TITLE, INTRODUCTION, & CONCLUSION
You might think that since your title and introduction lead off your essay, you should write them first. Would you be surprised to learn that many readers work out their thesis statement and main ideas, and even develop their body paragraphs, before they craft their title, introduction, and conclusion? When you think about it, that approach makes sense. It's easier to introduce and sum up your ideas once you know what they are!
An effective title gives readers a sense of the topic and, ideally, grabs their attention. "Taking Themselves Seriously: Adult Learners Succeed in School" might work for that essay we sketched out above. (Certainly that title is better than "Homework Assignment"!)
Your introduction should draw in your readers and give them a sense of your piece. Some writers engage readers by telling a story or posing a thought-provoking question. Others give a summary of their main ideas. And, as noted, writers usually state the thesis at the end of the introduction.
TIP:To read more on WHALE about crafting an effective introduction, click here.
Your conclusion should close out your essay smoothly. Some writers refer back to thesis / introduction to create a sense of completion. Some--especially when writing long essays--restate their main ideas, so they'll stay fresh in the audience's mind. When examining a problem, many writers conclude by suggesting possible solutions, or posing questions for consideration. Whatever your approach, your conclusion should give your readers the sense that the essay is “finished.”
TIP:To read more on WHALE about crafting an effective conclusion, click here.
From the parking lot, I could see the towers of the castle of the Magic Kingdom standing stately against the blue sky. To the right, the tall peak of The Matterhorn rose even higher. From the left, I could hear the jungle sounds of Adventureland. As I entered the gate, Main Street stretched before me with its quaint shops evoking an old-fashioned small town so charming it could never have existed. I was entranced. Disneyland may have been built for children, but it brings out the child in adults.
I thought I would spend a few hours at Disneyland, but here I was at 1:00 A.M., closing time, leaving the front gates with the now dark towers of the Magic Kingdom behind me. I could see tired children, toddling along and struggling to keep their eyes open as best they could. Others slept in their parents' arms as we waited for the parking lot tram that would take us to our cars. My forty-year-old feet ached, and I felt a bit sad to think that in a couple of days I would be leaving California, my vacation over, to go back to my desk. But then I smiled to think that for at least a day I felt ten years old again.