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Make Your Essay Shine by Starting With an Outline

written by: AlyssaAst • edited by: Laurie Patsalides • updated: 1/13/2013

Creating a great essay can be accomplished by creating an essay outline. Creating an outline makes it much easier to organize an essay and the supporting details that must be included within the body of the essay.

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    Writing Well

    Organization will make the essay flow smoothly and will avoid causing confusion to the reader. A well written and organized essay will make the information entailed easily understood and make it more meaningful for the reader.

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    Introductory Paragraph

    A good introductory paragraph captures the reader’s attention and explains what the essay will be about. A strong introductory paragraph can be written easily by creating an outline. The introduction of the essay has an introductory statement to explain the essay topic. A topic for an essay might be “why the washing machine was a good invention." In the introductory paragraph, there should be brief statements to support the essay topic. Only brief statements supporting the topic are necessary in the introduction because the in-depth supporting details the will be included in the body of the essay. Three supporting topics for “why the washing machine was a good invention," could be because the machine saves time and energy, it cleans clothes better than hand washing, and it is very convenient.

    1. Introduction

    - Introductory Statement

    - Supporting Topic #1

    - Supporting Topic #2

    - Supporting Topic #3

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    The Body

    The information for the body of the essay can easily be organized with the use of an outline. If the information is organized, then the essay will be comprehensible and the point of the essay will be clear and concise. To properly organize the essay, each supporting topic in the body should be separated into individual paragraphs. Each supporting topic has a topic statement that explains what the supporting topic is about. A topic might be “The washing machine is a great invention because of how quickly the cloths are washed". Supporting details and analysis of the information about the washing machine should be written next. For example, describing how long it takes to wash a load of laundry in a machine vs. how long it takes to wash clothes by hand would support the topic statement. At the end of each paragraph there is a concluding sentence to allow a smooth transition from one paragraph to another.

    2. Supporting Topic #1

    - Topic Statement

    - Supporting Ideas

    - Analysis

    - Concluding Sentence

    3. Supporting Topic #2

    - Topic Statement

    - Supporting Ideas

    - Analysis

    - Concluding Sentence

    4. Supporting Topic #3

    - Topic Statement

    - Supporting Ideas

    - Analysis

    - Concluding Sentence

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    The Conclusion

    An outline for an essay will help to produce a strong concluding paragraph, which often has the greatest impact on a reader. The concluding paragraph should restate the essay topic. It should include the brief descriptions of the supporting topics that are included in the body of the essay. It also has a concluding sentence to strongly finish the essay.

    5. Conclusion

    - Concluding Statement

    - Supporting Topic #1

    - Supporting Topic #2

    - Supporting Topic #3

    - Concluding Sentence

    Writing an essay can be an easy process by creating an outline to properly organize the information. If an essay is organized, then the paper will flow smoothly. This allows information in the essay to be easily understood and interpreted. EnglishWorks.com provides excellent examples of what an outline for an essay could look like as well as many other tips for creating a great essay.