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The University of Oklahoma
Writing Center
THE UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA

Introductions and Conclusions


Introduction Paragraph

In informative and persuasive writing, an Introduction Paragraph prepares a reader for the contents of the essay and provides a “road map” for the reader. The sentence in the introduction that states the main point is the thesis statement. In most introductions, the thesis statement is the last sentence in the paragraph. The sentences in an introductory paragraph can hook the reader by using one of the following devices:

 

  • a startling statistic or unusual fact        
  • a quotation or bit of dialogue
  • a vivid example          
  • a provocative question
  • a description               
  • an analogy
  • a paradoxical statement           
  • a joke or an anecdote

 

Examples:

 

Today there is a mass murderer loose in our society. This murderer has killed over 28 million people, and the government has done nothing to stop the carnage. Cigarette companies are too politically savvy to allow the government to halt the mass murder of American citizens.

 

The lights cast a colorful glow in the festive house. The smell of pine added to the Christmas cheer. Under the fresh tree lay presents, picked with loving care and wrapped with holiday spirit.

 

Conclusion Paragraph

A Conclusion Paragraph closes the circle of the paper by emphasizing the points in the paper, end strongly by using a call to action, a quotation, a humorous comment, or a look to the future.

 

Examples:

 

With restrictions on advertising and governmental regulations on nicotine, the millions killed every year from tobacco use will decrease. The cigarette mass murderers are not only easy to identify, they are easy to stop if we take action now.

 

As the holiday season approaches, we must remember that not all festive traditions end happily. To save the lives of 15,000 people annually, all we have to do is use artificial Christmas trees.

 

Avoid: getting off track, adding new ideas or facts that should be in the body of your essay, rewording your introduction, making absolute claims, or adding an apology.

 

Reference: Rules for Writers (3rd ed.) Diana Hacker (1996) Boston: Bedford Books.