Essay Outline – An Ultimate Format Guide & Example

Essay Outline – An Ultimate Format Guide & Example

A well-structured essay outline is needed to write an exceptional essay as it helps to shape the entire content.

Students often get worried when being assigned to draft an essay outline.

It is considered to be a challenging and complicated task but not an impossible one.

Keep on reading this blog to learn more about the complete format guide of an essay outline.

1. What is an Essay Outline?

An essay outline is an organizational tool mainly used in academic and professional writing. It is the foundation or a roadmap of your research paper that is produced by structuring major ideas.

Though, it is not mandatory to draft an outline structure. However, it gives an impressive and professional outlook to the assignment. Even professors and readers appreciate a well-detailed structure of contents. A writer can prepare headings in the outline for the future paragraphs of the essay.

An essay outline can be helpful in the following ways:

  • When there is vast data, an outline can help you identify that piece of information you need
  • You will get a better understanding of the subject
  • It becomes easier to explain it to the audience

2. How to Write an Essay Outline? H2

If you want to spend less time on the writing process, then you should learn how to write an essay outline. There are different ways of writing an outline. However, the basic essay outline structure applies to all the essay types.

Furthermore, a short essay consists of five body paragraphs. Nevertheless, it may differ for longer essays.

Here is the complete format guide to assist you in writing your college essays and academic papers.

2.1 Introduction

The introduction section should be compelling enough to attract the reader's interest. It should provide a general idea of the background information about the topic. Avoid using lengthy and irrelevant details. It can further be spice up with a thesis statement.

A writer can also use a dramatic tone and a hook sentence to grab the reader's attention. A hook sentence engages the writer and motivates them to read your content more.

There are various forms of the essay hooks that work for your introductory paragraphs. They include quotations, stories, jokes, phrases, facts, and historical dates.

Pointless and boring essays can make readers lose their interest in the beginning. Therefore, revise your sentences until you get a desired catchy hook.

Continue reading our blog to learn more about how to write an essay introduction.

2.2 Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is a sentence that expresses the main idea of an essay. It is considered to be the most crucial sentence in your essay.

The thesis statement is usually stated at the end of your introduction. It often makes a claim that directly answers your research question.

A writer has to be very specific while writing a strong and clear thesis statement. It summarizes the central theme of your essay in one sentence. Moreover, such an argument should present the hypothesis clearly that will be directly supported by evidence.

2.3 Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs are the linking paragraphs between the introduction and conclusion. It includes all the content of your essay. Each paragraph should contain a topic sentence and a single idea. Do not use opposing ideas as it will minimize the effectiveness of your essay.

Apart from this, your body paragraphs should serve the actual purpose of your essay. for example, while writing a persuasive essay, the content should be designed in a way to persuade the audience. Similarly, an argumentative essay should convince the audience towards your point of view.

Also, use transition words to lead the reader from one idea to another. In between, for example, in addition, moreover, furthermore, nevertheless, etc. are examples of such transition words.

2.4 Conclusion

Always end your essay with a strong essay conclusion. It is the last section of your paper writing that summarizes the purpose along with the findings. Moreover, it should also restate the thesis statement and the supporting points.

Similarly, this section should be kept short and precise but powerful. The presented facts should be in the present tense with proper vocabulary.

Therefore, your concluding statement should be influencing enough to leave an impact on the reader's mind.

2.5 Essay Outline Example

A typical outline consists of five paragraphs. The basic essay outline format is given below.

  • Introduction
  • Body Paragraph 1
  • Body Paragraph 2
  • Body Paragraph 3
  • Conclusion

3. Essay Outline Structure Types

The following are the two types of essay outline structure.

3.1 Alphanumeric Structure Style

The most frequently used style is the alphanumeric outline structure. The subdivisions in this structure are described as:

  • Roman numbers (I, II, III, etc.) – They are mainly used to identify the major section while writing your outlines.
  • Capital letters (A, B, C, etc.) – They are to show the substantial points.
  • Arabic numbers (1,2,3, etc.) – They are used to highlight the important details.
  • Lowercase letters (a, b, c, etc.) – They are used for classifying general details.

3.2 Decimal Structure Style

The writers mainly prefer this structure as it may seem easier to display. It only consists of numerals. The outline for every section usually began with 1.0 and continues with 2.0, 3.0, etc.

Similarly, more decimals will be used when we add new information. It will look like 3.1, 3.2, etc.

Apart from this, any further details will be presented in the form of 3.1.1, 3.1.2, 3.1.3. etc.

4. Essay Outline Template

A typical essay outline template is followed for all types of essays. Have a look at the below samples to learn how to write an outline.

4.1 Argumentative Essay Outline

An argumentative essay presents both sides of arguments. However, your side of the argument should be proved by some strong evidence and supporting details.

4.2 Persuasive Essay Outline

It is similar to the argumentative essay. Nevertheless, the only difference is that the author has to convince readers about his point of view.

4.3 Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

This type of essay identifies the similarities and differences between the two objects. A writer should focus on the difference while comparing. While contrasting, he should focus on the similarities.

4.4 Narrative Essay Outline

A narrative essay is a kind of story writing. The primary purpose is to describe an object in a creative manner.

4.5 Expository Essay Outline

It is an essay style that describes an object and analyze it. It should be unbiased and based entirely on the evidence.

5. Get Professional Help

Writing an essay outline is a challenging task for most of the students. It requires a lot of skill and effort to grab the reader's attention.

The process mentioned above made it clear about how to write a well-organized outline. However, in case, if you still need any help, you can always rely on FreeEssayWriter.

We are one of the top-ranked online academic writing services. We guarantee that our experienced writers will produce 100% original content. Furthermore, you will get your plagiarism free writing assignments by any given deadline.

Feel free to contact our support team to place your order.


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