Academic Writing TipsEssay

How to write an essay outline?

What is an essay outline?

Have you ever wondered how to arrange your essay? Or have you been confused at not knowing how to draft your main points? You may have felt worried about the lack of a firm structure that gives you an overall picture of your essay. You may have had difficulty in dealing with what topics to cover in your argument. As a relief, this puzzling situation occurs for almost every writer who wants to begin writing an essay. Still, he is not sure how to start. So, here comes a significant stage named outlining. In this article, you will know how to write an essay outline to properly understand the following stages of essay writing.

How to write an essay outline
How to write an essay outline?

An outline is a part outside of the essay. An outline is an arranged list of the major subjects of the essay. It is primarily up to you to write it or not, but sometimes, your supervisor or professor requires you to write an outline. Certainly, you will benefit from writing an outline before you delve into your essay. The purposes of doing this task are different, and each has its beneficial effect. However, they are beneficial shared outcomes of your outline that assist you in writing the essay.

Beneficial impacts of an outline

The way your plan to discuss your arguments in the essay reasonably requires prior knowledge of what you have decided to write for your readers. Outlining also helps you to develop the quality of the statements and supporting points. Without a doubt, each part of an outline has a beneficial outcome for each part of the essay. As an example, you will realize what to say in the introduction or select your thesis statement before writing the essay. Additionally, the outline helps you to focus on the points and not to stray away. An outline also gives you a goal to achieve, and for achieving it, you should be aware of the parts you write in this section.

An outline also serves the following purposes:

  • It works as guidance for organizing and ordering the essay’s main parts and shows what each paragraph contains.
  • It saves the time you allocate for writing your essay.
  • The outline makes it easier for you to know what to write in the following sections.
  • It helps you not to miss the points you have in mind.
  • It makes writing an essay less challenging and demanding.
  • If you have little information about each of the parts, an outline helps you figure out what parts you need to study more and gain knowledge.

On the whole, the process of writing an outline is more or less the same. However, it may have slight variations in different formats. Since many writers regard an outline as the skeleton of the essay, it is essential to know how to write it skillfully because the clearer your outline is, the clearer your essay will be. Without question, understanding how to write an outline step by step is very advantageous. So, let’s see what the steps for writing an essay outline are.

A practical guide to write an essay outline

The outline you write for an essay depends on your essay’s category. It can be an argumentative, expository, persuasive, literary, or analysis essay. In general, the basic structure of an outline is the same as the structure of the essay: main idea (introduction), supporting points (body), and conclusion. The first step in outlining is the information you include in the introduction (Refer to how to write an essay introduction). In an outline introduction, you introduce a topic that you want to discuss later. State your thesis statement here too. Note that you don’t have to include complete sentences in the outline. They can be shortened sentences. After presenting your main idea, you should collect evidence for the next sections of the outline, known as the body.

Example of essay outline template
Essay Outline Template

 A typical academic essay generally has three paragraphs. So, the outline also contains three body paragraphs. The only thing you need to do these for each paragraph:

  • Write a topic sentence or argument that you want to unfold and explain.
  • Support it through your information and evidence.
  • Clarify and explain how this evidence contributes to your argument.
  • If there is any counter-argument, you can include it here.

A conclusion is the last part of an outline. Writing a conclusion for an outline is the same as writing it for your essay’s conclusion (Refer to How to Write an Essay Conclusion). Here, you give a summary of the main points. Then, you should rephrase your thesis statement. By this, you can see what your main argument in the essay is. As an essay’s conclusion encourages readers for further research and study on the subject, you can add in the outline the point you want to give to your audience.

Writing an outline helps you in various ways. The steps to do such as task are necessary to know. Here, you learned how to write an essay’s outline. Hopefully, it will be of benefit to you. If you have any opinion, share it in the comment section.


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