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Chapter 10. Making Your Bones > Start at the Very Beginning: Introductions - Pg. 110

Making Your Bones 110 Quote/Unquote Opening an essay with a quotation is an old standby, and with good cause--it's a sure-fire winner when used correctly. Someone else's wise or witty comment can make your point and spark your reader's interest. Of course, the quotation must fit your point to be relevant and suitable. Open with a quotation to give your writing weight and authority. This works especially well when you're writing ... · · · · · · Essay tests Letters to the editor News stories Persuasive essays Research reports Speeches Write Angles Always be sure to give complete and accurate credit for every quotation you use, whether you use the quotation in the introduction, body, or conclusion of your writing. For example, more than one movie reviewer has opened an assessment of a new flick with this quote from Shakespeare's Hamlet : "A hit, a very palpable hit." The following quote from poet T.S. Eliot quite nicely opened a letter to the editor about senior citi- zens: "The years between fifty and seventy are the hardest. You are always being asked to do things, yet you are not decrepit enough to turn them down." But even quotations from less-famous sources can engage your readers' interest. One clever best man toasted the bride and groom with this gem from the famous and prolific writer "Anonymous": "May your joys be as deep as the ocean And your misfortunes as light as the foam." Ask a Question Ask a question to grab your readers by the ears and pull them into your prose. Few readers can resist the lure of offering their two cents, even if they don't know much about the topic. Opening your introduction with a question is an especially handy technique to use if you are a student writing essay tests--just turn the prompt into a question and you're home free. For example, let's say the prompt asks you to take a side on this issue: