Professor Pedantic 教授的考究學問
The professor awaits your query on academic writing, though in all honesty, he doesn’t have a lot of time for you. He is a tenured full professor and working on yet another magnificent academic tome. Even so, he has graciously consented to entertain your question. Submit it and prepare to be edified.

QUESTION: I nearly always open a paper by posing a question. Sometimes it is rhetorical, sometimes it is meant to be tantalizing. Either way, it is designed to get a reader’s attention. My professor suggests I try something else. But it if works, why do something different?

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it—that’s your theory? And you are correct that abandoning a proven outline and writing style for no reason doesn’t make much sense. But in this case, there are reasons to change. There are, in fact, good reasons to substitute another introductory style for one of your choice that has worked in the past. The first good reason is: Your professor has suggested it. Unless you have some reason to believe he doesn’t have your best interests at heart, you would do well to accept his suggestion as a valid one. Why else would he suggest it?

Another reason to try another lead is that at some point in your writing career you are going to be assigned a subject that simply does not lend itself to introduction via a question. No matter how clever you might be, in that instance you will not be able to effectively start your paper by asking a question. When that occurs, you will wish you had developed several lead paragraph techniques from which to choose a best one—a startling declaration, perhaps… announcement of new evidence and findings… affirmation of an old truth. These, too, can capture reader interest.

Possibly the most important reason to develop a variety of paper introduction methods is that it stretches your brain and adds to your expertise as an academic writer. The desire to keep learning and growing as a scholar is intrinsic in every facet of your work. If you are complacent about learning—in this case, learning additional ways to start a paper—you are exhibiting a serious defect in your intellectual make-up. A better attitude would see you welcoming such suggestions from teaching staff and showing them you have it in you to try new things and be successful.

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