Union Institute and University

Writing Center

writing-center@myunion.edu | 800-861-6400 ext. 1156

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If You Are Thinking I Made An Outline, But It Didn’t Help

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There are many types of outlines. Some take a few seconds to make, others a lot of time and careful thought.

The simple truth is, the more time an outline takes to write, the more useful it will be when you are writing the paragraphs of your paper.

The most helpful outline to create is one that plans out all of your paragraphs and includes actual topic sentences (full sentences that state the main idea of a paragraph).

The least helpful includes only topics or the function of each paragraph. If you haven’t thought through your ideas yet,this kind of outline can be more frustrating than helpful.