four paragraph essay outline 1

four paragraph essay outlineHow to create a four-paragraph essay outline

An essay outline is basically an outline of the essay. It is a text representation that outlines the thesis and key supporting points of an essay.

A four paragraph essay outline has many purposes. It helps the writer organize their thoughts before they begin writing. It also gives readers a brief synopsis of the essay.

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This helps the writer determine the best way to transition between paragraphs, and the order in which the supporting paragraphs should be presented.

Writing an outline is not a task you have to submit for a grade. It’s up you to decide how you structure it. When creating an outline for academic writing, you must adhere to four principles.

  1. Ranking — As you move from your main headings into subheadings you will go from more general to more specific.
  2. Parallelism — Every heading at the same hierarchy level should begin with the same type of word (verb, adjective or noun). ).
  3. Parity — All headings in the same hierarchy should have equal importance and be less important than those higher up.
  4. Fragmentation – Each main heading should be broken into at least two separate subheadings

 four paragraph essay outline: what to do before Outlining

Read your assignment carefully. You should know what type of essay you are required to write and how many arguments you can use (apart from those noted), as well as how long you essay must be.

Before you start writing an outline, it is important to:

  • Define your essay’s goal
  • Identify the target audience
  • The thesis statement should be written

Answer the question what’s the purpose? Are you trying to entertain, persuade or inform your readers? You’ll be able to determine what thesis you should use and what writing techniques you can use.

Identify your audience. A teacher reads and evaluates work. But who do you want to see your essay? Are you writing for your classmates? Strangers? What do they know about your topic and what are their thoughts? Do they believe your thesis? What might their reactions be to your information?

Write your thesis to help you decide which topic sentences to use in your essay. Your thesis should be persuasive and give enough detail to grab readers’ attention so that they are emotionally engaged in your writing.

This will help you to understand the arguments that might work in your essay. This will help you choose the right evidence and research resources for your argument. To find credible sources, Google Scholar and Oxford Academic are good options.

 four paragraph essay outline: why is Outlining Important?

There are many reasons, but most of us use it to organize all the data we have gathered during brainstorming and research. A good outline is helpful for research papers as it allows you to keep track of all information. It’s also a great way for oral presentations to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the speaker and make their presentation more powerful. The core functions of an outline are:

  • Assist you in the writing phase
  • We can help you organize your thoughts.
  • Presenting material in a logical sequence
  • Show how your ideas relate to each other
  • As an abstract for your paper

Increases thinking flowfour paragraph essay outline

Before you go to bed, plan your next day. Because you know exactly what you should do, you will be able to carry out your daily tasks without worrying or second-guessing. This is one of the most important life principles that has proven to be successful. This is also true for paper writing. If you outline each point in advance, your essays will be easy to read.

Time saved

It is not something that we have a lot of, especially when you consider the many responsibilities students face every day. Why spend hours writing essays when you have so much academic work? It’s better to waste less time while still getting good grades. Essay outlines can help you save time and increase your performance. It takes less time to create each idea once you have a plan.

Improves grades

Students see the point of writing essays as a way to improve their grades. A four paragraph essay outline can help them do this. You will be less likely to make mistakes if you take the time to think and write down all points you want to raise in your essay. Your tutor will see your organization and give you a correct evaluation.

How to outline a four paragraph essay

An excellent way to ensure that each paragraph of your essay serves a purpose is to create an outline. Outlining allows you to see whether a paragraph is necessary or can be dropped without causing any damage to your paper. This will allow you to see how your main idea or argument is progressing, which will speed up the proofreading process. Let’s now see how important it is to outline.

Outlining is usually done using

  1. You can brainstorm the ideas that you would like to cover.
  2. These ideas can be separated into groups
  3. Your data should be arranged from general to particular
  4. Create main headings and subheadings to paragraphs

Step 1.

Your four paragraph essay’s outline quality and outline will be determined by the quality of your research. This includes finding reliable quotes and indicating the key supporting details that will support your argument. You might need to access different sources depending on your education background to speed up your research.

Google websites are not recommended as sources for college papers. Because the Internet is full unverified information, it is important to verify your source’s credibility before you refer to it. Google Scholar, Microsoft Academic and are some examples of trusted sites.

Step 2: Organize

Your ideas may not be fully formed at the point where you are writing an essay outline. It is important to be familiar with your topic and to have done preliminary research to find pertinent sources. Now, you must structure your thoughts into an argument.

 four paragraph essay outline: creating categories

Take a look at all the information, quotes, and ideas that you have gathered from your research. Now think about the main point you want to make in your essay. This will form the basis for your thesis statement. Once you have a clear idea of the overall argument, it is possible to organize your material so that it supports that argument.

Your material should be organized into different categories that relate to your argument. You might organize your thoughts into themes if you are writing about a literary work. In a history essay, it could be several key trends or turning point from the period that you are writing about.

Common structure for essays is three main themes. You can divide the topics into three paragraphs depending on how long the essay is. Or you could have three longer sections that cover each theme with many paragraphs.

When creating the outline, be sure to critically examine your points and categories. Are they redundant or irrelevant? Be sure to link every topic you choose with your thesis statement.

 four paragraph essay outline: Order of Information

Consider the order in which your materials should be placed after you have divided them into different categories.

While your essay should always start and end with an introduction, conclusion and body, it is entirely up to you to organize the body.

These are the questions you should ask to order your material

  • Is there a starting point that you can use to support your argument?
  • Is there a subject that is easy to transition from one subject to another?
  • Are there points that need to be discussed first before others?

How to create a four paragraph essay outline

This sample outline structure can be used in all types of academic writing. The outline below is for a four paragraph essay outline. Different types of essays require different lengths.


Anecdotes or proverbs or idioms, definitions and statistics, quotes or facts are all good ways to begin your introduction paragraph. Start your essay outline by writing down the main ideas and a thesis statement. You need to have a roadmap so that you can make decisions.

Paragraphs for the body

Each paragraph in the body supports your thesis statement by presenting one idea. It is supported with facts, details and examples. There will be more or less paragraphs depending on how long the essay is. However, a standard essay will require three to four body sections. Each of these should be included in the outline. Remember that each paragraph should contain a topic sentence, supported by at least two or three independent ideas and a link sentence at its end.


This paragraph summarizes all the main points raised in the essay and provides some context. The concluding paragraph of a paper should be three to five sentences long.

Here is a template for a five-paragraph outline essay template. You can download it by clicking the button below the image.

What are the benefits of creating a four paragraph outline essay?

You can create a four paragraph essay outline, whether it’s a narrative, descriptive essay, five-paragraph essay, or argumentative essay. An outline is a plan that you create for an essay, no matter how short it may be (500 words) or whether it’s a senior thesis of 10,000 words.

Structure is the ability to follow a consistent flow and give order to your ideas.

  1. You can’t go off on a tangent if you keep your eyes on the prize.

iii. Feedback: An outline can be used, especially for longer essays, to provide feedback before you start writing. This could save you from having to rewrite or edit drafts.

  1. Requirement: Sometimes your professor or teacher will require you to create an outline before starting.

What length should an outline be?

It all depends on what type of essay you are writing and how complex your arguments are. Perhaps you are writing a five-paragraph essay. Your outline should be no more than a few lines, provided you include your main idea, supporting points and a rough conclusion.

A more detailed outline is required for argumentative essays or essays at university level. It should contain the same components as the simpler outline, but include more detail that includes evidence and explanations. This should not exceed 1 to 2 pages.

What is the best time to create a four paragraph essay outline?

A four paragraph essay outline is not something you have to do in a certain time frame during writing. The amount of research required, your level of familiarity with the topic and whether you already have an idea about what you are going to write about all play a part in this decision. You might be able draw a rough four paragraph essay outline right away after being given an essay question. However, you may need to research the topic to find a thesis or angle.

Using a four paragraph essay outline you can be a great way to determine if you need to do additional research, improve your thesis, or learn more on the topic. If you have difficulty creating an outline that includes supporting points, evidence, explanation, and support, it is likely you will need to read more to support your thesis, or to gain a better understanding of the topic in order to form an opinion.

When it comes to writing a four paragraph essay outline, the only rule is to first write one before you dive into your essay draft.

 four paragraph essay outline: what can I do to change my outline?

Yes! A four paragraph essay outline, among other things, helps you to think through the logic and flow of your essay. Changing your outline is a part of the process. You might even have to revise or change your outline if you are sharing it with someone else for feedback or review.

These are questions to ask your peers, educators (or yourself) about your outline in order to get feedback.

– Can you comprehend it?

Is it logically sound?

– Is it crystal clear?

– Is this thesis possible?

– Does the supporting information make sense?

Also, you can ask yourself whether you have sufficient reliable sources to support your points. Your educator may be able to give you feedback and point you in the right direction.

Effective note-taking can make it easier to outline. Check out this video to learn how to take good notes when researching or reading articles at university.


  1. First paragraph (Introduction).
    1. Catchy sentence (Hook statement).

(Question. Statistics, anecdote. Experience. Fact. Or quotation.

    1. Introduction of the topic (Background information about the general theme)
    2. Your thesis statement (a roadmap) that provides an overview of all your supporting arguments.

(Must NOT be an actual fact, personal preference or something that nobody cares about.

  1. Two paragraphs with the same structure, each 5-8 sentences
    1. One main supporting idea should be included in the topic sentence

Remember to include your strongest argument in the final paragraph.

    1. Sentences that include examples and details – an extension of your topic sentence
    2. Ending sentence with transition to next paragraph
  1. Last paragraph (Conclusion)
    1. Paraphrase your thesis statement (not copied).
    2. Conclusion thoughts that may vary depending on the essay type
    3. Answer to the question “So what?” The answer to the “So what?” question
    4. Get involved
    5. Concluding quotations
    6. To think about rhetorical questions
    7. This is a simple summary of the main points of the essay