Creating Strong 5 Paragraph Essay Outline


One cannot create a strong essay without an outline. This plan will become the “blueprint” of your paper and make writing the actual essay much easier. You will need to develop an outline after you do some research on the subject. Otherwise, you will have very little idea of the arguments that must be included in your essay.

The more detailed an outline is, the easier it will be for you to expand it into a complete paper. You need to use the basic 5 paragraph essay structure as your guide when developing this plan. Add subheadings and sub-subheadings where necessary. However, the main points of your outline should be the five mandatory paragraphs of the essay. They are:

  1. Introduction:
  2. Must include a “hook” that will catch the readers’ attentions.

  3. Body paragraph #1:
  4. Contains your strongest argument and a bit of background information on the topic.

  5. Body paragraph #2:
  6. Should include your second strongest argument and the evidence to support it.

  7. Body paragraph #3:
  8. Depending on the type of the essay, this paragraph should include either the third argument or a short summary of the main arguments used by your opponents. In the latter case, you will need to take them apart and provide some evidence to support your claims.

  9. Conclusion:
  10. Includes a short summary of the essay, and explains the importance of your research for the field as a whole.

Outline Formatting Techniques


There are two common formats of outlines:

  1. Topic outline
  2. Sentence outline

The first type implies that you will need to use short topical phrases when developing various points of the outline. This approach is most convenient for speedwriting. You will need to expand these phrases into topic sentences when you start writing the actual paper.

Sentence outlines should consist of topic sentences. It can be harder to write because it requires more research. However, it will make creating an actual paper much easier, as you will only need to add some evidence to every argument in order to complete it.

In the vast majority of cases, there should be no specific formatting requirements for a 5 paragraph essay. This means that you can write this part of the paper however you like. If your teacher demands that you to hand in the outline to prove your progress with the paper, you will need to ask them about the format you need to use.

Please do not forget that an outline should be flexible. If you find some more persuasive arguments when writing the paper, do not hesitate to replace those mentioned in the plan.

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