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Essay four outline

Pre-Writing Activity:

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When using the Outside-In Essay format, you move an argument from general to specific to general again. It is up to you how many paragraphs you use to accomplish this and what specific time order you choose as well (chronological? start in the present, then go to the past and later the future?). It is also up to you to decide where you place your thesis in the paper (in the intro to tell readers what they will read about? at the beginning of the body paragraphs? or, at the end so readers are in suspense?). Use the following questions/ideas to help you organize the flow of ideas in your paper. Then, write a detailed outline (paragraph by paragraph- including the introduction and conclusion) which includes the sources you will use to prove your ideas on a separate sheet of paper.


What is the overall topic you are writing about? How can you draw in readers to the overall topic in an interesting way to make them want to keep reading?

More Specific

How can this general topic relate more specifically to the question(s) being asked by the prompt?


Answer the prompt question(s) fully and specifically using personal examples, examples from the readings, cases, etc.

Less Specific

How does the answer to the prompt question(s) relate back to the overall general idea?


How can you go back to the overall idea in a way that pulls together the paper and satisfies the reader?

Bowe- English 1010

Sample Detailed Outline- The Power of a Word

Prompt Topic: Have you ever been called (or, alternatively, called someone else) a simple word, such as “bossy,” that negatively affected you in some way? What was the word and why did it

affect you that way? Do you think there is a way to stop this word from having a negative connotation? Whenever possible, connect your experience to those related by Tannen in “Bossy”

is More than a Word to Women and/or Language Versus Lies by Sanders]


I. Hook Paragraph:

A. Use a shocking statement to grab the reader’s attention

i. Compare the large idea of words to candy when it’s used positively and

weapons when it’s used negatively

II. Introduction Paragraph:

A. Get readers into the topic more by explaining the background of the reading “’Bossy’

is More than a Word to Women,” by Debra Tannen, and how this is an example of a

word that’s used as a weapon

B. Thesis: The word that hurts me most is “large” because most of my friends are

“small” and “cute.”

III. First Body Paragraph:

A. Start a story about the word that hurt: large.

i. Begin with helpful background information about studying in Hong Kong,

and how people tend to be smaller there and how women are judged if

they are larger.

IV. Second Body Paragraph:

A. Tell the story of my friend, Hannah, saying I should return to the US since boys in

Hong Kong won’t like me due to my slightly larger size.

V. Third Body Paragraph

A. Give background about why it hurt so much for Hannah to say this since we had been

friends for a long time.

VI. Fourth Body Paragraph:

A. Explain that many women are judged by society like I was judged by Hannah, and

how I have now accepted that I don’t necessarily look like society wants me too but I

like the way I am.

VII. Fifth Body Paragraph:

A. Connect back to the Tannen reading and use it to connect to my story and prove my

Comment [BME1]: The essay starts by introducing readers to the general/overall topic of the paper: words.

Comment [BME2]: The essay gets a bit less general/more specific, moving from the general topic (words) toward the more specific idea of the paper (words that affect people negatively). The author uses the reading to do this and also provide background/context for readers.

Comment [BME3]: The essay gets specific- the author states the thesis by saying the specific word that hurt her. The thesis is toward the beginning of the paper, but it doesn’t have to be at the end of the 1st paragraph. It can come a bit later in the intro (as it is here), in the body paragraphs, or even in the conclusion. Wherever it is placed, it should be done for a specific purpose.

Comment [BME4]: Now that the author has stated the thesis and is in the body paragraphs, she focuses on proving the thesis very specifically using examples and cases throughout the body paragraphs. In this instance, she uses her story and connects to the reading to back up her experience.

Comment [BME5]: Note that each body paragraph has one main idea. When applicable, that main idea is connecting to one of the required readings.


i. Explain that women are treated differently than men in some areas, and

women are in a double-bind when it comes to how they speak at work. If they

talk using more feminine ways of speaking, they are judged, and it they talk

using more masculine ways of speaking, they are also judged.

a. Quote to use: “ If they talk in…ways, which are associated with and

expected of women, they seem to lack confidence, or even competence.

But if they talk in ways expected of someone in authority, they are seen

as too aggressive” (Tannen, 65)

ii. The double-bind occurs with women’s bodies too

a. We should be try to be healthy and like ourselves instead of caring

what other people think

VI. Sixth Body Paragraph

A. The way to stop words like “large” from hurting others is to think before speaking

and using judgmental words.

i. And, when using words, we should apply them equally to men and


VII. Concluding Paragraph

A. Even though this was a sad experience, I learned from it how much power words

have and how much they can cut people deeply.

B. Call to Action: This experience should be shared so other people can learn this lesson


i. Last sentence: connect back to original article and main idea of words.

Comment [BME6]: Note the author includes the specific quote they will be using and plans for it before actually using it in the essay draft.

Comment [BME7]: The author moves on the last essay question, how words like this can stop having a negative connotation. This is the second part of the thesis, since it is answering part of the essay question, and it is still very specific since it’s proving the thesis and since she is still in the body paragraphs.

Comment [BME8]: The author is still specific since she’s talking about herself and what she’s learned, but will start getting less specific/more general since she is now in the conclusion.

Comment [BME9]: The author gets more general/less specific in order to connect to the audience and explain how the overall topic matters to them and why they should care about it.

Comment [BME10]: The author uses a concluding technique, a callback to an earlier idea, to end the paper in an interesting way for readers. She also connects back to the general/overall topic, which is words.

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