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As writing essays is increasingly becoming an important part of academic as well as professional life, it is important to get the basics right. How to write an essay outline is an important thing that a student should be able to answer, for writing impressive essays. Without a strong outline, coming up with robust content to make it appealing to the readers becomes very difficult.

How To Write An Essay Outline

The objective of this piece is to help students understand what an essay outline is all about, how to write an essay outline and how to structure different outlines for different types of essays. 

What is an Essay Outline?

Before answering how to write an essay outline, here is something students should understand. To begin with, an essay outline is a basic framework on which you build your essay. It is like the foundational stone that guides the content to follow. Imagine you are building a house, the four walls that you build first create the basic structure on which the remaining construction takes place. Just replace those four walls with the essay outline and you have a clear understanding. To understand it simply, how to write an essay outline is all about a roadmap to create an attractive and impressive essay. 

Before we jump onto what are the components of an outline, let us look at what makes an essay outline important, to begin with. Firstly, it will give you a map as to how you will be writing your essay. In the absence of an essay outline, your mind will begin to wander here and there and your essay will have no structure to it. Secondly, it will help you understand what information do you exactly need and where to get it from. This means that how to write an essay outline will also help you streamline your research. Finally, having an outline will help you summarize the essay well. 

How to Write an Essay Outline?

When it comes to answering how to write an essay outline, there are three important components- Introduction, Body & Conclusion. All the content that you write for your essay should beautifully fall into these three components. Be cautious that each of these has specific functions, and therefore, the content you put in the introduction cannot be substituted with the one in the conclusion. Let us have a brief look at each of these-


An introduction as the name suggests is where you introduce the topic. This is an important part of how to write an essay outline. It should not be very lengthy. A couple of sentences at max are enough. What you should concentrate on is describing the topic, your objective to write on this topic, and any other important information. It might be a good idea to have a very attractive introduction.

If you lose the reader’s attention in the beginning, there is no going back. You can start your essay with an anecdote, an example, or persuade the reader to imagine something. The creation of such mental pictures immediately hooks on the reader to go deeper into the essay. How to write an essay outline involves having a strong statistic about the topic (if available).


The body of the essay is actually the most content-intensive part. It should contain all the important arguments, points, and information about the topic. Try to make the body of your essay as detailed as possible. A body of an essay contains different paragraphs which support or contradict the topic with different hook points. Validating each point with facts, figures, or opinions lends more credibility to your essay and eventually adds to its appeal.

How to write an essay involves a successful transition from one point to another smoothly. More often than not, students create essays where one point has no correlation to the next one leaving the readers confused and disinterested. There is no limit to the paragraphs that you may use. However, adding paragraphs just for the sake of it, without having content, is not a wise move.


The final part of how to write an essay outline is the conclusion. The objective of the conclusion is to reinforce your topic and convince the reader to agree with your point of view or at least clearly put forward your point to them. While maintaining the essence of your topic, reword it as a concluding statement, highlighting the different points you have made all across. Like the introduction, the conclusion should be concise and should not run into multiple paragraphs.  Don’t forget to use transition words for compare and contrast essays both; it increases the readability of the essay

The following template might benefit you when you are writing your next essay.

how to write an essay outline

Now that you have an understanding of how to write an essay outline on a basic level, it might be a good idea to understand the differences between the outline between different types of essays.

Narrative Essay

As the name suggests, a narrative essay focuses on the narration of an event, story, or anecdote. Since a narrative essay is about something that has taken place, blending the facts with storytelling will definitely ensure the most appealing output. Ensure that while writing a narrative essay, you let your imagination run wild if it is a hypothetical topic. On the other hand, you can glorify the facts if you are basing it on a true story.  How to write an essay outline for a narrative essay has some key considerations.

how to write an essay outline

Start by building an inquisitive plot to catch the attention of the reader. Spice it up with bright characters that come with a backstory. A conflict can be a good addition, provided it goes with the flow of the narrative. Finally, glorify the details all you want, but make sure you don’t say that the sun was blue in color.

Comparative Essay

A comparative essay majorly focuses on illustrating the similarities and differences between two points of discussion. A good comparative essay ensures critical thinking skills, good control over analysis as well as convincing skills to convince the audience with one’s point of view. Make sure that you do not outrightly mention that you will be talking about the similarities and differences between the two things at hand. Rather, identify creative ways to put your point across.

how to write an essay outline

To ensure that your comparative essay outline is strong, try to use comparative words such as ‘Unlike, as opposed to, contrary to’ for the differences and ‘similarly, corresponding to’, etc to highlight the similarities. Such words can effectively help you make a transition from one point to another. Additionally, try to incorporate data points and opinions, wherever possible. 

Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay focuses on building strong points either supporting or opposing the topic at hand. The most crucial element of a good argumentative essay is its ability to convince people with the writer’s point of view. The objective again is to put forward different arguments about the topic.

What makes an argumentative essay outline effective is first that the topic should be of your interest. You can only write about a topic with conviction if it interests you. Secondly, an argumentative essay is backed by extensive research. You can only make a strong point if you have evidence to support your claim. Therefore, make sure that you have adequate knowledge before making any claim in an argumentative essay. 

If you have any college essays to prepare, start by how to write an essay outline. Alternatively, you can seek professional help from TutorBin. Get online essay writing help from global subject matter experts and boost your grades.

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