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How to Write a Good Outline for an Essay

Many writers skip this key step. An outline is a very effective writing tool. It is designed to be a blue print for your paper. It will help you decide where to put key information and help you keep unneeded information out of the paper. Regardless of how you decide to place the information is up to you. The idea is to get your ideas organized onto paper and it will help you determine first what you need to research if any and how your paper will flow.

There are a few things to know about outlines in order for you to write a good one. Here are a few tips to follow so that you will be headed in the right direction.

  1. Roman numerals are used to label the five major paragraphs of a basic outline. They will be the introduction, the first body paragraph, the second body paragraph, the third body paragraph, and the conclusion.
  2. The key elements of each of these major five paragraphs are labeled with capital letters of the alphabet. These elements are the background information, necessary vocabulary, and the thesis for the introduction. The elements for the body paragraphs include at least two supporting details. The conclusion may have two elements which include the restatement of the thesis and any wrap up information that may be noted.
  3. Any additional information that may need to be included would be denoted with lower case roman numerals under each of the last section. If you want to break it down further you would then use lower case alphabet letters.
  4. The next thing to know is that you should strive for each of the three body paragraphs to have the same number of supporting details and the same amount of additional details. This will help you keep your paragraphs even.
  5. The sections should be done in complete sentences including transitions. That way when you go to write your paper you already have the information in the proper format.

An outline is so important. You should write one for every paper that you have to write. It is a great tool and should be used to organize your ideas. If you can’t fit information into one of the areas, then it is a tangent and should not be included. Be sure that every sentence is dedicated to proving your thesis.

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