How To Write Essay Outline

essay outline writing

How to write essay outline – Complete tutorial

Content of this article

  1. Components of an outline
  2. Essay outline examples
  3. Conclusion
  4. Bonus sample for writers

An essay outline is an essential element for every essay. The outline for an essay, therefore, acts as the skeleton of the essay being written. The draft goes hand in hand with the essay structure so that the content can flow in a systematic manner. No matter how professional you are, you can end up becoming a victim of sub-standard work. The essay outline guide therefore, comes in to assist in all matters related to the article. Writing an essay outline can effectively save up on time. Outlining makes it easy for the writer to make the points flow in the article. The ideas are also organized giving you the chance to elaborate on every point fully. Writing an outline, therefore greatly influences the article quality and outlook. An online essay outline can also assist in creating your outline. The world is going digital making the internet accessible in almost every part of the world. The internet will, therefore, assist by offering an online essay writing services that are recognized internationally and approved as guidelines for writing articles.

Components of an outline

Most outlines follow the basic structure of:

  1. the introduction,
  2. the body,
  3. and the conclusion.

The introduction majors on giving the reader a sneak peek of what will be entailed in the essay. The body carries all the points of the essay. The outline can focus on two-three points that will be discussed concerning the topic. The conclusion gives the final say of the paper. The main idea of the article is brought out in this section. It also introduces the points once more to emphasize the need for pursuing a particular topic.

The most common, yet standard outline is the 5 paragraph outline. This kind of format gives the writer a chance to elaborate the points fully and at the same time follow an acceptable sequence. The 5 paragraph outline is compatible with almost all types of essay writings. This essay structure works on the principle of the introduction, three supporting paragraphs and the conclusion to sum up all the points into a theme. The aim of such a structure is to start and conclude broadly thus expressing the particular purpose of the essay. The “parts of an outline” are as illustrated below:

The introduction

This contains roughly four to five sentences. The introduction serves a significant role in any essay as it sets the pace for the essay. This paragraph should be good enough so as to hook the reader into wanting to read all through the written article.  The hook can be presented in the form of a life teaching or a rhetorical question which will capture the attention of an individual. Once the hook is in order, you proceed by giving additional information that will support the argument introduced by the hook.  The thesis statement follows suit. The thesis is an essential element in any essay. The thesis picks up from the hook and serves the purpose of becoming the basis for the article. The thesis acts as an essay outline helper which ensures the points are in line with the topic being discussed.

The body paragraphs

The body paragraphs contain an estimate of between six to eight sentences. The body paragraphs add juice to the work. They add weight and, should, therefore, be detailed enough to support the points selected. As much as the body paragraphs are aimed at adding bulk to the paper, the content should be in line with the thesis sentence of the article. The introduction sentence highlights the point being discussed. This is followed by sentences that offer an explanation an explanation to the main idea. A sentence with a conclusion serves the purpose of transitioning to the next paragraph. All the three paragraphs will follow the format as illustrated. For the points to have an enormous impact on the reader, the points should be discussed from the strongest, a weak one, and finally a strong one.

The conclusion

The conclusion acts as the mirror of the introduction and the points as well.  The concluding paragraph gives you the chance to restate the thesis of the essay once more. The thesis is rephrased into an argument and used in the concluding paragraph. The conclusion should have the power of proving the main theme of the essay. You can make your conclusion more compelling by adding a hook sentence which sums up the whole essay. A rhetorical question perfectly fits this role as it leaves the reader with thoughts that connect him/her to the essay.

Below are some essay types which can apply the essay structure outline.

Persuasive essay outline

The main function of a persuasive essay is to persuade the reader into believing the point you are putting across.  Writing a persuasive outline, therefore, serves the purpose of giving you direction. The parts of an essay outline make the final article professional and detailed. Below is an outline example format for writing a persuasive essay outline:

Topic: What brings about divorce?


Divorce in a family is an unforeseen situation for many people who are married legally. However, quite a number of people who divorce around the globe have different reasons for their divorce.

Thesis and body paragraphs

The paper looks into the major reasons for divorce in families.

  • Unmet expectations

Promises that were made to one another in the past have not been fulfilled.

Priorities that are entirely different.

  • Inability of solving  conflicts

The conflicts pile up and in the end become catastrophic.

Communication techniques which are ineffective.

  • Financial problems

The couples are not financially compatible.

The priorities are not similar.

The conclusion

Generally speaking, different families opt for the divorce option for different reasons. The major reasons include the unmet expectations, inability to solve conflicts, financial problems among many other such reasons.

Outline for an argumentative essay

Writing an argumentative essay outline gives the writer an easy time to put all the point together.  Argumentative essays discuss the good and the bad side of an essay topic. You can decide on dwelling on the pros, the cons, or both. Writing an argumentative essay therefore gives you the format of presenting the ideas. Below is an outline example for an argumentative essay:

Topic: Cloning should be made illegal


All over the world cloning has become an issue of major concern in medical research and in the process of procreation. Several nations across the globe have passed laws against cloning whereas is allowed in some other nations.

Thesis and body paragraphs

The increased cloning across the globe is a threat to the survival of the human race and should be discouraged.

  • Genetic diversity will be lost

Unlike the natural process of reproduction, cloning does not enhance the transfer of genetics to the embryo.

  • Religious beliefs will be contradicted.

Several religious beliefs support that fertilization is only through conception.

  • An imbalance in nature will be created.

With the ability to produce artificially, an imbalance in the ecosystem will be created as many people can be created through cloning.

The conclusion

Cloning is proving to be a threat to the survival of the human race. Among many other factors that discourage cloning include loss of genetic diversity, contradiction and interference with religious beliefs and also an imbalance in the ecosystem.

Outline for a narrative Essay

Topic: Describe your family


All along my life the only family I have lived to know is my family. My father born in the early 1960s is one of the best dads in the world. He has helped us live a comfortable and provided for us all.


The family determines one’s life development and future life endeavours.


  • Supportive family. A family that supported us throughout our academic and education life.
  • Prayerful family. Spirituality is an important aspect in one’s life as it determines the adherence to the social norms and morals in society.
  • An understanding family: A family that rectifies mistakes and lives in harmony without conflicts.


Without a supportive, prayerful and an understanding family our lives could not have been what it is today.


Outlining of an essay is a crucial aspect in writing. The five paragraph outline makes it easy for one to create a right outline for their essay. You can search on the internet to find guidelines on how to write an essay outline whenever you are stuck. The outline also helps in identifying and prioritizing the points for your paper. This is because with the outline you can identify the strong and weak points so that you can arrange and prioritize them well.

Sample for a five-paragraph essay outline writing

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