styles contrast enough that they are recognizable one from another. The font size should be 12 pt.
  • Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks (unless otherwise instructed by your instructor).
  • Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Indent the first line of paragraphs one half-inch from the left margin. MLA recommends that you use the Tab key as opposed to pushing the Space Bar five times.
  • Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner, one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your instructor may ask that you omit the number on your first page. Always follow your instructor's guidelines.)
  • Use italics throughout your essay for the titles of longer works and, only when absolutely necessary, providing emphasis.
  • If you have any endnotes, include them on a separate page before your Works Cited page. Entitle the section Notes (centered, unformatted).

Formatting the First Page of Your Paper

  • Do not make a title page for your paper unless specifically requested.
  • In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, list your name, your instructor's name, the course, and the date. Again, be sure to use double-spaced text.
  • Double space again and center the title. Do not underline, italicize, or place your title in quotation marks; write the title in Title Case (standard capitalization), not in all capital letters.
  • Use quotation marks and/or italics when referring to other works in your title, just as you would in your text: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as Morality Play; Human Weariness in "After Apple Picking"
  • Double space between the title and the first line of the text.
  • Create a header in the upper right-hand corner that includes your last name, followed by a space with a page number; number all pages consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.), one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your instructor or other readers may ask that you omit last name/page number header on your first page. Always follow instructor guidelines.)

Here is a sample of the first page of a paper in MLA style:

This image shows the first page of an MLA paper.

The First Page of an MLA Paper

Section Headings

Writers sometimes use Section Headings to improve a document’s readability. These sections may include individual chapters or other named parts of a book or essay.

Essays

MLA recommends that when you divide an essay into sections that you number those sections with an arabic number and a period followed by a space and the section name.

1. Early Writings
2. The London Years
3. Traveling the Continent
4. Final Years

If you are only using one level of headings, meaning that all of the sections are distinct and parallel and have no additional sections that fit within them, MLA recommends that these sections resemble one another grammatically. For instance, if your headings are typically short phrases, make all of the headings short phrases (and not, for example, full sentences). Otherwise, the formatting is up to you. It should, however, be consistent throughout the document.

If you employ multiple levels of headings (some of your sections have sections within sections), you may want to provide a key of your chosen level headings and their formatting to your instructor or editor.

Sample Section Headings

The following sample headings are meant to be used only as a reference. You may employ whatever system of formatting that works best for you so long as it remains consistent throughout the document.

Numbered:

1. Soil Conservation
1.1 Erosion
1.2 Terracing
2. Water Conservation
3. Energy Conservation

Formatted, unnumbered:

Level 1 Heading: bold, flush left

Level 2 Heading: italics, flush left

Level 3 Heading: centered, bold

Level 4 Heading: centered, italics

Level 5 Heading: underlined, flush left

Source: Russell, Tony, Allen Brizee, and Elizabeth Angeli. "MLA Formatting and Style Guide." The Purdue OWL. Purdue U Writing Lab, 4 Apr. 2010. Web. 20 July 2010.

Questions and Answers

  • Answers 0
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    raheega ahmed about 1 year ago

    what is the subheadings of role of media in the modern world?

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  • Paola
    Answers 0
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    Paola — over 1 year ago

    when you do the levels unnumbered do you write for Ex.- Level 1 Heading: Birth, right after the title of the page that is centered on the top?

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  • hina afsar
    Answers 0
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    hina afsar — almost 2 years ago

    tips to attempt a paper?????

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  • how to attempt neat and clean paper?
    Answers 0
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    how to attempt neat and clean paper? — almost 2 years ago

    how to attempt neat and clean paper??

    Report
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