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Why write an essay outline.
An essay outline will help you organize your main ideas and determine the order in which you are going to write about them. In some cases, a decimal outline may allow you to organize your details better. Writing an outline with an alphanumeric structure is another very effective way to think through how you will organize and present the information in your essay. It also helps you develop a strong argumentative essay.
Looking for a printable list of essay outline examples?
Our printable PDF features essay outline examples and templates that your students can use as examples when writing research papers, or as a supplement for an essay-writing unit.
Sample Outline - Persuasive Essay
Competitive Swimming, an Ideal Sport for Kids
Start your argumentative essay outline by stating your point of view and/or present your persuasive argument.
Thesis: Competitive swimming is a great alternative to other youth sports.
Body Paragraph 1
Introduce your primary persuasive argument and provide supporting details in your argumentative essay outline.
Topic Sentence: Competitive swimming provides the same benefits as other sports.
- Detail Sentence 1: It is good exercise and builds muscular strength.
- Detail Sentence 2: It promotes cooperation among team members, especially in relays.
Body Paragraph 2
Introduce a secondary argument and provide supporting details.
Topic Sentence: Competitive swimming provides some unique additional benefits.
- Detail Sentence 1: Swimming is an important skill that can be used forever.
- Detail Sentence 2: Swimming poses a reduced risk of injury.
- Detail Sentence 3: Each swimmer can easily chart his or her own progress.
Conclude your essay writing with a summary of the thesis and persuasive arguments. Brainstorming details that support your point-of-view is a great way to start before creating your outline and first draft.
Concluding Sentence: There are many reasons why competitive swimming is a great alternative to other youth sports, including...
Sample Outline - Narrative Essay
How Losing a Swim Meet Made Me a Better Swimmer
Introduce the subject of your narrative essay using a thesis statement and a plan of development (POD).
Thesis: The first time I participated in a competitive swim meet, I finished in last place. With more focused training and coaching, I was able to finish 2nd in the State Championship meet.
Plan of development: I was very disappointed in my results from the first meet, so I improved my training and fitness. This helped me swim better and faster, which helped me to greatly improve my results.
Set the scene and provide supporting details. Again, start by brainstorming different ways to begin; then go ahead and craft an outline and a first draft.
Topic Sentence: I was embarrassed at finishing last in my first competitive swim meet, so I began working on ways to improve my performance.
- Detail Sentence 1: I spent extra time with my coach and the team captains learning how to improve my technique.
- Detail Sentence 2: I started running and lifting weights to increase my overall fitness level.
Provide additional supporting details, descriptions, and experiences to develop your general idea in your essay writing.
Topic Sentence: Over time, my results began to improve and I was able to qualify for the state championship meet.
- Detail Sentence 1: My technique and fitness level made me faster and able to swim longer distances.
- Detail Sentence 2: I steadily got better, and I began winning or placing in the top 3 at most of my meets.
- Detail Sentence 3: My results improved to the point that I was able to qualify for the state championship meet.
Body Paragraph 3
The next step in the writing process is to provide additional supporting details, descriptions, and experiences. You can then divide them up under different headings.
Topic Sentence: With my new confidence, techniques, and fitness level, I was able to finish 2nd at the state championship meet.
- Detail Sentence 1: I was able to swim well against a higher level of competition due to my training and technique.
- Detail Sentence 2: I was no longer embarrassed about my last-place finish, and was able to use it as motivation!
Conclude the narrative essay with a recap of the events described or a reflection on the lesson learned in the story. Briefly summarize the details you included under each heading.
Concluding Sentence: I used my last-place finish in my first competitive swim meet as motivation to improve my performance.
Sample Outline - Descriptive Essay
Visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame
Introduce the subject of your descriptive essay with a thesis statement covering the person, place, object, etc. you are writing about.
Thesis: The Hockey Hall of Fame is full of sights, sounds, and experiences that will delight hockey fans of all ages.
Set the scene and provide factual details.
Topic Sentence: The Hockey Hall of Fame is located in Toronto, Canada and features exhibits from amateur and professional hockey.
- Detail Sentence 1: The Hall is located in downtown Toronto and is visited by 1 million people every year.
- Detail Sentence 2: You can see exhibits ranging from the early beginnings of the sport to the modern NHL and Olympics.
Provide additional sensory details, descriptions, and experiences.
Topic Sentence: There are many types of exhibits and shows, including activities you can participate in.
- Detail Sentence 1: Player statues, plaques, and jerseys decorate the walls in every room of the Hall.
- Detail Sentence 2: Many of the exhibits have movies and multimedia activities that make you feel like you're part of the game.
- Detail Sentence 3: You can even practice shooting pucks on virtual versions of some of the game's greatest goalies!
Conclude the essay with a paragraph that restates the thesis and recaps the descriptive and sensory details.
Concluding Sentence: The Hockey Hall of Fame is an experience that combines the best sights, sounds and history of the game in Toronto.
Sample Outline - Expository Essay
Why The School Year Should be Shorter
Introduce the primary argument or main point of an expository essay, or other types of academic writing, using a thesis statement and context.
Thesis: The school year is too long, and should be shortened to benefit students and teachers, save districts money, and improve test scores and academic results. Other countries have shorter school years, and achieve better results.
Describe the primary argument and provide supporting details and evidence.
Topic Sentence: A shorter school year would benefit students and teachers by giving them more time off.
- Detail Sentence 1: Students and teachers would be able to spend more time with their families.
- Detail Sentence 2: Teachers would be refreshed and rejuvenated and able to teach more effectively.
Provide additional supporting details and evidence, as in this essay outline example.
Topic Sentence: A shorter school year would save school districts millions of dollars per year.
- Detail Sentence 1: Districts could save money on energy costs by keeping schools closed longer.
- Detail Sentence 2: A shorter school year means much lower supply and transportation costs.
- Detail Sentence 3: Well-rested and happy students would help improve test scores.
Provide additional or supplemental supporting details, evidence, and analysis, as in the essay outline example.
Topic Sentence: Shortening the school year would also provide many benefits for parents and caregivers.
- Detail Sentence 1: A shorter school year would mean less stress and running around for parents.
- Detail Sentence 2: Caregivers would have more balance in their lives with fewer days in the school year.
Conclude the essay with an overview of the main argument, and highlight the importance of your evidence and conclusion.
Concluding Sentence: Shortening the school year would be a great way to improve the quality of life for students, teachers, and parents while saving money for districts and improving academic results.
Sample Research Paper Outline
The Conquest of Mt. Everest
- Location of Mt. Everest
- Geography of the Surrounding Area
- Height of the mountain
- Jomolungma (Tibetan name)
- Sagarmatha (Nepalese name)
- The number of people who have climbed Everest to date
- First to reach the summit (1953)
- Led a team of experienced mountain climbers who worked together
- Norgay was an experienced climber and guide who accompanied Hillary
- Sherpas still used to guide expeditions
- Leader of the failed 1996 expedition
- Led group of (mainly) tourists with little mountain climbing experience
- Loss of trees due to high demand for wood for cooking and heating for tourists.
- Piles of trash left by climbing expeditions
- Expedition fees provide income for the country
- Expeditions provide work for the Sherpas, contributing to the local economy.
- Introduction of motor vehicles
- Introduction of electricity
The Everest essay outline template is based on a research paper submitted by Alexandra Ferber, grade 9.
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This resource describes why outlines are useful, what types of outlines exist, suggestions for developing effective outlines, and how outlines can be used as an invention strategy for writing.
Why create an outline? There are many reasons, but in general, it may be helpful to create an outline when you want to show the hierarchical relationship or logical ordering of information. For research papers, an outline may help you keep track of large amounts of information. For creative writing, an outline may help organize the various plot threads and help keep track of character traits. Many people find that organizing an oral report or presentation in outline form helps them speak more effectively in front of a crowd. Below are the primary reasons for creating an outline.
- Aids in the process of writing
- Helps you organize your ideas
- Presents your material in a logical form
- Shows the relationships among ideas in your writing
- Constructs an ordered overview of your writing
- Defines boundaries and groups
How do I create an outline?
- Determine the purpose of your paper.
- Determine the audience you are writing for.
- Develop the thesis of your paper.
- Brainstorm : List all the ideas that you want to include in your paper.
- Organize : Group related ideas together.
- Order : Arrange material in subsections from general to specific or from abstract to concrete.
- Label : Create main and sub headings.
Remember: creating an outline before writing your paper will make organizing your thoughts a lot easier. Whether you follow the suggested guidelines is up to you, but making any kind of outline (even just some jotting down some main ideas) will be beneficial to your writing process.
The Writing Process
Making expository writing less stressful, more efficient, and more enlightening, search form, you are here.
- Step 2: Plan and organize
Sample Detailed Outline
"Organize. Organize. Organize." —U.S. Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Al Gore
Below is an example of a detailed outline. (It is for a research paper, but the principles and structure apply to any paper.) Notice the hierarchical use of the roman numeral system . Such a hierarchy is key to organizing your thinking and your argument and keeping track of the relationships between your ideas.
quote from movie like Independence Day to get readers’ attention SOURCE: IMDB.com
world preparing to welcome with festivities and open arms the aliens coming to Earth from Andromeda galaxy
Thesis (complete sentence!): Although the aliens seem friendly and say they come in peace, Earth’s number one priority should be to build a defense shield before they arrive.
On March 15, 2016, we discovered not alone in universe: irregular but repeating signal discovered from nearby Andromeda. SOURCE: NYTimes , 3/16/16
Different scientists have decoded the message differently
Commonly accepted interpretation friendly:
“Greetings, people of Earth. We have detected and watched your reports (e.g., The Big Bang Theory ) documenting typical life on Earth. We are currently on our way to Earth to begin our friendship and will arrive in Earth year 2020. Prepare yourselves for a glorious future [unclear signals].” (SOURCE: Michaels, “Aliens Are Our Friends,” People )
still parts of the message undecoded (SOURCE?
all scientists agree: Aliens arriving in 2020 (Source: Fredericks, Wall Street Journal )
Argument: there are signs that message is a warning and that aliens are planning to attack
Prof. Alan Guthman, Harvard Center for Astrophysics, makes case (SOURCE: Guthman, “We Do Not Come in Peace”)
With only one message to work with, we have little clue of tone of message
If we interpret three different patterns in signal differently, tone much different: “Attention, Earthlings. We have observed your unusual lives. We are coming to Earth to…[unclear]. Prepare yourselves for life under our control.”
With all the videos we broadcast into space, an alien race would assume that we are hostile and act accordingly
Logic: Even if these aliens are friendly, it is better to be safe than sorry and protect ourselves
FIND: Estimates of the number of intelligent races in the nearby universe and the probability that at least one of them is hostile and technologically advanced
Argument: Estimates show that workable shield surrounding Earth can be constructed by 2020
If nations of Earth collaborate, we can build shield that will block incoming ships and weapons fire (SOURCE. Teller, “Shielding the Earth,” Physics Rev. Letters )
Will cost huge amounts of $$, but:
if spread out among many countries, affordable FIND. Estimates of costs
We can’t afford NOT to build it
Argument: Building shield will both stimulate global economy and result in very useful new technologies
FIND! Evidence on how previous projects—moon landing, the International Space Station, emergency stimulus packages—created
jobs –find stats!
new products & companies
FIND! I don’t have concrete evidence for this, but I remember hearing how the moon landing and international space station resulted in the creation of new, useful technologies
Counterargument: If we build shield and they detect it, it could signal that we are hostile and provoke the aliens to attack
Missile defense shields on Earth have often provoked international tensions. SOURCE: M. Pritchard, “If You Build It, They Will Attack.” ( Boston Globe )
FIND source that shows that
such tensions do not necessarily lead to attack and
any intelligent race will understand need for others to be prepared to defend themselves.
Counterargument: We are probably not able to build shield that would work against such a technologically advanced race
non-sequitor. fact that it may not work does not mean that it won’t and that we should not try to protect ourselves.
We have no way of knowing the intensions of a group we have never met on the basis of one message.
The only sensible approach is to try to defend ourselves, especially when there will be benefits for trying such as jobs and new technologies.
- As I learned in Las Vegas, “Never risk what you cannot afford to lose.” Can we afford to risk our children’s lives?
Click here to create a detailed outline from your freewrite/brainstorm using GoogleDocs.
How to Write an Essay Outline: MLA and APA Styles
Outlining is a form of organization which is used among authors of all writing styles. The common organizational method allows writers to list all of their research and ideas in one place before the writing process starts. Understanding the general college essay outline can go a long way in getting your thoughts structured, as well as positive feedback from your professor. Take a look at this guide from our coursework writing services team to learn how to write an outline.
What Is an Outline?
An essay outline is one of the main planning methods when it comes to writing academic papers, scholarly articles, informative guides, novels, and encyclopedias. The everyday paper outline contains the headings: Introduction, Body, and Conclusion. Every source is organized by relevance to strengthen the writing process. There are various formats when it comes to outlining, but the main formats required for a college essay outline is MLA and APA.
Regardless of whether you’re writing an MLA or APA outline, the organizational process remains the same with some minor differences. The main difference being APA uses abstracts, as it requires one or two sentences per line. APA is used for humanities, as MLA is used more for social studies. Other than that, the simple outline remains the same for any kind of academic paper structure.
How to Write an Outline?
The most common college essay is 5 paragraphs. Thus, an easy way to remember the general format of a writing plan is to think of it as planning a 5 paragraph essay outline where students would write an Introduction, Thesis, Body, and Conclusion. Then, fit a total of 5 paragraphs within the basic structure. The same practice can be done with planning, except rather than paragraphs, it’s notes. The exact same method would apply to an argumentative essay outline and any other kind of paper structure throughout and beyond college.
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The Key-Elements to Outlining
- Research & Notes: Before the writing process, it is essential to find credible sources and note them down. Search across credible websites, as well as academic search engines, Google Scholar or Oxford Academic, to find reliable references to include in an academic paper.
- Prioritize Your Thesis: As the thesis statement is a summary of the entire paper, start prioritizing it before working on the other sections of the outline. The thesis can guide you along the planning and writing process.
- Write Your Ideas: Assuming you have already written out the basic headings of an outline, write down all of the key points from your found sources in the Thesis and Body sections.
- Where to Include References: For cause and effect, AP English examinations, SAT essays, admission essays, along with other formal writing styles, all of the references are included in the body section. Excluding reflection paper and analytical papers, where it’s acceptable to include a citation within the introductory paragraph.
- Introduction: For most academic styles, the introduction is the opening line to the paper. Thus, it is essential to plan something catchy within the outline. As mentioned, writing styles, for example, reflection essay or analytical paper, allow for the use of citation as an opening.
- The Conclusion: The entire paper should be summarized in the final paragraph, restating the thesis in the first sentence, adding suggestions, predictions, and/or opinions in the sentences that follow. As for the final sentence, it should summarize the goal of the paper.
General Outline Format
Here is an outline format from our business essay writing services professionals:
- Essay Title:
- Student Name:
- Professor’s Name:
- Class (Optional)
- Opening Paragraph.
- Brief Description of the Entire Paper.
- Link Sentence to the First Body Paragraph.
Body Paragraph 1
- Explanation (Related to the Thesis).
- Link Sentence to the Second Body Paragraph.
Body Paragraph 2
- Link Sentence to the Third Body Paragraph.
Body Paragraph 3
- Link Sentence to the Conclusion.
- Summary of the Entire Paper.
- A Conclusive Sentence.
- Footnotes or Bibliography
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We understand that it may be difficult to differentiate between an MLA & APA Outline. The methods both depend on the referencing styles. APA outlining makes the use of abstracts, as MLA uses sentence citations. In an MLA outline, a title page is not necessary. As the APA referencing style requires it, include it on the outline. Take a look at an outline example below to get a better idea.
MLA Outline Example
- Introductory Sentence: Stonehenge is a vast hub for ancient history.
- Link Sentence to the Thesis: Standing 13 feet high, it is one of the oldest structures in the UK.
- Description of the Paper: The paper describes how Stonehenge was built and its purpose.
- First Argument/Claim: Stonehenge was built in 3001BC.
- Second Argument/Claim: Stonehenge is known to be a place for religious worship.
- Third Argument/Claim: Other Stonehenge-like structures exist around Europe.
- Reference: The circulation ditch around Stonehenge is believed to have been constructed around the year 3000BC, according to studies.
- Explanation/Claim: Around the end of stone-age, pagans got together and built the first segment to what has become stone-henge.
- Link Sentence: Which brings up the matter of belief.
- Reference: During the late Tudor era, most people believed that ancient Britons placed the stones for the sole purpose of religious practice.
- Explanation/Claim: From the late 2nd millennium AD to modern day, the practice of Paganism is the common explanation for the reason why stone-henge was built.
- Link Sentence: More evidence emerges regarding the mysterious structure.
- Reference: Around 1100 BC, Stonehenge-like stones emerged.
- Explanation/Claim : The structure is believed to have been built by migrants.
- Link Sentence:
- Summary of the Paper: Overall, the ancient stones have caused great interest throughout human history with science and assumptions.
- Conclusive Sentence: No one knows for sure how they were built.
- “History of Stonehenge” https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/history-and-stories/history/
- “Why Was Stonehenge Built?” https://www.history.com/news/why-was-stonehenge-built
- “Stonehenge Is Not Alone: 7 Ancient Megaliths You've Never Seen.” https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/travel/stonehenge-not-alone-7-ancient-megaliths-youve-never-seen
APA Outline Example
- Title: The Dangers of Using Cell-Phones
- Student Name: Jake Smith
- Professor’s Name: Dr. Stephen Miller
- Class (Optional): Class of 2019
- Introductory Sentence: Mobile phones have taken a drastic effect on our daily lives in the worst possible way.
- Link Sentence to the Thesis: The everyday use of mobile technology has gone out of control.
- Description: The paper describes the regular dangers and negative effects on humans regarding cell-phone usage. The ordeal can be life-threatening, or simply socially depriving.
- First argument: High amounts of cell-phone usage results in negative health consequences.
- Second Argument: Cell-phone usage has a negative effect on human interaction.
- Third Argument: Texting while driving is worse than drinking and driving.
- Evidence/Reference: “Mobile phones communicate with base stations using radiofrequency (RF) radiation. If RF radiation is high enough, it has a ‘thermal’ effect, which means it raises body temperature. There are concerns that the low levels of RF radiation emitted by mobile phones could cause health problems such as headaches or brain tumors.” (“Mobile phones and your health”)
- Explanation/Claim: The radiation from phones possesses cancerous elements after long-term usage. In other words, one’s long-term cell-phone usage can put him or herself at risk of terminal illness, or worse. There is still a lack of evidence to this claim as cell-phones have not been around for very long.
- Link Sentence: Which brings us to how cell-phones are destroying human interaction.
- Evidence/Reference: “Sherry Turkle argues that the use of cell phones while in social situations affects the quality of human conversation. Turkle says that it makes people less open and honest in conversation. She also says it makes people less empathetic. She uses a school of children as an example, stating that the children do not seem to be able to understand each other or show empathy toward each other.” (“Cell-Phones and Human Interaction.”)
- Explanation/Claim: Mobile phone usage has gotten to the extent that humans are no longer communicating. Families go out to restaurants, cafes, and parks without interacting with each other due to their addiction to cell-phones. Humans have also possessed far less empathy compared with 15 years ago due to the missing interaction that could have been obtained during this time period. This shows mostly in school children who have been born into this way of life.
- Link Sentence: Apart from that, cell-phone usage while driving also comes with life-threatening risks.
- Evidence/Reference: “The Transport Research Laboratory found that motorists who use their mobile phone to send text messages (...) the research found, with steering control by texters 91 percent poorer than that of drivers devoting their full concentration to the road.” (“Texting while driving is more dangerous than drink-driving.” )
- Explanation/Claim: Using a mobile device while driving a motor vehicle has more of a drastic effect than drink-driving. On record, there have been more deaths around the world from text-driving and drink-driving.
- Link Sentence to the Conclusion: Humans are completely addicted to mobile phones, to the extent of dangerous driving, health-risks, and a lack of interaction.
- Summary of the Entire Paper: Restate the Thesis.
- Conclusive Sentence: The continuation of excessive usage of mobile phones is becoming a major threat to mankind in every aspect possible.
- “Mobile Phones and Your Health” https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/mobile-phones-and-your-health
- “Cell Phones and Human Interaction.” https://www.theodysseyonline.com/cell-phones-and-human-interaction
- “Texting While Driving Is More Dangerous Than Drink-Driving,” http://www.amta.org.au/articles/amta/Texting.while.driving.is.more.dangerous.than.drinkdriving
We also recommend reading The Divine Comedy Summary , our readers like it a lot, and it may also be helpful in writing essays.
Regardless of the writing style, the main essay format acts as a helping hand in multiple ways to any kind of author. Knowing the general plan of an essay can highly benefit those writing their everyday college paper or dissertation by having all of the ideas and references on a writing plan. For example, a persuasive essay outline does not differentiate from a research paper plan. Thus, knowing the general outline format can make producing academic papers far easier by simplifying the entire writing process. Sometimes when you start writing an essay, you may encounter various difficulties like not understanding the topic, lack of time, too tired. You may ask yourself "I want to pay someone to write my paper . Can anyone help me?" Sure! On EssayPro we can give you a hand! Just leave us a request and we'll help asap.
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Are you still having difficulty outlining? Our writers are here to give you a hand to create a well-structured essay outline with references and unique ideas included. Regardless of the subject, academic level, or outline format required, we have got you covered. Click on the button below if you have the " write research paper for me " request or need any other help.
Essay Writing Guide
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
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!
On this Page
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.
Easily Outline Your Essays In Seconds!
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:
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.
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
- 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
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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? 5StarEssays.com is here to help you. All your do my essay for me requests are managed by professional essay writers.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What are the three types of outlines.
Here are the three types of essay outline;
- Working outline
- Speaking outline
- Full-sentence outline
All three types are different from each other and are used for different purposes.
What does a full-sentence outline look like?
A full sentence outline contains full sentences at each level of the essay’s outline. It is similar to an alphanumeric outline and it is a commonly used essay outline.
What is a traditional outline format?
A traditional essay outline begins with writing down all the important points in one place and listing them down and adding sub-topics to them. Besides, it will also include evidence and proof that you will use to back your arguments.
What is the benefit of using a traditional outline format and an informal outline format?
A traditional outline format helps the students in listing down all the important details in one palace while an informal outline will help you coming up with new ideas and highlighting important points
As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova Allison has eight years of experience in writing both technical and scientific content. With a focus on developing online content plans that engage audiences, Nova strives to write pieces that are not only informative but captivating as well.
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How to Outline an Essay
The Purpose of Writing an Essay
- To inform – An essay provides information to the readers.
- To persuade – An essay makes the reader to take actions.
- To explain – An essay helps the readers to understand a process.
- To entertain – An essay also provides an emotional experience to the readers.
What Does It Mean to Outline an Essay?
Creating the outline of the essay.
- Introduction – Part 1: Write an attention-grabbing sentence.
- Introduction – Part 2: Give your thesis statement. The thesis statement is the main idea of your essay.
- Supporting evidence for the first idea.
- Additional supporting evidence for the first idea.
- Another supporting evidence for the first idea.
- Supporting evidence for the second idea.
- Additional supporting evidence for the second idea.
- Another supporting evidence for the second idea.
- Supporting evidence for the third idea.
- Additional supporting evidence for the third idea.
- Another supporting evidence for the third idea.
- Conclusion – Part 1: Repeat your thesis statement with a different approach.
- Conclusion – Part 2: Summarize your whole essay and provide an insightful message to close your essay.
The Guidelines for an Essay Outline
- Introduction – The first part of the essay.
- Body – The main context of an essay.
- Conclusion – The summary writing of overall ideas or topics.
- The body or the main part of the essay should have a heading and a subheading to highlight important ideas or topics.
- The main ideas or topics of the essay must have a supporting details or evidence to support the ideas or topics of the essay.
- The thesis statement must always be present in the introduction and must be repeated in the essay conclusion part.
Does an Essay Outline Needs a Conclusion?
More design, 23+ free outline examples, 10+ analysis essay examples, samples, 10+ essay writing examples, samples, what are the parts of an essay, how to start an essay, 7+ descriptive essay examples, samples, 21+ essay writing examples, how to give your essay contest entries a winning edge.
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How to Write an Outline
Last Updated: September 9, 2023 Fact Checked
This article was co-authored by Emily Listmann, MA and by wikiHow staff writer, Danielle Blinka, MA, MPA . Emily Listmann is a private tutor in San Carlos, California. She has worked as a Social Studies Teacher, Curriculum Coordinator, and an SAT Prep Teacher. She received her MA in Education from the Stanford Graduate School of Education in 2014. There are 8 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 3,935,645 times.
An outline is a great way to organize ideas and information for a speech, an essay, a novel, or a study guide based on your class notes. At first, writing an outline might seem complicated, but learning how to do it will give you an essential organizational skill! Start by planning your outline and choosing a structure for it. Then, you can organize your ideas into an easy to understand outline.
Quick Outline Slideshow
Planning Your Outline
- Some people process their ideas better when they write them down. Additionally, you can easily draw diagrams or examples, which might help you conceptualize the subject. However, it might take longer to write out your outline, and it won't be as neat.
- Typing your outline might be easier if your notes are already typed on the computer, as you can just copy and paste them into your outline. Copying and pasting also allows you to easily rearrange your sections, if necessary. Also, it will be easier to copy and paste information from your outline into your paper if you type your outline. On the other hand, it's harder to jot down notes in the margins or draw out organizational diagrams.
- If you’re working on a creative project, such as a novel, identify your concept, genre, or premise. Then, allow the outlining process to help you structure your work.
- It’s okay if your topic is somewhat broad when you first start, but you should have a direction. For example, your history paper topic could be French life during the German occupation of France in World War II. As you write your outline, you might narrow this down to the resistance fighters called maquisards .
- For a school assignment, review the assignment sheet or talk to your instructor. If the outline is for work, use an existing outline as a model for yours.
- If you are the only person who will see the outline, you can choose formatting that works for you. For example, you might write your outline in shorthand.
- Paraphrased ideas
- Historical facts
- Freewrite as ideas come to you.
- Create a mind map .
- Write your thoughts on index cards.
- For example, you may be writing a paper about policy change. Your thesis might read, “Policy makers should take an incremental approach when making policy changes to reduce conflict, allow adjustments, and foster compromise.” Each of the 3 reasons listed in your thesis will become its own main point in your outline.
Structuring Your Outline
- Roman Numerals - I, II, III, IV, V
- Capitalized Letters - A, B, C
- Arabic Numerals - 1, 2, 3
- Lowercase Letters - a, b, c
- Arabic Numerals in Parentheses - (1), (2), (3)
- 1.1.1 - Each side presents a case before the vote
- 1.1.2 - Citizens voice their opinion
- 1.2 - Neither side gets everything they want
- You might use short phrases to quickly organize your ideas, to outline a speech, or to create an outline that’s just for you.
- You might use full sentences to make it easier to write a final paper, to make a good study guide, or to fulfill the requirements of an assignment.
Organizing Your Ideas
- If you jotted down your ideas or made a mind map, use different colored highlighters to identify ideas that belong in the same group.
- Sort your index cards, if you used them to brainstorm. Put cards with related ideas together. For example, you can put them in stacks, or you can line your cards out in rows to make them easier to read.
- For example, your main point might be that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein champions emotion over reason. Your subpoints might be that Victor Frankenstein is restored by nature and that his scientific efforts create a monster. As supporting details, you might include quotes from the book.
- If you're writing a story or presenting a historical argument, a chronological order makes sense. For an essay or speech, pick the subtopic with the most supporting materials, and lead with this argument. From there, order your major subtopics so each one naturally flows into the next.
- Your broad ideas should connect back to your thesis or controlling idea. If they don’t, rewrite your thesis to reflect the main ideas you’re putting into your outline.
- Hook to grab the audience
- 1-2 general statements about your topic
- Phrase outline: II. Frankenstein champions emotion over reason
- Full sentence outline: II. In Frankenstein , Mary Shelley champions the use of emotion over reason.
- Depending on the purpose of your outline, you might have more subpoints. For example, a novel may have many subpoints. Similarly, a study guide will likely have several subpoints, as well.
- In an essay, this is often where you “prove” your argument.
- For a creative work, you might include essential details you must include in that scene, such as an internal conflict in your main character.
- Similar to subpoints, you may have more supporting details, depending on your purpose. A novel or study guide will likely have more supporting details.
- Roman Numeral
- Capital Letter
- Arabic Numeral
- Lowercase Letter
- Arabic Numeral in Parentheses
- Restate your thesis.
- 1-2 summarizing sentences.
- Write a concluding statement.
Finalizing Your Outline
- This also gives you a chance to look for missing parts or ideas that aren’t fully fleshed. If you see areas that leave questions unanswered, it’s best to fill in those gaps in information.
- If you are making an outline for yourself, you might not worry about this.
- It’s a good idea to have someone else check it for errors, as it’s often hard to recognize errors in your own work.
- While you edit your outline, refer back to your assignment sheet or rubric to make sure you've completely fulfilled the assignment. If not, go back and correct the areas that are lacking.
- You can use more layers if you want to include more information.
- You might also include additional layers for a long creative work or a detailed study guide.
- Be concise and straightforward in your outline. This doesn't have to be perfectly polished writing; it just has to get your point across. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Don't be afraid to eliminate irrelevant information as you conduct more research about your topic and narrow your focus. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- You can use outlines as a memorization tool . Choose concise words to trigger a concept. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
- Generally, you should avoid only having one point or sub-point on any outline level. If there is an A, either come up with a B or fold A's idea into the next level up. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 2
- Your outline should not be your essay in a different form. Only write down the major assertions, not every single detail. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 1
You Might Also Like
- ↑ https://www.iup.edu/writingcenter/writing-resources/organization-and-structure/creating-an-outline.html
- ↑ https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/writingprocess/outlining
- ↑ https://www.ndsu.edu/pubweb/~cinichol/271/OutlinesHowTo.htm
- ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/544/02/
- ↑ https://www.writersdigest.com/write-better-fiction/7-steps-to-creating-a-flexible-outline-for-any-story
- ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/544/03/
- ↑ http://writing2.richmond.edu/writing/wweb/outline.html
About This Article
The easiest way to write an outline is to gather all of your supporting materials, like quotes, statistics, or ideas, before getting started. Next, go over your materials and take notes, grouping similar ideas together. Then, organize your ideas into subtopics and use your materials to provide at least two supporting points per subtopic. Be sure to keep your outline concise and clear, since you’ll have to refer to it later! For more help on how to plan and organize your outline, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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- The four main types of essay | Quick guide with examples
The Four Main Types of Essay | Quick Guide with Examples
Published on September 4, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.
An essay is a focused piece of writing designed to inform or persuade. There are many different types of essay, but they are often defined in four categories: argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive essays.
Argumentative and expository essays are focused on conveying information and making clear points, while narrative and descriptive essays are about exercising creativity and writing in an interesting way. At university level, argumentative essays are the most common type.
In high school and college, you will also often have to write textual analysis essays, which test your skills in close reading and interpretation.
Table of contents
Argumentative essays, expository essays, narrative essays, descriptive essays, textual analysis essays, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about types of essays.
An argumentative essay presents an extended, evidence-based argument. It requires a strong thesis statement —a clearly defined stance on your topic. Your aim is to convince the reader of your thesis using evidence (such as quotations ) and analysis.
Argumentative essays test your ability to research and present your own position on a topic. This is the most common type of essay at college level—most papers you write will involve some kind of argumentation.
The essay is divided into an introduction, body, and conclusion:
- The introduction provides your topic and thesis statement
- The body presents your evidence and arguments
- The conclusion summarizes your argument and emphasizes its importance
The example below is a paragraph from the body of an argumentative essay about the effects of the internet on education. Mouse over it to learn more.
A common frustration for teachers is students’ use of Wikipedia as a source in their writing. Its prevalence among students is not exaggerated; a survey found that the vast majority of the students surveyed used Wikipedia (Head & Eisenberg, 2010). An article in The Guardian stresses a common objection to its use: “a reliance on Wikipedia can discourage students from engaging with genuine academic writing” (Coomer, 2013). Teachers are clearly not mistaken in viewing Wikipedia usage as ubiquitous among their students; but the claim that it discourages engagement with academic sources requires further investigation. This point is treated as self-evident by many teachers, but Wikipedia itself explicitly encourages students to look into other sources. Its articles often provide references to academic publications and include warning notes where citations are missing; the site’s own guidelines for research make clear that it should be used as a starting point, emphasizing that users should always “read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says” (“Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia,” 2020). Indeed, for many students, Wikipedia is their first encounter with the concepts of citation and referencing. The use of Wikipedia therefore has a positive side that merits deeper consideration than it often receives.
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An expository essay provides a clear, focused explanation of a topic. It doesn’t require an original argument, just a balanced and well-organized view of the topic.
Expository essays test your familiarity with a topic and your ability to organize and convey information. They are commonly assigned at high school or in exam questions at college level.
The introduction of an expository essay states your topic and provides some general background, the body presents the details, and the conclusion summarizes the information presented.
A typical body paragraph from an expository essay about the invention of the printing press is shown below. Mouse over it to learn more.
The invention of the printing press in 1440 changed this situation dramatically. Johannes Gutenberg, who had worked as a goldsmith, used his knowledge of metals in the design of the press. He made his type from an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony, whose durability allowed for the reliable production of high-quality books. This new technology allowed texts to be reproduced and disseminated on a much larger scale than was previously possible. The Gutenberg Bible appeared in the 1450s, and a large number of printing presses sprang up across the continent in the following decades. Gutenberg’s invention rapidly transformed cultural production in Europe; among other things, it would lead to the Protestant Reformation.
A narrative essay is one that tells a story. This is usually a story about a personal experience you had, but it may also be an imaginative exploration of something you have not experienced.
Narrative essays test your ability to build up a narrative in an engaging, well-structured way. They are much more personal and creative than other kinds of academic writing . Writing a personal statement for an application requires the same skills as a narrative essay.
A narrative essay isn’t strictly divided into introduction, body, and conclusion, but it should still begin by setting up the narrative and finish by expressing the point of the story—what you learned from your experience, or why it made an impression on you.
Mouse over the example below, a short narrative essay responding to the prompt “Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself,” to explore its structure.
Since elementary school, I have always favored subjects like science and math over the humanities. My instinct was always to think of these subjects as more solid and serious than classes like English. If there was no right answer, I thought, why bother? But recently I had an experience that taught me my academic interests are more flexible than I had thought: I took my first philosophy class.
Before I entered the classroom, I was skeptical. I waited outside with the other students and wondered what exactly philosophy would involve—I really had no idea. I imagined something pretty abstract: long, stilted conversations pondering the meaning of life. But what I got was something quite different.
A young man in jeans, Mr. Jones—“but you can call me Rob”—was far from the white-haired, buttoned-up old man I had half-expected. And rather than pulling us into pedantic arguments about obscure philosophical points, Rob engaged us on our level. To talk free will, we looked at our own choices. To talk ethics, we looked at dilemmas we had faced ourselves. By the end of class, I’d discovered that questions with no right answer can turn out to be the most interesting ones.
The experience has taught me to look at things a little more “philosophically”—and not just because it was a philosophy class! I learned that if I let go of my preconceptions, I can actually get a lot out of subjects I was previously dismissive of. The class taught me—in more ways than one—to look at things with an open mind.
A descriptive essay provides a detailed sensory description of something. Like narrative essays, they allow you to be more creative than most academic writing, but they are more tightly focused than narrative essays. You might describe a specific place or object, rather than telling a whole story.
Descriptive essays test your ability to use language creatively, making striking word choices to convey a memorable picture of what you’re describing.
A descriptive essay can be quite loosely structured, though it should usually begin by introducing the object of your description and end by drawing an overall picture of it. The important thing is to use careful word choices and figurative language to create an original description of your object.
Mouse over the example below, a response to the prompt “Describe a place you love to spend time in,” to learn more about descriptive essays.
On Sunday afternoons I like to spend my time in the garden behind my house. The garden is narrow but long, a corridor of green extending from the back of the house, and I sit on a lawn chair at the far end to read and relax. I am in my small peaceful paradise: the shade of the tree, the feel of the grass on my feet, the gentle activity of the fish in the pond beside me.
My cat crosses the garden nimbly and leaps onto the fence to survey it from above. From his perch he can watch over his little kingdom and keep an eye on the neighbours. He does this until the barking of next door’s dog scares him from his post and he bolts for the cat flap to govern from the safety of the kitchen.
With that, I am left alone with the fish, whose whole world is the pond by my feet. The fish explore the pond every day as if for the first time, prodding and inspecting every stone. I sometimes feel the same about sitting here in the garden; I know the place better than anyone, but whenever I return I still feel compelled to pay attention to all its details and novelties—a new bird perched in the tree, the growth of the grass, and the movement of the insects it shelters…
Sitting out in the garden, I feel serene. I feel at home. And yet I always feel there is more to discover. The bounds of my garden may be small, but there is a whole world contained within it, and it is one I will never get tired of inhabiting.
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Though every essay type tests your writing skills, some essays also test your ability to read carefully and critically. In a textual analysis essay, you don’t just present information on a topic, but closely analyze a text to explain how it achieves certain effects.
A rhetorical analysis looks at a persuasive text (e.g. a speech, an essay, a political cartoon) in terms of the rhetorical devices it uses, and evaluates their effectiveness.
The goal is not to state whether you agree with the author’s argument but to look at how they have constructed it.
The introduction of a rhetorical analysis presents the text, some background information, and your thesis statement; the body comprises the analysis itself; and the conclusion wraps up your analysis of the text, emphasizing its relevance to broader concerns.
The example below is from a rhetorical analysis of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech . Mouse over it to learn more.
King’s speech is infused with prophetic language throughout. Even before the famous “dream” part of the speech, King’s language consistently strikes a prophetic tone. He refers to the Lincoln Memorial as a “hallowed spot” and speaks of rising “from the dark and desolate valley of segregation” to “make justice a reality for all of God’s children.” The assumption of this prophetic voice constitutes the text’s strongest ethical appeal; after linking himself with political figures like Lincoln and the Founding Fathers, King’s ethos adopts a distinctly religious tone, recalling Biblical prophets and preachers of change from across history. This adds significant force to his words; standing before an audience of hundreds of thousands, he states not just what the future should be, but what it will be: “The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.” This warning is almost apocalyptic in tone, though it concludes with the positive image of the “bright day of justice.” The power of King’s rhetoric thus stems not only from the pathos of his vision of a brighter future, but from the ethos of the prophetic voice he adopts in expressing this vision.
A literary analysis essay presents a close reading of a work of literature—e.g. a poem or novel—to explore the choices made by the author and how they help to convey the text’s theme. It is not simply a book report or a review, but an in-depth interpretation of the text.
Literary analysis looks at things like setting, characters, themes, and figurative language. The goal is to closely analyze what the author conveys and how.
The introduction of a literary analysis essay presents the text and background, and provides your thesis statement; the body consists of close readings of the text with quotations and analysis in support of your argument; and the conclusion emphasizes what your approach tells us about the text.
Mouse over the example below, the introduction to a literary analysis essay on Frankenstein , to learn more.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, protagonist Victor Frankenstein is a stable representation of the callous ambition of modern science throughout the novel. This essay, however, argues that far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to portray Frankenstein in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as. This essay begins by exploring the positive portrayal of Frankenstein in the first volume, then moves on to the creature’s perception of him, and finally discusses the third volume’s narrative shift toward viewing Frankenstein as the creature views him.
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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At high school and in composition classes at university, you’ll often be told to write a specific type of essay , but you might also just be given prompts.
Look for keywords in these prompts that suggest a certain approach: The word “explain” suggests you should write an expository essay , while the word “describe” implies a descriptive essay . An argumentative essay might be prompted with the word “assess” or “argue.”
The vast majority of essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Almost all academic writing involves building up an argument, though other types of essay might be assigned in composition classes.
Essays can present arguments about all kinds of different topics. For example:
- In a literary analysis essay, you might make an argument for a specific interpretation of a text
- In a history essay, you might present an argument for the importance of a particular event
- In a politics essay, you might argue for the validity of a certain political theory
An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.
An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.
The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept.
Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays , and similar writing skills can apply to both.
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