Blueprinting Openers and Closers

Some student essays have a distinctly courtroom feeling to them. They start like this:

In the following essay, I intend to prove that recycling aluminum cans is beneficial to the environment. In addition, I will discuss ways to recycle other forms of packaging and discuss the benefits of having a community recycling program.

Such essays often end like this:

In the preceding essay, I discussed the benefits of recycling aluminum cans and other forms of packaging and called for a community recycling program.

What's good about this approach

What's not so good about this approach

What's really wrong with blueprinting

Out in the wild

In courtroom usage, language is very traditional and must conform to the parameters (you have to say it the way everyone else says it or you get in trouble with the judge). In addition, lawyers have to deal with an audience of distracted amateurs (the jury) and prove a single point (that the evidence proves this specific legal point which could mark a person as guilty or not guilty). American courtrooms are adversarial—it's my guy against your guy and one of us has to be proven wrong.

Lawyers are not really interested in informing or entertaining the jury; their only job is to persuade the jury that their side is right and the other side wrong.

This kind of courtroom writing is not very common elsewhere. Business letters, business reports, professional articles, and other kinds of writing do not do "In the following article, I intend to prove…" You are much more likely to see:

To proceed with construction, we will need a cashier's check for $50,000.00 and the signatures of the company president and chairman of the board on the enclosed contract.
Based on the available information, it would benefit our company to build the new factory in Smallville.
Though the external characteristics are similar to other subspecies, careful study shows this to be a new and distinct subspecies of tube worm.

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author.
The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by Ashland University.
Revised 8/12/21 • Page author: Curtis Allen • e-mail: callen@ashland.edu.