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Essay Outline

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Written by
Dr. Michael Turner
  • Icon Calendar 18 May 2024
  • Icon Page 699 words
  • Icon Clock 5 min read

An essay outline is what makes papers more clear in comparison to poorly written works. Firstly, writers indicate the main points that can be used in academic works. Basically, scholars need to have a clear map of what they want to write and discuss. Then, students can use topic and sentence outlines with alphanumeric or decimal styles. In this case, the choice of outline forms depends on the length of assignments. Moreover, students have more chances to get A+ grades by using the main points because written essays will be well-organized. Therefore, essay outlines are an organized set of main points that can be used in academic papers.

Definition of an Essay Outline

In fact, essays and outlines are linked directly because papers cannot be written without organized points. Because essays have specific structures that cover important points, an outline format helps students in organizing writings correctly. For example, if scholars understand the key features of an essay structure, final works will meet the requirements of high-quality academic works. In particular, an essay outline is a roadmap of an academic paper in which writers include key points, evidence, facts, or other important aspects, making writing easier. On the other hand, essay outlines do mean final papers because of the lack of explanations or other writing elements. Therefore, outlines cover key aspects of essay topics when students write essay papers.

essay outline

Types of Outlines

Although outlines can be different in their formats, there are short and extended outlines in alphanumeric or decimal styles. In this case, students should define styles that they want to use. Firstly, short essay outlines mean a situation when writers use a form of topics to organize academic papers. For example, it can be from one to three words that cover key aspects in topic forms. Moreover, extended outlines differ from the short one in a word count. Because topic outlines consist of a few words, extended structures may include short or long sentences. In this case, such an outline is more clear in comparison to topic structures because of expanded information. Hence, students use topic and sentence outlines when organizing essay works or other writing assignments properly.

Sample of an Alphanumeric Outline for Essays

An alphanumeric outline style uses symbols to indicate a hierarchy of discussed points. For instance, using alphanumeric forms allows writers to consider dividing essay sections into short and logical parts. In this case, a 5-level style looks like:

5-Level Alphanumeric (Full Sentence) Style

Sample of a Decimal Essay Outline

A decimal outline is another style where writers implement numbers to indicate a hierarchy of discussed points. For example, decimal forms of representing headings and subheadings serve as hierarchical representations of discussed points. Hence, a 5-level style is presented below:

5-Level Decimal Style

Example of a Short or Topic Essay Outline

Short or topic outlines are useful in organizing short essays from 1 to 5 pages for about 250-1500 words. Since final papers must not be long or complex, topic outlines can help to start writing or defining points of the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Moreover, during writing essays, unnecessary points may be replaced by others, depending on the researched information. As a result, an example of this outline type looks like:

Topic Outline for 5-Paragraph Essays

Example of an Extended or Sentence Essay Outline

Extended sentence outlines are useful in writing essays with a detailed structure or papers from 5 pages. Basically, long papers require a detailed analysis and a lot of information with evidence. In this case, during the analysis and organizing essays or other types of papers, students use sentence structures, not missing the gained information. Thus, an example of a short or topic outline is:

Sentence Outline for 5-Paragraph Essays

Important Points to Consider

Specifically, the success of any paper on any essay topic for college depends not only on writing skills, research, sources, grammar, and knowledge of academic standards but also on the organization of essay outlines. For instance, if students do not know how to write an outline when starting academic papers, written works will not meet academic standards. In this case, good strategies for writing help writers to organize clear structures of what they want to talk about in further papers. Therefore, writing an excellent paper starts with organizing an essay outline correctly.