I. Opening Paragraph (7-10 sentences)



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Academic Essay Outline

I. Opening Paragraph (7-10 sentences)


A. Create interest through a particular type of opening: traditional background for story, context, author,

historical setting, thematic background, discussion of X, Y, Z, or biographical recollection, three

questions, quotation, unusual or bizarre fact, in the middle of a story, or some other type of interesting

opening segue that logically leads to the thesis statement. No use of personal references.

B. Thesis statement that clearly states what the essay is about. Thesis is one sentence and is the

first or last sentence of opening paragraph. You can think of it as:



Prompt Angle + Theme or Topic + Position + Reasoning

II-IV. Body Paragraphs #1-3 (8-11 sentences each). A quote should appear somewhere in body.

A. Topic sentence stating focus of the body paragraph.

B. CD #1 (concrete detail). Give an example or evidence: For example, … or For instance, …

C. CM (commentary). Analysis, support, or explanation of how your example/evidence

demonstrates truth of the topic sentence.

D. CM (commentary). Deeper analysis. Discuss consequences and/or something further from

your example/evidence and its connection to argument of topic sentence.

E. CD #2 (concrete detail). Another example/more evidence. In addition, … or Furthermore, …

F. CM (commentary). Analysis, support, or explanation of how your example/evidence

demonstrates truth of the topic sentence.

G. CM (commentary). Deeper analysis. Discuss consequences and/or something further from

your example/evidence and its connection to argument of topic sentence.

Evaluation-type comment may work here.

H. Concluding sentence to wrap up the thought/focus of the body paragraph, highlighting how

paragraph topic and/or essay thesis have been supported.


V. Closing Paragraph (7-10 sentences)

A. Link to how you created interest in opening paragraph (see IA). Recall + Deepen.

B. Evaluative Comments:

Lessons learned.

Knowledge gained. Remember: no “I.”

Impact upon others.

Effects and consequences of this issue.

Relevance to society or other literary works.

Contemporary significance

C. Reword thesis (see IB). Do not repeat. Instead, reword.

D. Close with a twist or thought-provoking statement.
Now go back and look at expressions in closing paragraph. From something you said in closing, rephrase if need be and come up with a creative title for the essay. Put at beginning of essay.

DO NOT use the following words: I, me, you, got, stuff, things, lots (use a lot).

DO NOT begin a sentence with “And …” or “But …”

DO NOT use contractions. DO NOT use symbols such as “&.” Instead, write the word: “and.”



When finished, proofread. Then proofread again and do so out loud. You will hear some surprises.
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