Organize Your Propositions



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Organize Your Propositions

  • The Body of the Essay
  • Organize Your Propositions
    • Topical Pattern
    • Temporal or Chronological Pattern
    • Spatial or Descriptive Pattern
    • Problem-Solution Pattern
    • Cause-Effect Pattern
    • Comparison-and-Contrast Pattern
    • Pro-and-Con (Advantages-Disadvantages)

Using an outline

  • The Body of the Essay
  • Using an outline
    • can help you organize your material
    • can also help you discover connections between pieces of information that you weren't aware of when you first conceived the plan of your paper
    • can also make you aware of material that is not really relevant to the purposes of your paper or material that you have covered before and should therefore be removed

The Main Points of the outline of an essay can be written as

  • The Main Points of the outline of an essay can be written as
    • a topic outline, in which you use only short phrases to suggest ideas, or
    • a sentence outline, in which you use full sentences (even very brief paragraphs) to show the development of ideas more fully.

The Main Points

  • Select and carefully phrase your main points
    • Main points should be separate and discrete
    • Select most relevant and interesting points
      • Eliminate least important points, if necessary
      • Combine common points
    • Use two to four main points
      • Phrase propositions in parallel style
        • Note comments on outlining

A Working Outline might be only an informal list of topics and subtopics.

  • The Outline
  • A Working Outline might be only an informal list of topics and subtopics.
    • It is also sometimes called a Skeletal Outline
    • These topics or subtopics are often recorded as key words or phrases or ideas
  • The working outline can easily be revised
    • discover new material and
    • get new ideas
  • It is recommended to keep copies of old outlines in a computer folder in case new versions of the outline lead you in false directions that you will later have to abandon.

A Final Outline should enhance the organization and coherence of your essay.

  • The Outline
  • A Final Outline should enhance the organization and coherence of your essay.
  • The final outline is also called the Preparation Outline.
    • outlines the essay parts as separate units
    • uses consistent set of symbols
    • uses complete declarative sentences
    • appends a list of references
  • Irrelevant material should be excised from the outline and the essay
  • If portions of your outline seem weak in comparison to others, more research may be required to create a sense of balance in your argument and presentation.

Outlines can be organized according to your purposes.

  • The Outline
  • Outlines can be organized according to your purposes.
    • Are you attempting to show
      • the chronology of some historical development,
      • the cause-and-effect relationship between one phenomenon and another,
      • the process by which something is accomplished, or
      • the logic of some position?
    • Are you
      • defining or analyzing something?
      • comparing or contrasting one thing to another?
      • presenting an argument (one side or both)?

I. Start with Roman numbers for main headings

  • Alphanumeric Outline
  • I. Start with Roman numbers for main headings
    • A. Then use capital letters for the subheadings
    • B. Use the next capital letter for the next subheading
      • 1. Then use Arabic numbers, and so on
  • 2. Now you have a second main heading

Each entry in the outline can be used to identify a topic, a key word, a sentence, or even a paragraph

  • Each entry in the outline can be used to identify a topic, a key word, a sentence, or even a paragraph
  • For the parallel outline, if there is a “I" in the outline, then there needs to be a “II," and an “A" requires a “B," and so forth. Thus, each category has at least two subcategories.
    • In a logical outline, the “rule” does not always hold true, and while there is a good rational for the rule to create the appearance of balance, sometimes that is not the appearance that the writer wants to create.
  • Some call the Roman numerals above “a-heads,” the capitalized letters “b-heads,” and so on; some writers also prefer to insert a blank line between the a-heads and b-heads

1. Start with Arabic numbers for main headings

  • Decimal Outline
  • 1. Start with Arabic numbers for main headings
    • 1.1 Then use a set of Arabic numerals
    • 1.2 The second subheading
    • 1.3 And so on
      • 1.3.1 Then use Arabic numbers
  • 2. Continue in this fashion until the outline is finished
    • 2.1 Then use a set of Arabic numerals
      • 2.1.1 Then use Arabic numbers
    • 2.2 The second subheading, and so on
  • A less common type, the Decimal Outline uses numbers, and each sub-heading has the number of the heading as part of it.
  • This outline is used if you have a long, complicated outline and need to instantly be able to tell exactly where each section goes in the whole picture.

Parallelism – preserve the qualities of any parallel structure

  • Parallelism – preserve the qualities of any parallel structure
    • Part 3, Chapter 16, LB discusses the concept of Parallelism relative to writing, particularly in sentence structure, but the concept is applicable to outlining as noted in 16d, “With lists, headings, and outlines.”

Coordination – all the information in like headings should carry the same significance

  • Outline Characteristics
  • Coordination – all the information in like headings should carry the same significance
    • Part 3, Chapter 15c, LB discusses the concept of Coordination relative to writing, but the concept is applicable to outlining, too.

Subordination –

  • Outline Characteristics
  • Subordination –
    • the information in subheadings is subordinate to the main headings
    • the subordinate headings indicate increased specificity or detail or indicate evidence to support a main heading
    • Part 3, Chapter 15d, LB discusses the concept of Subordination relative to writing, particularly in sentence structure, but the concept is applicable to outlining, too.

Division –

  • Outline Characteristics
  • Division –
    • each heading should be divided into two (or more) component parts to maintain appropriate
      • parallelism,
      • coordination, and/or
      • subordination
    • technically, there is no limit to the number of subdivisions for your headings
      • Note the sample outline, Part 1, Chapter 3b LB, p. 21-22
  • Finis
  • Organizing Your Essay


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