Country Reports





















































Advice for Intros and Conclusions

In an earlier lesson I gave you some very specific formulas to follow when writing your introduction and conclusion. I also promised that I would give you a chance to be more creative later. Now that time has come.

If you are happy with your introduction and conclusion—leave them alone! You do not need to change anything.

However, if you would like to "personalize" your first and last paragraphs, now is your chance. But before you do, here is some cautionary advice:

Don't introduce new evidence.

Your introduction and conclusion are rarely good places to introduce new evidence. Your evidence belongs in the body paragraphs.

Imagine, for example, that your three body paragraphs start with these topic sentences:

  1. First, a Canadian vacation is cheap.
  2. Second, Canada is beautiful
  3. Third, Canadians are friendly.

In your conclusion, don't bring up any new reasons to go to Canada. Don't for example, start talking about how delicious Canadian food is. If the fact that Canadian food is delicious is really something that you want to include in your essay, then write a fourth body paragraph devoted to food. Your conclusion in not the right place to introduce new ideas.

Likewise, don't introduce evidence in your introduction that you plan to use later in your paper. Sure, if you have a great quote about Canada in general (as opposed to some specific aspect of Canada), then the introduction or conclusion might be a great place to put it. But don't get too specific, too soon. Don't, for example, talk about some delicious Canadian delicacy. Save that for a body paragraph. In your introduction it should suffice to say, "The food in Canada is delicious". Later, in your body paragraph, you can elaborate on that statement by giving specific examples.

And one more piece of advice:

It's considered bad form to start your paper with a quote. Yes, I know a clever quote can serve as a hook, and good writers sometimes do this. But many professors think this technique is "cheesy". So play it safe. If you have a good quote that you want to put into your introduction, put it somewhere in the middle. The first sentence of your essay should be your own words, not the words of someone else.

Okay, if you want to throw out your introduction and conclusion and start again from scratch, go ahead. Just make sure that your thesis statement remains at the end of the introduction.

Or stick to the basic formulas, but just tweak them a little to suit your particular style. Here, for example, is an introduction that I wrote. You can see that I use the same formula I gave you, even while allowing myself some room to be creative.


Swaziland, near the southern tip of Africa, might sound like a wonderful place to visit on vacation. Certainly, if you look at a Swazi brochure, the scenery looks beautiful, and the people, dressed in exotic costumes, appear to be quite friendly. But travelers should not be fooled. Swaziland is a poor, disease-ridden country, full of dangers to the unsuspecting traveler. Swaziland is a terrible vacation destination.



Lesson Steps


If you are happy with your introduction and conclusion, then leave them alone.

If you want to re-write your introduction or conclusion, go ahead.


Did you place your thesis statement at the end of the introduction?


Did you start your paper with a quote?

  • It's considered bad form to start your paper with a quote.

Congratulations! You're done with this lesson.