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What the Essay Outline Is: a Useful Tutorial

Would you start assembling a wardrobe without any instructions? It is highly probable that you will end up with a pile of planks. Writing an essay without an outline can be just as ineffectual as well.

Preparing a sketch helps you to plan and structure your work and organize your ideas. Finally, it helps you avoid a big amount of useless toil. After free-hand writing, students often have to restructure their whole essays.

It’s no wonder that a lot of teachers encourage their students to demonstrate their drafts as a means of intermediate inspections.

How to Write an Outline

Traditionally, outlines consist of the following parts:

  • Introduction:

    General information about the topics you are going to cover. The primary objective of the introduction is to catch your readers’ attentions. Facts, quotations, and even anecdotes can do the trick.

  • The body:

    Use subheadings for different points. Specialize the information you are going to use to support your statements.

  • The conclusion:

    Affirm your thesis. Do not copy it from the introduction, but reframe it. Stress the importance of your topic.

  • Citations:

    If you have used outside sources of information, specify them.

Essay Outline Arrangement

There are two main types of arrangements: alphanumeric structure and decimal outline. The most popular is the alphanumeric structure.

    • Each subheading is distinguished by Roman numerals, capital letters, Arabic numerals, and lowercase letters.
    • The main points of a decimal outline are denoted as 1.0, 2.0, etc. Subheadings are marked as 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, etc. If you have more subdivisions, you can use 1.2.1, 1.2.2, etc.
    • Decide if you are going to employ full or abridged sentences. Try not to mix both types of sentences.
    • Keep it short. Usually, each point does not exceed one line.

    The appearance of your outline can depend on the type of the essay:

    1. A depictive essay investigates the topic. In this type of essay, you do not need to argue your case.

      List the points you are going to clarify.

      In the conclusion, you can draw attention to the new questions broached by your essay.

    2. A persuasive essay defends one standpoint of a contentious question.

      In the introduction, you should mention that the topic is disputable and show both points of view.

      In the main body, you should specify and prove your opinion.

    3. A narrative essay shares a story.

      The introduction should include details about characters and settings.

      Each turn of the plot should start with a subheading.

      The conclusion can contain the moral of the story.

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