Strategies for Introductions
• Controversial statement
• Rhetorical Question
• Story or anecdote
• Startling statistic
• Statement of popular opinion that is contradicted or
shown to be untrue
• Comparison or analogy
• Rhetorical Devices: poetic, repetition, anticipation,
• It is typically one sentence; however, sometimes you may
need more than one sentence.
• It states the main idea or argument of your essay.
• It lets your reader know what to expect.
• It is the basis for your entire essay.
• It is the most important part of your essay.
• It is awesome (kinda).
Your thesis is the foundation of your essay
• The entire essay attempts to prove that your thesis is
• Constantly refer back to your thesis to make sure that
your essay is staying on track
• If you used a Closed Thesis, your body paragraphs
should cover one of the points mentioned in your thesis.
• Your body paragraphs should go in the same order as the points
they cover were mentioned in the thesis.
Although , ________
gasoline-powered cars are popular people should drive hybrid cars
they cut down on pollution they save you money on gas,
hybrid owners receive special tax breaks
_________________________ + __________________________
because _____________________________, _____________________________,
reason 1 reason 2
counter argument (opposite of your opinion)
the war on drugs is a travesty of justice
sentencing laws are discriminatory more prisons than colleges are built
and addiction is treated as a crime rather than a disease.
most politicians support ongoing funding for the DEA
Although , ________
many people remain skeptical the gov’t should research bigfoot
compelling evidence suggests it exist
A Few Examples
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was written by Mark
Twain in 1876.
Some people think that The Adventures of Tom
Sawyer is Mark Twain’s best novel.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is Mark Twain’s best novel.
Although some scholars argue that Huckleberry Finn is
Twain’s crowning achievement, the Adventures of Tom
Sawyer is Mark Twain’s best novel because of its use of
satire, imagery, and symbolism.
The Five Paragraph Essay
Although some believe martial arts are dangerous, they are beneficial because they
teach discipline, patience, and character.
Have you ever had an interest in self defense? Karate is martial art and a way of fighting
and self-defense based on an understanding of both body and mind. As a college student, I
discovered tae kwon do. Even though I was physically fit and planned to become a police officer,
I thought that women needed special skills to protect themselves. Karate teaches these skills
and more. Although some people feel martial arts dangerous, the person who practices karate
gains discipline, maturity, and a changed self-concept.
First, the discipline of karate helps the student to outfight and outsmart her opponent. For
a while, I didn’t appreciate the discipline. We had to practice every night in class and also commit
to a rigid exercise plan outside of class. We also had to be disciplined in our study of the course
Second, with practice, karate increases maturity. Although maturity sometimes comes
with age, it can also come with experience. Maturity is something that I thought I had developed
until I started my karate classes, and I realized that I have a hot temper and often jump to
Finally, after a year or so, karate can change the student’s self-concept. This happened
to me. On one hand, I became confident that I had the skills to take care of business if
necessary. On the other hand, the better I got, the more I started to act like a pussycat instead of
a lion. Inside I knew that I had nothing to prove to anybody.
As I discovered firsthand, the practice of karate can bring personal benefits that go far
beyond self-defense. I know that my own maturity, discipline and sense of self have been
enhanced through my involvement in this martial art. Imagine the benefits that practicing karate
could possibly bring to your own life. Chances are that there classes are being offered in your
local community right now. What are you waiting for? Sign-up today.
Adapted from the following book:
Fawcett, Susan and Alvin Sandberg. Grassroots with Readings. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1998. Print.
Strategies for Conclusion
Aristotle, in The Rhetoric, tells us a good writer should
do this in the conclusion: "make the audience well-
disposed towards ourselves and ill-disposed to our
Go beyond restating and/or summarizing.
One way to achieve this is to explain the
benefits if the audience accepts our view.
It's a good opportunity to make inferences or
predictions. Ask the audience to consider
what would happen if they don’t accept our
point of view. Make a connection to society
in general, the bigger picture, the human
The Five Paragraph Essay
In defense of the 5 paragraph essay
Ill Effects of the Five Paragraph theme
The length of your essay—the number of paragraphs,
the sentences in each paragraph, etc—depends on
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that essays
should only be five paragraphs long. Even if you list
three points in your thesis, you may need 20
paragraphs to explain those three points.