University of New Mexico

Outline for Essay Writing

    1. Start with a sentence that will catch the attention of the reader, but also introduces the subject of the paper.
    2. Narrow subject
      1. Give background information.
      2. Cite author and article, short story, or poem on which your essay is based.
      3. Define terms your readers might not know.
    3. Name Main Points - Usually two or three, in the same order in which they will be discussed in the essay body.
    4. State Thesis - Opinion or point of view you intend to defend, to be supported by main points.

  2. BODY
    1. Main Point - First (same for Second and Third)
      1. Topic Sentence - Introduce first main point; limits paragraph to only that topic.
      2. Examples that are illuminative and provide proof for you topic.
      3. Explanation and details
      4. Conclusion/Transition

    1. Return to general discussion as in INTRODUCTION.
    2. Restate Thesis (NOTE: Restating the thesis means rewording the thesis, not simply "cutting & pasting it").
    3. Concluding Statement - Ends essay with impact and makes it more than simply a repetition of the Introduction.
      1. Discuss implications of thesis.
      2. Propose solutions for thesis.
      3. Relate thesis to something beyond scope of essay: how does thesis fit into relevant, larger picture like society, humanity, government, science, personal relations, etc.

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