From the reader’s perspective
Any essay is only as effective as the reader’s experience of it, so always keep the reader in mind, imagining them as critical but willing to be convinced by a sound argument or presentation of facts.
The first sentence of the first paragraph leads the reader into the argument with a generalisation – a statement of generally accepted fact or a widely held opinion. The second and following sentences of the introductory paragraph build up toward the final sentence, which clearly and concisely expresses the thesis of your argument and is, therefore, known as the thesis statement.
Having stated the thesis, you then navigate the reader through the argument in the body of the essay supporting the thesis, moving logically from one paragraph to the next, building up your case and convincing the reader of its validity.
The concluding paragraph begins by restating your thesis, which, if you have built your argument effectively, the reader will now recognise as valid and credible. This final paragraph is a mirror image of the first paragraph, moving from a clear and concise restatement of the thesis in the first sentence, through a wrapping up of the essay in the following sentences and a general statement in the last sentence that releases the reader from your essay with a sense of completion and satisfaction that the journey through your essay has been worthwhile.
The function of the sentences leading up to the thesis statement in the first paragraph is to open the framework of the essay and prepare the reader for the thesis statement. The sentences after the restatement of the thesis in the concluding paragraph close the frame and contextualise your essay’s argument.
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