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Distinguish Between Topic Outline and Sentence Outline

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This is a formal outline for your final research paper. It will present your thesis, the major points in support of that thesis, and the sub-points supporting each major point. It may have additional levels of sub-sub-points if you feel that is necessary. The basic idea of a formal outline is that different types of letters or numbers (I, A, 1, a, i) represent different levels of the hierarchy of your paper, and sub-levels are indented below main levels.

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An outline can be helpful for almost any writing assignment, especially longer assignments that require incorporating many ideas. An outline helps you lay out the information you have and see how it interconnects, as well as showing you what information might be missing. Used correctly, an outline can show you both what you have to say and the best, most coherent way to say it. Outlines are also very helpful for most speeches. They can help you organize your thoughts and ensure that you move smoothly from one point to another while giving an oral presentation. How can I start? The easiest way to start an outline is first to brainstorm all the ideas you have about the topic without worrying about order. Once you have your ideas written out, you can begin to arrange them. Usually, you can see places where ideas overlap. Consolidate these ideas into a single section of the outline. Brainstorming will often show you which ideas you think are most important. What kinds of outlines are there? The two main types of outlines are the topic outline and the sentence outline. The major difference between the two is simply that while the headings in a topic outline are only a word or phrase, the headings in a sentence outline are complete sentences. What is the basic structure of an outline? In the typical structure of an outline, the headings, which are the main topic of each section, are accompanied by a Roman numeral

Under the headings, further ideas are marked with a letter. Ideas beneath the letter are marked with a number, and sub-ideas of those ideas are marked with a lower-case letter. Most outlines move from the general to the specific in each section. The outline should begin with an introduction that lays out the general ideas of the paper and includes a thesis, and then move on to points that support the overarching thesis. Each section should also move from the general to the specific. The heading of each section of the outline should be a general idea in support of the thesis. Under that main idea is supporting information—specific evidence about your subject that bolsters the idea.

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In sum, a topic outline provides a quick overview of topics to be included in an essay

You are probably already familiar with this structure. Look at a syllabus from one of your courses. It is probably the equivalent of a topic outline, with topics listed for each unit, and readings and assignments under each. After each heading in a topic outline for an essay, a maximum of several words is used to identify the topic or idea that will be discussed under the given heading. In a sentence outline, the thesis and topic sentence of each supporting paragraph are fully written out. The sentence outline forces part of the essay to be written out in sentences before the first draft.

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