Exercise Six: Writing the Introduction and Conclusion of an Essay

So you know how to write the body of your essay, but do you know how to begin your essay? As explained in exercise five, there are three parts of an essay: the introduction, body, and conclusion.  You CANNOT begin an essay by simply stating the thesis of your essay.  You must begin an essay with an introductory paragraph, or introduction.  This introductory paragraph is the first paragraph of your essay.  It should announce your topic to the reader, include the thesis statement, and, hopefully, get your reader’s attention.

Writing the introductory paragraph of an essay is quite easy.  There are a variety of ways to write an introductory paragraph, but, for the purpose of simplicity, we are going to look at the thesis-statement-last introduction.

Writing your introduction
1.  Write the thesis of your essay ¼ of the way down your page (leaving
several empty lines above it).
2.  Using the empty lines before your thesis lead your readers to your thesis.
This means you need to discuss things related to the topic in your thesis.

How do I lead my reader to the Thesis statement?
There are several ways to begin your essay, and more specifically, your
introductory paragraph.  The following are some options:
- Begin your essay by asking a question
- Begin your essay by telling a very brief story
- Begin your essay by using a quote
- Begin your essay by stating an interesting fact
- Begin your essay by telling a joke
- Begin your essay by offering a description

Examples:
(Using a question)
Have you ever wondered why we have a legal drinking age?  Many underage teens will argue that having a legal drinking age is useless.  Teens will drink when and if they feel like it.  Alcohol is easily accessible, so why bother with an age restriction?  Perhaps it is because underage drinking may create such serious problems.  There are many serious issues associated with underage drinking.

(Using a description)
Krista and I have been best friends for a long time.  We have been through thick and thin.  Good times and bad times, and our friendship has experienced many changes in between.  “Best friendship” is a very special relationship that requires many different characteristics to be successful.

ACTIVITY 6A
Write a rough copy of the introduction for the essay body you completed in Activity 5B.

Writing the Conclusion

OK, two out of three parts completed!  Now for the last part – writing the conclusion.

The concluding paragraph of an essay, or conclusion, is your last say on your essay topic.  This is where you wrap your ideas up and close the essay.  Essentially, the conclusion of your essay need only be one paragraph; it is not limited to that, however.   In your conclusion you may
- Restate your thesis
- Summarize the main points of your essay
- Draw a final conclusion about your topic
- Leave your reader with a memorable statement or quote

Most importantly you want to leave your reader feeling something and offer them closure.

ACTIVITY 6B
Write a rough copy of the conclusion for the essay body you completed in Activity 5B.

ACTIVITY 6C
Connect your introduction, body and conclusion together to form your completed (rough) essay.