Lesson Five: Introductions and Conclusions

The introduction should orient the reader to the ideas the essay will undertake, while the conclusion synthesizes those ideas. You should introduce your theme early, usually at the end of the first paragraph. At this stage, since you have not explored your concrete evidence, the theme should subtly indicate the direction the essay will take rather than try to tell the whole story.

How do you draw in the reader to your story? What, specifically, should be included in the conclusion? Read on and find out how to pack both the beginning and ending of your essay with the most punch.

EssayEdge Extra: Opening With a Quotation

There is no approach more hackneyed than opening with a quotation. The ones we see at EssayEdge are almost always just marginally clever expressions of the most obvious lessons about hard work, persistence, and fulfilling one's dreams—often barely relevant to the rest of the essay. Occasionally someone will find a quote that is worth a pause, but even then the reader will not be impressed. The very sight of quotation marks at the beginning of your essay might elicit a cringe or sigh.

The admissions committee wants to know what you have to say. If you find some fascinating quotation by another person, using it will not make your case for admission any more compelling. In fact, an impatient reader might simply write you off as unoriginal. Neither does quoting a philosopher or Shakespeare make you appear well read, because anyone can open Bartlett's Familiar Quotations to find something that sounds smart.

Finally, even quoting your grandmother or some other wise relative has been done too many times by now. This is not to say that you should not use dialogue if you are describing a particular episode, but anything that sounds like an aphorism is only going to add triteness to your essay, no matter how perfectly your life illustrates that theme.

Next: Introduction Types