Beginnings and Endings

Beginnings and Endings

Whenever you write an essay, book report, speech, or any academic article, give the beginning and the ending some special consideration.

Readers and listeners often pay more attention to the beginning and endings of presentations whether this is in print, audio, visual, or some combination. For this reason alone, you will want to bring them in and then end on a strong note to help them remember your primary points. People tend to remember the beginnings and endings the best. 

Having a strong introduction can draw the audience members in and prepare them for what is to come. Your primary goal is to get them engaged with your topic, opinion, or argument. They need to see why they should continue to read, listen, or watch!

Using a hook, capture, or grabber in your introduction is a great way to reel in an audience. You can use a provocative question, an interesting quotation, a surprising fact, or a short anecdote that reveals an intriguing connection.

FishOnce you have the audience’s attention, you can begin to fill in some details that begin to reveal how the hook or capture fits in with your information.

If you are writing an essay, you will lead into your thesis statement, generally at the end of your introduction.

Don’t misunderstand me, the content of the rest of your writing is also important. You want to provide good supporting evidence to strengthen the overall theme or argument you are presenting.

When you arrive at your conclusion, you want to recharge the audience members by reminding them of your strongest points, re-engaging them by connecting the dots, and confirming your position in their minds. You don’t want to restate everything in the same words, but you do want to reconnect with your introduction in some way. While fleshing out your conclusion, you might be able to touch on the quotation, fact, question, or anecdote with which you began. If you are writing an essay, you need to restate your thesis at or near the beginning of your conclusion, without using the exact statement in the introduction. Now you are revealing how that introduction gets wrapped up in a tidy package.

WritingBeginnings and endings are important in smaller writing tasks as well. It is a great idea to have a strong start to a stand-alone paragraph, reveal your related content, and then end on a powerful note clarifying the main thrust of the paragraph.

Even sentences can be strengthened by putting the most powerful structure at the end. You don’t want all of your sentences to follow the same pattern, but having essential points strengthened by using this method can provide a powerful effect. For example, moving the dependent clause to the beginning and ending with the independent clause can enliven your sentence.

There is no need to think about all of this when you are writing your rough draft. You can always come back to strengthen the beginnings and endings later. Of course, doing some brainstorming and planning ahead of time – including having a great thesis statement for essays – will help get you on the right track early on.

At any rate, try to make your beginnings and endings the strongest part of any written work you do, and you will see a difference.

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