Introductions and Conclusions

Introductions

Introductions have three parts: the attention-getter, the plan of development (in which the author states his or her supporting points) and the thesis (the single main idea of the essay).

Attention-getters can be stories, rhetorical questions, amazing facts or statistics, quotes, etc., really anything that makes the reader interested in reading more.

Here’s a good example:

Last Friday afternoon, we were hustling to get everything finished before we left for the weekend. I had George moving all the pallets of finished product to the loading dock and placing them neatly in the holding area. As he came around the corner by the punch press, the hydraulic system on the forklift failed, the product tipped off the lift and was destroyed, and the entire area was flooded with hydraulic fluid. The cleanup took us several hours. A few of my guys were pretty miffed that it messed up their Friday-evening plans, and the product lost was worth about $3,500 as nearly as I can calculate. It’s really important that we get a new forklift as it would increase safety, productivity and employee morale. Please give me the go-ahead to purchase a new one.

Here are a couple of other great examples:

We walk through this world with our heads down. Immersed in the technological realm, we disregard reality. We converse with our hands rather than our mouths. This is the way we communicate in the 21st century. In the last decade, advances in information technologies have substantially altered the way individuals interact. Between email, texting, social networking, instant messaging, and Skype, people now have the resources that would make it possible to spend days or months without coming face-to-face with another person, yet still remain connected with the world. This is technology addiction; and it is a growing problem in the United States. It has begun to interfere with how we communicate personally, our physical well-being and has spread to our children.
(Lindsay Franklin, Fall 2015)

At the end of January 2013, the Pentagon announced it would lift the ban on women serving in front-line combat roles. When this was announced, they also gave commanders of every military group permission to keep women banned from certain positions if they could provide enough evidence that it is in the best interest of mission readiness. Since then, a huge debate has begun on whether or not women are suited for combat operations; with many people focusing on emotions, diversity, and progression instead of focusing on facts, statistics, and undeniable evidence. Women would be a great asset for certain combat roles but not all Military Occupation Specialty, or MOS.
(Corey Steiner, Fall 2015)

Conclusions

Conclusions can be anything that ties up the essay and gives the reader a sense of finality. One great strategy is to restate the thesis and plan of development and then refer back to the attention-getter.  Here’s a good example:

Based on these concerns, please let me know if I can purchase a new forklift. The benefits to safety, productivity and morale are obvious. I’d really like to avoid another late-Friday-afternoon cleanup if we can, and get my crew back into the game.

Common problem #1 – not varying language.

It’s important that you don’t write the first supporting point in the introduction and at the beginning of the first body paragraph in the exact same way, because it will be clunky and redundant.  Here’s an (underlined) example of the wrong way to do it:

Last Friday afternoon, we were hustling to get everything finished before we left for the weekend. I had George moving all the pallets of finished product to the loading dock and placing them neatly in the holding area. As he came around the corner by the punch press, the hydraulic system on the forklift failed, the product tipped off the lift and was destroyed, and the entire area was flooded with hydraulic fluid. The cleanup took us several hours. A few of my guys were pretty miffed that it messed up their Friday-evening plans, and the product lost was worth about $3,500 as nearly as I can calculate. I think it’s really important that we get a new forklift, as it would increase safety, productivity and employee morale. Please give me the go-ahead to purchase a new one.

I think it’s really important that we get a new forklift, as it would increase safety. Industrial Safety, had a story in last May’s issue about a gal who was killed in Texas when some heavy product tipped off a forklift and crushed her. The forklift’s steering linkage had failed while the operator was trying to avoid hitting a wall. He had to slam on the brakes causing the product to tip over on top of the woman. Our forklift has a ton of similar problems. For example, the brake discs are so badly worn and warped that the forklift shakes when they’re applied. I’m worried that something similar to the Texas incident could happen here.

Here’s a better way:

Last Friday afternoon, we were hustling to get everything finished before we left for the weekend. I had George moving all the pallets of finished product to the loading dock and placing them neatly in the holding area. As he came around the corner by the punch press, the hydraulic system on the forklift failed, the product tipped off the lift and was destroyed, and the entire area was flooded with hydraulic fluid. The cleanup took us several hours. A few of my guys were pretty miffed that it messed up their Friday-evening plans, and the product lost was worth about $3,500 as nearly as I can calculate. I think it’s really important that we get a new forklift, as it would increase safety, productivity and employee morale. Please give me the go-ahead to purchase a new one.

First of all, the old forklift is presenting an unacceptable safety risk. Industrial Safety, had a story in last May’s issue about a gal who was killed in Texas when some heavy product tipped off a forklift and crushed her. The forklift’s steering linkage had failed while the operator was trying to avoid hitting a wall. He had to slam on the brakes causing the product to tip over on top of the woman. Our forklift has a ton of similar problems. For example, the brake discs are so badly worn and warped that the forklift shakes when they’re applied. I’m worried that something similar to the Texas incident could happen here.

Common problem #2 – using “announcements.” (“Announcements” taken from John Langan’s College Writing 9th ed.)

Avoid anything like what’s underlined in the following example:

Last Friday afternoon, we were hustling to get everything finished before we left for the weekend. I had George moving all the pallets of finished product to the loading dock and placing them neatly in the holding area. As he came around the corner by the punch press, the hydraulic system on the forklift failed, the product tipped off the lift and was destroyed, and the entire area was flooded with hydraulic fluid. The cleanup took us several hours. A few of my guys were pretty miffed that it messed up their Friday-evening plans, and the product lost was worth about $3,500 as nearly as I can calculate. Today in this essay, through the following paragraphs and examples, I will illustrate that it’s really important that we get a new forklift, as it would increase safety, productivity and employee morale. Please give me the go-ahead to purchase a new one.

As you can see, simply deleting the underlined passage makes the essay much more effective.

Activity:

Write an introduction and a conclusion for the essay you’ve been working on to convince someone that you would be a good employee.  Apply everything you’ve learned above.