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At the end of the lesson, you will be able to identify the purpose of a sentence outline and to analyze

its basic structure.

Once you have chosen your topic and made a thesis statement, what information will you include in
your writing?

How will you structure your ideas in your writing?

Which ideas should you present first when you begin writing?

Let's Review!
You begin the process of writing by generating topics. One way of generating topics
is brainstorming where you think of any topic and jot down as many ideas about it as you can. Later
on, you narrow the topic down and select the main idea that you can develop in your writing.

Once you have chosen the topic for writing, you determine the audience and purpose. Based on
these you decide on the details to include and the language to use in your writing.

After determining the audience and purpose, you make the thesis statement, a sentence that tells
the main idea of your writing. Then you gather information to support the main idea.

To select and organize the information that you gather, you make an outline, a list of the most
important parts of your writing.

Sentence Outline
A way of selecting and organizing information is through a sentence outline. Like a topic outline, a
sentence outline consists of headings and subheadings. However, unlike a topic outline which
consists of words, phrases, or fragments, a sentence outline presents the main and supporting ideas
in complete sentences.

A sentence outline is particularly useful when you are discussing a complex topic because it gives a
clearer idea of exactly what each paragraph or section will contain. Also, it develops your critical
thinking as it allows you to think through ideas completely in order to write them in full sentences.

The headings of a sentence outline are the main points that support your thesis statement. Stated in
full sentences, the headings tell what your paragraphs will be about. They are usually designated by
Roman numerals (I, II, III...) followed by a period.


The sentence outline shows the sequence in which the writer will tackle the topic. The thesis
statement will be supported by three main points (the headings). The first point focuses on
destructive technologies that cause pollution, the second on environment-friendly technologies that
can reduce pollution, and the third on how people’s commitment to save the environment can
eradicate pollution.

Under the headings are the subheadings. These are the supporting details of your main points. Like
the main points, they should be stated in complete sentences in a sentence outline.

The subheadings are usually marked by the uppercase or capital letters (followed by a period)
arranged in sequence and relative importance.


The sentence outline shows two supporting ideas (subheadings) for each main point, and the ideas
are specific and concrete. For example, the supporting ideas of the first main point mention the
destructive technologies that cause pollution, namely, the motor vehicles and the factories.

An outline for a long piece of writing like a research paper can have more than two levels or
divisions. The levels or divisions under the subheadings are called sub-subheadings. These are
usually marked by Hindu-Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3) and lowercase letters (a, b, c).

Typically, there are at least two subheadings under each heading or two sub-subheadings under
each subheading.

A sentence outline presents the main ideas and minor details of a piece of writing in complete
sentences. It consists of headings, the main points that support the thesis statement,
and subheadings, the supporting details of the main points. The headings are usually designated by
Roman numerals, while the subheadings are marked by uppercase or capital letters. The sentence
outline for a longer piece of writing can have sub-subheadings, the levels or divisions under the
subheading. They are usually marked by Arabic numerals and lowercase letters.