How do I make a formal outline?

A formal outline includes main ideas and supporting ideas.
An outline uses systematic indenting and labeling.
Topics of equal generality appear in parallel headings.
Since nothing can logically be divided into one part, all subdivisions must have at least two parts.
All headings must be grammatically parallel.

Example

Thesis Statement: The practice of restorative yoga helps a person to relieve the effects of stress by moving the spine in all directions, reversing the effects of gravity, and soothing the internal organs.

Formal Outline:

  • Moving the spine in all directions
  • Use of props essential
  • Long muscles of lower back stretched
  • Bad posture remedied
  • Tension on intervertebral discs relieved
  • Reversing the effects of gravity
  • Three basic inverted poses
  • Enhanced heart function
  • Soothing internal organs
  • Blood movement
  • Forward bends
  • Backward bends
  • Enhanced exchange of oxygen

Some instructors may require that you indicate the introductory and concluding paragraphs in the outline as well.

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