How to Write a Perfect Outline


The process of writing can prove challenging, particularly when you do not know where to start. Thus, you should begin with an outline. What is an outline of an essay? An outline is a framework that structures your content for an essay by presenting the main and supporting ideas. It enables you to summarize the information you will include in your writing in a reasoned manner. As a vital necessity, which your instructor might want you to submit, follow these steps to learn how to outline an essay.

Before Starting to Make an Outline

The first step when writing an essay outline is making preparations. Begin by reading the assignment instructions carefully and repeatedly to understand what you need to do. Go through them and underline the keywords and phrases that detail the task you should undertake. If you do not understand any of the instructions, this is the time to ask for clarification.

Next, come up with a topic. While an outline helps you in your writing process, you need to have an idea of what you are writing. Come up with numerous ideas for your assignment and narrow them down depending on what interests you and which topic has a lot of information.

Next, identify the reason you are writing the essay. It may be to inform, to persuade, entertain, or describe something; the answer will be in the instructions. Once you establish the purpose of the essay, identify who is your audience. Is it your instructor, your classmates, or another stranger? Whoever they are, determine the reaction you want them to have to your work.

Finally, use the topic, the audience, and purpose of the essay to come up with a thesis statement requires a thesis statement, which outlines the focus of the piece. Ensure it can be a source of disagreement and it provides all the necessary details about your topic.

Consider Style and Structure for the Outline

Deciding on the structure and style of your outline is the second step. Begin by determining the alphanumeric structure of the outline for essay. Alphanumeric is the most prevalent and straightforward structure to utilize. The alphanumeric structure comprises of roman numbers (I, II, II) for subheadings, capital letters (A, B, C) for main points, numbers (1, 2, 3) for positions in the main point and lower cases (a, b, c) for additional information.

If you do not want to structure your outline by use of alphanumeric, you can utilize the decimal structure. It involves the use of numbers to represent each subsection. For example, the subheadings would represent (1.0. 2.0, 3.0, etc.), the main points would be represented by (1.1, 2.1, 3.1, etc.) while further sections would be (1.1.1, 1.1.2, 1.1.3, etc.).

Once you select the essay outline format, decide on whether to use short phrases for your information, or enumerate it in full sentences. While short phrases may be ideal and straightforward, using complete sentences is recommended as you note down a lot more information.

Next, ensure you structure your sentences using a similar tense all through the outline to maintain uniformity. Additionally, ensure all the information in each section is vital to the main point, and each point comprises of two or more parts.

Write Body Structuring Outlines

Incorporating information into your outline is the third step. Open this section with an interesting fact, statistic, or antidote about your topic that may surprise, shock, or humor the reader while grabbing their attention. Next, provide an overall description of your subject which includes, introducing your topic, giving a brief background and history of the issue you are going to discuss. Finally, narrow down the problem by pinpointing the main idea you will look at all through the essay and the points you will utilize.

In the second section, which is the body of the essay and the most extensive part of the writing, discuss your topic in details. Divide it into three sections and explore the topic. Note down each point at the start of each subsection, and provide data, statistics and supporting evidence of what each point argues. Ensure that each argument you make connects to the thesis statement and connect the three subsections by using transition words so that the outline can flow smoothly.

Include the Ending Outline in the Last Section

The ending is the last step in writing a perfect outline. It should help the reader connect to the entire discussion from the introduction. First, rewrite your thesis statement but in different words. Copying the original thesis may seem okay; however, it does not give the reader a different way of understanding your topic.

Second, conclude the outline with a statement that briefly describes the impact or the importance of the thesis statement and the solutions to the problem your essay discusses. Finally, go through your outline and compare it to the instructions provided, to ensure it meets them.


Even with coming up with an outline seeming like a long process in the writing of an essay, having it makes the writing process simple. An outline is an essential component in the process of writing, and it should not be challenging to compose. Follow these steps, and you are sure of coming up with a perfect outline.

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