Essay Answer Format

Sample Outline

How do I write an outline?

This outline will help you write a five paragraph essay for a narrative format. However, you can easily organize your question and answer format essay using this outline as well.

I. Introduction

Start with a humorous or interesting anecdote or fact that the person told you.

Thesis statement: A thesis statement is one sentence that tells who was interviewed, his or her title, and why you interviewed the person. Basically, what do you plan to tell your reader about this person? This must be in the introduction, and you must spell the person's name correctly. Read this article on how to write a thesis statement for more help.

II. Body paragraph 1: One big idea you learned

III. Body paragraph 2: Second big idea you learned

IV. Body paragraph 3: Third big idea you learned

V. Conclusion: You need to wrap up your essay by summarizing and writing some concluding remarks about the person.

  • Read the questions very carefully at least 2 or 3 times.

  • Circle  the main verb (= action verb/imperative) in the question and decide on the necessary rhetorical strategy for answering the question (cause-effect, comparison-contrast, definition, classification, problem-solution).

  • Make sure you understand what type of answer the main verb calls for (a diagram a summary, details, an analysis, an evaluation).

  • Circle all the keywords in the question.

  • Decide if you need to write a 1-paragraph or a multi-paragraph answer.

  • Write a brief outline of all the points you want to mention in your answer.

  • Restate the question and answer it with a topic sentence (for a 1-paragraph answer) or a thesis statement (for a
    multi-paragraph answer). 

  • Answer the question according to general rules of academic writing.  Use indentations; begin each paragraph with a topic sentence; support the topic sentence(s) with reasons and/or examples; use transition words to show logical organization; write a conclusion.  Use correct punctuation throughout.

  • Read over your answer again and check if all the main ideas have been included.

  • Check your answer for grammar and punctuation.

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