10 Feb 10
: “ ‘Moths’ &
M a n u s c r i p t C o n v e n t i o n s
“For want of a nail the shoe was lost. / For want of a shoe the horse was lost. / For want of a horse the rider was lost. / For
want of a rider the battle was lost. / For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. / And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.”
—Fourteenth Century Proverb
Below is a modified list of standard manuscript conventions. Know them well. If you have a paper returned to
you unread, you may well find the reason below. . .
Materials and Presentation
• Use 8 1/2 x 11 inch, 20-pound paper. Avoid erasable paper.
• Use black ink if using a printer, a fresh black ribbon if typing.
• Save a twig: do
use a title page. But
give a title—an apt one. Do not underline titles or enclose
titles in quotation marks (except to enclose a quote or title of a short work).
• Include an epigraph,
and placed one space below the title, as you see above. Place the (
) name of the epigraph’s author on the next line, at the right, set off by a dash (not a hyphen).
and begin your essay.
• Place your name in the
margin of the first page, an inch from the top. Below that,
put the class number and the days on which it meets. On the next line, put your prof’s
name; on the next, the date; on the last, the assignment: number and description.
• Staple the upper left-hand corner about a half-inch from the top of the page.
• For most papers use a standard
typeface such as Goudy, Palatino, or Times
Roman. Acceptable type sizes are 10-point Palatino, or 10- or 12-point Times. (This line is in Palatino
use white-out—at least not until Gillette stops performing Draize tests on rabbits’ eyes! You
may make up to three
corrections in black ink. Neatly cross out errors with a straight line, and
place typo corrections just above a misspelled word. If errors become distracting, re-do the page.
Margins and Indentation
• Indent the first line of each paragraph five spaces from the left margin. Do
justify margins along
right: keep your right margins raggedy edged, like this page.
• Allow an inch and a half for the margins at the left and top of each page; use one-inch margins at the
right and bottom. Avoid “widows and orphans”—isolated lines at the tops and bottoms of pages.
• Number your pages in the upper right-hand corner of the page, one-half inch from the top and
aligned with the right margin. Count the first page, but do not number it.
• Use Arabic numerals (2, 3,
.). Do not add any marks other than the numbers themselves: no
periods, hyphens, parentheses. And no dancing girls, as you see on
pages! (Do as I say, not as I
do. . . !)
Spacing and Punctuation
• Double space. (One-and-a-half spacing is acceptable.) Don’t type on both sides of the paper.
• Leave one space between words—and after commas, semicolons, and colons.