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Outline Essays Format

Essay format example


Every essay outline follows the same basic formula and learning how to structure and write an essay can be easy if you follow the outline formula. Whether the essay is for a college scholarship, a class or a research project, you can use our essay outline example and template to learn how to format and write a great essay or see our other articles for more information on how to write an essay. Although there are many ways to write an essay, there is an easy outline to follow for success every time.


How to format an essay outline

An essay follows this format:
1. Introduction - including something to get the reader's interest
2. thesis statement- usually a statement that has three points you're going to talk about in your essay
3. Body of the essay or paper
4. Point 1, with 2 or 3 examples to back-up what you are talking about
5. Point 2, including a few that prove what you are talking about
6. Point 3, with a few examples to show what you are talking about
7. Conclusion - Summary or re-state your points and including a 'kicker' to give the essay meaning.

Sample of how to write an essay outline

To show you how to write an essay outline, here is an example of the format. In this example, we'll use the example of writing an outline for an essay about eating healthy.

A. Introduction:


Title: Fruits and veggies make for holistic health
1. Attention getter : Include statistic about how much food one person eats in their lifetime
2.Why I am writing paper : To show that eating lots of fresh produce is important for health
3. Thesis statement : To maintain a healthy diet a person should eat lots of fresh produce because fresh products contain vitamins, you can avoid many negative additives and it will help you control your weight.

- transition 1: To begin, it is important to examine the vitamin content of produce and its effect on the body.

B. Body paragraph 1


1. Fresh veggies and fruits include vitamins
a. Explain why vitamins are important to the body
1. Vitamins help the body function (sub point a)
2. Without vitamins, the body gets ill (sub point b)
3. Vitamins help a person grow and thrive (sub point c)
b. Veggies are a high sources of vitamins
1. sub point a (if necessary)
2. sub point b (if necessary)
3. sub point c (if necessary)
c. Some vitamins can only be absorbed from fresh produce
1. sub point a (if necessary)
2. sub point b (if necessary)
3. sub point c (if necessary)

- transition 2: Fresh fruits and vegetables contain many vitamins, but what they do not contain are additives.

C. Body paragraph 2


2. By eating fresh produce you can avoid additives
a. Additives can be harmful to the
1. sub point a (if necessary)
2. sub point b (if necessary)
3. sub point c (if necessary)
b. Additives are very common in prepared foods
1. sub point a (if necessary)
2. sub point b (if necessary)
3. sub point c (if necessary
c. By eating fresh, your body can digest easier
1. sub point a (if necessary)
2. sub point b (if necessary)
3. sub point c (if necessary)

- transition 3: While produce can help people avoid additives, it can also help them avoid having a spare tire around their waist.

D. Body paragraph 3


3. Eating fresh produce helps people control weight
a. Fruits and veggies are low in calories
1. sub point a (if necessary)
2. sub point b (if necessary)
3. sub point c (if necessary)
b. Fruits and veggies have high fiber
1. sub point a (if necessary)
2. sub point b (if necessary)
3. sub point c (if necessary)
c. Fruits and veggies are low in fat
1. sub point a (if necessary)
2. sub point b (if necessary)
3. sub point c (if necessary)

- transition 4: In conclusion, it's obvious there are many benefits to eating fruits and vegetables.

E. Conclusion


1. Summarize main points: In summation, it's important to know that to have a healthy diet, a person should eat lots of fresh produce because fresh products contain vitamins, you can avoid many negative additives and it will help you control your weight.
2. Kicker : With obesity becoming an epidemic in the United States and a growing problem in many other nations, isn't it time that we got serious about eating our veggies? It's definitely time for each of to start making changes today.

More information: We hope this page was helpful and provided you with some information about how to write an essay and how to structure an essay.. Check out our main page for more articles here Can U Write.

Writing an academic essay means fashioning a coherent set of ideas into an argument. Because essays are essentially linear—they offer one idea at a time—they must present their ideas in the order that makes most sense to a reader. Successfully structuring an essay means attending to a reader's logic.

The focus of such an essay predicts its structure. It dictates the information readers need to know and the order in which they need to receive it. Thus your essay's structure is necessarily unique to the main claim you're making. Although there are guidelines for constructing certain classic essay types (e.g., comparative analysis), there are no set formula.

Answering Questions:  The Parts of an Essay

A typical essay contains many different kinds of information, often located in specialized parts or sections. Even short essays perform several different operations: introducing the argument, analyzing data, raising counterarguments, concluding. Introductions and conclusions have fixed places, but other parts don't. Counterargument, for example, may appear within a paragraph, as a free-standing section, as part of the beginning, or before the ending. Background material (historical context or biographical information, a summary of relevant theory or criticism, the definition of a key term) often appears at the beginning of the essay, between the introduction and the first analytical section, but might also appear near the beginning of the specific section to which it's relevant.

It's helpful to think of the different essay sections as answering a series of questions your reader might ask when encountering your thesis. (Readers should have questions. If they don't, your thesis is most likely simply an observation of fact, not an arguable claim.)

"What?"  The first question to anticipate from a reader is "what": What evidence shows that the phenomenon described by your thesis is true? To answer the question you must examine your evidence, thus demonstrating the truth of your claim. This "what" or "demonstration" section comes early in the essay, often directly after the introduction. Since you're essentially reporting what you've observed, this is the part you might have most to say about when you first start writing. But be forewarned: it shouldn't take up much more than a third (often much less) of your finished essay. If it does, the essay will lack balance and may read as mere summary or description.

"How?"  A reader will also want to know whether the claims of the thesis are true in all cases. The corresponding question is "how": How does the thesis stand up to the challenge of a counterargument? How does the introduction of new material—a new way of looking at the evidence, another set of sources—affect the claims you're making? Typically, an essay will include at least one "how" section. (Call it "complication" since you're responding to a reader's complicating questions.) This section usually comes after the "what," but keep in mind that an essay may complicate its argument several times depending on its length, and that counterargument alone may appear just about anywhere in an essay.

"Why?"  Your reader will also want to know what's at stake in your claim: Why does your interpretation of a phenomenon matter to anyone beside you? This question addresses the larger implications of your thesis. It allows your readers to understand your essay within a larger context. In answering "why", your essay explains its own significance. Although you might gesture at this question in your introduction, the fullest answer to it properly belongs at your essay's end. If you leave it out, your readers will experience your essay as unfinished—or, worse, as pointless or insular.

Mapping an Essay

Structuring your essay according to a reader's logic means examining your thesis and anticipating what a reader needs to know, and in what sequence, in order to grasp and be convinced by your argument as it unfolds. The easiest way to do this is to map the essay's ideas via a written narrative. Such an account will give you a preliminary record of your ideas, and will allow you to remind yourself at every turn of the reader's needs in understanding your idea.

Essay maps ask you to predict where your reader will expect background information, counterargument, close analysis of a primary source, or a turn to secondary source material. Essay maps are not concerned with paragraphs so much as with sections of an essay. They anticipate the major argumentative moves you expect your essay to make. Try making your map like this:

  • State your thesis in a sentence or two, then write another sentence saying why it's important to make that claim. Indicate, in other words, what a reader might learn by exploring the claim with you. Here you're anticipating your answer to the "why" question that you'll eventually flesh out in your conclusion.
  • Begin your next sentence like this: "To be convinced by my claim, the first thing a reader needs to know is . . ." Then say why that's the first thing a reader needs to know, and name one or two items of evidence you think will make the case. This will start you off on answering the "what" question. (Alternately, you may find that the first thing your reader needs to know is some background information.)
  • Begin each of the following sentences like this: "The next thing my reader needs to know is . . ."  Once again, say why, and name some evidence. Continue until you've mapped out your essay. 

Your map should naturally take you through some preliminary answers to the basic questions of what, how, and why. It is not a contract, though—the order in which the ideas appear is not a rigid one. Essay maps are flexible; they evolve with your ideas.

Signs of Trouble

A common structural flaw in college essays is the "walk-through" (also labeled "summary" or "description"). Walk-through essays follow the structure of their sources rather than establishing their own. Such essays generally have a descriptive thesis rather than an argumentative one. Be wary of paragraph openers that lead off with "time" words ("first," "next," "after," "then") or "listing" words ("also," "another," "in addition"). Although they don't always signal trouble, these paragraph openers often indicate that an essay's thesis and structure need work: they suggest that the essay simply reproduces the chronology of the source text (in the case of time words: first this happens, then that, and afterwards another thing . . . ) or simply lists example after example ("In addition, the use of color indicates another way that the painting differentiates between good and evil").

Copyright 2000, Elizabeth Abrams, for the Writing Center at Harvard University