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  Weekly Feature (February 3, 2008)

Mirror Images: Essay Introductions and Conclusions

by Jennifer


Writing an essay can be a tough challenge. It can be easier to tackle it in chunks, for example, by writing the introduction and conclusion paragraphs together. Why? The introduction and conclusion paragraphs have a lot in common: they’re the same length, and they share similar sentence patterns.

Both the introduction and conclusion paragraphs are three sentences long; one sentence pattern goes from most to least general. The other is the reverse, from least to most general. Following is a form for you to review your knowledge and practice writing your introductions and conclusions.

In an essay, the introduction and conclusion paragraphs are similar. In fact, they are the “mirror images” of each other. This exercise will give you practice in writing them both.

The Introduction Paragraph

The introduction paragraph, which is the first paragraph in an academic essay, has at least 3 sentences. First is the most general sentence. The next sentence, the second, is more detailed. The third and last sentence is your thesis statement, the most detailed sentence of all. You can view a sample essay, “The Wonders of Ice Cream,” to see this at work (Weekly Features: The Essay Parts 1, 2 or 3).

The Conclusion Paragraph

The conclusion paragraph, too, has at least 3 sentences. This paragraph’s sentence order is the opposite of the introduction paragraph’s sentence order: it goes from most detailed to most general, the opposite of the introduction’s most general to most detailed order.

In the conclusion paragraph, the first sentence is the most detailed. It is a re-statement of your thesis statement; use synonyms to re-state. The second statement is a little more general. And the third and last sentence is the most general. As you can see, the conclusion paragraph is a “mirror image” of your introduction paragraph. Try yours below.

Introduction: Remember, most general, more detailed, then thesis statement.




Conclusion: Remember, re-stated thesis, then more general, then most general sentence.





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