English Esssay – Outline/Reduce/Essay, Writing Assignment Homework Help

Reduce to Main Points

Objective: 

  • Categorize topic inventory to eliminate repetitive or irrelevant information

Review your list of ideas and details and decide how to put them into categories. You do this by identifying key ideas that can serve as main points in your essay.

Some of the ideas in your inventory may be repetitious or irrelevant. To categorize your ideas and details, identify any patterns that are present in your list. Then think of three or four general categories to sort the words. These categories are your main points. You can always add more details later as you revise your essay. 

Example of an Inventory of Topic:

Inventory List:

  1. Beaches
  2. Folk dancing
  3. Restaurants
  4. Greek food
  5. Museums
  6. Sidewalk coffee shops
  7. Windsurfing
  8. Clubs
  9. Street vendors
  10. Music
  11. Boutiques
  12. Shops
  13. Cruises
  14. European cafes
  15. Scuba diving
  16. Entertainment

Example of Inventory List categorized and reduced to main points:   

1. Greek Food

Restaurants

European cafes 

Sidewalk coffee shops           

2. Beaches

Wind surfing 

Cruises

Scuba diving  

3. Shops

Street vendors

Boutiques

4. Entertainment

Museums

Folk dancing

Music

Clubs

Review Question

A. Use your own list and reduce to main points.You may include more than four (4) main points.   

1.

2.

3.

4.

Please Write Your Answer Below:

Lesson 11: Order of Main Points

Objectives:

  • Sort main points from strongest to weakest
  • Organize main points according to writing purpose

Decide how you want to arrange your points:

A. If you are writing a narrative or describing a process, you will want to organize your paper chronologically, that is, in the order of time.

B. If you are describing space, you will organize your main points according to the order in which you want to describe the object, area, or person. 

C. If you are presenting an argument or persuading someone, then you will move from the weakest to the strongest points.

When the young American military members chose their main points, they decided to arrange them according to how important they thought the places were and how often they visited the places on the list. 

They could have also used a spatial order by starting at a particular geographical location of Glyfada and moving to different points of interest in the resort town. 

Example: 

Note: This is just an example – there are different ways the topics could be reduced and ordered depending on the audience and purpose of the essay. 

Inventory of Topic  Reduced to 4 Main Points:   

1. Restaurants

2. Beaches

3. European cafes 

4. Shops 


Order of main points:

1. Beaches

2. Restaurants

3. European cafes

4. ShopsNote how the order of the topics changed to present the beaches first, the restaurants and European cafes next, and shopping last. The writer may want to elaborate on the fabulous beaches and water as the main attraction for tourists, followed by fine dining, and finally shopping. 
  
The order of your main points depends on the audience and purpose of your essay.

Review Question

Directions: Decide how you want to arrange your points by following the steps below. 

Inventory of Topic:  Reduced to 4 points
1.
2.
3.
4

Order of Main Points
1.
2.
3.

4

Lesson 12: Basic Working Thesis

Objective: 

  • Write a thesis statement

After completing the inventory, reducing the inventory to main points, and deciding on the order of the points, it is time to put everything together. It is easy if you think of it as a formula.

topic + so what? + main points

This statement a basic thesis because it is your essay in a nutshell. From this thesis statement you develop your direction, argument, organization, and target audience. Although the basic thesis appears rigid, it forces you to examine the skeleton of your paper. Stating the thesis in a single sentence is a valuable skill. If you cannot condense what you want to say into one sentence, you do not know what you want to say about the topic.

When you can actually put your topic and points on paper, you will begin to form a plan for your essay. A single sentence eliminates the problem of a thesis going in two different directions. 

If you state your thesis in a compound sentence (two independent clauses), you will find yourself coming to a fork in the road, and the paper will go two directions.

Poor Example: Glyfada is a good place to visit, and people like to buy property there

Does the writer want to talk about Glyfada being a good vacation spot, or does the writer want to discuss real estate? In this example, the writer has two topics.

Also be aware of parallelism. You must keep your main points parallel as you list them in the basic thesis. 

Keep the words of your main points concrete (something you touch like a ball) or abstract (something you cannot touch like sadness or happiness). 

Keep your main points in the same grammatical construction (singing, running, swimming; not singing, running, and to swim). 

Be consistent in the concepts you use (apples, oranges, and bananas; not apples, oranges, and zebras).

Our military members needed to be able to say, “Glyfada is a good place to visit because the prices and the climate are outstanding for shops, beaches, bars, and restaurants.” 

Example: Basic Working Thesis

topic + so what? + main points.

Glyfada is a reasonably priced vacation spot that offers a variety of shops, beautiful beaches, quality restaurants, and European cafes.

Review Question

Using your information from previous lessons, write a basis thesis for your essay.

Basic Working Thesis = topic + so what? + main points.

Please Write Your Answer Below:

Lesson 13: Mapping

Objective: 

  • Organize writing points to include details that support thesis

Mapping determines whether or not you have enough material to support your main points. Under each main point, list supporting details. You do not have to use all the words you list, but at least you will have a starting point to develop and support your main ideas.

Example of Mapping:

Here is an example of an inventory of each main point that was identified in the previous lessons. Notice that the main points are still in order of Beaches, Dining, and Shopping. 

1. Beaches

sand

clean

skiing

wind surf

boats

weather

scuba diving

2. Restaurants

cafes

snack shops

price ranges

ethnic food

peasant type

seafood

souflaki

moussaki

3. European cafes

music

folk dancing

gathering spots

atmosphere

family

open air

music

clubs

4. Shops

gold

wool

ceramics

souvenirs

marble

brass

rugs

Review Question

A. Map your main points and determine if you have enough material to talk about each one.

1. 

a.

b.
c.

2.

a.
b.
c.

3.

a.
b.
c.

4.

a.
b.
c.

sson 14: Sub-Points

Objective: 

  • Categorize details according to interest and relevancy

The list under your first mapped main point will produce several categories. These categories will be your sub-points under the main point. Under these categories, you will sort the rest of the listed words. You can add new ones if you wish. Each sub-point will become a separate paragraph to develop and support that main point.

Determine how many sub-points you need to develop each main point. Remember the outlining rule: when you have an “a,” you must have a “b.” You may have a “c,” “d,” and more, depending on how many paragraphs you want for that main point.

If you write your essay without going through the steps of this method, you may put in several frustrating hours on a draft before realizing you do not have a clear plan for writing the paper.

Example of Sub-Points:

The sub-points that could be developed into a paragraph are highlighted in yellow. Each sub-point will be developed into a paragraph. 

Note: Remember, this is just an example. Other points could be used instead depending on the message the writer is trying to convey. 

1. Beaches

sand

clean

skiing

wind surf

boats

weather

scuba diving

2. Restaurants

cafes

snack shops

price ranges

ethnic food

peasant type

seafood

souflaki

moussaki

3. European cafes

music

folk dancing

gathering spots

atmosphere

family

open air

music

clubs

4. Shops

gold

wool

ceramics

souvenirs

marble

brass

rugs

Review Question  

A. From your inventory list, choose the sub-points that will be developed into a paragraph. 

 

Please Write Your Answer Below

Lesson 15: Sorting (Working Outline)

Objective: 

  • Create an outline using key words from the thesis statement

Using key words from your basic thesis, you must make a short outline using single words or phrases. The key words used for Main Points should be the same ones used in the basic thesis and should also follow the same order. Then you must add support for the sub-points.

Example of Sorting: 

Note: In the example below there are new sub-points added. This will happen as you add to, or revise, your essay.

I. Introduction

 A. General statement

 B. So what

 C. Working thesis

Glyfada is a reasonably priced vacation spot that offers beautiful beaches, quality restaurants, and a variety of shops. 

II. Beaches/Activities

 A. Sand

 B. Water

III. Restaurants

 A. Cafes

 B. Ethnic food

 C. Taverns

IV. European cafes

 A. Greek dancing

 B. Meeting place (family/friends)

 C. Darts 

V. Shops

 A. Souvenirs

 B. Local products

VI. Final paragraph

 A. Restate main points if desired

 B. Concluding/pulling together

 C. Universal/so what statement

Review Question

Complete the sorting step for your Main Points and Sub-Points.

I. Introduction

 A. General statement

 B. So what?

 C. Working thesis (state it)

II. First Main Point

 A. Sub-point

 B. Sub-point

III. Second Main Point

 A. Sub-point

 B. Sub-point

IV. Third Main Point

 A. Sub-point

 B. Sub-point

 C. Sub-point

V. Fourth Main Point (if needed)

 A. Sub-point

 B. Sub-point

 C. Sub-point

VI. Final paragraph

 A. Restate main points if desired

 B. Concluding/pulling together

 C. Final concluding ‘so what?’ statement

 http://www.smart-words.org/linking-words/transition-words.html
3. In the body of the essay (not the introduction or conclusion), circle the main points at beginning of each paragraph. They must be in the same order as they are in your basic thesis. Remember that the first time you use the main point, it must be the same word you used in the basic thesis. 
4. After you have circled the main point at the beginning of a paragraph, place a square around the sub-point at the beginning of that paragraph. 
5. Some type of summary or conclusion needs to be stated in a final paragraph. This pulling together of ideas can be done by a variety of methods: restating key words, summarizing major ideas, or making a concluding statement. The important thing is that the beginning is brought full circle to conclude the topic. 

Here is a practice sheet of an essay about Glyfada written by one of the young military members. Notice that the order of the main points is different than in the previous draft. This sometimes happens when the writer decides that the essay will be more effective if the order is changed. 

Title of Essay

Topic Sentence

Example

1. Introduction. General to specific. Include the “so what?”. Place the working thesis with main points at the end of intro paragraph.

[Write the full introduction after you have written the body and conclusion.]

2. Glue + main point 1 (shops). Begin sub-point (souvenirs) with support.

To begin, Glyfada has some of the best shops in Greece. They offer a wide variety of inexpensive souvenirs… [Provide examples.]

3. Glue + main point 1 (shops) plus sub-point (local products).

Besides shops with unique souvenirs, the visitor can find many local products.

4. Glue + main point 2 (beaches). Begin sub-point (activities for sand).

In addition to shops, the beaches in Glyfada are attractive. They offer many activities on sand.

5. Glue + main point 2 (beaches) plus another sub-point (water sports).

Beaches also offer all water sports.

6. Glue + main point 3 (restaurants) plus sub-point (sidewalk cafes).

Third, restaurants in Glyfada boast excellent food, especially in sidewalk cafes.

7. Glue + main point 3 (restaurants) plus another sub-point (gourmet/ethnic).

Also, ethnic restaurants in Glyfada offer excellent choices.

8. Glue + main point 3 (restaurants) plus sub-point (tavernas).

Another restaurant, the taverna, caters to families and friends dining informally.

9. Glue + main point 4 (European bars). Begin sub-point (Greek dancing).

We have discussed the available shops, beaches, and restaurants, but what will be most enticing will be the European bars. They offer a taste of local traditions such as traditional Greek dancing.

10. Glue + main point 4 (European bars) plus sub-point (meeting place).

European bars are also meeting places for friends new and old.

11. Glue + main point 4 (European bars) plus sub-point (darts).

Besides a place for Greek dancing and meeting friends, European bars also offer recreational and competitive dart games.

12. Final paragraph.

Restate key words, summarize major ideas, or make a concluding statement.

The final step is focused on editing and revision.

Review Question

Peer Response. Read your essay for content, organization, coherence, and unity. Have a friend or family member read your essay and respond to your writing. Explain how you can improve your essay for the final draft.

Please Write Your Answer Below

Lesson 17: Revision 

Objective: 

  • Review, edit and revise 

Review

Read through your essay aloud to a friend or relative. Have someone read it to you. Make certain your ideas flow in a logical manner. 

Editing Session

Refine (diction, syntax, spelling, punctuation, etc.). Run a spelling and grammar check for errors and edit any errors identified. This does not mean you rely solely on the computer program because there are some errors that the computer cannot identify, but it is a good practice to follow.

Revision 

Read again and make any changes needed, including adding or deleting any topics or sub-topics that do not follow a logical sequence. Try to use vivid language to give your writing flair. 

Final Review

Read it one more time! If no changes are needed, then you can submit the ‘Final Draft’ for grading.

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