Writing effective introductions and conclusions

Remember, for Essay 1, your introduction should include a thesis statement that expresses the generalization about Luma’s character that your examples support.

But how do you begin your essay? Here are some common kinds of introductions that “hook” the reader. (These introductions are helpful strategies for all the essays you will write in this class, not just Essay 1.)

• Open with a quotation

A good, short quotation can hook your reader. It must, however, lead naturally into your main idea, and not be there just for effect.

If you start with a quotation, make sure you tell the reader who the speaker is and where the action takes place before you begin quoting.

• Give an example or tell a story

Opening an essay with a brief story or example often draws readers in. Is there a telling example from Luma’s background?

• Start with a surprising fact or idea

Surprises captures people’s attention. The more unexpected or surprising something is, the more likely your reader will be hooked.

• Offer a strong opinion or position

The stronger the opinion, the more likely is that your readers will pay attention. Make your point clear in your introduction.

• Ask a question

A question needs an answer, so if you start your introduction with a question, your readers will expect to read on to get the answer.

Conclusions: Remember: Don’t conclude with your final example.

After your main points have been made by your body paragraphs, use your concluding paragraph to drive your main idea home one final time.

Make sure you conclusion has the same energy as the rest of your essay.

Basics of a good conclusion:

Refers back to the thesis statement, and

sums up what has been covered in the essay and reminds readers of your thesis.

Review: Keep this word in mind as you draft your first draft to make sure you include all the elements of an illustration essay: TEST

Thesis statement unifies your essay

Evidence supports your essay’s thesis statement

Summary statement (conclusion) reinforces your essay’s main idea

Transitions that move your reader from one example to the next.


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