How Do You Make an Outline for an Essay?


Quick Answer

Make an outline for an essay by identifying the main arguments and placing them in a convincing order. A good outline is one that helps you organize your thoughts in a presentable way. Ideally, an outline is no longer than a single page. Only briefly mention your arguments, and avoid going into too much detail.

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Full Answer

You must first create an outline for the introduction to your essay. The introduction must include a sentence that gets the attention of the reader and a thesis statement. The thesis statement gives the reader a basic road map of the rest of the essay, provides a direct answer to the question posed by the topic and makes a disputable claim. For instance, a good thesis statement of an essay about the reasons for the American Civil War may briefly state the motives of the two sides.

After the introduction, you must outline the body paragraphs of the essay. Do this by categorizing your claims into paragraphs and mentioning the evidences for each claim. You must also pay attention to the order in which you present the claims. Considering the Civil War example, first explaining the motives of the sides and then comparing them is more preferable than presenting the comparison first. Comparing multiple ideas without explaining them first may cause the reader to lose attention and makes your essay harder to understand.

Finally, you must outline the conclusion of your essay. The conclusion consists of a restatement of your thesis and provides an insightful end to the essay. Presenting the thesis statement in a slightly broader context may encourage your readers to contemplate the subject. Never introduce new ideas in the conclusion.

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