Essay Writing Guide

Essay Outline

Last updated on: Jun 10, 2023

A Complete Essay Outline - Guidelines and Format

By: Nova A.

13 min read

Reviewed By: Melisa C.

Published on: Jan 15, 2019

Essay Outline

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!

So, let’s get started!

Essay Outline

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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.

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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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How to Write an Essay Outline in 4 Steps

Creating an essay outline is a crucial step in crafting a well-structured and organized piece of writing. Follow these four simple steps to create an effective outline:

Step 1: Understand the Topic

To begin, thoroughly grasp the essence of your essay topic. 

Break it down into its key components and identify the main ideas you want to convey. This step ensures you have a clear direction and focus for your essay.

Step 2: Brainstorm and Gather Ideas

Let your creativity flow and brainstorm ideas related to your topic. 

Jot down key pieces of information, arguments, and supporting evidence that will strengthen your essay's overall message. Consider different perspectives and potential counterarguments to make your essay well-rounded.

Step 3: Organize Your Thoughts

Now it's time to give structure to your ideas. 

Arrange your main points in a logical order, starting with an attention-grabbing introduction, followed by body paragraphs that present your arguments. 

Finally, tie everything together with a compelling conclusion. Remember to use transitional phrases to create smooth transitions between sections.

Step 4: Add Depth with Subpoints

To add depth and clarity to your essay, incorporate subpoints under each main point. 

These subpoints provide more specific details, evidence, or examples that support your main ideas. They help to further strengthen your arguments and make your essay more convincing.

By following these four steps - you'll be well on your way to creating a clear and compelling essay outline.

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:

1. Introduction

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.

Are you struggling to come up with an interesting hook? View these hook examples to get inspired!

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 in 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.

Need help creating a strong thesis statement? Check out this guide on thesis statements and learn to write a statement that perfectly captures your main argument!

2. Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs of an essay are where all the details and evidence come into play. This is where you dive deep into the argument, providing explanations and supporting your ideas with solid evidence. 

If you're writing a persuasive essay, these paragraphs will be the powerhouse that convinces your readers. Similarly, in an argumentative essay, your body paragraphs will work their magic to sway your audience to your side.

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.

3. Conclusion

When it comes to wrapping up your essay, never underestimate the power of a strong conclusion. Just like the introduction and body paragraphs, the conclusion plays a vital role in providing a sense of closure to your topic. 

To craft an impactful conclusion, it's crucial to summarize the key points discussed in the introduction and body paragraphs. You want to remind your readers of the important information you shared earlier. But keep it concise and to the point. Short, powerful sentences will leave a lasting impression.

Remember, your conclusion shouldn't drag on. Instead, restate your thesis statement and the supporting points you mentioned earlier. And here's a pro tip: go the extra mile and suggest a course of action. It leaves your readers with something to ponder or reflect on.

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
  • Introduction
  • Explanation
  • 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 a decimal structure for the 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.

Essay outline 4th grade

Essay outline 5th grade

Essay outline high school

Essay outline college

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Evaluation Essay Outline

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.

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.

Reflective Essay Outline

A reflective essay  is written to express your own thoughts and point of view regarding a specific topic.

Getting started on your essay? Give this comprehensive essay writing guide a read to make sure you write an effective 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? 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

Nova A.

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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Writing the Essay Draft

Drafting from an outline.

While there are distinct differences between developing and organizing support, and between developing/organizing support and drafting the essay, differentiating these steps can sometimes be difficult – in many cases, they blend into one another. As you develop support, you may find that you are also organizing that support into categories, thus creating a draft in outline form.

If outlining seems logical to your way of thinking and approaching a writing project, know that there are  several different kinds of outlines:

  • Roman or Arabic Numeral (highly structured, more formal)
  • bullet point (less structured, more informal)
  • mind map (less structured, more informal)
  • other methods as appropriate, such as a timeline, powerpoint slides, or whatever method works for the topic and your own way of thinking about the topic

Roman Numeral Outline

Thesis statement : E-mail and internet monitoring, as currently practiced, is an invasion of employees’ rights in the workplace.

  • To prevent fraudulent activities, theft, and other workplace related violations.
  • To more efficiently monitor employee productivity.
  • To prevent any legal liabilities due to harassing or offensive communications.
  • There are no federal or State laws protecting employees.
  • Employees may assert privacy protection for their own personal effects.
  • Workplace communications should be about work; anything else is a misuse of company equipment and company time
  • Employers have a right to prevent misuse by monitoring employee communications

Arabic Numeral Outline

Numerical outline titled Contents (from Wikipedia article). 1 Outline organization. 2 Types of outlines. 2.1 Outline styles 2.1.1 Sentence outline 2.1.2 Topic outline 2.1.3 A sample topic outline application: An outline of human knowledge 2.2 Outlines with prefixes 2.2.1 Bare outlines 2.2.2 Alphanumeric outline 2.2.3 Decimal outline 2.2.4 Integrated Outline. 3 See Also. 4 Notes. 5 References.

Bullet Point Outline

Mind map outline.

Flowchart moving from left to right. Title on left: Network English. Five branching trees. 1 Introduction: Language and English. Splits into "English on Internet" and "Network English: A Speech Variation" which further splits into "Internet as a speech community" and "Network English as a speech variation." 2 Historical Development of Network English, split into "Pre 1995 Era" and "Post 1995 Era." 3 Observation of Network English. One branch, "Vocabulary" divides into "Word Formation" ("Componded Word" / "Derivated Word" / "Coined Word"); "Semantic Change" ("Semantic Narrowing" / "Semantic Broadening" / "Semantic Shift"); and Sign Language. Other branch of 3 is "Grammar," divided into "Sentence Structure" and "Omission" (Suject [sic] / Prep). 4 Characteristics of Network English: "Easy to Type" / Simplicity / Creativity / colloquialism. 5 Conclusion.

Whichever type of outline you’ve started with, it can conveniently morph into an essay draft, simply by choosing a portion of the outline as a place to start writing. Start developing that portion with topic sentences, full sentences, complete thoughts, details, examples, facts, opinions, and all appropriate types of support.  Remember that an outline identifies the ideas you intend to use in the essay; you develop the actual essay draft by adding support to those ideas.

One of the many advantages to working from an outline is that you create an idea structure and can see visually how/whether those ideas relate, so you can see what needs to be added or edited. Because outlines capture ideas, they also allow you to begin your draft with whatever section or group of ideas you choose. Pick a section you feel strongly about, and start there. Move around your outline in whatever order you choose, in order to keep the momentum going to develop your essay draft.

  • Drafting from an Outline. Revision and adaptation of the page From Outlining to Drafting at Authored by : Susan Oaks. Provided by : Empire State College, SUNY OER Services. Project : College Writing. License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
  • From Outlining to Drafting. Provided by : Lumen Learning. Located at : . Project : English Composition I. License : CC BY: Attribution
  • image of Roman Numeral outline. Provided by : Wikipedia. Located at : . Project : Outline (list). License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
  • Arabic Numeral Outline. Provided by : Wikipedia. Located at : . Project : Outline (list). License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
  • Bullet Point outline. Authored by : Glynis Jolly. Provided by : flickr. Located at : . License : CC BY-NC: Attribution-NonCommercial
  • Mind Map outline. Authored by : Frank Dai. Provided by : flickr. Located at : . License : CC BY-NC-ND: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives

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4a. Outlining

Outlining is a focused prewriting and visualization technique that helps writers organize their ideas for an essay to meet a word count requirement, to decide which evidence and appeals will best suit their purpose and audience, and keep arguments and counterarguments focused on the main idea. Drafting is the step in the writing process at which you compose a complete first version of an academic essay or other piece of writing. Organizing your ideas for an essay into a formal or informal outline will help you translate your raw insights and research into a form that will communicate meaning to a reader. It will also provide you with a guide to follow in that moment when you reach the end of a paragraph and need to transition to a new one. Used in combination, outlining and drafting are powerful tools that can writers use to organize their ideas, previsualize their finished piece of writing, and manage their time effectively as the clock ticks down toward your deadlines.

Planning Ahead

When tasked with composing an essay, giving a presentation, or writing an application letter, you need to develop your ideas in an order that makes sense to your audience and suits the purpose of the task. Order refers to your choice of what to present first, second, third, and so on in your writing – from the order of individual words in a sentence to the order of sentences in paragraphs and paragraphs in an essay. Outlining provides writers the ability to play around with the order of ideas, evidence, paragraphs, and other elements of an essay before committing them to the page. A formal outline is a detailed guide that shows how all of your supporting ideas relate to each other and to your thesis. It helps you distinguish between ideas and details that are of relatively equal importance from ones of lesser or supporting importance. An outline is a useful framework for crafting your first draft.

Cognitively, outlining also stimulates the brain to begin previsualizing a finished composition. With practice, a writer can use an outline (or even a detailed task analysis, freewrite, or idea map) to think spatially and temporally about the writing process. Thinking spatially involves a writer’s ability to picture how the essay will take physical shape on the page as their thoughts flow from their fingertips through the pen or keyboard and become words, sentences, paragraphs, and even chapters. Temporal thinking involves a writer’s ability to conceptualize and schedule the hours, days, or even months that will be required to draft, revise, and edit any essay or writing task. While writers are always making spatial and temporal decisions internally while planning and drafting an essay, an outline can provide you a concrete representation of your planning and a guide to follow while writing your first draft.

As writers consider the purpose and goals for a writing task, they often begin by prewriting to reflect on the best way to order their ideas, appeals, and evidence. Poets, journalists, and essayists and other writers typically balance order and purpose in their writing by considering three ways of organizing:

  • Order of Importance
  • Chronological Order
  • Spatial Order

Academic essays typically deploy Order of Importance strategies. Once you have written out our working thesis, you are ready to develop a formal outline for an academic essay. There are many strategies and methods for outlining an essay. Typically, a formal outline uses numbers and letters or bullet points to format the page.

A formal outline for an academic essay will typically look something like the following example. An outline like this one can help you make sure that your essays develop your own voice as a writer and use your sources for support, rather than letting your sources dominate the essay.  Distinguished Professor of Writing Lisa Ede once said, “let your writing tell you what to read.” Creating even a skeletal outline for an essay or writing project allows you to follow that advice and confidently develop your voice while reading, researching, and drafting.


  • Question at issue
  • Preview of main ideas (useful for essays that are longer than five paragraphs)

Background and Context

  • Depending on the length and content requirements of an essay assignment, it may be useful to include a background and context paragraph to define keywords, provide background information or historical context, or situate your approach to a topic in relation to a particular audience or discourse community.

Supporting Arguments

As many as needed to develop your thesis and meet your word count.

  • Topic Sentence
  • Signal Phrase
  • Quotation or Paraphrase
  • Explanation

Alternative/Opposing Arguments

As needed to develop your thesis

  • Topic Sentence: Assertion about your thesis from an alternative perspective
  • Analysis and refutation (if needed) of the alternative reasoning
  • Synthesis paragraphs reflect on the relationship between the supporting and alternative arguments and consider the possibilities for reaching common ground on the issue
  • Reiterate your main idea and summarize how you arrived at your thesis
  • Consider the broader implication and/or limitations of your reasoning and evidence
  • Circle the reader back to your opening sentences to bring them full circle
  • Citation styles vary by academic discipline and instructor preference. Humanities scholars generally use MLA, social science and science scholars generally use APA, and styles like Chicago and Harvard are used in a variety of academic disciplines

Writing as Inquiry Copyright © 2021 by Kara Clevinger and Stephen Rust is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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How to Write an Essay Outline

Last Updated: September 15, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Jake Adams . Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, a Santa Monica, California based online tutoring business offering learning resources and online tutors for academic subjects K-College, SAT & ACT prep, and college admissions applications. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients the very best online tutoring experience and access to a network of excellent undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges all over the nation. Jake holds a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 550,719 times.

Essay outlines provide structure and guidance for writers as they begin the drafting process. An outline should briefly summarize the intended content of your essay and organize that content in a sensible, coherent manner. Knowing how to outline is an important skill for students, since some instructors require students to turn in outlines before submitting their papers. Keep reading to learn more about how to develop an effective outline for your paper.

Preparing to Outline a Paper

Step 1 Read the assignment guidelines carefully.

  • List all the ideas that come to mind (good or bad) and then look over the list you have made and group similar ideas together. Expand those lists by adding onto the list or by using another prewriting activity. [2] X Research source
  • Freewriting. Write nonstop for about 5-10 minutes. Write whatever comes to mind and don’t edit yourself. When you are done, review what you have written and highlight or underline the most useful information. Repeat the freewriting exercise using this information as a starting point. You can repeat this exercise multiple times to continue to refine and develop your ideas. [3] X Research source
  • Clustering. Write your subject down on the center of a piece of paper and circle it. Then draw three or more lines extending from the circle. At the end of each of the lines you have drawn, write down a new idea that corresponds to your main idea. Then draw three or more lines from each of those new ideas, and write ideas that corresponds to those ideas. Continue developing your cluster until you feel that you have explored as many connections as you can. [4] X Research source
  • Questioning. On a piece of paper, write out “Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?” Space the questions about two or three lines apart so that you can write your answers on these lines. Respond to each questions in as much detail as you can. This exercise will help develop your ideas and identify areas of your topic that you need to learn more about. [5] X Research source

Step 3 Identify your purpose.

  • Make sure your thesis is arguable. Do not state facts or matters of taste. For example, something like "George Washington was the first president of the United States," would not be a good thesis because it states a fact. Likewise, "Die Hard is a great movie," would not work because it expresses a matter of taste. [9] X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source
  • Make sure your thesis provides enough detail. In other words, avoid simply saying that something is "good" or "effective" and say what specifically makes it "good" or "effective." [10] X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source
  • If you're writing a three-paragraph essay, consider using a short list of examples that correspond to ideas you could make paragraphs about. For example, if you're talking about how a book uses different colors to symbolize a connection between the protagonist and the villain, you might write something like "In Author's book Booktitle, the author uses motifs of red, yellow, and blue to indicate the shifting dynamics between Betsy and Joe." This way, you could make a paragraph per color exploring the use of it as a motif and what it means to the story overall.

Deciding on a Basic Outline Structure and Style

Step 1 Choose a standard alphanumeric structure for an easy outline structure.

  • Roman numerals (I, II, III, etc,) are used to mark each major heading or section. You will typically have three for an essay outline: one for your introduction, one for your body, and one for your conclusion.
  • Capitalized letters (A,B,C, etc.) mark each primary point within a major section.
  • Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.) are used to flesh out primary points.
  • Lowercase letters (a, b, c, etc.) are used if further detail is still required.

Step 2 Choose a decimal outline structure to show how your ideas are related.

  • A decimal outline begins with “1.0” and other sections will begin with different numbers (2, 3, 4, etc.). Therefore, the first section would read "1.0," the second would read "2.0," and the third would read "3.0."
  • The number after the decimal point changes when new information is presented. For instance, under the "1.0" section, you would expect to see "1.1," "1.2," and so on.
  • Further subsections can be added by adding another decimal, followed by a number that corresponds to the new information. For instance, under the first "1.1" section, you might find "1.1.1," "1.1.2," and "1.1.3" labels.

Step 3 Determine whether to use full sentences or brief phrases in your outline.

  • For example, if section I of your outline begins with something like “buying a new book,” then section two should begin with a similarly structured phrase. Something like “reading my new book” would be appropriate whereas “read my new book” would not be appropriate.

Step 5 Coordinate section titles and subordinate subsections.

  • For example, if you are writing a narrative essay about discovering and reading your favorite book and the first section of your outline is titled “Hearing about the book,” then “Checking the book out of the library” and “Reading the book” would be appropriate titles for the other sections of your essay outline. These outline section titles feature information that is as important as the first section title. However, titling a section something like “went to my room and closed the door” would not be appropriate. This line would work better as a subsection under “Reading the book.”

Step 6 Divide each heading into two or more parts.

  • For example, under the section heading “Hearing about the book,” you might also include subsections called “talking to my best friend,” “listening to the radio on my way to school” and “browsing the internet for new book ideas.” Beneath each of these subsections you would provide additional sub-subsections to break down the information that you will need to include in each of these subsections.

Organizing the Information in Your Essay Outline

Step 1 Provide your introduction in the first section of your outline.

  • Under the first sub-point, write a sentence that introduces the essay topic while also grabbing the reader's attention. A shocking fact or anecdote is a great way to start.
  • The second sub-point should describe the topic, history of the issue, background, or problem being explored. Keep this section brief, but include the information that your readers will need to know in order to understand your paper.
  • The final sub-point should be your thesis statement. State the idea or argument that you plan to discuss in your essay.

Step 2 Provide essay body information in the second section of your outline.

  • Do not label each point as "main point." Instead, directly write out the point being explored.
  • Under each main point, you should write supporting evidence to back the point up. Give each piece of supporting evidence its own line and sub-section. Then, write out an explanation analyzing the evidence and showing how it supports your claims.
  • If desired, you could also include a sentence that transitions into your next major point at the end of each "main idea" section. This is not strictly necessary, though.

Step 3 Provide your conclusion information in the last section of your essay outline.

  • Restate your thesis first. Do not copy your original thesis statement word-for-word. Instead, restate the idea, but rephrase it in a new way.
  • Make a concluding statement. A concluding statement will usually discuss the implications of the thesis, propose solutions to problems addressed in the essay, or explain the importance of the thesis to something outside of the range of the essay.

Step 4 Check your work against your assignment sheet, if applicable.

Expert Q&A

Jake Adams

  • Check out your school’s writing center for extra help with your outline. Most schools have writing centers that offer walk-in and by appointment help for all kinds of writing projects. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

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  • ↑ Jake Adams. Academic Tutor & Test Prep Specialist. Expert Interview. 20 May 2020.

About This Article

Jake Adams

To write an essay outline, start with a section about your introduction that includes an introductory sentence and your thesis statement. Then, make a section about the body of your essay that has subsections for each paragraph you'll be writing. Within each subsection, include the main point of the paragraph and any evidence you'll be presenting to support it. Finally, create a section about your essay's conclusion that includes a final sentence. For help choosing between a numeric or decimal outline structure, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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  • How to Write an Essay Outline: Full Guide With Examples

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Table of Contents

Essay outline toolkit, how to write an essay outline, outline for different types of essays.

Well, one thing you need to work on before writing an essay is to set its structure. Once, you are done writing the structure of your essay, writing an outline will become an easier task. In this guide, not only will we explain how to write an outline for an essay but also explain how to create its structure. So let's get started.

Also, are you in a hurry? No worries, we have curated an essay outline toolkit that will help you understand the process of writing an outline for an essay in under 5 mins.

Once you are done with these steps, this is what your structure will look like

Thesis statement: To inform readers about the serious health risks associated with exposure to air pollution, with the goal of raising awareness about the need for stricter environmental regulation.


  • Add a hook like Imagine taking a deep breath of fresh, clean air. Unfortunately, for millions of people worldwide, this simple pleasure has become a luxury due to the pervasive issue of air pollution.
  • Mention how the negative impact of Air pollution on human health is increasing.

The harmful effects of air pollution on the respiratory system underscore the urgent need for comprehensive pollution control measures.

The types and sources of air pollutants

  • Explanation of common air pollutants (e.g., particulate matter, volatile organic compounds).
  • Examples of industries or activities contributing to air pollution.

Transition phrases - Furthermore, additionally, etc.

The health consequences of exposure to air pollution

  • Discuss different Respiratory Health Issues like asthma and its symptoms.
  • Discuss Other Different Health issues like heart attacks and their symptoms.

Current environmental policies and their effectiveness in mitigating air pollution

  • Discuss about various environmental agencies and organisations along with the standards set and initiatives taken by them.
  • Challenges and Effectiveness - Discuss the evolution of policies and technological advancements in the field.
  • Reiterate the thesis statement.
  • Reinforce the importance of addressing air pollution and its impact on health.
  • Recap the types, effects, and mitigation strategies discussed in the essay.

This is what your outline will look like

Firstly, the essay will discuss the types and sources of air pollutants by highlighting industrial and individual activities contributing to air pollution. Secondly, the essay will shed light on the health consequences of air pollution by emphasizing respiratory and other health diseases. Finally, the essay will be concluded by discussing the current environmental policies and their effectiveness in controlling air pollution by checking the standards set by organizations and initiatives taken by agencies.

1. Identify the topic

Identifying your essay's topic is the crucial first step. Begin by asking yourself these questions: Do you have a genuine interest in this topic? Does it resonate with you emotionally or intellectually? Your passion for a topic will fuel your essay.

However, don't rely solely on emotion. Consider these factors:

  • Is the topic suitable for your audience?
  • What's your purpose for writing about it?
  • Can you gain sufficient knowledge in the given time?
  • Is the topic neither too broad nor too narrow for the required word count?
  • Can you access enough research material?

Additionally, if your chosen topic feels too broad, narrow it down by focusing on a specific aspect or perspective. This ensures better manageability and clarity in your writing.

Imagine your professor asked you to write an article on air pollution, in such case your topic can be “The Impact of Air Pollution on Human Health” This clearly states that your essay will look into the effects of air pollution on human well-being.

2. Define the objective

Once you've chosen your essay topic, the next step is to define your purpose. Majorly, your essay should convey your unique perspective, thoughts, and ideas about the subject. So, Emphasize working with and building upon existing ideas rather than just restating them. Other than that some specific objectives may include:

Narration: This is written for the purpose of sharing personal experiences or goals in a compelpng manner for self-expression.

Persuasion: This is written for the purpose of convincing readers about the argument you agree with through logical reasoning.

Argumentation: This is written for the purpose of taking a clear stance on a topic and supporting it with evidence.

Explanation: This is written for the purpose of providing effective information or descriptions to readers.

The objective of this essay is to inform your readers about the serious health risks associated with exposure to air pollution, with the goal of raising awareness about the need for stricter environmental regulations.

3. Craft the thesis

This step involves stating the core message you aim to convey through your project. In essence, you're crafting a concise and clear statement that summarizes the central argument or theme that your entire work revolves around. Additionally, It's a critical element that ensures your project remains coherent and purposeful, allowing your readers to understand the primary point you're trying to make.

Crafting a thesis statement is a dynamic process. It doesn't happen immediately after reading an assignment. Instead, it involves gathering evidence, organizing it, identifying relationships, and assessing their significance. Only after completing these steps will you arrive at a 'working thesis.' This thesis serves as the cornerstone of your essay, presenting its main idea and argument, which you'll substantiate with evidence. Both your argument and thesis act as guiding forces for your essay's structure, and they may require refinements as your essay evolves.

The thesis statement for your essay could be: "The harmful effects of air pollution on respiratory and other body systems underscore the urgent need for comprehensive pollution control measures."

4. Main points

Now that you have a clear understanding of your essay's purpose and argument, the next crucial step is to construct the foundational main points that will serve as the guiding framework for your essay. This involves delving into each main point and elaborating on the essential information that will form the core of your essay. This structural map helps you organize your thoughts, ideas, and information in a logical sequence, making it easier for both you as the writer and your readers to follow the flow of your project. it helps you ensure that your points are aligned with your thesis statement and are able to explain them.

Also, It is important to ensure that each main idea in your essay is completed within its dedicated body paragraph. Because overloading a single paragraph with multiple concepts can lead to confusion and errors in sentence structure. Moreover, each main point you introduce should directly align with your thesis and provide substantial support for any arguments you propose.

The main points for your essay could be

  • The types and sources of air pollutants.
  • The health consequences of prolonged exposure to air pollution.
  • Current environmental policies and their effectiveness in mitigating air pollution.

5. Sub-points

After outlining the key main points, proceed to introduce the specific subpoints you intend to elaborate on, as well as the supporting evidence such as examples, quotations, statistical data, and more that will strengthen your arguments.

This process will help you dissect each major part into more manageable components, making your project more organized and comprehensible. By defining these sub-points, you provide a roadmap not only for yourself but also for your readers.

6. Evidence and citations

After summarizing the points you intend to discuss and the information you'll be presenting, proceed to cite the evidence, including examples and statistical data, that supports your information. This is where you'll list down the sources from which you'll draw your information, examples, and statistical data.

Listing these sources will help you to make sure that you have a well-structured plan for gathering the necessary information to support your writing. This step will help you stay organized and ensure you don't miss any critical data or overlook important references. Additionally, help in keeping all the information in one place will ease your writing process.

You can cite scientific studies from the World Health Organization (WHO), and provide statistical data on yearly deaths due to air pollution

7. Introduction and hook

After you're done writing an outline for your key content and have identified your information sources, the next step will be to craft an engaging introduction hook tailored to the nature of your essay. A hook is a sentence or phrase designed to captivate and grab the attention of your readers and can take various forms, such as a quotation, statistical data, or an intriguing fact.

Also, you craft the introduction in which your primary objective is to provide essential context and introduce the main idea or thesis statement of your project. This section acts as a guide for your readers, setting the stage by explaining what your project is about and why it matters. For your introduction, state the points you will be mentioning, along with a hook that will be designed to captivate and grab the attention of readers.

You can start the introduction with an anecdote like “Imagine taking a deep breath of fresh, clean air. Unfortunately, for millions of people worldwide, this simple pleasure has become a luxury due to the pervasive issue of air pollution” and then continue to explain the increasingly negative impact of air pollution on human health

8. Conclusion

In this section, you will bring your essay to a close by revisiting your thesis statement and reinforcing the central argument you've presented throughout. Also, you'll summarize the key points made in the essay and conclude with a compelling call to action. This section serves as a final, concise overview, allowing your readers to grasp the main takeaways from your work.

In the conclusion, you will restate the thesis by emphasizing the urgency of addressing air pollution and then summarize key points you made in the essay.

9. Transitions

Transition words play a crucial role in ensuring the seamless flow of your writing by fostering smooth transitions between sentences, paragraphs, and topics. After completing your outline, it's essential that you identify and incorporate transitions wherever needed to facilitate smooth transitions between sentences, ideas, or topics. Some common types of transitions are listed below

Addition: This is used when multiple ideas are presented that flow in the same direction

Contrast: This is used when a difference in idea or change in the argument is presented

Comparison: This is used when a similarity between ideas that are not under the same heading is presented

Cause and effect: This is used to show that an event or action leads to some result

Summary or conclusion: This is used when we want to signify what follows is summarizing the previous text.

You can use words like “furthermore”, and “consequently” to transition from “types and sources of air pollutants” to “the health consequences of prolonged exposure to air pollution”

10. Refine and review

Lastly, in the final step, you will do a review of your outline to check for any extra elements that may have been unknowingly included. Additionally, ensure that your outline provides a thorough and complete overview of your topic, leaving no important points overlooked.

Finally, during the review, you will need to ensure that each point flows logically and you have included all the necessary information and didn't add any extra points

1. Argumentative Essay Outline

Argumentative Essay Outline

An argumentative essay outline have a straightforward structure which makes it easy for readers to follow. The goal of an argumentative essay is to clearly outline a point of view, reasoning, and evidence.

  • Argumentative Essay Outline Toolkit
  • Sample of Argumentative Essay Structure
  • Sample of Argumentative Essay Outline
  • How to Write an Outline for an Argumentative Essay

2. Persuasive Essay Outline

Persuasive Essay Outline

A persuasive essay is used to prove a point of view. For this reason, drafting an outline for a persuasive essay becomes important as it ensures emotional components and helps not to get confused in your supporting proofs.

  • Persuasive Essay Outline Toolkit
  • Sample of Persuasive Essay Structure
  • Sample of Persuasive Essay Outline
  • How to Write an Outline for a Persuasive Essay

3. Informative Essay Outline

Informative Essay Outline

An informative essay outline have a straightforward structure which makes it easy for readers to follow. The goal of an informative essay is to clearly outline a piece of information, its reasoning, and evidence.

  • Informative Essay Outline Toolkit
  • Sample of Informative Essay Structure
  • Sample of Informative Essay Outline
  • How to Write an Outline for an Informative Essay

4. Narrative Essay Outline

Narrative Essay Outline

A narrative essay is a type of essay in which the writer narrates a story. The story could be real, or fictional, and deals with writer’s personal development. An outline of a narrative essay doesn't follow any specific rules.

  • Narrative Essay Outline Toolkit
  • Sample of Narrative Essay Structure
  • Sample of Narrative Essay Outline
  • How to Write an Outline for a Narrative Essayy

5. Rhetorical Essay Outline

Rhetorical Essay Outline

A rhetorical analysis essay in an essay type that aims to study how the author persuaded, informed, or entertained the audience. This type of essay analyzes the text in specific terms of rhetoric, breaks them, and examine them individually.

  • Rhetorical Essay Outline Toolkit
  • Sample of Rhetorical Essay Structure
  • Sample of Rhetorical Essay Outline
  • How to Write an Outline for a Rhetorical Essay

6. Compare and Contrast Essay

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

Compare and contrast essays are academic papers in which a student analyses two or more subjects with each other. The structure mention paragraphs that describe two subjects, and then conduct a final analysis.

  • Compare and Contrast Essay Outline Toolkit
  • Sample of Compare and contrast Structure
  • Sample of Compare and Contrast Essay Outline
  • How to Write an Outline for a Compare and Contrast Essay

7. Expository Essay Outline

 Expository Essay Outline Essay Outline

An expository essay presents information on a topic, it explains a situation, person, idea, etc. An expository essay outline divides each paragraph into components for the purpose of better understanding how information will work together.

  • Expository Essay Outline Toolkit
  • Sample of Expository Essay Structure
  • Sample of Expository Essay Outline
  • How to Write an Outline for a Expository Essay

8. 5-paragraph essay outline

 5-paragraph essay outline

An 5-Paragraph Essay outline have a straightforward structure which makes it easy for readers to follow. The goal of an 5-Paragraph Essay is to clearly outline a point of view, reasoning, and evidence.

  • 5-Paragraph Outline Toolkit
  • Sample of 5-Paragraph Structure
  • Sample of 5-Paragraph Outline
  • How to Write an Outline for a 5-Paragraph


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Critical Essay Writing

Critical Essay Outline

Cathy A.

Critical Essay Outline - Writing Guide With Examples

critical essay outline

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Critical Essay - A Step by Step Guide & Examples

A Comprehensive List of 260+ Inspiring Critical Essay Topics

Writing a critical analysis essay can be a daunting task for many students. It requires a deep understanding of the subject matter and the ability to critically evaluate it.

But here's the challenge: without a well-structured outline, the task becomes even more overwhelming. You might find yourself lost in a sea of information, struggling to organize your thoughts, and not knowing where to begin.

In this blog, we will provide you with a solution to this problem. We'll walk you through the process of creating a comprehensive critical analysis essay outline that will not only make your writing process smoother but also increase your chances of producing a top-notch essay.

By the end of this guide, you'll be well-equipped to tackle critical analysis essays with confidence and finesse. 

Let's get started!

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  • 1. How to Write a Critical Essay Outline?
  • 2. Critical Essay Outline Examples
  • 3. Tips for Writing an Effective Critical Essay Outline

How to Write a Critical Essay Outline?

Writing an outline is an essential part of drafting an effective critical essay . It provides a sensible structure to the content through which a reader easily keeps track of the writer’s ideas and explanations. 

Here’s a sample outline for critical essay:

Critical Essay Introduction

The introduction of your essay serves as the gateway, enticing readers to delve into your analysis. Follow these guidelines to craft an engaging and effective introduction:

  • Opening Hook: Begin with a captivating hook that sparks curiosity or addresses the relevance of your topic. This could be a thought-provoking quote, a startling statistic, or a compelling anecdote.
  • Contextualize the Topic: Provide background information to ensure readers understand the context of your critical analysis. Briefly introduce the work or topic you are critiquing, highlighting its significance.
  • Thesis Statement:  Clearly state your thesis statement and the main argument or perspective you will be exploring in your critical essay. This concise declaration sets the stage for the reader, outlining the focus and purpose of your analysis.
  • Preview of Key Points: Offer a brief overview of the key points or arguments you will be addressing in the body paragraphs. This roadmap prepares readers for the critical insights they can expect in the following sections.
  • Transition to Body: Smoothly transition from the introduction to the body of your essay. Ensure a logical flow that keeps readers engaged and eager to explore your critical analysis further.

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Critical Essay Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs of your critical essay are the heart of your analysis, where you dissect and examine the chosen work or topic. Here's how to structure and develop these crucial sections:

  • Topic Sentence : Begin each body paragraph with a clear topic sentence that encapsulates the main point or argument of that specific section.
  • Introduction of Evidence : Introduce evidence to support your analysis. This may include quotes, examples, or data that reinforce your critical perspective. 
  • Critical Analysis : Dive into a detailed analysis of the evidence you've presented. Explain how it relates to your thesis and critically evaluate its significance. 
  • Transition to the Next Point : Provide a smooth transition to the next paragraph by summarizing the key points. Explain how they connect to the overall argument of your critical essay.
  • Consistency and Coherence : Maintain consistency and coherence throughout the body paragraphs. Each section should contribute logically to the development of your thesis, creating a cohesive narrative.

Critical Essay Conclusion

The conclusion of your critical essay is your final opportunity to leave a lasting impression. Follow these steps to create a powerful and memorable conclusion:

  • Restate the Thesis: Begin by restating your thesis in a slightly different way. Summarize the main argument or perspective you've presented in your critical essay.
  • Review Key Points: Briefly review the key points or arguments discussed in the body paragraphs. Reiterate their significance in supporting your overall thesis.
  • Broader Implications: Explore the broader implications of your analysis. Discuss how your critical insights contribute to a deeper understanding of the work or topic, and consider any broader implications for the field.
  • Concluding Thoughts: Offer some final thoughts or reflections on the significance of your critical analysis. Consider the larger context and encourage readers to think further about the themes you've explored.
  • Closing Statement: End with a strong and memorable closing statement. This could be a thought-provoking question, a call to action, or a reflection on the enduring relevance of your critical examination.

Critical Essay Outline Examples

When writing a critical essay outline, even the slightest error can jeopardize both your grades and reputation.

Examining an example allows you to determine the appropriate tone and structure for your critical paper. For that the examples given below serve as a valuable starting point, providing clarity and guidance as you begin your writing process without uncertainty.

Critical Essay Outline Example

Critical Analysis Essay Outline Example

Critical Response Essay Outline Example

Critical Essay Sample

Critical Essay Outline Template

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Tips for Writing an Effective Critical Essay Outline

Crafting a robust critical essay structure is essential for a successful writing process. Here are valuable tips to guide you through the outline creation:

  • Start with a Strong Thesis Statement

Begin your outline by clearly articulating your thesis statement. This should succinctly convey the main argument or perspective you will be exploring in your critical essay.

  • Identify Strengths and Weaknesses

As you outline, consider the strengths and weaknesses of your argument. Acknowledge potential counterarguments and ensure your outline addresses them, strengthening your overall analysis.

  • Support Your Thesis Statement

Each section of your outline should contribute to supporting your thesis. Ensure that your key points and evidence align cohesively to strengthen the central argument of your critical essay.

  • Consider Writing Style

Pay attention to your writing style within the outline. Maintain a formal and analytical tone appropriate for a critical essay. Use clear and concise language to convey your ideas effectively.

  • Choose a Relevant Essay Topic

Select an essay topic that aligns with your interests and allows for in-depth analysis. The relevance of your topic will contribute to a more engaging and compelling critical essay.

  • Analyze and Evaluate Key Points

For each section of your outline, go beyond surface-level analysis. Dive deep into the material, analyzing and evaluating key points to provide a nuanced and comprehensive critical assessment.

  • Pay Attention to Detail

Detail matters. Pay attention to the specifics of your outline, ensuring a logical flow of ideas and a well-organized structure. Clarity at this stage sets the foundation for a polished final essay.

  • Start Writing Early

Once your outline is complete, don't procrastinate. Start writing early to allow ample time for revisions and refinements. A well-thought-out outline expedites the writing process.

In conclusion , crafting a critical essay requires careful planning and consideration. By following a well-constructed outline, you lay the groundwork for a compelling essay that showcases your analytical prowess. 

Remember to start with a strong thesis statement, identify strengths and weaknesses, and support your argument with well-researched evidence.

If you think your writing and analyzing skills are not up to the mark, you can always take help from an expert essay writer. is an essay writing service that provides guidance and assistance to all students. No matter what field or level you belong to, provides academic writing services for everyone. Moreover, if you are looking for free essay samples and original content, is the right place. 

Hire our essay writer to write a critical analysis essay by placing an order today at an extremely affordable price.

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Cathy has been been working as an author on our platform for over five years now. She has a Masters degree in mass communication and is well-versed in the art of writing. Cathy is a professional who takes her work seriously and is widely appreciated by clients for her excellent writing skills.

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How To Write An Essay Outline: Tips And Examples

  • What Is An Outline?
  • Why Are Outlines Helpful?
  • Parts Of An Outline

To outline or not to outline: that is the age-old question. For a lot of people, outlines are a way to organize thoughts and gather information before they start writing, which can often save valuable time later on. But some writers prefer to craft essays more loosely, adding material and shaping their supporting paragraphs as they go.

Whether you’re new to outlines (or writing, period) or you’re just looking to hone your skills at crafting the perfect essay outline, there are some important things to know about the process. Follow along as we break down the why and the how of writing an effective outline and provide a step-by-step guide that will make writing your next essay a total cinch.

What is an outline?

An outline is “a general sketch, account, or report, indicating only the main features, as of a book, subject, or project.” In other words, it’s like a brief summary of the topics you plan to cover in a longer piece of writing.

In writing an outline, you create the skeleton of your essay, which provides a supportive structure on which you can arrange and organize each of your paragraphs. This helps you clarify the points you intend to make in your writing and also gives you an opportunity to tailor your research, which can make the writing process much easier later on.

Why are outlines helpful?

If you aren’t typically an outline writer, you might be wondering if you really need to put in the extra work to create one. Ultimately, everyone has a different writing style, and only you know what’s going to work for you, but here are four major reasons why many people find the outlining process helpful:

1. Outlines are brief and concise.

Remember: an outline is not the same thing as a rough draft. In an outline, each section contains only a sentence or two, and each topic is distilled to a single main idea.

2. Outlines help you write more efficiently.

You don’t have to worry about rambling or repeating the same statistic several times. You decide exactly where information belongs before you start writing.

3. Outlines are easy to edit.

You can move facts, details, and even entire sentences around easily without needing to rewrite whole paragraphs.

4. Outlines ensure supporting details connect to the thesis.

Once you see all of your work laid out, you might realize that certain paragraphs can be combined or that your conclusion doesn’t actually tie back to your thesis. Isn’t it nice to notice these potential errors before you’ve finished a draft?

Writer’s block? It’s part of the process. Here are some tips to overcome it and get your words flowing again.

The parts of a standard essay outline

Now that you understand the “why” behind writing an essay outline, let’s talk about how to do it. Here are the main parts to include in any essay outline:


In an outline, your introduction consists of your thesis statement . This is a single sentence that states the subject, main idea, or main purpose of your essay.

When you write your essay, you will add a few sentences before and after your thesis statement to grab your reader’s interest and preview your essay’s main points. For the outline, you only need to narrow your point of view to a single, effective thesis that will inform the rest of the outline.

Body paragraphs

Body paragraphs are the parts of the essay in which you present information to back up your thesis. First, you’ll need to decide if you’re writing a three-paragraph essay or a five-paragraph essay . You may have anywhere from one to three body paragraphs, depending on what type you choose.

Each body paragraph in your outline should have:

  • A main idea that aligns with your thesis.
  • A topic sentence stating the main idea.
  • A bulleted list of relevant research, quotes, anecdotes, and/or statistics.

Much like the introduction, your outline’s conclusion is all about your thesis statement. Here, you should:

  • Restate your thesis
  • Summarize the main points that support your thesis.
  • Leave your reader with an impactful final thought or call to action.

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Example of a standard essay outline

Now that you know the parts of an essay outline, it might help to see them in action. Here’s an outline format you can use to plan your own essays, filled in with examples of a thesis statement, topic sentences for your body paragraphs, and the main parts of a strong conclusion.

  • Thesis statement: There’s a lot of debate about which food category hot dogs fit into, but it’s clear from the evidence that a hot dog is a type of sandwich.

Body paragraph #1

  • Topic sentence: To begin, hot dogs fit the dictionary definition of the word sandwich.
  • Supporting detail: Sandwich is defined as “two or more slices of bread with a layer of meat, fish, cheese, and whatever other filling you’d like between them.”
  • Supporting detail: A hot dog is a grilled or steamed sausage, usually made of pork or beef, which qualifies as a layer of meat.
  • Supporting detail: Hot dog buns are split rolls, similar to the ones used for deli sandwiches.

Body paragraph #2

  • Topic sentence: Secondly, hot dogs meet the legal definition of sandwiches in many places.
  • Supporting detail: Mark Wheeler, a food safety specialist with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), says the organization defines a sandwich as “a meat or poultry filling between two slices of bread, a bun, or a biscuit.”
  • Supporting detail: In New York state, tax law lists “hot dogs and sausages on buns” as types of sandwiches.
  • Supporting detail: Additionally, tax law in California clearly includes “hot dog and hamburger sandwiches” served from “sandwich stands or booths.”

Body paragraph #3

  • Topic sentence: Finally, most Americans agree that hot dogs are sandwiches.
  • Supporting detail: In a poll of 1,000 people conducted by RTA Outdoor Living, 56.8% of respondents agreed a hot dog is a sandwich.
  • Supporting detail: Many fast food chains that serve primarily burgers and sandwiches, like Five Guys burgers and Shake Shack, also sell hot dogs.
  • Supporting detail: Lexicographers at have also declared that hot dogs officially meet the criteria to be included in the sandwich category. (Curious? Read the article here for this and other great food debates explained .)
  • Restatement of thesis: Hot dogs are a unique kind of food, but the evidence makes it clear that they are indeed a type of sandwich.

Now, get to planning that perfect essay! (But if you’re hungry for a snack first, we don’t blame you.)

Plan and write a five-paragraph essay that will earn your instructor's own five—high five, that is!

drafting an essay outline

Ways To Say

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Trying to devise a structure for your essay can be one of the most difficult parts of the writing process. Making a detailed outline before you begin writing is a good way to make sure your ideas come across in a clear and logical order. A good outline will also save you time in the revision process, reducing the possibility that your ideas will need to be rearranged once you've written them.

The First Steps

Before you can begin outlining, you need to have a sense of what you will argue in the essay. From your analysis and close readings of primary and/or secondary sources you should have notes, ideas, and possible quotes to cite as evidence. Let's say you are writing about the 1999 Republican Primary and you want to prove that each candidate's financial resources were the most important element in the race. At this point, your notes probably lack much coherent order. Most likely, your ideas are still in the order in which they occurred to you; your notes and possible quotes probably still adhere to the chronology of the sources you've examined. Your goal is to rearrange your ideas, notes, and quotes—the raw material of your essay—into an order that best supports your argument, not the arguments you've read in other people's works. To do this, you have to group your notes into categories and then arrange these categories in a logical order.


The first step is to look over each individual piece of information that you've written and assign it to a general category. Ask yourself, "If I were to file this in a database, what would I file it under?" If, using the example of the Republican Primary, you wrote down an observation about John McCain's views on health care, you might list it under the general category of  "Health care policy." As you go through your notes, try to reuse categories whenever possible. Your goal is to reduce your notes to no more than a page of category listings.

Now examine your category headings. Do any seem repetitive? Do any go together? "McCain's expenditure on ads" and "Bush's expenditure on ads," while not exactly repetitive, could easily combine into a more general category like "Candidates' expenditures on ads." Also, keep an eye out for categories that no longer seem to relate to your argument. Individual pieces of information that at first seemed important can begin to appear irrelevant when grouped into a general category.

Now it's time to generalize again. Examine all your categories and look for common themes. Go through each category and ask yourself, "If I were to place this piece of information in a file cabinet, what would I label that cabinet?" Again, try to reuse labels as often as possible: "Health Care," "Foreign Policy," and "Immigration" can all be contained under "Policy Initiatives." Make these larger categories as general as possible so that there are no more than three or four for a 7-10 page paper.

With your notes grouped into generalized categories, the process of ordering them should be easier. To begin, look at your most general categories. With your thesis in mind, try to find a way that the labels might be arranged in a sentence or two that supports your argument. Let's say your thesis is that financial resources played the most important role in the 1999 Republican Primary. Your four most general categories are "Policy Initiatives," "Financial Resources," "Voters' Concerns," and "Voters' Loyalty." You might come up with the following sentence: ÒAlthough McCain's policy initiatives were closest to the voters' concerns, Bush's financial resources won the voters' loyalty.Ó This sentence should reveal the order of your most general categories. You will begin with an examination of McCain's and Bush's views on important issues and compare them to the voters' top concerns. Then you'll look at both candidates' financial resources and show how Bush could win voters' loyalty through effective use of his resources, despite his less popular policy ideas.

With your most general categories in order, you now must order the smaller categories. To do so, arrange each smaller category into a sentence or two that will support the more general sentence you've just devised. Under the category of "Financial Resources," for instance, you might have the smaller categories of "Ad Expenditure," "Campaign Contributions" and "Fundraising." A sentence that supports your general argument might read: "Bush's early emphasis on fundraising led to greater campaign contributions, allowing him to have a greater ad expenditure than McCain."

The final step of the outlining process is to repeat this procedure on the smallest level, with the original notes that you took for your essay. To order what probably was an unwieldy and disorganized set of information at the beginning of this process, you need now only think of a sentence or two to support your general argument. Under the category "Fundraising," for example, you might have quotes about each candidate's estimation of its importance, statistics about the amount of time each candidate spent fundraising, and an idea about how the importance of fundraising never can be overestimated. Sentences to support your general argument might read: "No candidate has ever raised too much money [your idea]. While both McCain and Bush acknowledged the importance of fundraising [your quotes], the numbers clearly point to Bush as the superior fundraiser [your statistics]." The arrangement of your ideas, quotes, and statistics now should come naturally.

Putting It All Together

With these sentences, you have essentially constructed an outline for your essay. The most general ideas, which you organized in your first sentence, constitute the essay's sections. They follow the order in which you placed them in your sentence. The order of the smaller categories within each larger category (determined by your secondary sentences) indicates the order of the paragraphs within each section. Finally, your last set of sentences about your specific notes should show the order of the sentences within each paragraph. An outline for the essay about the 1999 Republican Primary (showing only the sections worked out here) would look something like this:




            A.  Fundraising

                        a.  Original Idea

                        b.  McCain Quote/Bush Quote

                        c.  McCain Statistics/Bush Statistics

            B.  Campaign Contributions

            C.  Ad Expenditure


Copyright 2000, David Kornhaber, for the Writing Center at Harvard University

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  • How to structure an essay: Templates and tips

How to Structure an Essay | Tips & Templates

Published on September 18, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

The basic structure of an essay always consists of an introduction , a body , and a conclusion . But for many students, the most difficult part of structuring an essay is deciding how to organize information within the body.

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Table of contents

The basics of essay structure, chronological structure, compare-and-contrast structure, problems-methods-solutions structure, signposting to clarify your structure, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about essay structure.

There are two main things to keep in mind when working on your essay structure: making sure to include the right information in each part, and deciding how you’ll organize the information within the body.

Parts of an essay

The three parts that make up all essays are described in the table below.

Order of information

You’ll also have to consider how to present information within the body. There are a few general principles that can guide you here.

The first is that your argument should move from the simplest claim to the most complex . The body of a good argumentative essay often begins with simple and widely accepted claims, and then moves towards more complex and contentious ones.

For example, you might begin by describing a generally accepted philosophical concept, and then apply it to a new topic. The grounding in the general concept will allow the reader to understand your unique application of it.

The second principle is that background information should appear towards the beginning of your essay . General background is presented in the introduction. If you have additional background to present, this information will usually come at the start of the body.

The third principle is that everything in your essay should be relevant to the thesis . Ask yourself whether each piece of information advances your argument or provides necessary background. And make sure that the text clearly expresses each piece of information’s relevance.

The sections below present several organizational templates for essays: the chronological approach, the compare-and-contrast approach, and the problems-methods-solutions approach.

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drafting an essay outline

The chronological approach (sometimes called the cause-and-effect approach) is probably the simplest way to structure an essay. It just means discussing events in the order in which they occurred, discussing how they are related (i.e. the cause and effect involved) as you go.

A chronological approach can be useful when your essay is about a series of events. Don’t rule out other approaches, though—even when the chronological approach is the obvious one, you might be able to bring out more with a different structure.

Explore the tabs below to see a general template and a specific example outline from an essay on the invention of the printing press.

  • Thesis statement
  • Discussion of event/period
  • Consequences
  • Importance of topic
  • Strong closing statement
  • Claim that the printing press marks the end of the Middle Ages
  • Background on the low levels of literacy before the printing press
  • Thesis statement: The invention of the printing press increased circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation
  • High levels of illiteracy in medieval Europe
  • Literacy and thus knowledge and education were mainly the domain of religious and political elites
  • Consequence: this discouraged political and religious change
  • Invention of the printing press in 1440 by Johannes Gutenberg
  • Implications of the new technology for book production
  • Consequence: Rapid spread of the technology and the printing of the Gutenberg Bible
  • Trend for translating the Bible into vernacular languages during the years following the printing press’s invention
  • Luther’s own translation of the Bible during the Reformation
  • Consequence: 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

Essays with two or more main subjects are often structured around comparing and contrasting . For example, a literary analysis essay might compare two different texts, and an argumentative essay might compare the strengths of different arguments.

There are two main ways of structuring a compare-and-contrast essay: the alternating method, and the block method.


In the alternating method, each paragraph compares your subjects in terms of a specific point of comparison. These points of comparison are therefore what defines each paragraph.

The tabs below show a general template for this structure, and a specific example for an essay comparing and contrasting distance learning with traditional classroom learning.

  • Synthesis of arguments
  • Topical relevance of distance learning in lockdown
  • Increasing prevalence of distance learning over the last decade
  • Thesis statement: While distance learning has certain advantages, it introduces multiple new accessibility issues that must be addressed for it to be as effective as classroom learning
  • Classroom learning: Ease of identifying difficulties and privately discussing them
  • Distance learning: Difficulty of noticing and unobtrusively helping
  • Classroom learning: Difficulties accessing the classroom (disability, distance travelled from home)
  • Distance learning: Difficulties with online work (lack of tech literacy, unreliable connection, distractions)
  • Classroom learning: Tends to encourage personal engagement among students and with teacher, more relaxed social environment
  • Distance learning: Greater ability to reach out to teacher privately
  • Sum up, emphasize that distance learning introduces more difficulties than it solves
  • Stress the importance of addressing issues with distance learning as it becomes increasingly common
  • Distance learning may prove to be the future, but it still has a long way to go

In the block method, each subject is covered all in one go, potentially across multiple paragraphs. For example, you might write two paragraphs about your first subject and then two about your second subject, making comparisons back to the first.

The tabs again show a general template, followed by another essay on distance learning, this time with the body structured in blocks.

  • Point 1 (compare)
  • Point 2 (compare)
  • Point 3 (compare)
  • Point 4 (compare)
  • Advantages: Flexibility, accessibility
  • Disadvantages: Discomfort, challenges for those with poor internet or tech literacy
  • Advantages: Potential for teacher to discuss issues with a student in a separate private call
  • Disadvantages: Difficulty of identifying struggling students and aiding them unobtrusively, lack of personal interaction among students
  • Advantages: More accessible to those with low tech literacy, equality of all sharing one learning environment
  • Disadvantages: Students must live close enough to attend, commutes may vary, classrooms not always accessible for disabled students
  • Advantages: Ease of picking up on signs a student is struggling, more personal interaction among students
  • Disadvantages: May be harder for students to approach teacher privately in person to raise issues

An essay that concerns a specific problem (practical or theoretical) may be structured according to the problems-methods-solutions approach.

This is just what it sounds like: You define the problem, characterize a method or theory that may solve it, and finally analyze the problem, using this method or theory to arrive at a solution. If the problem is theoretical, the solution might be the analysis you present in the essay itself; otherwise, you might just present a proposed solution.

The tabs below show a template for this structure and an example outline for an essay about the problem of fake news.

  • Introduce the problem
  • Provide background
  • Describe your approach to solving it
  • Define the problem precisely
  • Describe why it’s important
  • Indicate previous approaches to the problem
  • Present your new approach, and why it’s better
  • Apply the new method or theory to the problem
  • Indicate the solution you arrive at by doing so
  • Assess (potential or actual) effectiveness of solution
  • Describe the implications
  • Problem: The growth of “fake news” online
  • Prevalence of polarized/conspiracy-focused news sources online
  • Thesis statement: Rather than attempting to stamp out online fake news through social media moderation, an effective approach to combating it must work with educational institutions to improve media literacy
  • Definition: Deliberate disinformation designed to spread virally online
  • Popularization of the term, growth of the phenomenon
  • Previous approaches: Labeling and moderation on social media platforms
  • Critique: This approach feeds conspiracies; the real solution is to improve media literacy so users can better identify fake news
  • Greater emphasis should be placed on media literacy education in schools
  • This allows people to assess news sources independently, rather than just being told which ones to trust
  • This is a long-term solution but could be highly effective
  • It would require significant organization and investment, but would equip people to judge news sources more effectively
  • Rather than trying to contain the spread of fake news, we must teach the next generation not to fall for it

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Signposting means guiding the reader through your essay with language that describes or hints at the structure of what follows.  It can help you clarify your structure for yourself as well as helping your reader follow your ideas.

The essay overview

In longer essays whose body is split into multiple named sections, the introduction often ends with an overview of the rest of the essay. This gives a brief description of the main idea or argument of each section.

The overview allows the reader to immediately understand what will be covered in the essay and in what order. Though it describes what  comes later in the text, it is generally written in the present tense . The following example is from a literary analysis essay on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein .


Transition words and phrases are used throughout all good essays to link together different ideas. They help guide the reader through your text, and an essay that uses them effectively will be much easier to follow.

Various different relationships can be expressed by transition words, as shown in this example.

Because Hitler failed to respond to the British ultimatum, France and the UK declared war on Germany. Although it was an outcome the Allies had hoped to avoid, they were prepared to back up their ultimatum in order to combat the existential threat posed by the Third Reich.

Transition sentences may be included to transition between different paragraphs or sections of an essay. A good transition sentence moves the reader on to the next topic while indicating how it relates to the previous one.

… Distance learning, then, seems to improve accessibility in some ways while representing a step backwards in others.

However , considering the issue of personal interaction among students presents a different picture.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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  • Post hoc fallacy
  • Appeal to authority fallacy
  • False cause fallacy
  • Sunk cost fallacy

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The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.

The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.

An essay isn’t just a loose collection of facts and ideas. Instead, it should be centered on an overarching argument (summarized in your thesis statement ) that every part of the essay relates to.

The way you structure your essay is crucial to presenting your argument coherently. A well-structured essay helps your reader follow the logic of your ideas and understand your overall point.

Comparisons in essays are generally structured in one of two ways:

  • The alternating method, where you compare your subjects side by side according to one specific aspect at a time.
  • The block method, where you cover each subject separately in its entirety.

It’s also possible to combine both methods, for example by writing a full paragraph on each of your topics and then a final paragraph contrasting the two according to a specific metric.

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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Drafting the English Essay

  • Creating an outline
  • The use of "I" (first-person)
  • Historical present
  • Drafting body paragraphs
  • The introduction
  • The conclusion

Creating an Outline

Making an outline before you start to write has the same advantage as writing down your thesis as soon as you have one. It forces you to think about the best possible order for what you want to say and to think through your line of thought before you have to write sentences and paragraphs.

Remember that an essay and its outline do not have to be structured into five paragraphs.  Think about major points, sections or parts of your essay, rather than paragraphs. The number of sections you have will depend on what you have to say and how you think your thesis needs to be supported. It is possible to structure an essay around two major points, each divided into sub-points. Or you may structure an essay around four, five or six points, depending on the essay's length. An essay under 1500 words may fall naturally into three sections, but let the number come from what you have to say rather than striving for the magic three.

Creating an outline also helps you avoid the temptation of organizing your essay by following the plot line of the text you are writing about and simply retelling the story with a few of your own comments thrown in. If you conscientiously make an outline that is ordered to best support your thesis, which is there in print before your eyes, your essay’s organization will be based on supporting your argument not on the text’s plotline.

Read more on organizing your essay

Writing the Draft

If you have followed good essay-writing practice, which includes developing a narrowed topic and analytical thesis, reading closely and taking careful notes, and creating an organized outline, you will find that writing your essay is much less difficult than if you simply sit down and plunge in with a vague topic in mind.

Always keep your reader in mind when you write. Work to convince this reader that your argument is valid and has merit. To do this, you must write clearly. The best writing is the product of drafting and revising.

As you write your rough draft, your ideas will develop, so it is helpful to accept the messy process of drafting. Review your sections as you write, but leave most of the revision for when you have a completed first draft. When you revise, you can refine your ideas by making your language more specific and direct, by developing your explanation of a quotation, and by explaining the connections between your ideas. Remember that your goal is clear expression; use a formal tone, avoid slang and colloquial terms, and be precise in your language.

Stylistic Notes for Writing the English Essay

The use of "i".

The judicious use of "I" in English essays is generally accepted. (You may run into a professor who doesn't want you to and says so, and, in that case, don't). The key is to not to overuse "I". When writing your draft, you may find it helpful to get your thoughts flowing by writing "I think that..." but when you revise, you will find that those three words can be eliminated from the sentences they begin.

For example:

I think that these poems also share a rather detached, unemotional, matter-of-fact acceptance of death.

Revised: These poems share a rather detached, unemotional, matter-of-fact acceptance of death.

I think death, dying, and the moments that precede dying preoccupy Dickinson.

Revised: Death, dying, and the moments the precede dying preoccupy Dickinson.

The Historical Present

Instructors generally agree that students should use the the present tense, which is known as the historical present, when describing events in a work of literature (or a film) or when discussing what authors or scholars say about a topic or issue, even when the work of literature is from the past or uses the past tense itself, or the authors and scholars are dead.

Examples of historical present:

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream , Bottom is a uniformly comedic figure.

Kyi argues that “democracy is the political system through which an empowerment of the people occurs.” 

It is considered more accurate to use the present tense in these circumstances because the arguments put forward by scholars, and the characters presented and scenes depicted by novelists, poets, and dramatists continue to live in the present whenever anyone reads them. An added benefit is that many find the use of the historical present tense makes for a more lively style and a stronger voice.

Drafting Body Paragraphs

The body of the essay will be made up of the claims or points you are making, supported by evidence from the primary source, the work in question, and perhaps some secondary sources. Your supporting evidence may be quotations of words or phrases from the text, as well as details about character, setting, plot, syntax, diction, images and anything else you have found in the work that is relevant to your argument.

Writing successful paragraphs

You may find yourself quoting often, and that is fine. The words from the text are, after all, the support for the argument you are making, and they show that your ideas came from somewhere and are grounded in the text. But try to keep your quotations as short and pertinent as possible. Use quotations effectively to support your interpretation or arguments; be sure to explain the quotation: what does it illustrates and how?

Effectively integrating evidence

Make sure you don't use or quote words whose definition or meaning you are not sure about. As a student of English literature, you should make regular use of a good dictionary; many academics recommend the Oxford English Dictionary . Not knowing what a word means or misunderstanding how it is used can undermine a whole argument. When you read and write about authors from previous centuries, you will often have to familiarize yourself with new words. To write good English essays, you must take the time to do this.

Sample Body Paragraph

This body paragraph is a sample only. Its content is not to be reproduced in whole or part. Use of the ideas or words in this essay is an act of plagiarism, which is subject to academic integrity policy at Trent University and other academic institutions.

“Because I could not stop for Death” describes the process of dying right up to and past the moment of death, in the first person.  This process is described symbolically. The speaker, walking along the road of life is picked up and given a carriage ride out of town to her destination, the graveyard and death. The speaker, looking back, says that she “could not stop for Death – / [so] He kindly stopped for” her (1-2).  Dickinson personifies death as a “kindly” (2) masculine being with “civility” (6). As the two “slowly dr[i]ve” (5) down the road of life, the speaker observes life in its simplicity: the “School,” (9), “the Fields of Gazing Grain” (11), and the “Setting Sun” (12), and realizes that this road out of town is the road out of life. The road’s ending at “a House that seemed / A Swelling of the Ground” (17-18) is a life’s ending at death, “Eternity” (24).  Once in the House that is the speaker’s grave, that is, after death, the speaker remains conscious. Her death is not experienced as a loss of consciousness, a sleep or oblivion. Her sense of time does change though:

Since then – 'tis Centuries – and yet Feels shorter than the Day I first surmised the Horses' Heads Were toward Eternity – (20-24) 

It has become difficult for the speaker to tell the difference between a century and a day. But she knows it has been “Centuries” since then, so the implication is that her consciousness has lived on in an eternal afterlife.

What works in the sample paragraph?

  • The topic sentence makes a clear claim that the rest of the paragraph develops through details, quotations and analysis.
  • The quotation is followed by the writer’s analysis of the quoted words and argument about their implication. This is the best way to use textual evidence.

The Introduction

Often, the introduction is the hardest part to write. Here you make your first impression, introduce the topic, provide background information, define key terms perhaps, and, most important, present your thesis, upon which the entire essay hangs. Many people find it easiest to write the introduction last or to write a very rough introduction that they change significantly once the draft is complete.  

Strategies for writing the introduction

Sample Introduction

This introductory paragraph is a sample only. Its content is not to be reproduced in whole or part. Use of the ideas or words in this essay is an act of plagiarism, which is subject to academic integrity policy at Trent University and other academic institutions.

Emily Dickinson was captivated by the riddle of death, and several of her poems deal with it in different ways. There are many poems that describe, in the first person, the process of dying right up to and including the moment of death, often recalled from a vantage point after death in some sort of afterlife. As well, several poems speculate more generally about what lies beyond the visible world our senses perceive in life. This essay examines four of Dickinson’s poems that are about dying and death and one that is more speculative. Two are straightforwardly about dying, while the other two present dying symbolically, but taken together they show many similarities.   Death is experienced matter-of-factly and without fear and with a full consciousness that registers details and describes them clearly. All the poems examined hint at an afterlife which is not described in traditionally Christian terms but which is not contradictory to Christian belief either. Yet death remains a riddle. While one poem may emphasize an afterlife of peace, silence and anchors at rest, others only hint at an ongoing consciousness, and one both asserts that something beyond life exists while also saying that belief is really only a narcotic that cannot completely still the pain of doubt. Dying, the moment of death, and what comes after preoccupy Dickinson: in these poems, death and eternity both “beckon” and “baffle” (Dickinson, “This World is not Conclusion” 5).

What works in this sample introduction?

  • This essay has a good, narrowed, focused topic.
  • The introduction does not include a general statement about life or poetry. The essay is about five poems by Dickinson, and right from the beginning, its focus is on that.
  • The thesis of the essay is one sentence, but it may be more. Note that this thesis statement does not list supporting points; a good thesis statement provides the organizing principle of the essay, and the essay writer has decided to let the supporting points appear throughout the body of the essay.

The Conclusion

An effective conclusion unifies the arguments in your essay and explains the broader meaning or significance of your analysis. It is best to think of the conclusion as an opportunity to synthesize your ideas, not just summarize them. It is also your chance to explain the larger significance of your argument: if your reader now agrees with your thesis, what do they understand about the theme, the text, or the author?

Strategies for writing the conclusion

Sample Conclusion

This concluding paragraph is a sample only. Its content is not to be reproduced in whole or part. Use of the ideas or words in this essay is an act of plagiarism, which is subject to academic integrity policy at Trent University and other academic institutions.

In many ways, “On this wondrous sea” sums up the attitude toward death and eternity seen in all the poems examined. Death is experienced without fear, and life is shown as leading up to death and eternity. What exactly this eternity is like is only hinted at in most of these poems. So, what is beyond continues to “baffle,” but none of the poems present death as extinction with nothing beyond; rather what is beyond “beckons.” Death and eternity are something known, a grave that is a house, a consciousness living on, a shore to which we come “at last” after a life both stormy and “wondrous.”

What works in this sample conclusion?

  • This paragraph does not just repeat the introduction. It pulls together the main ideas contained in the entire essay to try to point out their larger significance. Rather than a point-by-point list, it is a summary of what it all means taken together.
  • Understanding The English Essay
  • Developing a Topic and Thesis for an English Essay
  • Using Secondary Sources in an English Essay
  • Glossary of Common Formal Elements of Literature
  • Documenting Sources in MLA Style (Modern Languages Association)


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    Step I. Identify the Topic. The first step in creating an outline for any essay is to identify the topic you will be writing on, this would involve clearly stating what the essay is going to be about. This would provide your reader with an idea of what to expect in the essay.

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    Maintain a formal and analytical tone appropriate for a critical essay. Use clear and concise language to convey your ideas effectively. Select an essay topic that aligns with your interests and allows for in-depth analysis. The relevance of your topic will contribute to a more engaging and compelling critical essay.

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    Introduction: The introductory paragraph of your essay should outline the topic, provide background information necessary to understand your argument, outline the evidence you will present and include your thesis statement. Your thesis should be a concise summary of the main point of your essay. 2. First body paragraph: Each body paragraph ...

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    Organize your ideas and gather information for your essays by learning to write a proper essay outline. You'll save time and present a polished piece!

  16. Outlining

    Making a detailed outline before you begin writing is a good way to make sure your ideas come across in a clear and logical order. A good outline will also save you time in the revision process, reducing the possibility that your ideas will need to be rearranged once you've written them. The First Steps. Before you can begin outlining, you need ...

  17. How to Structure an Essay

    The basic structure of an essay always consists of an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. But for many students, the most difficult part of structuring an essay is deciding how to organize information within the body. This article provides useful templates and tips to help you outline your essay, make decisions about your structure, and ...

  18. PDF Essay Planning: Outlining with a Purpose

    The outline allows the writer to preview and rehearse the contents of the essay before drafting. Step Three: Elaborate on Supporting Information and Include Essay Details At this point, you have enough information in your outline to construct a strong paragraph. If you

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    How to write an essay outline in detail. First, you need to create a decimal outline structure. 1. Introduction (60-70 words). Reflect the idea of the future essay and the main thesis statement. 2. The main body (including several body paragraphs) is 200-250 words. a.

  20. Drafting the English Essay

    The best writing is the product of drafting and revising. As you write your rough draft, your ideas will develop, so it is helpful to accept the messy process of drafting. Review your sections as you write, but leave most of the revision for when you have a completed first draft. When you revise, you can refine your ideas by making your ...