Have a language expert improve your writing
Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.
- Knowledge Base
- How to write an essay outline | Guidelines & examples
How to Write an Essay Outline | Guidelines & Examples
Published on August 14, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.
An essay outline is a way of planning the structure of your essay before you start writing. It involves writing quick summary sentences or phrases for every point you will cover in each paragraph , giving you a picture of how your argument will unfold.
Table of contents
Organizing your material, presentation of the outline, examples of essay outlines, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about essay outlines.
At the stage where you’re writing an essay outline, your ideas are probably still not fully formed. You should know your topic and have already done some preliminary research to find relevant sources , but now you need to shape your ideas into a structured argument.
Look over any information, quotes and ideas you’ve noted down from your research and consider the central point you want to make in the essay—this will be the basis of your thesis statement . Once you have an idea of your overall argument, you can begin to organize your material in a way that serves that argument.
Try to arrange your material into categories related to different aspects of your argument. If you’re writing about a literary text, you might group your ideas into themes; in a history essay, it might be several key trends or turning points from the period you’re discussing.
Three main themes or subjects is a common structure for essays. Depending on the length of the essay, you could split the themes into three body paragraphs, or three longer sections with several paragraphs covering each theme.
As you create the outline, look critically at your categories and points: Are any of them irrelevant or redundant? Make sure every topic you cover is clearly related to your thesis statement.
Order of information
When you have your material organized into several categories, consider what order they should appear in.
Your essay will always begin and end with an introduction and conclusion , but the organization of the body is up to you.
Consider these questions to order your material:
- Is there an obvious starting point for your argument?
- Is there one subject that provides an easy transition into another?
- Do some points need to be set up by discussing other points first?
Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.
Within each paragraph, you’ll discuss a single idea related to your overall topic or argument, using several points of evidence or analysis to do so.
In your outline, you present these points as a few short numbered sentences or phrases.They can be split into sub-points when more detail is needed.
The template below shows how you might structure an outline for a five-paragraph essay.
- Thesis statement
- First piece of evidence
- Second piece of evidence
- Importance of topic
- Strong closing statement
You can choose whether to write your outline in full sentences or short phrases. Be consistent in your choice; don’t randomly write some points as full sentences and others as short phrases.
Examples of outlines for different types of essays are presented below: an argumentative, expository, and literary analysis essay.
Argumentative essay outline
This outline is for a short argumentative essay evaluating the internet’s impact on education. It uses short phrases to summarize each point.
Its body is split into three paragraphs, each presenting arguments about a different aspect of the internet’s effects on education.
- Importance of the internet
- Concerns about internet use
- Thesis statement: Internet use a net positive
- Data exploring this effect
- Analysis indicating it is overstated
- Students’ reading levels over time
- Why this data is questionable
- Video media
- Interactive media
- Speed and simplicity of online research
- Questions about reliability (transitioning into next topic)
- Evidence indicating its ubiquity
- Claims that it discourages engagement with academic writing
- Evidence that Wikipedia warns students not to cite it
- Argument that it introduces students to citation
- Summary of key points
- Value of digital education for students
- Need for optimism to embrace advantages of the internet
Expository essay outline
This is the outline for an expository essay describing how the invention of the printing press affected life and politics in Europe.
The paragraphs are still summarized in short phrases here, but individual points are described with full sentences.
- Claim that the printing press marks the end of the Middle Ages.
- Provide background on the low levels of literacy before the printing press.
- Present the thesis statement: The invention of the printing press increased circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.
- Discuss the very high levels of illiteracy in medieval Europe.
- Describe how literacy and thus knowledge and education were mainly the domain of religious and political elites.
- Indicate how this discouraged political and religious change.
- Describe the invention of the printing press in 1440 by Johannes Gutenberg.
- Show the implications of the new technology for book production.
- Describe the rapid spread of the technology and the printing of the Gutenberg Bible.
- Link to the Reformation.
- Discuss the trend for translating the Bible into vernacular languages during the years following the printing press’s invention.
- Describe Luther’s own translation of the Bible during the Reformation.
- Sketch out the large-scale effects the Reformation would have on religion and politics.
- Summarize the history described.
- Stress the significance of the printing press to the events of this period.
Literary analysis essay outline
The literary analysis essay outlined below discusses the role of theater in Jane Austen’s novel Mansfield Park .
The body of the essay is divided into three different themes, each of which is explored through examples from the book.
- Describe the theatricality of Austen’s works
- Outline the role theater plays in Mansfield Park
- Introduce the research question : How does Austen use theater to express the characters’ morality in Mansfield Park ?
- Discuss Austen’s depiction of the performance at the end of the first volume
- Discuss how Sir Bertram reacts to the acting scheme
- Introduce Austen’s use of stage direction–like details during dialogue
- Explore how these are deployed to show the characters’ self-absorption
- Discuss Austen’s description of Maria and Julia’s relationship as polite but affectionless
- Compare Mrs. Norris’s self-conceit as charitable despite her idleness
- Summarize the three themes: The acting scheme, stage directions, and the performance of morals
- Answer the research question
- Indicate areas for further study
If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!
- Ad hominem fallacy
- Post hoc fallacy
- Appeal to authority fallacy
- False cause fallacy
- Sunk cost fallacy
- Choosing Essay Topic
- Write a College Essay
- Write a Diversity Essay
- College Essay Format & Structure
- Comparing and Contrasting in an Essay
- Grammar Checker
- Paraphrasing Tool
- Text Summarizer
- AI Detector
- Plagiarism Checker
- Citation Generator
A faster, more affordable way to improve your paper
Scribbr’s new AI Proofreader checks your document and corrects spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes with near-human accuracy and the efficiency of AI!
Proofread my paper
You will sometimes be asked to hand in an essay outline before you start writing your essay . Your supervisor wants to see that you have a clear idea of your structure so that writing will go smoothly.
Even when you do not have to hand it in, writing an essay outline is an important part of the writing process . It’s a good idea to write one (as informally as you like) to clarify your structure for yourself whenever you are working on an essay.
If you have to hand in your essay outline , you may be given specific guidelines stating whether you have to use full sentences. If you’re not sure, ask your supervisor.
When writing an essay outline for yourself, the choice is yours. Some students find it helpful to write out their ideas in full sentences, while others prefer to summarize them in short phrases.
You should try to follow your outline as you write your essay . However, if your ideas change or it becomes clear that your structure could be better, it’s okay to depart from your essay outline . Just make sure you know why you’re doing so.
Cite this Scribbr article
If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.
Caulfield, J. (2023, July 23). How to Write an Essay Outline | Guidelines & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved November 19, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/academic-essay/essay-outline/
Is this article helpful?
Other students also liked, how to create a structured research paper outline | example, a step-by-step guide to the writing process, how to write an argumentative essay | examples & tips, what is your plagiarism score.
Find Study Materials for
Business studies, combined science, computer science, english literature, environmental science, human geography, macroeconomics, microeconomics.
- Social Studies
- Browse all subjects
- Exam Revision
- Career Advice for Students
- Student Life
- Study Guide
- University Advice
- Read our Magazine
Create Study Materials
Select your language
Organizing your thoughts before writing an essay is always a good idea. One of the best ways to do this is to plan your essay with an outline. A strong essay outline helps you to solidify your main idea(s) and supporting details, plan your paragraphs, and build the framework for…
Explore our app and discover over 50 million learning materials for free.
- Essay Outline
- StudySmarter AI
- Textbook Solutions
- A Hook for an Essay
- Body Paragraph
- Language Used in Academic Writing
- MHRA Referencing
- Opinion vs Fact
- Works Cited
- Emotional Arguments in Essays
- Ethical Arguments in Essays
- Logical Arguments in Essays
- The Argument
- Writing an Argumentative Essay
- Image Caption
- Personal Blog
- Professional Blog
- Anaphoric Reference
- Cataphoric Reference
- Conversation Analysis
- Discourse Analysis
- Discourse Markers
- Endophoric Reference
- Exophoric Reference
- John Swales Discourse Communities
- Email Closings
- Email Introduction
- Email Salutation
- Email Signature
- Email Subject Lines
- Formal Email
- Informal Email
- Active Voice
- Adjective Phrase
- Adverb Phrase
- Adverbials For Time
- Adverbials of Frequency
- Auxilary Verbs
- Complex Sentence
- Compound Adjectives
- Compound Sentence
- Conditional Sentences
- Coordinating Conjunctions
- Copula Verbs
- Correlative Conjunctions
- Dangling Participle
- Demonstrative Pronouns
- Dependent Clause
- Descriptive Adjectives
- Finite Verbs
- First Conditional
- Functions of Language
- Future Progressive Tense
- Future Tense
- Generative Grammar
- Grammatical Mood
- Grammatical Voices
- Imperative Mood
- Imperative Verbs
- Indefinite Pronouns
- Independent Clause
- Indicative Mood
- Infinitive Mood
- Infinitive Phrases
- Interrogative Mood
- Irregular Verbs
- Linking Verb
- Misplaced Modifiers
- Modal Verbs
- Noun Phrase
- Objective Case
- Optative Mood
- Passive Voice
- Past Perfect Tense
- Perfect Aspect
- Personal Pronouns
- Possessive Adjectives
- Possessive Pronouns
- Potential Mood
- Prepositional Phrase
- Prepositions of Place
- Prepositions of Time
- Present Participle
- Present Perfect Progressive
- Present Perfect Tense
- Present Tense
- Progressive Aspect
- Proper Adjectives
- Reflexive Pronouns
- Relative Clause
- Relative Pronouns
- Second Conditional
- Sentence Functions
- Simple Future Tense
- Simple Sentence
- Subjunctive Mood
- Subordinating Conjunctions
- Superlative Adjectives
- Third Conditional
- Transitive and Intransitive Verbs
- Types of Phrases
- Types of Sentence
- Verb Phrase
- Vocative Case
- Zero Conditional
- Academic English
- Anglo Saxon Roots and Prefixes
- Bilingual Dictionaries
- English Dictionaries
- English Vocabulary
- Greek Roots, Suffixes and Prefixes
- Latin Roots, Suffixes and Prefixes
- Modern English
- Object category
- Regional Dialects
- Rhyming Dictionary
- Sentence Fragments
- Social Dialects
- Subject Predicate Relationship
- Subject Verb Agreement
- Word Pronunciation
- Essay Time Management
- How To Take a Position in an Essay
- Organize Your Prompt
- Proofread Essay
- Understanding the Prompt
- Analytical Essay
- Cause and Effect Essay
- Chat GPT Prompts For Literature Essays
- Claims and Evidence
- Descriptive Essay
- Expository Essay
- Narrative Essay
- Persuasive Essay
- The Best Chat GPT Prompts For Essay Writing
- Essay Sources and Presenting Research
- Essay Structure
- Essay Topic
- Point Evidence Explain
- Research Question
- Sources of Data Collection
- Transcribing Spoken Data
- African American English
- African Countries Speaking English
- American English Vs British English
- Australian English
- British Accents
- British Sign Language
- Communicative Language Teaching
- English in Eu
- Guided Discovery
- Indian English
- Lesson Plan
- Received Pronunciation
- Total Physical Response
- Advise vs Advice
- Affect or Effect
- Inverted commas
- Loosing or Losing
- Multimodal Texts
- Orthographic Features
- Practice or Practise
- Separate vs Seperate
- Typographical Features
- Comparative Method
- Conventions of Standard English
- Early Modern English
- Great Vowel Shift
- Historical Development
- Inflectional Morphemes
- Irish English
- King James Bible
- Language Family
- Language Isolate
- Middle English
- Middle English Examples
- Noah Webster Dictionary
- Old English Language
- Old English Texts
- Old English Translation
- Piers Plowman
- Proto Language
- Samuel Johnson Dictionary
- Scottish English
- Shakespearean English
- Welsh English
- Accent vs Dialect
- Code Switching
- Descriptivism vs Prescriptivism
- Dialect Levelling
- English as a lingua franca
- Kachru's 3 Concentric Circles
- Language Changes
- Pidgin and Creole
- Rhotic Accent
- Social Interaction
- Standard English
- Standardisation of English
- Strevens Model of English
- Technological Determinism
- Vernacular English
- World Englishes
- Language Stereotypes
- Language and Politics
- Language and Power
- Language and Technology
- Media Linguistics
- Michel Foucault Discourse Theory
- Norman Fairclough
- Behavioral Theory
- Cognitive Theory
- Critical Period
- Developmental Language Disorder
- Down Syndrome Language
- Functional Basis of Language
- Interactionist Theory
- Language Acquisition Device (LAD)
- Language Acquisition Support System
- Language Acquisition in Children
- Michael Halliday
- Multiword Stage
- One-Word stage
- Specific Language Impairments
- Theories of Language Acquisition
- Two-Word Stage
- Williams Syndrome
- Grammatical Voice
- Literary Context
- Literary Purpose
- Literary Representation
- Mode English Language
- Narrative Perspective
- Poetic Voice
- Accommodation Theory
- Bernstein Elaborated and Restricted Code
- Casual Register
- Concept of Face
- Consultative Register
- Deficit Approach
- Difference Approach
- Diversity Approach
- Dominance Approach
- Drew and Heritage Institutional Talk
- Eckert Jocks and Burnouts
- Formal Register
- Frozen Register
- Gary Ives Bradford Study
- Holmes Code Switching
- Intimate Register
- Labov- New York Department Store Study
- Language and Age
- Language and Class
- Language and Ethnicity
- Language and Gender
- Language and Identity
- Language and Occupation
- Marked and Unmarked Terms
- Neutral Register
- Peter Trudgill- Norwich Study
- Phatic Talk and Banter
- Register and Style
- Sinclair and Coulthard
- Social Network Theory
- Sociolect vs Idiolect
- Variety vs Standard English
- Connotative Meaning
- Denotative Meaning
- Figurative Language
- Fixed Expressions
- Formal Language
- Informal Language
- Irony English Language
- Language Structure
- Levels of Formality
- Lexical Ambiguity
- Literary Positioning
- Occupational Register
- Paradigmatic Relations
- Prototype Theory
- Rhetorical Figures
- Semantic Analysis
- Semantic Change
- Semantic Reclamation
- Syntagmatic Relations
- Text Structure
- 1984 Newspeak
- Analytical Techniques
- Applied Linguistics
- Computational Linguistics
- Corpus Linguistics
- Critical Theory
- Forensic Linguistics
- Language Comprehension
- Linguistic Determinism
- Logical Positivism
- Machine Translation
- Natural Language Processing
- Neural Networks
- Rhetorical Analysis
- Sapir Whorf Hypothesis
- Speech Recognition
- Active Listening Skills
- Address Counterclaims
- Group Discussion
- Presentation Skills
- Presentation Technology
- Agglutinating Languages
- Compound Words
- Derivational Morphemes
- Grammatical Morphemes
- Lexical Morphology
- Polysynthetic Languages
- Active Reading
- Process of Elimination
- Words in Context
- Click Consonants
- Fundamental Frequency
- International Phonetic Alphabet
- Manner of Articulation
- Nasal Sound
- Oral Cavity
- Phonetic Accommodation
- Phonetic Assimilation
- Place of Articulation
- Sound Spectrum
- Source Filter Theory
- Voice Articulation
- Vowel Chart
- Complementary Distribution
- Sound Symbolisms
- Communication Accommodation Theory
- Conversational Implicature
- Cooperative Principle
- Deictic centre
- Deictic expressions
- Figure of Speech
- Grice's Conversational Maxims
- Politeness Theory
- Semantics vs. Pragmatics
- Speech Acts
- Aggressive vs Friendly Tone
- Curious vs Encouraging Tone
- Feminine Rhyme
- Hypocritical vs Cooperative Tone
- Masculine Rhyme
- Monosyllabic Rhyme
- Optimistic vs Worried Tone
- Serious vs Humorous Tone
- Stress of a Word
- Surprised Tone
- Tone English Langugage
- Analyzing Informational Texts
- Comparing Texts
- Context Cues
- Creative Writing
- Digital Resources
- Ethical Issues In Data Collection
- Formulate Questions
- Internet Search Engines
- Literary Analysis
- Personal Writing
- Print Resources
- Research Process
- Research and Analysis
- Technical Writing
- Action Verbs
- Adjectival Clause
- Adverbial Clause
- Appositive Phrase
- Argument from Authority
- Auditory Description
- Basic Rhetorical Modes
- Begging the Question
- Building Credibility
- Causal Flaw
- Causal Relationships
- Cause and Effect Rhetorical Mode
- Central Idea
- Chronological Description
- Circular Reasoning
- Classical Appeals
- Close Reading
- Coherence Between Sentences
- Coherence within Paragraphs
- Coherences within Sentences
- Complex Rhetorical Modes
- Compound Complex Sentences
- Concrete Adjectives
- Concrete Nouns
- Consistent Voice
- Counter Argument
- Definition by Negation
- Description Rhetorical mode
- Direct Discourse
- Extended Metaphor
- False Connections
- False Dichotomy
- False Equivalence
- Faulty Analogy
- Faulty Causality
- Fear Arousing
- Gustatory Description
- Hasty Generalization
- Induction Rhetoric
- Levels of Coherence
- Line of Reasoning
- Missing the Point
- Modifiers that Qualify
- Modifiers that Specify
- Narration Rhetorical Mode
- Non-Testable Hypothesis
- Objective Description
- Olfactory Description
- Parenthetical Element
- Participial Phrase
- Personal Narrative
- Placement of Modifiers
- Post-Hoc Argument
- Process Analysis Rhetorical Mode
- Red Herring
- Reverse Causation
- Rhetorical Fallacy
- Rhetorical Modes
- Rhetorical Question
- Rhetorical Situation
- Scare Tactics
- Sentimental Appeals
- Situational Irony
- Slippery Slope
- Spatial Description
- Straw Man Argument
- Subject Consistency
- Subjective Description
- Tactile Description
- Tense Consistency
- Tone and Word Choice
- Twisting the Language Around
- Unstated Assumption
- Verbal Irony
- Visual Description
- Authorial Intent
- Authors Technique
- Language Choice
- Prompt Audience
- Prompt Purpose
- Rhetorical Strategies
- Understanding Your Audience
- Auditory Imagery
- Gustatory Imagery
- Olfactory Imagery
- Tactile Imagery
- Main Idea and Supporting Detail
- Statistical Evidence
- Communities of Practice
- Cultural Competence
- Gender Politics
- Intercultural Communication
- Research Methodology
- Object Subject Verb
- Subject Verb Object
- Syntactic Structures
- Universal Grammar
- Verb Subject Object
- Author Authority
- Direct Quote
- First Paragraph
- Historical Context
- Intended Audience
- Primary Source
- Second Paragraph
- Secondary Source
- Source Material
- Third Paragraph
- Character Analysis
- Citation Analysis
- Text Structure Analysis
- Vocabulary Assessment
Save the explanation now and read when you’ve got time to spare.
Lerne mit deinen Freunden und bleibe auf dem richtigen Kurs mit deinen persönlichen Lernstatistiken
Nie wieder prokastinieren mit unseren Lernerinnerungen.
Organizing your thoughts before writing an essay is always a good idea. One of the best ways to do this is to plan your essay with an outline . A strong essay outline helps you to solidify your main idea(s) and supporting details, plan your paragraphs, and build the framework for coherent sentences.
Definition of an Essay Outline
What is an outline, exactly?
An outline is a clear, organized plan for an essay.
You can think of an outline as the blueprint for an essay. It helps you visualize and plan your essay before the creation process starts.
When you write an outline for an essay, start with the basic framework and gradually fill in the details . Once the details are complete, you can connect the sentences and make sure the essay flows nicely.
Format of an Essay Outline
Any essay can be divided into three parts: introduction, body, and conclusion . In a typical five-paragraph essay, the body is split into three paragraphs. The result is this basic outline:
- Introduce the essay's main idea(s) .
- State the thesis .
- Introduce the supporting idea .
- Provide supporting details .
- Connect the supporting details to the main idea.
- Return to the thesis .
- Sum up the supporting ideas .
- Explore the implications and questions raised by the thesis.
You can build most five-paragraph essays using this basic outline. The exact structure of the body and its supporting details depend on the type of essay.
The following examples apply this basic outline template to a specific type of essay.
The examples provide detailed essay outlines; t o finish the essays, you would tweak the sentences so they connect and flow logically.
Persuasive Essay Outline
The goal of a persuasive essay is to convince the audience of the writer's opinion. Every supporting detail attempts to bring the audience over to the writer's side. The supporting details can include emotional appeals, logic, examples, evidence, etc.
This persuasive essay outline discusses the advantages of working in food service. Notice how the details fit into the basic framework laid out in the previous section.
- Introduce the main idea . Over a hundred million people in the U.S. work in the food service industry. That number is steadily growing.
- State the thesis . Experience in the service industry can benefit people on any career path.
- Introduce the supporting idea . Working in food service requires multiple people to work quickly as a team. They build strong skills in communication and conflict resolution.
- Provide supporting details . Lots of careers (construction, software development, healthcare, etc.) require teamwork and collaboration.
- Connect the supporting details to the main idea . The fast-paced collaboration required in food service helps prepare people for the teamwork required in other careers.
- Introduce the supporting idea . Some restaurant and fast food chains assist employees in finding new careers.
- Provide supporting details . Some of these large chains assist employees with college tuition and federal student loan debt. Some also help employees to move into management and other roles in the company.
- Connect the supporting details to the main idea . In cases like these, working in food service can provide a springboard to the next career step.
Use a line of reasoning , or logic, to connect your ideas!
- Introduce the supporting idea . Service work is physically and emotionally taxing. Experiencing this kind of work can teach people to be patient and respectful with others.
- Provide supporting details . Someone who has never worked in the service industry may grow frustrated at any inconvenience in a restaurant and take it out on the workers. Someone who has shared the workers' experience is more likely to be patient and respectful.
- Connect the supporting details to the main idea . Skills in empathy and patience are valuable in any career. Working in food service helps people gain these skills.
- Return to the thesis and sum up the supporting ideas . Working in the food service industry gives people interpersonal skills such as collaboration in high-pressure scenarios, effective communication, conflict resolution, and empathy. In some cases, it can also help people practically by assisting with higher education. All of these give people an advantage in other career paths.
- Explore the implications and questions raised by the thesis . If everyone spent at least a short time working in food service, the American workplace would be full of people with these valuable interpersonal skills.
When writing a persuasive essay, consider the three classical appeals: logos, pathos, and ethos. Respectively, these are the appeals to logic, emotions, and credentials. Part of persuasion is knowing your audience, and you can use rhetorical styles like these to reach that audience. By the way, rhetoric is any spoken or written device designed to persuade!
Argumentative Essay Outline
An argumentative essay is similar to a persuasive essay, but it takes a more measured approach. It relies on factual evidence and logic rather than emotional appeals.
An important supporting idea for an argumentative essay is an acknowledgment and rebuttal of an opposing argument. This means presenting a valid opposing argument and then explaining why the writer's argument is stronger.
This argumentative essay outline discusses the nutritional value of home-grown foods versus store-bought foods.
- Introduce the main idea . Fruits and vegetables are important for a healthy lifestyle. People in the U.S. have become more interested in growing their own fruits and vegetables.
- State the thesis . Home-grown fruits and vegetables are healthier than store-bought fruits and vegetables.
- Introduce the supporting idea . The nutrient density of foods is highest at peak freshness.
- Provide supporting details . Produce shipped from farms and stored in supermarkets is harvested before its peak freshness so it doesn't spoil as quickly. Home-grown produce can continue ripening until it's ready to be eaten.
- Connect the supporting details to the main idea . Since it can easily be harvested at peak freshness, home-grown produce can be more nutrient-dense than store-bought produce.
Remember, start with your best supporting idea or piece of evidence!
- Introduce the supporting idea . People are more likely to eat produce they grew themselves.
- Provide supporting details . A study at Saint Louis University showed that children who learn to grow their own fruits and vegetables are more likely to eat a healthy diet than other children.
- Connect the supporting details to the main idea . Home-grown produce is a healthier option because it encourages people to eat more produce.
- Introduce the supporting idea . Store-bought produce is also nutritious.
- Provide supporting details . Growing food requires a large commitment of time, space, water, and other resources. When this commitment isn't possible, store-bought vegetables are the best option. This is why it's important to have good produce available in stores.
- Connect the supporting details to the main idea . Because of the relative advantages, if home-grown produce is an option, it is a more nutritious solution than store-bought produce.
- Return to the thesis and sum up the supporting ideas . Home-grown produce can be fresher and more nutritionally dense than store-bought produce. It also encourages a healthier diet overall.
- Explore the implications and questions raised by the thesis . Home gardening isn't an option for everyone, but advances in indoor and container gardening can make home-grown fruits and vegetables available to more people.
Compare and Contrast Essay Outline
A compare and contrast essay discusses the similarities and differences between two given topics. Its supporting ideas can consist of summaries of each topic and key similarities or differences between the topics.
Compare and contrast essays can be organized using the block method , where the two topics are discussed separately, one after the other, or the point-by-point method , where the two topics are compared at a single point in each supporting paragraph.
This essay discusses the differences between the piano and the organ using the point-by-point method.
- Introduce topics: At a glance, the piano and the organ look like the same instrument. They have the same type of keyboard, and they're usually in a wooden casing. However, the piano is able to play some musical pieces that the organ cannot, and vice versa.
- Thesis statement : Even though they look similar, the piano and the organ are very different instruments.
- Introduce the supporting idea: One key difference between the piano and the organ is their sound production. Both are in the keyboard instrument family, but they produce different types of sound.
- Supporting details of Topic 1: Striking a piano key causes a felt hammer to swing onto a group of metal strings.
- Supporting details of Topic 2: Striking an organ key allows air to flow through the wood or metal pipes connected to the machine.
- Connect the supporting details to the main idea : The piano uses its keyboard to behave like a percussion or string instrument, while the organ uses its keyboard to behave like a woodwind or brass instrument. This is why the piano and organ sound so distinct from one another.
When detailing your essay on an intricate topic, remember only to tell your audience what it needs to know.
- Introduce the supporting idea: Both the piano and organ require the player to work with foot pedals. These pedals, however, serve different functions.
- Supporting details of Topic 1: A piano's pedals affect the instrument's "action." The pedals may shift the hammers to one side to strike fewer strings or raise the felt dampers, so the strings freely ring out.
- Supporting details of Topic 2: An organ's pedals constitute an entire keyboard. The organ's primary pedalboard is a very large keyboard that controls the instrument's largest pipes.
- Connect the supporting details to the main idea : The pianist and organist must use their feet to operate the instrument, but they use different skill sets.
- Introduce the supporting idea: The piano and organ also differ in volume control.
- Supporting details of Topic 1: A pianist can control the instrument's volume by striking the keyboard lightly or intensely.
- Supporting details of Topic 2: An organ's volume can only be controlled by changing the amount of air that can pass through the pipes or by changing the number of pipes connected to the keyboard register.
- Connect the supporting details to the main idea: Because of their different methods of volume control, a piano cannot produce the organ's large "wall" of sound, and an organ cannot produce the piano's flowing dynamic changes.
Fun fact : "Volume" is the loudness of a speaker's output to a listener, while "gain" is the loudness of an instrument's input into a stereo, amplifier, or recording device.
- Return to the thesis and sum up the supporting ideas. Although the instruments look very similar, the piano and organ have significant mechanical differences, from the keys to the pedals. Because of these mechanical differences, a musician must approach each instrument differently.
- Explore the implications and questions raised by the thesis. This is one reason the two instruments can produce such different musical pieces. Both instruments are valuable contributions to world music.
Essay Outline - Key Takeaways
- Any essay can be divided into three parts: introduction, body, and conclusion . In a typical five-paragraph essay, the body is split into three paragraphs.
- The goal of a persuasive essay is to convince the audience of the writer's opinion .
- An argumentative essay is similar to a persuasive essay , but it takes a more measured approach.
- A compare and contrast essay discusses the similarities and differences between two given topics.
Frequently Asked Questions about Essay Outline
--> what is an essay outline, --> how do you write an outline for an essay.
When you write an outline for an essay, start with the basic framework (introduction, body, and conclusion) and gradually fill in the details . Once the details are complete, you can connect the sentences and make sure the essay flows nicely.
--> What is a 5 paragraph essay outline?
Any essay can be divided into three parts: introduction, body, and conclusion . In a typical five-paragraph essay, the body is split into three paragraphs.
--> How long should an essay outline be?
An essay outline should gradually add greater detail to a basic framework of introduction, body, and conclusion . The outline of a 5 paragraph essay can be divided into 5 parts: one outline section per essay paragraph.
--> What is an example of an essay outline?
This is the basic outline of a 5 paragraph essay:
- Introduction (state the thesis)
- Body 1 (supporting idea)
- Body 2 (supporting idea)
- Body 3 (supporting idea)
- Conclusion (sum up ideas and return to the thesis)
Final Essay Outline Quiz
Essay outline quiz - teste dein wissen.
What is an essay outline?
An outline is a clear, organized plan for an essay.
What are the three main sections of any essay?
The three main sections of any essay are the introduction, body, and conclusion .
The body of a 5 paragraph essay is usually split into ___ paragraphs.
Which part of an essay should state the thesis ?
Which part of an essay should provide supporting details ?
Which part of an essay should summarize the supporting ideas ?
True or false:
A persuasive essay focuses on factual evidence and logic instead of emotional appeals.
True or false:
An argumentative essay focuses on factual evidence and logic instead of emotional appeals.
The body of a/an _____ essay should include an acknowledgment and rebuttal of an opposing argument.
The block method and point-by-point method refer to the organization of _____ essays.
Compare and Contrast
An essay outline using the _____ method discusses two topics separately, one after the other.
An essay outline using the _____ method compares two topics at a single point in each supporting paragraph.
It's any spoken or written device designed to persuade.
This is where you explore the implications of your thesis.
Supporting ideas contain no summary.
What comes before the conclusion?
The third (or final) body paragraph.
How should you connect your ideas?
When outlining a persuasive essay, you probably don't need to think too much about your audience. Think about what would persuade you!
This is when you counter an argument.
Logos, ethos, and pathos are rhetorical styles or modes.
Every body paragraph has a main idea.
False. They have supporting ideas.
Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards
Which part of an essay should state the thesis?
Which part of an essay should provide supporting details?
Join the StudySmarter App and learn efficiently with millions of flashcards and more!
Learn with 18 essay outline flashcards in the free studysmarter app.
Already have an account? Log in
Flashcards in Essay Outline 21
Learn with 21 Essay Outline flashcards in the free StudySmarter app
Save explanations that you love in your personalised space, Access Anytime, Anywhere!
- Rhetorical Analysis Essay
- Linguistic Terms
of the users don't pass the Essay Outline quiz! Will you pass the quiz?
How would you like to learn this content?
Free english cheat sheet!
Everything you need to know on . A perfect summary so you can easily remember everything.
More explanations about 5 Paragraph Essay
Discover the right content for your subjects, engineering, no need to cheat if you have everything you need to succeed packed into one app.
Be perfectly prepared on time with an individual plan.
Test your knowledge with gamified quizzes.
Create and find flashcards in record time.
Create beautiful notes faster than ever before.
Have all your study materials in one place.
Upload unlimited documents and save them online.
Identify your study strength and weaknesses.
Set individual study goals and earn points reaching them.
Stop procrastinating with our study reminders.
Earn points, unlock badges and level up while studying.
Create flashcards in notes completely automatically.
Create the most beautiful study materials using our templates.
Join millions of people in learning anywhere, anytime - every day
Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.
This is still free to read, it's not a paywall.
You need to register to keep reading, start learning with studysmarter, the only learning app you need..
Create a free account to save this explanation.
Save explanations to your personalised space and access them anytime, anywhere!
StudySmarter bietet alles, was du für deinen Lernerfolg brauchst - in einer App!
- Monash Online
Student Academic Success
- 1:1 Consultation 1:1 Consultation
- Study better Study better
- Build digital capabilities Build digital capabilities
- Understand assessments Understand assessments
- Excel at writing Excel at writing
- Enhance your thinking Enhance your thinking
- Present confidently Present confidently
- Collaborate with others Collaborate with others
- Improve your academic English Improve your academic English
- Maintain academic integrity Maintain academic integrity
- Advance your graduate studies Advance your graduate studies
- Workshops Workshops
- Feedback studio Feedback studio
- About us About us
- Skip to content
- Skip to navigation
Example essay outlines
Below are two examples of essay outlines that were written in response to the essay question: ‘Explain the relationship between police culture and police accountability’.
Version 1 reflects the sort of plans that many students produce. While it works as a starting point, it needs to be further developed. It’s very descriptive, and requires a stronger argument and deeper analysis. Version 2, on the other hand, presents a clear argument. It states the contention in the introduction, followed by a series of supporting points that are based on evidence.
- Doesn’t answer the essay question in the introduction.
- The contention is stated in the conclusion, but needs to be stated in the introduction, and then developed throughout the entire essay.
- Paragraphs describe particular theories/ideas but don’t analyse them or say how they help to answer the essay question.
- States the contention in the introduction.
- Claims are presented in response to the essay question (in the topic sentences), and are supported by analysed evidence.
- Conclusion sums up the argument and reflects on implications.
The essay examples linked below can provide you with more context on how to write an essay in your discipline.
Art History and Theory essay
Art history essay, education annotated essay, history essay, literary studies essays, pharmacy and pharmaceutical science essay, sample business and economics essay, writing philosophy essays, quick study guide to writing essays.
- Try for free
How to Write an Essay Outline with Examples
Download for free!
Why write an essay outline.
An essay outline will help you organize your main ideas and determine the order in which you are going to write about them. In some cases, a decimal outline may allow you to organize your details better. Writing an outline with an alphanumeric structure is another very effective way to think through how you will organize and present the information in your essay. It also helps you develop a strong argumentative essay.
Looking for a printable list of essay outline examples?
Our printable PDF features essay outline examples and templates that your students can use as examples when writing research papers, or as a supplement for an essay-writing unit.
Sample Outline - Persuasive Essay
Competitive Swimming, an Ideal Sport for Kids
Start your argumentative essay outline by stating your point of view and/or present your persuasive argument.
Thesis: Competitive swimming is a great alternative to other youth sports.
Body Paragraph 1
Introduce your primary persuasive argument and provide supporting details in your argumentative essay outline.
Topic Sentence: Competitive swimming provides the same benefits as other sports.
- Detail Sentence 1: It is good exercise and builds muscular strength.
- Detail Sentence 2: It promotes cooperation among team members, especially in relays.
Body Paragraph 2
Introduce a secondary argument and provide supporting details.
Topic Sentence: Competitive swimming provides some unique additional benefits.
- Detail Sentence 1: Swimming is an important skill that can be used forever.
- Detail Sentence 2: Swimming poses a reduced risk of injury.
- Detail Sentence 3: Each swimmer can easily chart his or her own progress.
Conclude your essay writing with a summary of the thesis and persuasive arguments. Brainstorming details that support your point-of-view is a great way to start before creating your outline and first draft.
Concluding Sentence: There are many reasons why competitive swimming is a great alternative to other youth sports, including...
Sample Outline - Narrative Essay
How Losing a Swim Meet Made Me a Better Swimmer
Introduce the subject of your narrative essay using a thesis statement and a plan of development (POD).
Thesis: The first time I participated in a competitive swim meet, I finished in last place. With more focused training and coaching, I was able to finish 2nd in the State Championship meet.
Plan of development: I was very disappointed in my results from the first meet, so I improved my training and fitness. This helped me swim better and faster, which helped me to greatly improve my results.
Set the scene and provide supporting details. Again, start by brainstorming different ways to begin; then go ahead and craft an outline and a first draft.
Topic Sentence: I was embarrassed at finishing last in my first competitive swim meet, so I began working on ways to improve my performance.
- Detail Sentence 1: I spent extra time with my coach and the team captains learning how to improve my technique.
- Detail Sentence 2: I started running and lifting weights to increase my overall fitness level.
Provide additional supporting details, descriptions, and experiences to develop your general idea in your essay writing.
Topic Sentence: Over time, my results began to improve and I was able to qualify for the state championship meet.
- Detail Sentence 1: My technique and fitness level made me faster and able to swim longer distances.
- Detail Sentence 2: I steadily got better, and I began winning or placing in the top 3 at most of my meets.
- Detail Sentence 3: My results improved to the point that I was able to qualify for the state championship meet.
Body Paragraph 3
The next step in the writing process is to provide additional supporting details, descriptions, and experiences. You can then divide them up under different headings.
Topic Sentence: With my new confidence, techniques, and fitness level, I was able to finish 2nd at the state championship meet.
- Detail Sentence 1: I was able to swim well against a higher level of competition due to my training and technique.
- Detail Sentence 2: I was no longer embarrassed about my last-place finish, and was able to use it as motivation!
Conclude the narrative essay with a recap of the events described or a reflection on the lesson learned in the story. Briefly summarize the details you included under each heading.
Concluding Sentence: I used my last-place finish in my first competitive swim meet as motivation to improve my performance.
Sample Outline - Descriptive Essay
Visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame
Introduce the subject of your descriptive essay with a thesis statement covering the person, place, object, etc. you are writing about.
Thesis: The Hockey Hall of Fame is full of sights, sounds, and experiences that will delight hockey fans of all ages.
Set the scene and provide factual details.
Topic Sentence: The Hockey Hall of Fame is located in Toronto, Canada and features exhibits from amateur and professional hockey.
- Detail Sentence 1: The Hall is located in downtown Toronto and is visited by 1 million people every year.
- Detail Sentence 2: You can see exhibits ranging from the early beginnings of the sport to the modern NHL and Olympics.
Provide additional sensory details, descriptions, and experiences.
Topic Sentence: There are many types of exhibits and shows, including activities you can participate in.
- Detail Sentence 1: Player statues, plaques, and jerseys decorate the walls in every room of the Hall.
- Detail Sentence 2: Many of the exhibits have movies and multimedia activities that make you feel like you're part of the game.
- Detail Sentence 3: You can even practice shooting pucks on virtual versions of some of the game's greatest goalies!
Conclude the essay with a paragraph that restates the thesis and recaps the descriptive and sensory details.
Concluding Sentence: The Hockey Hall of Fame is an experience that combines the best sights, sounds and history of the game in Toronto.
Sample Outline - Expository Essay
Why The School Year Should be Shorter
Introduce the primary argument or main point of an expository essay, or other types of academic writing, using a thesis statement and context.
Thesis: The school year is too long, and should be shortened to benefit students and teachers, save districts money, and improve test scores and academic results. Other countries have shorter school years, and achieve better results.
Describe the primary argument and provide supporting details and evidence.
Topic Sentence: A shorter school year would benefit students and teachers by giving them more time off.
- Detail Sentence 1: Students and teachers would be able to spend more time with their families.
- Detail Sentence 2: Teachers would be refreshed and rejuvenated and able to teach more effectively.
Provide additional supporting details and evidence, as in this essay outline example.
Topic Sentence: A shorter school year would save school districts millions of dollars per year.
- Detail Sentence 1: Districts could save money on energy costs by keeping schools closed longer.
- Detail Sentence 2: A shorter school year means much lower supply and transportation costs.
- Detail Sentence 3: Well-rested and happy students would help improve test scores.
Provide additional or supplemental supporting details, evidence, and analysis, as in the essay outline example.
Topic Sentence: Shortening the school year would also provide many benefits for parents and caregivers.
- Detail Sentence 1: A shorter school year would mean less stress and running around for parents.
- Detail Sentence 2: Caregivers would have more balance in their lives with fewer days in the school year.
Conclude the essay with an overview of the main argument, and highlight the importance of your evidence and conclusion.
Concluding Sentence: Shortening the school year would be a great way to improve the quality of life for students, teachers, and parents while saving money for districts and improving academic results.
Sample Research Paper Outline
The Conquest of Mt. Everest
- Location of Mt. Everest
- Geography of the Surrounding Area
- Height of the mountain
- Jomolungma (Tibetan name)
- Sagarmatha (Nepalese name)
- The number of people who have climbed Everest to date
- First to reach the summit (1953)
- Led a team of experienced mountain climbers who worked together
- Norgay was an experienced climber and guide who accompanied Hillary
- Sherpas still used to guide expeditions
- Leader of the failed 1996 expedition
- Led group of (mainly) tourists with little mountain climbing experience
- Loss of trees due to high demand for wood for cooking and heating for tourists.
- Piles of trash left by climbing expeditions
- Expedition fees provide income for the country
- Expeditions provide work for the Sherpas, contributing to the local economy.
- Introduction of motor vehicles
- Introduction of electricity
The Everest essay outline template is based on a research paper submitted by Alexandra Ferber, grade 9.
Featured High School Resources
About the author.
TeacherVision Editorial Staff
The TeacherVision editorial team is comprised of teachers, experts, and content professionals dedicated to bringing you the most accurate and relevant information in the teaching space.
- Utility Menu
- Questions about Expos?
- Writing Support for Instructors
- Tips for Organizing Your Essay
If you are used to writing essays that are similar to the five-paragraph essay (one claim and then three points that support that claim), it can be daunting to think about how to structure your ideas in a longer essay. Once you’ve established your thesis, you need to think about how you will move your reader through your argument. In some courses, you will be expected to provide a roadmap in your introduction that explicitly tells readers how your argument is organized. But even when you don’t provide a roadmap, your reader should be able to see the connections between your ideas. As you think about how your ideas fit together, try these three strategies:
Strategy #1: Decompose your thesis into paragraphs
A clear, arguable thesis will tell your readers where you are going to end up, but it can also help you figure out how to get them there. Put your thesis at the top of a blank page and then make a list of the points you will need to make to argue that thesis effectively.
For example, consider this example from the thesis handout : While Sandel argues persuasively that our instinct to “remake”(54) ourselves into something ever more perfect is a problem, his belief that we can always draw a line between what is medically necessary and what makes us simply “better than well”(51) is less convincing.
To argue this thesis, the author needs to do the following:
- Show what is persuasive about Sandel’s claims about the problems with striving for perfection.
- Show what is not convincing about Sandel’s claim that we can clearly distinguish between medically necessary enhancements and other enhancements.
Once you have broken down your thesis into main claims, you can then think about what sub-claims you will need to make in order to support each of those main claims. That step might look like this:
- Evidence that Sandel provides to support this claim
- Discussion of why this evidence is convincing even in light of potential counterarguments
- Discussion of cases when medically necessary enhancement and non-medical enhancement cannot be easily distinguished
- Analysis of what those cases mean for Sandel’s argument
- Consideration of counterarguments (what Sandel might say in response to this section of your argument)
Each argument you will make in an essay will be different, but this strategy will often be a useful first step in figuring out the path of your argument.
Strategy #2: Use subheadings, even if you remove then later
Scientific papers generally include standard subheadings to delineate different sections of the paper, including “introduction,” “methods,” and “discussion.” Even when you are not required to use subheadings, it can be helpful to put them into an early draft to help you see what you’re written and to begin to think about how your ideas fit together. You can do this by typing subheadings above the sections of your draft.
If you’re having trouble figuring out how your ideas fit together, try beginning with informal subheading like these:
- Explain the author’s main point
- Show why this main point doesn’t hold up when we consider this other example
- Explain the implications of what I’ve shown for our understanding of the author
- Show how that changes our understanding of the topic
For longer papers, you may decide to include subheadings to guide your reader through your argument. In those cases, you would need to revise your informal subheadings to be more useful for your readers. For example, if you have initially written in something like “explain the author’s main point,” your final subheading might be something like “Sandel’s main argument” or “Sandel’s opposition to genetic enhancement.” In other cases, once you have the key pieces of your argument in place, you will be able to remove the subheadings.
Strategy #3: Create a reverse outline from your draft
While you may have learned to outline a paper before writing a draft, this step is often difficult because our ideas develop as we write. In some cases, it can be more helpful to write a draft in which you get all of your ideas out and then do a “reverse outline” of what you’ve already written. This doesn’t have to be formal; you can just make a list of the point in each paragraph of your draft and then ask these questions:
- Are those points in an order that makes sense to you?
- Are there gaps in your argument?
- Do the topic sentences of the paragraphs clearly state these main points?
- Do you have more than one paragraph that focuses on the same point? If so, do you need both paragraphs?
- Do you have some paragraphs that include too many points? If so, would it make more sense to split them up?
- Do you make points near the end of the draft that would be more effective earlier in your paper?
- Are there points missing from this draft?
- Tips for Reading an Assignment Prompt
- Asking Analytical Questions
- What Do Introductions Across the Disciplines Have in Common?
- Anatomy of a Body Paragraph
- Strategies for Essay Writing: Downloadable PDFs
- Brief Guides to Writing in the Disciplines
- Schedule an Appointment
- English Grammar and Language Tutor
- Drop-in hours
- Harvard Guide to Using Sources
- Departmental Writing Fellows
- Writing Advice: The Harvard Writing Tutor Blog
English Composition 1
Creating an outline for an essay.
Most analytical, interpretive, or persuasive essays tend to follow the same basic pattern. This page should help you formulate effective outlines for most of the essays that you will write.
1. Sentence to get the attention of your readers:
2. One-sentence thesis statement:
1. First main idea:
a. Supporting evidence for the first idea:
b. Supporting evidence for the first idea:
c. Supporting evidence for the first idea:
2. Second main idea:
a. Supporting evidence for second main idea:
b. Supporting evidence for second main idea:
c. Supporting evidence for second main idea:
3. Third main idea:
a. Supporting evidence for third main idea:
b. Supporting evidence for third main idea:
c. Supporting evidence for third main idea:
1. Restatement of your thesis:
2. Insightful sentence to end your essay:
Copyright Randy Rambo , 2019.
You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.
How to Write a Perfect Essay Outline
You can’t write an essay without outlining. Fine, you can do that if a low grade is okay for you to get. But those willing to craft a paper that’s worth A+ will need to create an essay outline and organize their research in one place before writing. So in this article we will look at outline examples and top tips to improve your essay.
This guide is here to help you:
- understand what is a paper outline,
- learn how to write an essay outline,
- get outline examples and templates to use when crafting yours.
So, let’s a research essay outline journey begin!
Table of Contents:
- What is an essay outline?
- Key parts of an essay
- Outline format
- Persuasive essay outline example
- Narrative essay outline example
- Expository essay outline example
- Research essay outline example
- What to do before outlining
- Choose an essay outline structure
- Organize your outline
- It’s a wrap!
What is an Essay Outline?
As you’ve already guessed it, an essay outline is a short plan of your research paper. Here you write down the main idea of your essay and structurize all arguments into paragraphs to make sure you won’t miss anything while writing.
Sure enough, you can write an essay without outlining it. But it will be challenging to do. Outlining is an essential part of the writing process, and all authors do it for their works to impress readers.
Here’s why you need an essay outline :
- It will help you organize thoughts: when you research the data for your essay, you get tons of information that’s hard to remember.
- You’ll understand the information flow and will be able to structurize it accordingly.
- It will help you not to miss anything while writing your essay because you’ll have a ready manuscript of your paper.
That said, an outline will help you write academic works better and faster. And while our writers are always here to help to write my essay , it can’t hurt to learn how to write an outline for an essay by your own, right?
How to Write an Essay Outline
While college essay types are many, the common structure for most of them is five-paragraph. Each essay needs Introduction , Body (paragraphs with arguments), and Conclusion; so, a general format of your essay outline will include all these components.
Outlining your essay, keep write my term paper in mind so you wouldn’t miss any arguments, evidence, and examples while writing.
So, let’s do this!
Key Parts of an Essay
Put them all into your writing outline:
- Introduction. Here you’ll mention the topic of your essay and its thesis. As you know, essays can’t live without a thesis; so, a thesis statement in your outline will help you support it in each paragraph of your essay body.
- Body paragraphs. There will be a minimum three paragraphs in your essay’s body, so make sure to include each one in the outline. For each paragraph, write down a topic sentence with an argument relating to your thesis and mention all the support: data, facts, examples, and other evidence you’ll use to prove the topic sentence of this paragraph.
- Conclusion. Wrap up your essay here. Restate your thesis and summarize the goal of your paper.
In general, your essay template will look like this:
Essay Outline: General
a) Introduce a topic b) State a thesis
II. Body. Paragraph-1
a) Write a topic sentence (the argument for your thesis) b) Support this argument: data, facts, examples c) Explain how they relate to your thesis
III. Body. Paragraph-2
a) Write a topic sentence (another argument for your thesis) b) Support this argument: data, facts, examples c) Explain how they relate to your thesis
IV. Body. Paragraph-3
a) Write a topic sentence (another argument for your thesis, or a counterargument) b) Support this argument, or explain why the counterargument doesn’t work: data, facts, examples c) Explain how they relate to your thesis
a) Summarize all main points b) Restate your thesis c) Add a call to action: what you want readers to do after reading your essay
As a rule, students use the linear style when formatting their writing outline. It means they rank arguments in order of their importance – from major to minor ones.
Remember: your research essay outline doesn’t have to include the complete sentences. It’s only an outline, so feel free to format arguments and evidence the way it seems most comfortable and understandable for you. Just make sure it’s visually clear and allows you to see if some sections are repetitive or redundant. It will help to avoid duplications in your essay maker .
Another point to consider:
While you are familiar with a given essay topic, it doesn’t mean your readers are. So format your outline accordingly: assume that some people know nothing about it when preparing arguments and arranging them in a logical order.
Essay Outline Template
Templates can help you get a better idea of essay outlining. It’s a great way to organize thoughts and determine the order in which you’ll represent them to readers. So, make a list of the sections in your paper and fill in the corresponding example, depending on your essay type.
Persuasive Essay Outline Example
To create an outline for such an essay, consider the following example:
Taken from: TeacherVision.com
Narrative Essay Outline Example
For narrative essays, outlines like this one will work well:
Expository Essay Outline Example
What about this example for your essay outline?
Research Essay Outline Example
Taken from: Austincc.edu
How to Make an Outline: the Process
As a rule, the only detail bothering those asking how to make an outline for an essay is the process itself. Students understand that an essay outline needs to specify all the main points and arguments of their future paper, but they still find it challenging to create.
More than that, professors may ask you to submit an essay outline for their review. That’s why the skills of planning your papers will come in handy anyway. To learn the secrets of effective outline writing, you’ll need to know what to do before outlining, what essay outline structure to choose for your work, and how to organize your outline so it would be as informative as possible.
Here’s how to outline an essay:
What to Do Before Outlining
First and foremost, read your writing assignment carefully. Make sure you understand what essay type you need to write, how many arguments to use (except as noted), and how long your essay needs to be.
Answer the question , “What’s the purpose of your essay?” Do you want to inform readers, persuade, or just entertain them? Depending on the goal, you’ll know what thesis to consider, what writing techniques to use, and how to visualize research in your paper.
Identify the audience. Yes, it’s a teacher who reads and evaluates your work; but whom do you want to read your essay ? Do you write for classmates? Strangers? What do they know about your topic? Would they agree with your thesis? How might they react to your information?
Depending on that, you’ll understand what arguments might work for your essay. It will also help you decide on resources to use for research and evidence to choose for your arguments. Consider credible sources such as Google Scholar or Oxford Academic to find references for your essay; take notes of them to use in your outline.
State your thesis so you could see what topic sentences to outline for your essay. A thesis needs to be arguable and provide enough details to hook readers so they would get them emotionally involved in your writing.
Once a thesis is ready, start structuring your essay outline.
Choose an Essay Outline Structure
From the above templates and examples, you’ve got a general idea of the basic structure for your essay outline. We used a standard alphanumeric structure there, but you can also use a decimal one for your outline to show how your ideas are related. Just compare:
An alphanumeric outline is the most common one, but you are welcome to use a decimal outline structure if it seems clearer and more comfortable for you. Also, feel free to use complete sentences or just brief phrases for each section of your essay outline.
However, if you need to submit it to a professor for a review, use sentences. It will help him understand the arguments and evidence you are going to use in your essay.
Organize Your Outline
Now it’s time to fill in each section of your essay outline. For those lazy to read, here goes a short video:
For all others, start with outlining your introduction . Write a sentence about your topic and introduce your thesis. You can also mention an essay hook here – a sentence you’ll use to make the audience interested in reading your work.
Outline your essay body : write down a topic sentence for each paragraph, provide supporting evidence you’ll use when writing, and mention how they’ll relate to the topic and your thesis. The more details you outline, the easier it will be to organize all the thoughts while writing.
Also, you can write a transition sentence for each paragraph so it would be faster to structure and band all arguments.
Finally, outline your essay conclusion . Restate your thesis and write a concluding statement, aka a sentence addressing the importance of your thesis and proposing solutions to the problem you addressed in the essay.
It’s a Wrap!
Essays are many, and you need to write all of them in school and college. Persuasive, expository, narrative – their basic structure is the same but with tiny differences identifying their specifications and your knowledge of academic writing. Understanding those differences and outlining your writings accordingly is your chance to craft perfect works that get high grades.
An essay outline is what you need to organize the information and not miss anything while writing. When you know how to write an essay outline, you create papers better and faster. You keep in mind all essay components. You develop critical thinking. And you become a better writer.
Our Writing Guides
21 thoughts on “ how to write a perfect essay outline ”.
No doubt, the essay outline is one of the most important things. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you very much
Please help me answer this question. What is the thesis statement in this sentence.”the characters I do not appreciate about my teachers”
What if you do research on a lot of things but you have all the same facts about them? Like I am doing an essay on 23 constellations. Do I write down the name of every constellation in the outline and add the facts underneath each of the 23? Or do I just write “Constellation” and add each fact that I will have written for each individual constellation? Example: I. Introduction A. Thesis Statement B. Next explanatory paragraph C. Extra paragraph II. Constellation A. Name 1. Translation 2. Pronunciation 3. Background story B. Description C. Rank in size D. The astronomer who introduced it E. Location F. Significant stars or star clusters
Do I need to do the second part for all 23 constellations (only adding the name of each constellation beforehand.) I feel like that would be a waste of time since I would mostly just be copying and pasting but I am getting graded on the outline so if anybody could help me that would be rad. I know my question is pretty hard to understand but I did my best. Thank you!
Thanks for your question, AJ!
As far as you write an essay outline for yourself (to make the process of essay writing easier), feel free to organize it accordingly. If you are going to describe all 23 constellations in detail (like you introduced in your comment), feel free to add each to your essay outline. If you are going to write about all 23 in general, with no details to each, there will be no need to add all those A, B, C, D, F… for every constellation to your essay outline.
I hope you’ve got the point 🙂
Thank you i think this will help me a lot
Helped me get through my essay correctly and lot faster!
I read your blog and got interesting facts about this topic, thank you!
This contained everything one needs to know when making an outline.
I find this really helpful Thanks 😊
Which of these outlines whould be the best for and SAT essay?
As far as the SAT essay is argumentative now and it asks you to analyze another essay (feel free to check our guide on SAT essays for more information), I think that the outline of a research essay could be the best option.
Thank you so much.I found this helpful.
Thank you for your helpful thought about how we can outline our essays.
thanks for sharing, with outlne everything will be easy to organize writing idea.
Thanks for sharing , I found this helpful. With the outline I learned how to organize writing idea.
I think these examples of essays outlines are good for students start to pay attention to because it will make essays easier. Your articles contain prompts and tips in writing essays and other kinds of papers, thanks!
That was a great outline that students should follow :))
how can I provide an outline to an argumentative essay (academic )for Tefl master (teaching English as a foreign language)?
First of all I would like to say that it’s a terrific blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you do not mind.
I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing. I have had a tough time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out there.
I truly do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or tips? Thanks!
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *