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- 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 December 6, 2021.
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, 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?
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.
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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
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.
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How to Write an Essay Outline with Examples
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.
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Essay Writing Guide
Last updated on: Feb 8, 2023
A Complete Essay Outline - Guidelines and Format
By: Nova A.
11 min read
Reviewed By: Melisa C.
Published on: Jan 15, 2019
To write an effective essay, you need to create a clear and well-organized essay outline. An essay outline will shape the essay’s entire content and determine how successful the essay will be.
In this blog post, we'll be going over the basics of essay outlines and provide a template for you to follow. We will also include a few examples so that you can get an idea about how these outlines look when they are put into practice.
Essay writing is not easy, but it becomes much easier with time, practice, and a detailed essay writing guide. Once you have developed your outline, everything else will come together more smoothly.
The key to success in any area is preparation - take the time now to develop a solid outline and then write your essays!
To know how to craft an essay outline quickly, give this article a thorough read.
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What is an Essay Outline?
An essay outline is your essay plan and a roadmap to essay writing. It is the structure of an essay you are about to write. It includes all the main points you have to discuss in each section along with the thesis statement.
Like every house has a map before it is constructed, the same is the importance of an essay outline. You can write an essay without crafting an outline, but you may miss essential information, and it is more time-consuming.
Once the outline is created, there is no chance of missing any important information. Also, it will help you to:
- Organize your thoughts and ideas.
- Understand the information flow.
- Never miss any crucial information or reference.
- Finish your work faster.
These are the reasons if someone asks you why an essay outline is needed. Now there are some points that must be kept in mind before proceeding to craft an essay outline.
Prewriting Process of Essay Outline
Your teacher may ask you to submit your essay outline before your essay. Therefore, you must know the preliminary guidelines that are necessary before writing an essay outline.
Here are the guidelines:
- You must go through your assignments’ guidelines carefully.
- Understand the purpose of your assignment.
- Know your audience.
- Mark the important point while researching your topic data.
- Select the structure of your essay outline; whether you are going to use a decimal point bullet or a simple one.
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Essay Outline Format
It is an easy way for you to write your thoughts in an organized manner. It may seem unnecessary and unimportant, but it is not.
It is one of the most crucial steps for essay writing as it shapes your entire essay and aids the writing process.
An essay outline consists of three main parts:
The introduction body of your essay should be attention-grabbing. It should be written in such a manner that it attracts the reader’s interest. It should also provide background information about the topic for the readers.
You can use a dramatic tone to grab readers’ attention, but it should connect the audience to your thesis statement.
Here are some points without which your introduction paragraph is incomplete.
To attract the reader with the first few opening lines, we use a hook statement. It helps engage the reader and motivates them to read further. There are different types of hook sentences ranging from quotes, rhetorical questions to anecdotes and statistics, and much more.
To learn more about them, here is a detailed blog on hook examples .
A thesis statement is stated at the end of your introduction. It is the most important statement of your entire essay. It summarizes the purpose of the essay into one sentence.
The thesis statement tells the readers about the main theme of the essay, and it must be strong and clear. It holds the entire crux of your essay.
2. Body Paragraphs
The thesis statement is written in the introduction but justified in the body of an essay. Body paragraphs include all the important information about your essay. Also, explain the topic with supporting evidence and write full sentences.
If you are writing a persuasive essay, the content mentioned in your body paragraphs will persuade your audience. In the same way, if you are writing an argumentative essay, the body paragraphs of your essay will convince your audience towards your point of view.
Each paragraph should have a topic sentence and no more than one idea. A topic sentence is the crux of the contents of your paragraph. It is essential to keep your reader interested in the essay.
The topic sentence is followed by the supporting points and opinions, which are then justified with strong evidence.
Always end your essay with a strong conclusion. Your conclusion should be influential enough to give closure to your topic. The essay’s conclusion is as important as the introduction, and body paragraphs are. A clear flow of information from the introduction to the body and then to the conclusion paragraphs makes a coherent paper.
Summarize all the points of your essay discussed in the introduction and body paragraphs. The conclusion must be based on the facts discussed earlier in these paragraphs.
The conclusion should not be lengthy. It should restate the thesis statement of an essay and its supporting points. Keep the conclusion sentences short but powerful. It is always better to end the essay by suggesting some course of action.
5 Paragraph Essay Outline Structure
An outline is an essential part of the writing as it helps the writer stay focused. A typical 5 paragraph essay outline example is shown here. This includes:
- State the topic
- Thesis statement
- A conclusion that ties to the thesis
- Summary of the essay
- Restate the thesis statement
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Essay Outline Template
The outline of the essay is the skeleton that you will fill out with the content. Both outline and relevant content are important for a good essay. The content you will add to flesh out the outline should be credible, relevant, and interesting.
The outline structure for the essay is not complex or difficult. No matter which type of essay you write, you either use an alphanumeric structure or decimal structure for outline.
Below is an outline sample that you can easily follow for your essay.
Essay Outline Sample
Essay Outline Examples
An essay outline template should follow when you start writing the essay. Every writer should learn how to write an outline for every type of essay and research paper.
The essay outline is the same for all essays. However, it can differ according to the parameters set forth by your instructor.
Given below are essay outline examples for different types of essay writing.
Argumentative Essay Outline
An argumentative essay is a type of essay that shows both sides of the topic that you are exploring. The argument that presents the basis of the essay should be created by providing evidence and supporting details.
Take a look at this argumentative essay outline, get an idea, and write a perfect outline.
Persuasive Essay Outline
A persuasive essay is similar to an argumentative essay. Your job is to provide facts and details to create the argument. In a persuasive essay, you convince your readers of your point of view.
However, if you don’t know how to write a persuasive essay outline, take help from this sample.
Compare and Contrast Essay Outline
A compare and contrast essay explains the similarities and differences between two things. While comparing, you should focus on the differences between two seemingly similar objects. While contrasting, you should focus on the similarities between two different objects.
Here is a compare and contrast essay outline sample for your help.
Narrative Essay Outline
A narrative essay is written to share a story. Normally, a narrative essay is written from a personal point of view in an essay. The basic purpose of the narrative essay is to describe something creatively.
Therefore, create the outline for the narrative essay with the help of the below-mentioned sample.
Expository Essay Outline
An expository essay is a type of essay that explains, analyzes, and illustrates something for the readers. An expository essay should be unbiased and entirely based on facts. Be sure to use academic resources for your research and cite your sources.
For an expository essay outline, you can easily take help from the below-mentioned sample.
Analytical Essay Outline
An analytical essay is written to analyze the topic from a critical point of view. An analytical essay breaks down the content into different parts and explains the topic bit by bit.
Check this analytical essay outline sample and get help from them.
Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline
A rhetorical essay is written to examine the writer or artist’s work and develop a great essay. It also includes the discussion.
We collected a rhetorical analysis essay outline sample that you should follow for your essay.
Cause and Effect Essay Outline
A cause and effect essay describes why something happens and examines the consequences of an occurrence or phenomenon. It is also a type of expository essay.
For your help, we gathered a sample that will help you in writing the great outline.
Informative Essay Outline
An informative essay is written to inform the audience about different objects, concepts, people, issues, etc.
The main purpose is to respond to the question with a detailed explanation and inform the target audience about the topic.
Check this sample outline and write a perfect one for your informative essay.
Synthesis Essay Outline
A synthesis essay requires the writer to describe a certain unique viewpoint about the issue or topic. Create a claim about the topic and use different sources and information to prove it.
Here is an outline sample for your ease.
Literary Analysis Essay Outline
A literary analysis essay is written to analyze and examine a novel, book, play, or any other piece of literature. The writer analyzes the different devices such as the ideas, characters, plot, theme, tone, etc., to deliver his message.
Look at this sample and get an idea of the perfect essay outline.
Definition Essay Outline
A definition essay requires students to pick a particular concept, term, or idea and define it in their own words and according to their understanding.
Below is an outline sample that helps in your writing phase.
Descriptive Essay Outline
A descriptive essay is a type of essay written to describe a person, place, object, or event. The writer must describe the topic so that the reader can visualize it using their five senses.
Take help from the below-mentioned sample and write a great descriptive essay.
Evaluation Essay Outline
Evaluation essay is written to judge a specific topic according to the critiques provided. Here's an evaluation essay outline to craft a better essay.
Problem Solution Essay Outline
In a problem-solution essay, you are given a problem as a topic and you have to suggest multiple solutions on it.
Check out this problem solution essay outline example.
Scholarship Essay Outline
A scholarship essay is required at the time of admission when you are applying for a scholarship. Scholarship essays must be written in a way that should stand alone to help you get a scholarship.
Here's a scholarship essay outline for your consideration.
Reflective Essay Outline
A Reflective essay is written to express your own thoughts and point of view regarding a specific topic.
Below is a reflective essay outline to craft an amazing essay.
With this complete guide, now you understand how to create an outline for your essay successfully. However, if you still can’t write an effective essay, then the best option is to consult a professional academic writing service.
Essay writing is a dull and boring task for some people. So why not get some help instead of wasting your time and effort? 5StarEssays.com is here to help you. All your do my essay for me? requests are managed by professional essay writers.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What are the three types of outlines.
Here are the three types of essay outline;
- Working outline
- Speaking outline
- Full-sentence outline
All three types are different from each other and are used for different purposes.
What does a full-sentence outline look like?
A full sentence outline contains full sentences at each level of the essay’s outline. It is similar to an alphanumeric outline and it is a commonly used essay outline.
What is a traditional outline format?
A traditional essay outline begins with writing down all the important points in one place and listing them down and adding sub-topics to them. Besides, it will also include evidence and proof that you will use to back your arguments.
What is the benefit of using a traditional outline format and an informal outline format?
A traditional outline format helps the students in listing down all the important details in one palace while an informal outline will help you coming up with new ideas and highlighting important points
As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova Allison has eight years of experience in writing both technical and scientific content. With a focus on developing online content plans that engage audiences, Nova strives to write pieces that are not only informative but captivating as well.
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How to Write an Essay Outline in 4 Steps
An essay outline is essentially an essay’s skeleton. It’s a text representation of an essay’s thesis and key supporting points.
An essay outline serves multiple purposes, including helping its writer organize their thoughts before they start writing, giving readers a quick synopsis of the essay, and acting as a roadmap for the writer to follow as they work through their supporting paragraphs. Writing an essay outline is a fairly straightforward process, and in this blog post, we’ll walk you through it.
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What is an essay outline?
As we mentioned above, an essay outline is a visual representation of an essay. It boils the essay’s paragraphs down to key points, allowing readers to get a gist of your essay with a quick skim. But an essay outline isn’t just for your readers’ benefit—it also helps you visualize your finished essay before you begin writing it. This can make it easier for you to determine the most effective way to transition between paragraphs and the ideal order in which to present your supporting paragraphs.
Outlining is an important early stage in the writing process . It’s where you organize all the thoughts and insights you brainstormed into a neat roadmap to follow as you write. If you get stuck as you’re writing your essay, your outline is there to help you get back on track.
It’s not uncommon for professors to require their students to submit essay outlines before getting started on their essays. Usually, this is so the professor can make sure each student is on the right track in terms of choosing an essay topic that has a sufficient amount of sources to reference, that it fits the parameters of the assignment, and that the student understands the assignment.
Basic parts of an essay
Although every essay is unique, they all adhere to the same basic essay structure . Every essay starts with an introduction section, follows it with at least one body paragraph that supports the points made in the introduction, then wraps up with a conclusion section that reiterates the author’s thesis and summarizes the body paragraphs.
The first section of your essay is called the introduction. As this name implies, this is where you introduce the topics you’ll be covering in your essay. It’s also where you state your thesis , the definitive sentence where you make your argument clear.
Your essay’s introduction should be concise and quickly hook the reader.
Your essay might only need two supporting paragraphs, or it could need four or five (or more). Unless your professor assigned a specific number of body paragraphs for your essay, how many of these you write is your call.
If you’re supporting your thesis with multiple sources, a general rule to follow is one body paragraph per source cited. However, the type of essay you’re writing might require you to deviate from this. For example, in a compare-and-contrast essay, you’ll write one section (at least one paragraph long) for each comparison and contrast you make. In an analytical essay, you’ll write one body section for each point you make to support your thesis.
Once you reach your conclusion , you’re almost there! This is the part of your essay where you wrap it up and summarize the points you made in your body paragraphs. If you have any final thoughts or perspectives you want to impress on your reader before they finish reading your essay, this is where you make them.
4 steps for writing an essay outline
So you’re sitting at your desk, ready to write your outline. Great!
…how do you get started?
Just follow these four steps to craft an outline that makes the rest of the writing process simple.
Determine your objective
Think about your thesis statement. You might not have the exact wording at this point, but you should have a general idea of the point you’ll make and defend in your essay. Having a clear objective enables you to work through your brainstorming notes and craft an outline that hits all the necessary points you need to support that objective.
Filter out the fluff
When you brainstormed, you explored every possible avenue to go down in your writing and every potential piece of information to include.
Now it’s time to go through your brainstorming notes and pick out the points that will most effectively achieve your goal for your essay. For each piece of information you jotted down, ask yourself “how does this prove my point?” If you can answer that question with a clear, thoughtful response, add it to your list of points to make in your essay.
Identify the points you’ll make in each paragraph
Using the list of points you wrote down, identify the key arguments you’ll make in your essay. These will be your body sections. For example, in an argumentative essay about why your campus needs to install more water fountains, you might make points like:
- Providing water fountains helps students save money
- Fountains reduce plastic waste
- Readily available water can cut down heat exhaustion incidents
Jot down the facts, anecdotes, and statistics that support each of these arguments. For example, you might cite the number of disposable water bottles recovered from campus grounds last year in your section on how water fountains reduce plastic waste. These supporting points are part of your essay outline.
Write your outline using a standard template
With your key topics and supporting points clearly defined, it’s time to actually write your outline. Using a template for the type of essay you’re writing (more on that in the next section), format your key points into a clear, organized frame that you’ll flesh out with content when you write your first draft.
Essay outline examples
Although every outline follows the same general structure, there are a few key differences to keep in mind when you’re outlining different kinds of essays. Take a look at how these example outlines for various essay types are similar as well as where they differ:
Here is an example outline argumentative essay :
Title: Italian Ice is a Superior Dessert to Ice Cream
- Introduce the differences between Italian ice and ice cream, touch on how popular each is.
- Thesis: Italian ice is a healthier, more refreshing, more environmentally friendly dessert than ice cream.
- Cite the average amount of calories in a serving of Italian ice vs. ice cream
- Cite how Italian ice thus fits more easily into most consumers’ daily caloric allotment
- Discuss the benefits of consuming vegan vs. animal-sourced products
- Discuss how Italian ice is vegan, making it accessible to both vegans and non-vegans and a healthier, more environmentally conscious choice for all
- Because of the lack of dairy, Italian ice is a more refreshing treat than ice cream on a hot day
- Discuss anecdotes about dairy making consumers feel hotter and not refreshed
- Reiterate why Italian ice is a better dessert than ice cream and summarize supporting points.
Take a look at this admissions essay outline:
Title: Arigato, Sato Sensei
- My Japanese teacher was the most influential teacher I had in high school because she taught me more than just a language—she taught me how language shapes perspective.
- Thesis: Choosing to study Japanese in high school changed my perspective on myself, my community, and my role in society
- Discuss how I struggled in Japanese class and wanted to give up
- State how Sato Sensei encouraged me to keep trying instead of changing to another language
- Learning Japanese was more than memorizing vocabulary and copying hiragana and katakana; it’s understanding Japanese cultural perspectives and concepts versus Western ones
- How Japanese language skills enabled me to succeed during my summer abroad
- How I understood cultural nuances through my understanding of the language
- With the perspective I developed as an American student who studied Japanese, I’m well-equipped to succeed as an international business major.
Here’s an example of a persuasive essay outline:
Title: We Need More Security Cameras in the Student Parking Deck
- Vehicle break-ins are far too common on campus
- Thesis: The current level of parking deck security is insufficient
- State car break-in statistics and any related stats, like the average cost of repairs to broken-into vehicles and value of goods stolen
- Discuss the intangible value of increased security with quotes and anecdotes
- Cite statistics on how other campuses reduced break-ins by installing more security cameras
- State the actual cost of installing sufficient security
- Summarize the points made and emphasize how community safety should be a top priority for campus administration. Then, reiterate how more security cameras in the parking deck would improve safety.
Here is an outline example for a personal essay :
Title: The Two Best Birthdays of my Life
- Introducing your feelings about birthdays and how you like to celebrate yours
- Thesis: The two best birthdays of my life were my 17th and 22nd
- I got my driver’s license and drove to my first concert with my best friends
- I still have the ticket stub and wristband from that night
- At first, I thought everybody had forgotten my birthday. I was devastated
- Then, my siblings surprised me by traveling six hours to pick me up and take me to the art exhibit I’d been wanting to see
- My 17th and 22nd birthdays were particularly meaningful because of the points cited above.
- Perhaps finish with a parting thought on looking forward to more great birthday celebrations
Outlining is just one step to great writing
Once you’re finished writing your outline, follow the rest of the writing process steps to complete your essay.
When it’s time to edit your work, Grammarly can help you polish your draft into a perfectly publishable piece of writing. Grammarly catches spelling mistakes, grammar errors, and gives you feedback on all the tones present in your writing to help you make any necessary adjustments to strike a clear, consistent tone that accurately communicates exactly what you need to say.
Home ➔ How to Write an Outline for an Essay
How to Write an Outline for an Essay
Essays are used to express ideas or opinions about a particular subject matter. It’s among the first tasks introduced to students at the primary levels of education. It’s also one of the widely accepted forms of assessing students that cut across most academic disciplines, especially in college. Schools and even places of employment might also require an essay from an applicant before considering them.
The silver lining is that many students have a working knowledge of how to write an essay and its structure composition, which usually includes an introduction, body, and a concluding paragraph. Still, the average student spends more than the necessary number of hours on a single task because they run out of ideas or lose their train of thought. Even the overall content of the paper suffers. That can be avoided by penning down a detailed outline before writing the first draft. Did you know even seasoned bestsellers writers do this? So what’s an outline, how does it improve your essays, and how do you write it? We are answering all these questions in our guide.
Outline Format and Definition
An essay outline is a road map, a blueprint, or an essay diagram that helps writers organize their papers. Research papers and dissertations often have a table of contents — it’s something similar. On some level, most students create it without even realizing it, and that’s why it’s easy to learn how to write one. For instance, everyone researches and brainstorms for ideas before writing. Except that most students don’t put their thoughts in order before proceeding, and even if they do, it’s not enough to be an outline.
If writing an outline isn’t a task that you must submit for a grade, then it’s up to you how you format it. However, you should follow four main principles when creating a plan for your academic writing:
- Ranking — as you go from your main headings to subheadings, you move from general to more specific.
- Parallelism — every heading on the same hierarchy level should start with the same word type (verb, adjective, noun, etc.).
- Parity — all headings of the same hierarchy should be equally important and less important than the ones higher in rank.
- Fragmentation — each main heading should be divided into at least two subheadings.
The image below illustrates all four principles.
As for the format, the most common one is a standard alphanumeric outline template. Headlines are labeled in the following order (from the first to the most nested one):
- I. Roman numerals
- A. Capitalized letters
- 1. Arabic numerals
- a. Lowercase letters
- (1) Arabic numerals in round brackets
- (a) Lowercase letters in round brackets
For what you write in each point, you can either use brief phrases or full sentences that summarize the idea.
The decimal outline structure is another format you can apply, and it looks like this:
Why is Outlining Essential?
Reasons vary, but usually, we use it to order logically all the data you collected during the brainstorming and researching stages. For research papers, a good outline helps a lot as you can easily keep track of all the information. Even for oral presentations, it’s a great way to identify the strength and weaknesses of their speech and make it more effective. To sum up, an outline’s core functions are:
- Guiding you during the writing phrase
- Helping you organize your thoughts and ideas
- Presenting material in a logical order
- Showing how your ideas link to one another
- Serving as an abstract of your paper
Enhances thinking flow
Consider planning every next day before going to bed. You will realize that you undertake your daily activities without overthinking or second-guessing yourself because you know what to do every time. That is one of the proven life principles for most successful people. The same applies to paper writing. Your essays will feel like a walk in the park if you outline every point beforehand.
Time is a commodity that none of us have in abundance, especially considering the responsibilities students have to undertake daily. So why spend hours on essays when you have mounting academic work to deal with? You’d rather waste less time and still get good grades. That’s what essay outlines are for: to both save time and improve your performance. Once you’ve planned out your essay, it takes less time to develop each idea.
From the perspective of students, the whole point of sweating over an essay is to get the best grades, and an outline can help you do that. If you take time to brainstorm and jot down every point you can raise in your essay, you will make fewer errors. If you arrange your ideas in an order that makes sense, your tutor will notice it and evaluate the paper accordingly.
How to Outline an Essay
Building an outline is an excellent way to make sure that every paragraph in your essay has a purpose . While outlining, you can see if a paragraph is essential or can be dropped with no harm to your paper. It also serves to check how your argument or main idea is advancing, which will help you speed up the proofreading stage. Now that you learned how significant outlining is let’s see how you can create one.
Before writing an outline, you should:
- Define the goal of your essay
- Determine the target audience
- Create the thesis statement
The outlining process itself usually involves:
- Brainstorming the ideas you want to cover
- Separating those ideas into groups
- Arranging your data from general to specific
- Creating main headings and subheadings for paragraphs
Step 1: Research
The quality of your research determines the quality of your outline and your essay at large. That includes things like finding quotes from reputable sources or indicating the main supporting details to bolster your argument. Depending on your educational background, you might have to use different sources to expedite your research.
Any websites found on Google are not suitable as sources for papers written at a college or university level. Since there’s the Internet is full of unverified information, it’s vital to ascertain your source’s credibility before referring to it. Examples of trusted sites include Google Scholar, Microsoft Academic, Science.gov, Refseek, and Oxford Academic.
Step 2: Organize
After choosing a topic and researching, it’s time to write the outline, using all the gathered information. It should match the layout of the essay: an introduction, a body section, and a conclusion. Have you ever written down something but couldn’t read from your handwriting later on? This usually happens if you have bad handwriting or if the information is too clustered to read. You don’t want to rely on such an outline, especially when pressed for time. So, you must organize your plan to match the essay structure .
Some ways to start your introduction paragraph are anecdotes, proverbs or idioms, definitions, statistics, quotes, or facts. You can begin your English essay outline by jotting down the main ideas for the introduction, which should also include a thesis statement. The point is to equip yourself with a road map, so short sentences should suffice.
Each body paragraph provides one idea that supports your thesis statement and is backed by facts, details, and examples. Depending on the volume of the essay, there will be more or fewer paragraphs here. But, when writing a standard essay, you would usually need three or four body sections, and each of them should be in your outline. Bear in mind that every paragraph must contain a topic sentence supported by two or three independent ideas with a link sentence at the end.
This paragraph is a sum-up every main point raised throughout the essay with some broader context. For a short paper, three to five sentences should do for the concluding section of your paper.
Below is a template of a standard five-paragraph essay outline structure template that you can download by clicking on the button under the image.
Once you’re done, remember to proofread and edit to ensure you haven’t missed something important.
Essay outline examples
Now that you know how to write an outline, analyze the samples below to get a better idea of how to apply this theory in practice. Each sample outline was hand-picked to make sure it corresponds to all key principles of creating one.
CLICK OR TAP ON THE IMAGE TO DOWNLOAD ITS PDF
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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.
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.
When outlining your essay, keep them 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 essay 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 outline 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 essay outlines. 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.
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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!
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How To Write An Essay
Essay Format - An Easy Writing Guide & Examples
11 min read
Published on: Nov 14, 2020
Last updated on: Jan 3, 2023
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Drafting a perfect college essay is very important for students for their academics. And to write a perfect essay, its formatting is important.
An essay is a formal piece of writing. Any formal writing requires proper structure and formatting. You can not just jumble up information and expect your essay to be effective. Its clarity depends on the format you choose.
This blog is written to give a better understanding of an essay format and the general guidelines of each type of format to present the gathered information in a disciplined way.
What is an Essay Format?
An essay format is a way in which the information is organized for your essay. The format of an essay has a lot to do with the presentation of the text. If your essay is poorly structured or lacks a format, your readers will have difficulty understanding the main argument and the idea.
Readers will never continue reading something that is confusing or gives the impression that a writer is sloppy.
A standard format to write your essay or paper is through the linear approach. In this, each idea is presented to make it easier for the readers to understand. If you know how to structure an essay, you are halfway through.
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Importance of Essay Format
An essay format is important for so many reasons. It helps the readers understand the ideas and thoughts presented in the essay in a logical flow by the writer. Not just that, readability is essential. If the information is just presented randomly, the clarity will be missing.
Also, if the essay doesn’t appeal to the eyes, it will not grab the people’s attention. So the way an essay is written decides whether it would be read by the audience or not.
In addition to this, the format is important for the writer as well. As it provides a guideline, it works as a checklist for a writer. To make sure every important aspect is discussed in the essay, a format is used.
Types of Essay Formats
There are 3 basic formatting styles or types in which all essays and papers are formatted. They are:
Whether you are writing a research paper or a general academic essay, you have to choose a format to draft it. Students are often assigned a format by their instructors, so they should read the guidelines carefully.
In order to understand each essay format type, we shall discuss it in detail.
MLA format style is quite common in the humanities world. Papers and essays that are to be written in this format should fulfill the following requirements.
- The font you are using should be Times New Roman in 12pt.
- Double spacing.
- No extra space between the new paragraphs
- One inch margin on both sides of the paper
- Page number in the header.
- Essay title in the center of the page.
- Sources mentioned in “work cited”
MLA Format Essay Example (PDF)
Unlike MLA format, APA format is used for scientific papers and essays. Essays are written for behavioral or social sciences follow this format. Following are the guidelines for the American Psychological Association format:
- Font or Text in Times New Roman 12pt
- One inch margin (both sides)
- Double spacing in the text
- A short title on the upper left-hand corner in the header
- The page number on the right in the header
- A title page with the information, including the writer’s name, institution, instructor, and date.
- Reference page (for the citation)
APA Format Essay Example (PDF)
This format is a bit similar to the other format style guides. This format includes:
- Double spacing
- Margins (one inch both left margin and right margin)
- Times New Roman 12pt font size
- Page number in the header
- Footnotes on quoted and paraphrased passages
- An alphabetical arrangement of citations on the bibliography page.
Chicago Format Essay Example (PDF)
Basic Parts Of An Essay Format
A typical and general format that an essay uses is simple. Every type of essay can be written in that format. Following are the parts that an essay format is based on:
In order to make sure that your academic essay is effective, each of the parts should be drafted professionally. Continue reading to understand each part in detail.
Continue reading to understand each part in detail.
The cover or title page is the first page on which the topic of your paper or essay is presented. Along with this, the title page includes other information such as the name of the writer, instructor, institution, course, and the submission date.
An abstract is a brief summary of your essay or research paper. It is usually a 300-word long paragraph and precisely presents the purpose of the essay, the main thesis statement, and the design of the study.
When you are drafting a long essay or paper, a table of content is developed. In this table, headings and subheadings are presented along with their page numbers. The reader navigates your work using this table of content.
An introduction is the first section of your essay. When writing a short essay of about 300 - 1000 words, a writer directly starts with an introduction after stating the essay topic.
An introduction of an essay is as important as the body of it. The introduction discloses the main idea of the essay and attempts to motivate readers to read the essay. Apart from the presentation of the main idea, it also contains background information about the topic.
A writer then forms a thesis statement which is the main argument of an essay. A thesis statement is the essence of the essay, and all other information provided in the body of an essay justifies it and proves it.
The main body of your essay is the soul of it. Without it, the thesis statement will just be meaningless. The information you gather on the topic is presented in the body which acts as evidence to prove the argument right or wrong depending on the writer.
A format helps the body give a logical flow that walks the reader towards the end. The point to prove your argument is to persuade the reader that your thesis statement is right. Make sure you give a topic sentence to all your body paragraphs.
Then comes the conclusion part of the essay. This is the final verdict of an essay writer. In this, a writer avoids giving new ideas to the readers and tries to sum up the whole conversation. This is done by restating the thesis statement in different words and providing a summary of the key ideas. At last, “call to action” is given.
An appendix is formulated when a writer uses unusual terms, phrases, and words in the document. This is a list prepared to describe those unordinary words for the readers.
When gathering information for your essay or paper, a writer has to consult different sources. Therefore, when using such sources and information in your content, a bibliography is created to provide their references.
A bibliography is a reference list presented at the end of the essay where all the cited sources are given along with the details.
Formatting an Essay
Formatting an essay means working on the essay structure. When writing an academic essay, make sure that every part is drafted according to format. Your title page, in-text citation, essay outline, and reference list should be following the chosen format.
To understand the formatting of the different parts better, continue reading.
According to the MLA style, the title page of an essay should be written in the following way:
- Writing the name of the writer, course, instructor, and date.
- Double spacing between paragraphs
- Institute’s name in the top center of a page
- Title of your essay or paper
- Font Times New Roman (12pt)
If you are using an APA style formatting for your essay, make sure to format your title page in the following way:
- Title written in all caps
- The margin on both sides (1 inch)
- 12pt font Times New Roman
- Name of writer and institute
A title page is the first thing that an instructor sees in your assignment. Therefore, it is very important to form it in a neat format.
Before you start writing your essay, format your first page. To do this, add a header in which you give your last name and the page number. Place the header on the right-hand corner of your page.
Follow this for every page of your essay except the last page; the “work cited” page
On the left upper corner, write your name, instructor’s, course’s, and the date. Put the title in the center and use double-spacing throughout the essay.
When you are conducting research for your essay, you will come across a lot of text which will complement your essay topic. Without knowing the consequences, people take the text from the internet and add it to the essay.
Citing the source properly is essential. If you do not cite the sources properly, you will be accused of plagiarism, a crime in the writing world. Therefore, even if you are using other’s words in the form of quotation marks or rephrasing it, it needs to be cited to avoid plagiarism.
Get to know which style of the in-text citations is recommended by your instructor and follow that. In APA format, the citation is done in the following way:
- Give the author’s name (last name), followed by the publication date and the paragraph number of the original work.
The other way is to cite in MLA style:
- Give the author’s last name and the page number of the publication you are taking words from.
Therefore, cite your sources according to the essay format and make your essay writing phase easy.
Format The Bibliography
The last page of your essay is the “works cited” page. This page is written in the way presented below:
- Sources are alphabetically arranged
- Double spacing is used on the entire page
- Hanging indention is also used.
Essay Format Examples
There are several types of academic essays that students get assigned. No matter which type the essay is, it has to be properly formatted. Carefully examine the formats provided below for the different essay types:
Argumentative Essay Format (PDF)
College Essay Format (PDF)
Narrative Essay Format (PDF)
Descriptive Essay Format (PDF)
Scholarship Essay Format (PDF)
Writing a good essay includes the proper representation of the text. For this purpose, formatting is done. Unfortunately, when students rush to finish their assignments, they often end up with poorly formatted content. This not only results in untidy writing but also makes students lose their grades.
If you are out of time or having any issues in producing structured content for your essays, you can get help from professionals online.
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Barbara P (Literature, Marketing)
Barbara is a highly educated and qualified author with a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university. She has spent a significant amount of time working in the medical field, conducting a thorough study on a variety of health issues. Her work has been published in several major publications.
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- Choose a topic you want to discuss in your essay. If this is an argument, choose where you stand on that.
- With the main topic, create three or more arguments for that and label them with Roman numerals.
- To dig much deeper, research and build three or more supporting statements with each argument.
- Make a summary writing that wraps up the whole topic
1. Choose and research.
2. craft a thesis statement and topic sentences., 3. write the introduction section., 4. write the body section., 5. write a conclusion..
- First point
- Second point
- Third point
Time management, determine weaknesses in arguments, develop ideas more clearly.
Know where you stand, organize thoughts, more design, 21+ essay writing examples, 5+ persuasive essay examples, samples, 7+ personal essay examples, samples, what are the parts of an essay, 8+ scholarship essay examples, samples, 10+ analysis essay examples, samples, 10+ essay writing examples, samples, how to start an essay, related articles.
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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
Body Paragraph 3 · Detail Sentence 1: I was able to swim well against a higher level of competition due to my training and technique. · Detail
5 Paragraph Essay Outline Structure ; Introduction. State the topic; Thesis statement ; Body Paragraph 1. Introduction; Examples; Explanation; A
Jot down the facts, anecdotes, and statistics that support each of these arguments. For example, you might cite the number of disposable water
A guide on essay outline writing with examples of persuasive, opinion, health, Hamlet, and other essay outlines that you can download in PDF.
Outline your essay body: write down a topic sentence for each paragraph, provide supporting evidence you'll use when writing, and mention how
Essay Format - An Easy Writing Guide & Examples · MLA Format. MLA format style is quite common in the humanities world. · APA Format. Unlike MLA
Essay Outline Template, Fall 2020. ... When writing an academic essay, an outline can help you structure and plan your arguments ... Sample Outline Template.
37 Essay Outline Templates available on our website, including Informative, Narrative, ... using the statistics, facts, and figures along with examples.
Essay outline is a technique that can help you create a great essay. Outlines help you write essays with a clear flow of ideas in an organized way.