How to Outline an Essay

How to Outline an Essay


The Purpose of Writing an Essay

An essay writing has 4 main purposes, these are:

  • 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?

It simply means that an essay must have or follows an outline to properly arrange the ideas and or topics of an essay. Outlining an essay also guides the writer logically to create a clear, well-structured and well-written essay.

Creating the Outline of the Essay

There are different outlines of essays, but most analytical, interpretive, or persuasive writing follow the same outline. Use the outline below to create your own.

  • Introduction
    • 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.
  • Body
    • First main idea: The most important idea or topic of your essay
      • Supporting evidence for the first idea.
      • Additional supporting evidence for the first idea.
      • Another supporting evidence for the first idea.
    • Second main idea: The second most important idea or topic of your essay
      • Supporting evidence for the second idea.
      • Additional supporting evidence for the second idea.
      • Another supporting evidence for the second idea.
    • Third main idea: The last most important idea or topic of your essay
      • Supporting evidence for the third idea.
      • Additional supporting evidence for the third idea.
      • Another supporting evidence for the third idea.

Tip: Provide only at least three main ideas or topic in your essay to avoid overwhelming your readers with too much information.

  • Conclusion
    • 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

The following are the basic guidelines of outlining an essay.

  • The essay should be composed of three major parts.
    • 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?

While the answer to this question is pretty obvious, it is still important to highlight this question. Since most of the people still have doubts as to whether they include the conclusion of an essay in the outline or not.

The short answer is yes.

As a matter of fact, the conclusion, as well as the other main part of an essay—the introduction and the body is very important to include in the outline. These main parts complete the whole essay and thus necessary to be included in the outline of the essay.

If you still have a hard time on how to write a conclusion for an essay, click the link provided.