Writing an outline

Writing an outline – Eine Inhaltsangabe schreiben

Definition ‚Outline’

An outline is a brief summary of of a given text, focussing on

  • the most important information
  • in a logical order.

It contains the main aspects or ideas of a text, that are needed to point on, what are you trying to prove.

An outline describes something, without detail. Just in general. Just the main idea and the important supporting fact.

Structure – in generell

Thesis: statement, which you are going to prove

  • main idea / topic sentence / evidence to prove your thesis
    • important supporting fact
    • important supporting fact
  • main idea / topic sentence / evidence to prove your thesis
    • important supporting fact
    • important supporting fact

Wichtig: Dos and don’ts

  • Dos
    • own words (eigene Worte)
    • Indirect speech (Indirekte Rede)
    • present tense – (Präsens)
    • write briefly (knapp schreiben)
    • essential information only (nur das Wichtigste)
    • chronological oder logical order of aspekts (Reihenfolge der Aspekte)
    • linking words (Bindewörter)
  • Don’ts
    • No examples (Keine Beispiele)
    • No Details (keine Details)
    • No repetition (keine Wiederholungen)
    • No own opinion (keine eigene Meinung)

Checkliste: Dos and don’ts, when writing an outline – zum download

Onlineübung – Writing an outline

Structure – with phrases as example –

Introduction (Einleitung)

  • Text type (Textsorte)
    • In the extract / article / paragraph / novel / story / excerpt / report, …
  • Titel
    • „……..“
  • Author
    • written by „….“
  • Topic  or thesis (Thema oder Hypothese)
    • is about …. .
    • deals with ….
    • describes …
  • Aspects (Aspekte)
    • I want to sum up the information on … from the text.
    • In the following I want to outline ….
    • Here I am going to give an account to the aspect of …
    • In the following
    • I want to sum up the information
    • The author writes about … / describes … /suggests …/ criticizes …

Main part / body (Hauptteil)

In the main part of the outline only important, relelvant and needed information to prove your thesis in the introduction are mentioned.

  • In chronological order (chronologisch sortiert)
    • First … / Then … / Next …
    • Afterwords …
    • During… / While …
    • The day before / The night before / …
    • In the end …
    • The text ends with …
    • Finally…
  • in logical order (logisch sortiert)
    • To start with
    • In the beginning
    • Secondly
    • Besides
    • Furthermore
    • Moreover
    • Apart from that
    • In addition

End (Schluss)

Reflection of what is beeing said before. Brief mentioning of the topic sentence and restatement of the thesis.

Maybe a conclusion – if requested by your teacher / customer.

Example phrases:

  • To sum up …
  • Having said all that …
  • Taking these in concern …
  • Putting all these together …
  • Considering all of these aspects …
  • As a conclusion …
  • At last it / the author / the writer / …. concludes that
  • Summing up all this …

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