Sentence Outline For Essay

Types of Outlines and Samples

Alphanumeric Outlines

This is the most common type of outline and usually instantly recognizable to most people. The formatting follows these characters, in this order:

  • Roman Numerals
  • Capitalized Letters
  • Arabic Numerals
  • Lowercase Letters

If the outline needs to subdivide beyond these divisions, use Arabic numerals inside parentheses and then lowercase letters inside parentheses. Select the "Sample Outlines" PDF in the Media Box above to download the sample of this outline.

The sample PDF in the Media Box above is an example of an outline that a student might create before writing an essay. In order to organize her thoughts and make sure that she has not forgotten any key points that she wants to address, she creates the outline as a framework for her essay.

What is the assignment?

Your instructor asks the class to write an expository (explanatory) essay on the typical steps a high school student would follow in order to apply to college.

What is the purpose of this essay?

To explain the process for applying to college

Who is the intended audience for this essay?

High school students intending to apply to college and their parents

What is the essay's thesis statement?

When applying to college, a student follows a certain process which includes choosing the right schools and preparing the application materials.

Full Sentence Outlines

The full sentence outline format is essentially the same as the Alphanumeric outline. The main difference (as the title suggests) is that full sentences are required at each level of the outline. This outline is most often used when preparing a traditional essay. Select the "Sample Outlines" PDF in the Media Box above to download the sample of this outline.

Decimal Outlines

The decimal outline is similar in format to the alphanumeric outline. The added benefit is a system of decimal notation that clearly shows how every level of the outline relates to the larger whole. Select the "Sample Outlines" PDF in the Media Box above to download the sample of this outline.

Example of Sentence Outline

Several aspects must be considered in writing a sentence outline.

  • If you have chosen to write a sentence outline, all headings and sub-headings must be in sentence form.
  • As in any outline, remember that a division or sudivision can not be divided into one part; therefore, if there is an "A" there must be a "B," and if there is a "1" there must be a "2."

Negative Effects of Divorce on Adolescents

I. When family conflicts arise as a result of divorce, adolescents suffer.
     A. During the first year, these young people may be depressed due to conflicts between the custodial and non-custodial parents.
     B. Grandparents, aunts, and uncles are often restricted by visitation provisions.
     C. Almost without exception, adolescents find divorce very painful, but they react in differing degrees depending on their age.
II. Some of the most negative effects on adolescents may be associated with economic problems.
     A. The family will most probably experience a lower standard of living due to the cost of maintaining two households.
     B. Some female custodial parents have poor job skills and must train before entering the job market.
     C. The lower standard of living may result in misunderstanding and conflicts within the family.
     D. The decreased standard of living, particularly for an untrained female custodial parent, often causes relocation.
       1. The family may have to move to a poorer neighborhood in order to cut costs.
       2. As a result, the adolescent may have to attend a different school.
III. Adolescents from divorced families often experience peer problems.
     A. Due to relocation and prejudice, adolescents may lose friends.
     B. The lack of a solid relationship with both parents affects an adolescent's attitude toward the opposite sex.


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