Writing an Introduction, Conclusion, Paragraph and Counter-Argument

07 Jun 2012

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Lin Guoyao
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Writing an Introduction, Conclusion, Paragraph and Counter-Argument

The introductory paragraph

The introductory paragraph introduces is used not only in presenting the topic and organization of the paper, but it is also utilized to grab the reader's attention. It is probably best, when writing the introduction, to use the funnel or general-to-specific method. This method begins with a very broad, general topic (e.g., cars), and then gradually narrows the subject down to a specific example of that topic (e.g., Porsches). The point in the paragraph at which the thesis statement is finally made is most commonly in the last sentence.

There are also three other common techniques that are utilized to open the introductory paragraph:

  1. Factual Information: The writer opens his or her paragraph by giving a list of facts that will eventually lead to his or her thesis (e.g. "Gasoline car sales have been plummeting...").
  2. Anecdote: The writer opens the paragraph with a story that relates to the thesis (e.g. "I've always grown up admiring my father's collection of automobiles...").
  3. Quotation: The writer builds the introductory paragraph around an applicable quote (e.g. "The president of Ford has said, 'Cars are now the wave of the future...'").

Here is an example of an introductory paragraph written with the general to specific or funnel method:

The number of cars that are mass produced today is astounding. More than 200 million are produced every year throughout the world. The number of automobiles that are owned by people in America is equally staggering. Over 100 million Americans own at least one automobile and over twenty million families in America own at least two. Despite the amount of producing and selling of cars in this modern age, however, only one out of every twenty Americans knows the mechanics of his or her vehicle. This has led to America's naive dependency on the advice of costly auto mechanics. It is time for America to realize its problem and to begin learning about correct motor vehicle maintenance.

The Concluding paragraph

The concluding paragraph brings the paper to a proper closing, and does not merely restate what has already been explained thoroughly in the essay. If the writer has sufficiently explained his or her thesis in the paper, then nothing more is needed. If, however, the writer cannot fit his or her concluding remarks about the topic in a final paragraph, then a conclusion is recommended. The conclusion will not repeat ideas, nor will it bring up a new topic; rather, it will give an implicit summary of the paper and then give a unique perspective on the material discussed, reemphasizing the thesis for the reader.

There are four main tactics that the writer can employ in writing the concluding paragraph:

  1. Restatement and Recommendation: Here the major points of the paper are given in a summary form and a suggestion is made to the reader about the subject (e.g. Take good care of your car).
  2. Prediction: The writer of a paper may want to predict what will happen with his or her topic in the future (e.g. The electric car will take over the industry).
  3. Allusion: The writer may choose to write an appropriate story to get his point across to the reader. This will allow the reader to relate better to the subject (e.g. "I know a good friend who had a '57 Chevy...").
  4. Quotation: This can give some more validity to your argument if it is a quotation from an expert in the subject (e.g. "As Lee Iacocca concluded at his retirement speech at Chrysler...").

Here is an example of a concluding paragraph with a restatement and a recommendation:

The concluding paragraph: restatement

Americans have much more to learn about their automobiles than they think. It takes a good deal of research and advice from other people in order to get acquainted with the basics of a car. It also requires the car owner to confront his or her fears about fixing his vehicle and to take a risk in doing so. Finally, the car owner must be wise in choosing the right type of mechanic to work on his car when the problems become too large for the owner to handle. All of these steps are absolutely essential to follow if Americans ever want to get beyond their normal naivete about automobiles.

The concluding paragraph: recommendation

The prevailing ignorance of basic auto mechanics on America's part is indeed appalling. However, in spite of the current situation, there is hope on the horizon. The number of people showing interest in car maintenance has been increasing at a steady rate over the past few years. Having grown tired and frustrated by the excessive amount of money they have had to spend on shops and auto mechanics, they have come to realize that car maintenance is much more essential than they had thought. If this trend continues in America, we can hopefully predict the coming of an age where dependence upon others for "car smarts" will finally become obsolete.

Taken from http://www.wheaton.edu/learnres/writectr/Resources/paragraphs.htm


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Lin Guoyao
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Writing A Paragraph


A unified paragraph

It is commonly recognized that dogs have an extreme antagonism toward cats. This enmity between these two species can be traced back to the time of the early Egyptian dynasties. Archaeologists in recent years have discovered Egyptian texts in which there are detailed accounts of canines brutally mauling felines. Today this type of cruelty between these two domestic pets can be witnessed in regions as close as your own neighborhood. For example, when dogs are walked by their masters, and they happen to catch sight of a stray cat, they will pull with all their strength on their leash until the master is forced to yield; the typical result is that a feline is chased up a tree. The hatred between dogs and cats has lasted for so many centuries; it is unlikely that this conflict will ever end.

This paragraph is effective for the following reasons:

  1. The paragraph shows unity. All the sentences effectively relate back to the topic sentence at the beginning of the paragraph. All of the sentences have something to do with dogs not liking cats.
  2. The paragraph shows coherence. There is a flow of thoughts and ideas among the sentences in this paragraph. There are good transitions employed in the paragraph. The writer also presents her sub-topics in an orderly fashion that the reader can follow easily.

In an argumentative essay:

The thesis statement is the main point of the essay

When you want to convince someone that your main thesis is true, you need to support your thesis with several good points and examples. 

Here is a condensed version of how ideas can be linked...

Thesis statement: Smoking should be banned from public places.

Supporting Points                                            Examples

Smoking is dirty.

Smokers leave ashes, matches, and cigarette butts on the ground

Smoking bothers other people.

People cough and hate the smell.

Smoking is dangerous

Careless smokers cause building fires and forest fires. Smoking kills people.

Smoking is a bad influence on young people.

If teenagers see young adults smoking they may think smoking is cool and so they may try to smoke.

Smoking is bad for health. 

Smoking causes throat and lung cancer.

Secondhand smoke is just as harmful as firsthand smoke. Smoking causes heart disease.


Building an Argument

Your argument needs to flow. You can use these expressions to connect your thoughts.

Use these to introduce your first point

To begin with, To start with, First of all               

Use these to connect your  points

And, Also, Furthermore, What’s more, As well,

Use these to show relatively more important points.         

More importantly, What’s worse, What’s more,

Use these to show your most Important point

Above all else, Above all, Most of all,

Use these to show your final point.


Use these to conclude your idea.

In conclusion, Therefore,

Use these to introduce examples.

For example, For instance,

Note the transitional phrases used                                     

Banning smoking from public spaces is a good policy for several reasons.  First of all, smoking is a filthy habit. Smokers leave their cigarette butts on the ground and drop their ashes anywhere.Furthermore, smoking bothers other people.  It smells horrible and causes other people to cough. More importantly, smoking is dangerous. Careless smokers who throw away cigarettes sometimes cause building and forest fires. Another reason to ban smoking in public places is the influence smoking has on teenagers. When teenagers see young adults smoking, the teenagers may think it is cool and start a habit that is very difficult to quit. And above all else, smoking is bad for health. It causes lung and throat cancer in people who inhale secondhand smoke.  In conclusion, the ban on smoking is necessary to protect people.   


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Lin Guoyao
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How to write a counter-argument Paragraph


Glossary of Signposts to indicate the opening of an argument rebuttal and consolidation with opposing arguments:


  1. Some people believe that there are many good reasons to condemn… However they tend to forget that…
  2. The advocates of … use a battery of arguments to support their case. They claim that…
  3. None of these arguments are convincing. I feel…
  4. All of them gloss over the moral dimensions of the problem…
  5. Many scientists contend that… However, many ordinary people condemn that such practices are unreliable…
  6. Many people feel that… However many other researchers dispute this point.
  7. Many people would agree that… has become a great power in influencing… However I feel that such influence has been greatly exaggerated. This is because…
  8. Adherents of… often claim that… However, if their claims are true, this would be tantamount to saying that…
  9. Advocates of… often believe erroneously that…
  10. Proponents of… often believe erroneously that… The fact, however, is that…
  11. To me, these arguments are often spurious. Let me explain why.
  12. If what critics say is true, then how is it that…
  13. This argument seems to me an illegitimate claim/reason…
  14. The moral argument propounded by… is almost misleading. Let me clarify by stating that…
  15. Such a proposal/belief is most ludicrous. In fact, there is now conclusive evidence to show that…
  16. The opposition camp often attests that… However, I have many reasons to offer that will nullify their stand.


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