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Beginning With A Question

Every question is like a riddle; we are never satisfied until we know the answer.

Every question is like a riddle; we are never satisfied until we know the answer. So a question put to us at the beginning of an article piques our curiosity, and we are not content until we find out how the writer answers it.

Instead of a single question, several may be asked in succession. These questions may deal with different phases of the subject or may repeat the first question in other words. It is frequently desirable to break up a long question into a number of short ones to enable the rapid reader to grasp the idea more easily. Greater prominence may be gained for each question by giving it a separate paragraph.

Rhetorical questions, although the equivalent of affirmative or negative statements, nevertheless retain enough of their interrogative effect to be used advantageously for the beginning of an article.

That the appeal may be brought home to each reader personally, the pronoun "you," or "yours," is often embodied in the question, and sometimes readers are addressed by some designation such as "Mr. Average Reader," "Mrs. Voter," "you, high school boys and girls." The indirect question naturally lacks the force of the direct one, but it may be employed when a less striking form of beginning is desired. The direct question, "Do you know why the sky is blue?" loses much of its force when changed into the indirect form, "Few people know why the sky is blue"; still it possesses enough of the riddle element to stimulate thought. Several indirect questions may be included in the initial sentence of an article.

Addressing the Reader Directly. A direct personal appeal makes a good opening for an article. The writer seems to be talking to each reader individually instead of merely writing for thousands. This form of address may seem to hark back to the days of the "gentle reader," but its appeal is perennial. To the pronoun "you" may be added the designation of the particular class of readers addressed, such as "You, mothers," or "You, Mr. Salaried Man." The imperative verb is perhaps the strongest form of direct address. There is danger of overdoing the "do-this-and-don't-do-that" style, particularly in articles of practical guidance, but that need not deter a writer from using the imperative beginning occasionally.

Reference book: How To Write Special Feature Articles

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