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What Is a Block Outline?


A compare-contrast essay examining similarities or differences between objects, people or concepts can be organized in two formats: point-by-point or block. The point-by-point structure establishes a body paragraph for each comparison or contrast point, while the block method uses one paragraph for each object being compared or contrasted. A block outline sets up the paper to use this block organizational method.

Block Outline Example

The block outline begins with an introduction and ends with a conclusion. As most compare-contrast essays examine the similarities or differences between two ideas, each of those concepts appears in a body paragraph between the start and finish. For instance, a block outline for an essay about the differences between a movie and its remake would have one body paragraph section for each movie. The points to be covered within each paragraph should mirror each other, as in this example:

I. Introduction II. Original "The Thing" A. Special effects B. Acting C. Story III. Remake of "The Thing" A. Special effects B. Acting C. Story IV. Conclusion

Each Roman numeral is a full paragraph in the completed essay. A point-by-point outline, by contrast, would compare both versions of the movie in an introduction and do the same in a section on special effects, a section on acting and a section on the story, followed by the conclusion.

About the Author

Kristie Sweet has been writing professionally since 1982, most recently publishing for various websites on topics like health and wellness, and education. She holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Northern Colorado.

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