as a result. When teachers assign you a paper to write, they will often require you to turnin an outline before you actually start writing the paper.
Various Forms of Notetaking, p. 2
The terrific advantage of outlines is that they reveal at a glance the relativeimportance of each part of the material: the most important points are aligned to the left,with the material that supports them listed beneath the more important points andindented to the right. The farther to the right a set of points is indented, the more detailedthe information is. Items that are indented the same amount are of equal importance or detail.Outlines can be formal or informal.
use a strict system of Romannumerals, upper- and lowercase letters, and Arabic numbers.
typicallyuse Arabic numbers; details listed beneath the main points may be set off with simpledashes or alphabet letters. Regardless of the type of outline, however, indentation isimportant, and supporting details are listed on separate lines beneath the main point theysupport. Also, regardless of the type of outline, you should give the outline the same titleas the material you are outlining (do NOT title your outline “Outline”).You are going to be creating formal outlines in class now and during the secondhalf of the semester. Formal outlines can be either
, butsentence outlines are more valuable as study tools. When you outline a paragraph, themain idea is the most important point, of course, so it is written beside the Romannumeral (I, II, III, etc.) and placed against the left margin. If a paragraph has a statedmain idea, use it. Otherwise, you will have to formulate the main idea. Details areindented
on separate lines
beneath the main point they support. Each detail is designated by a capital, upper-case letter (A, B, C, etc.), and there will be as many of them as thereare details. If there are minor details that support a major detail, they are indented beneath it and labeled with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.). Even more minor detailswould be designated by lower-case letters (a, b, c, etc.).When an item in the outline is longer than one line in length and must becontinued on the line below it, align it with the
first letter of the first word above it
. If you go all the way back to the left margin, the levels of indentation will be obscured. Acorrect formal outline of a paragraph with five supporting details would look like this:I. Main idea sentence (if the sentence is more than one line long, indent the“spillover” and align it with the first letter of the first word on the line above)A. Supporting detail #1 (if the supporting detail information is morethan one line long, indent the “spillover” and align it with the firstletter of the first word on the line above)B. Supporting detail #2C. Supporting detail #3D. Supporting detail #4E. Supporting detail #5 Note the examples above of how long sentences/information are carried over andindented on the next line.2