Introduction and Conclusion of Essays

You can find Previous Year Argumentative Essay Topics asked in ICSE board exams

Introduction and Conclusion of Essays

The quality of an essay’s introduction often determines whether the essay gets read in the first place. A fine introduction gives the reader a good initial impression, enticing him/ her to read on, and encourages an excellent evaluation at the end.

Hence the introduction paragraph in an essay serves to attract the reader’s interest, introduces the topic, and explains what the essay will be about. Thus an essay’s introduction has three features which usually appear in the following order:

  1. Catching the reader’s attention
  2.  Some background information
  3. The central idea

1. Catching the reader’s attention: Some common strategies to catch the reader’s interest to your essay are given below . You might begin your essay by choosing any one of the following:

(a) By making a startling / or by giving a striking information:
The information must be true and verifiable, and not totally new to the reader. It could simply be a pertinent fact that explicitly illustrates the point you wish to make. Such an opening is very effective, if it conveys the central idea which crystallises the theme of your composition. Thus, for example, if you were to write an essay on environmental pollution you could begin by stating.

Environmental pollution threatens the survival of the entire human race.
All criminals should be hanged.
School examinations should be abolished.

Such an opening sentence tells the reader what the composition is all about. It is a good way to begin an opinion based or fact based composition.

(b) Relate a dramatic anecdote: An anecdote is a short story that illustrates a point that is relevant to your topic. It could be an interesting or humorous incident that creates the right atmosphere and adds a spark to your writing. Be sure your anecdote is relevant and to the point.

(c) Dialogue: Using dialogues between the characters is another good way to begin a narrative or descriptive essay. The reader must however understand the point you are trying to convey. Use only two or three exchanges between characters to make your point. Follow the dialogue with a sentence or two to elaborate vour point. For example
“Winter is the best of all the seasons. ” said my friend as we cycled to school. “No, I prefer spring” saying this I waved towards the trees laden with flowers on the roadside. I really wonder how people can let this wonderful season go by unnoticed. .

(d) Expose a commonly held belief: You can also begin by stating a belief which is common and known to all. Stating it boldly in the opening sentence, would catch the reader attention. Thus, if you were to write a composition on ‘Bribery’ you could begin by stating:

Every man has a price
This is the growing belief among people wanting to get any work done from people in authority.
Similarly, if you were to write a composition on banning cigarette smoking you could well begin by stating.

‘Cigarette smoking is injurious to health’ is printed on all cigarette packets. This should normally deter one from smoking. Unfortunately it is not enough to deter educated people what to talk of the poor and the illiterate.

(e) Ask a provocative question: You can also begin the above composition on cigarette smoking by asking a provocative question. Here the reader is compelled to think about the question, which instantly involves him in your writing. The questions are rhetorical and the answer is obvious. Thus, for example if you were to write a composition on ‘Should smoking be banned in public places’. You could begin by posing a question.

‘Would you spend money every day for a dose of poison?

(f) Present surprising facts and statistics: You can also begin by stating facts and statistics that are verifiable. Thus if you are to write a composition on, ‘Population explosion in India’, you could begin by stating

The population of India would be 150 crore by the year 2020.

(g) Use a fitting quotation: This is done by quoting words of great philosophers or thinkers. Such an approach riot only adds value to your composition but also make it more relevant and convincing. You must however ensure that the quotation is intricately tied to the subject of your essay. Thus if you were to write a composition titled ‘Greater the power greater the abuse’, you could begin by a quote.

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely” said Lord Aston.
This aptly sums up what power can do to normal mortals.

(h) Tell a story, or give an example: This is another excellent way to begin your composition , provided the story is short and relevant. A personal story or an experience attracts the reader’s attention.

(i) Define a key term: This approach is useful when you are writing a topical, factual or free-choice composition. Here you can start by defining the term or explaining its meaning. Such a strategy is useful in writing composition on topics like ‘Terrorism’, ‘Charity’ “Euthanasia’ etc.

(j) Create an atmosphere: This is a commonly used approach in a narrative or descriptive composition where you begin by creating a proper atmosphere. This helps the reader visualise the incident or description making it more interesting and appealing. Thus if you were to write a composition on ‘An exciting trekking experience’ you could begin thus,

The earth smelled fresh and new, promising warmth, and as the birds ‘ awoke, they tentatively practiced the prologues to their songs. We had walked past the apple trees, and I could smell the sharpness of the rotten fruit that had dropped to the ground.

Or begin your narrative composition stating The house shook, the windows rattled and flung open

(k) Begin with a proverb or a witty’ statement: All that glitters is not gold. Successful people are seldom nice.

2. Provide background information
Providing background information in an essay’s introduction serves as a bridee to link the reader to the topic. How long this bridge should be depends on how much information you think the reader will need to understand the issue being discussed in the essay.

3. State the central idea
The central idea in an essay’s introduction is the most important part of the essay and is indispensable. It can be in one or two sentences and should tell the reader what the whole essay is all about.

Being aware of the three features of an essay’s introduction, you can choose a specific strategy to begin your composition. This would however depend on the type of essay you wish to write.

A conclusion is the last chance to persuade the reader to your point of view. The impression you create in the conclusion will stay after they have finished reading the essay. The end of an essay, therefore, should convey a sense of completeness and closure.

Concluding your composition
You can conclude by stating:

  • A quotation which amplifies your main point or puts it in a different perspective.
  • Redefine one of the key terms of your argument.
  • Stating your considered opinion on the subject.

The three R’s of a complete concluding paragraph

  • Reiterate: Having proved your point, restate your central idea with suitable emphasis and conviction. You can also repeat the best or strongest point of your argument.
  • Reply: In an argumentative essay you may reply to counter-arguments if it supports your central idea. However, use it only to further your argument.
  • Recommend: Having proved your point you could suggest some course of action.

Finally, some advice on how not to end an essay:

    • Don’t simply summarize your essay.
    • Avoid phrases like “in conclusion,” “to conclude,” “in summary,” and “to sum up.” Or taking into account the above factors I would like to conclude, or It is thus obvious that
    • NEVER add new information

Few examples of conclusions are given below.

Spare the rod and spoil the child.
Physical punishment can be a useful method of discipline. However, it should be the last choice for parents. If we want to build a world with less violence we must begin at home, and we must teach our children to be responsible.

Should dangerous sports be banned?
Our society would indeed be healthier if more and more people took part in sports of all kinds. We should continue to try to prevent accidents and injuries. However, we should also ensure that sports are challenging, exciting, and above all, fun.