Writing an Argumentative Essay Outline: Basic Rules to Keep in Mind

Writing an outline is a very crucial step in the writing process. It is one that is skipped a lot and that causes the essay to jump around and for the flow to be a little choppy. The main idea behind using an outline is to organize your thoughts in a logical manner. You want to make sure that you follow the basic format for essay writing while also making sure that you stay on task.

An argumentative essay is one that is written about one side of a conflict or issue. The best choices for topics for argumentative essays are controversial ones because they have two very strong side that you can look at. An outline will help you make sure that you are staying on track and that you develop your argumentative essay well.

Basic Rules for Writing an Outline

  1. Be sure to follow a format

    The most common format for an essay is the five paragraph format which includes an introduction and conclusion with three main supporting details. Set up your outline to follow this format.

  2. Develop your thesis

    This is the main point that you are trying to prove and will include your supporting evidence.

  3. Use full sentences

    The best way to get the most out of your outline is to write it in complete sentences. That way when you are done you will have a huge portion of the paper already written for you.

  4. Use transitional phrases

    Start out these complete sentences with transitional phrases. That way all you have to do is beef it up. The outline will have almost half of the paper already written.

  5. Keep the flow

    The main purpose for having an outline is to help structure and develop your paper effectively. Make sure that you choose a logical way to present your reasons and supporting evidence. You can choose to do this from least important to most important or the other way around. Either way, you want to make sure that it makes sense and the transition shows the logical progression from one to the next.

Your outline is super important to the development of your paper. Even if you are not required by your teacher to write one, you should always do it. You don’t have to make it elaborate every time but at least jot it down. This will help you from going on a tangent and will keep you on topic to prove your thesis statement.


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