Basics of essay writing - Outline

A traditional outline begins by listing all the main ideas of an essay, and then follows by listing all the sub-topics of those ideas and facts, which support the idea or sub-topic. An example follows:

I. Geographic feature #1: Himalayan Mountains

1) Description:

a) forms an protective arch around India's northern border.

b) the tallest mountains in the world.

c) very difficult to cross

2) Effects on civilization or nation

a) acted as a barrier to invasions

b) isolates India from cold northern winds

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II. Geographic feature #2: Sahara Desert

1) Description:

a) world's largest desert

b) stretches from Atlantic Ocean to Ethiopian Highlands

2) Effects on civilization or nation

a) isolated northern Africa from rest of continent

b) lack of arable land make food production difficult

III. Geographic feature #3: Yangtze River

1) Description:

a) China's longest river

b) runs from East China Sea to mountains of Tibet

2) Effects on civilization or nation

a) supplies good soil and water for limited arable land

b) supplies food

c) provides means of transportation and communication

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