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How to Write an Outline for an Essay

Outlining in the early writing stages is important. It helps you organize all the small points, short notes, and phrases together. It helps you have a clear roadmap of where your article is headed. You compile them in a separate area and use them to help compile your essay. For any major point that you find in your research phase, it is good to subdivide it until your outline is visible.

What is an essay outline?

An essay outline presents your essay visually as you put all your ideas together. An essay outline helps you get back on track if your thoughts begin to stray. It also helps you get unstuck if the words do not seem to flow or make sense.

For a better understanding of how to write an outline for an essay, please read on.

How to make an outline for an essay?

Organize your material

When starting on your essay, rough ideas come in stages and need to be collected before compiling them. This is the stage where your outline starts to take shape and give a broad view of the essay. To help transform those pieces into complete sentences, you compile them in your outline. To achieve this, it is good to:

  1. Create categories

While compiling them, you can now organize them into the topics they fall under while not losing the message. You spend most of your time categorizing them so that they can make sense at the end of the day. The categories you set will help you define your points even further. 

  1. Order of information

After organizing your material into different categories, now it is time to figure out which order to present the information. The biggest thing is that your essay should begin with an introduction and a conclusion. The information has to flow chronologically or logically.

Presentation of the outline

Your outline should have several paragraphs that all discuss separate ideas. It would help if you related all your ideas within the outline to your topic. While writing an outline, there is a choice of whether to use short phrases or full sentences. Whatever you choose should be consistent and not a mixture of the two together. It will look mixed up, and you might ignore some important information.

Examples of essay outlines

There are three different examples of essay outlines. Below are the examples and their differences

  • Argumentative essay outline

For this essay outline, short phrases are used, and the body is usually split into three paragraphs. Every argument in the outline is about a different aspect of the essay. An argumentative essay expresses an extended argument and has a defined stance.

  • Expository essay outline

Expository means to describe or explain something. Short phrases are recommended. The outline explores more than it argues. It goes more into detail and provides a clear set of ideas. An expository essay does not set out to prove a point.

  • Literal essay outline

Literal essay analysis is the study of a text closely to construe its meaning. It also sets out to explore why an author made certain picks. This essay is divided into three different themes. Each theme is explored through examples from the literal source. This means that the source material used in gathering information for your essay needs to be mentioned.

A literal essay follows the structure of an academic essay. It has an introduction, main body, and a conclusion.

Frequently asked questions about essay outlines

There are many questions asked about essay outlines. With these questions comes a deeper understanding of the essay outlines’ rules, dos, and don’ts. But these are the frequently asked questions about essay outlines. 

  • What are the essentials of an essay outline?
  • Which is better to use. Full sentences or short phrases
  • Why is it essential to stick to an essay outline?

Final take

For a comprehensive guide on how to write an essay outline, the above steps can help you put together an essay outline template for your work. An essay outline helps you have all your material out of your head and in words. This helps ease your compilation as all your ideas are grouped where they all make sense. This also helps you see if you might have made any mistakes and makes it easier to correct them. If followed, your outline for the essay will direct your thesis when compiling it.

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Author: admin

Hello! I'm Josh, and I'm a college student. Research paper writing is a kind of a hobby for me, maybe because I love the things I study. I hope that my experience will help you to get better grades.

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