Suggestions for Beginning an Essay:

  1. An anecdote or an example that leads to the main topic.
  2. An important quote from the material on which you are writing.
  3. Background information, to help your reader understand your subject and see why it is important.
  4. A reflective, provocative or challenging question that relates to the subject.
  5. Include your thesis statement, or argument, in the introduction.

Introductions to Avoid (unless you realy want to annoy your instructor):

  1. The broad, sweeping generalization:
    "Since the beginning of society . . . "
    "Since the dawn of time, humanity has always been increasing . . . "
  2. The "No Duh" Introduction:
    "Hamlet, a play by Shakespeare, is a tragedy."
    "Men and women are different."
  3. The Dictionary Definition Introduction:
    "Webster's Dictionary defines 'love' in several ways . . . "
    "The word "dog" means . . ."


  1. A good conclusion summarizes the thesis in a way that takes into account developments in the thesis that have occurred in the course of the paper.
  2. A good conclusion does not repeat the details of the argument.
  3. A good conclusion might also open up the thesis by suggesting new avenues future discussions could take.
  4. A good conclusion might end by providing a telling quote that captures the heart of your argument.