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How to Write a Good Introduction

State Your Purpose and Your Plan

❶Avoid phrases like the following: Remember, it is an introduction, not the paper.

1. Writing Introductory Paragraphs For Essays

2. Slide 2
Establishing Voice and Point of View
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It is a typical convention to put your thesis as the last sentence of your first paragraph. Provide only helpful, relevant information. Anecdotes can be an interesting opener to your essay, but only if the anecdote in question is truly relevant to your topic.

Are you writing an essay about Maya Angelou? An anecdote about her childhood might be relevant, and even charming. Are you writing an essay about safety regulations in roller coasters? Go ahead and add an anecdote about a person who was injured while riding a roller coaster.

Are you writing an essay about Moby Dick? Perhaps an anecdote about that time your friend read Moby Dick and hated it is not the best way to go. The same is true for statistics, quotes, and other types of information about your topic. Starting your essay with a definition is a good example of one of these conventions.

At this point, starting with a definition is a bit boring, and will cause your reader to tune out. If you are having trouble with your intro, feel free to write some, or all, of your body paragraphs, and then come back to it. Convince the reader that your essay is worth reading. Your reader should finish the introduction thinking that the essay is interesting or has some sort of relevance to their lives.

A good introduction is engaging; it gets the audience thinking about the topic at hand and wondering how you will be proving your argument. Good ways to convince your reader that your essay is worthwhile is to provide information that the reader might question or disagree with. Once they are thinking about the topic, and wondering why you hold your position, they are more likely to be engaged in the rest of the essay. An Interview with Dr. Most Feared Punctuation on Earth!

This was truly all I needed from the beginning. Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think your advice will actually help me to start well. Thanks you very much! Good points but I would add about establishing a decent hook to attract attention to an essay. It has helped me to know that can fit else where in the introduction paragraph. Thank you but still very confused, I am stuck on how to start it. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published.

The story should be short enough to tell in a few sentences. Bridge into the topic. After you tell the story, briefly explain why you told it and why the reader should care.

You may end up introducing the main ideas of your essay during this portion of your introduction. In a single sentence, come up with a thesis that focuses the topic and tells the reader what to expect about the paper to come. A thesis statement is a single sentence that defines a specific point or idea about a broader topic that your entire paper is built around. The connection between your thesis statement and the anecdote you used should be obvious to the reader. If the thesis statement does not fit into the introduction as it currently stands, you may need to use more supporting evidence to lead into the thesis or change the anecdote you use.

Determine if a historical review could be helpful. There are many papers for which no historical context is needed, but if historical context can help clarify things to the reader, a historical review introduction can be very helpful. These introductions are usually used for papers written about a historical time period or topic, a historical critique of a piece of literature, or a long-standing problem that people throughout the ages have tried to address.

Provide factual and historical context about the the topic. Outline or review a few key historical facts that offer the reader any essential information he or she might need in order to understand the topic of the paper.

These pieces of information should not only provide context about the topic, but should also indirectly present the general topic itself. In doing this, you will demonstrate the the reader how your topic fits into the historical account you present in your introduction. Narrow your thoughts down to a thesis statement.

The information provided thus far will be fairly general, so you need to focus the end of your paragraph on a single thesis statement that you will use to define the rest of your paper.

With this type of introduction, your thesis statement should cause the reader to view the historical facts you just presented in a specific light or through a specific lens. In effect, your thesis statement should tell the reader why the facts you presented before it are important to keep in mind. Briefly summarize the literary work you are writing about. Introduce the key bibliographic facts of the literary work and summarize the main plot or purpose of the work.

In the case of a story, you do not need to focus on specific details or give away the ending. You simply need to introduce the basic, overall theme of the story and provide information about the conflict the main character faces. Draw out a general theme from the work. Most literary works have multiple themes that can be addressed, but for the same of your paper, you will need to focus on one theme that relates directly to your thesis. Connect your summary to the theme in a naturally, sensible manner.

Hint at the main sections of your essay. Lead into your thesis by briefly mentioning the main ideas of your essay, which exist to support your thesis. In a sense, you will be narrowing down your broad topic into a more focused, specific thought by slowly presenting ideas that narrow the reader's field of vision until all that reader sees about that literary work are the ideas presented in your paper.

Come out with your thesis statement. Finish the introduction with a focused, single-sentence statement about the thesis of your essay. With this type of introduction, you need to choose a thesis that makes sense within the context of your summary and supporting evidence.

If the thesis still seems out of place, go back and rewrite your supporting evidence until the connection your thesis has to the summary of the literary work makes sense. Ask the reader a question he or she can related to. Address the reader directly by posing a question that is relevant to the topic of the paper. The question should also be something that will catch the attention of most people, thereby painting the topic in terms that a reader can relate to. When choosing a question, you can ask something universal, surprising, or rhetorical.

Consider backing up your initial question with two others. The additional questions you ask should gradually narrow the topic down into something smaller and more specific. Hint at any answer and discuss how your essay will address the answer. You do not need to state the answer in clear terms, but you should use the main points of your paper to guide the reader in a specific direction. Doing this also clues the reader into the approach you intend to take on the question or questions at hand.

State your thesis in a single sentence. Your thesis statement will be the closest you get to providing a direct answer to your initial question. It should state what, specifically, you plan to write about. You do not need to give the reader a clear, definite answer to the question you ask, but if you narrowed your topic down using the three-question method, you should consider using terms or ideas from the final question in your thesis.

Offer a relevant quotation. The quotation can be famous, insightful, or unexpected, but regardless of the content or type you choose, the quotation must have direct relevance to your topic. The quotation can be a famous saying, words from someone famous, a snippet from song lyrics, or a short poem. Do not insert a hanging quote. In other words, the sentence with your quotation in it must contain other content aside from the quotation itself.

Provide context for the quotation while bridging into the topic. Context can who spoke or wrote the words originally, what the words are referring to, the time period the quotation came from, or how the quotation addresses your topic.


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Students are told from the first time they receive instruction in English composition that their introductory paragraphs should accomplish two tasks: They should get the reader's interest so that he or she will want to read more. They should let the reader know what the writing is going to be about.

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Writing an introductory paragraph is easier than it may seem. The key to a successful intro is knowing the components that go into it. Much like a watch has components that, when put together, make it work properly, an introductory paragraph must have its own individual components for it to work.

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The introductory paragraph of any paper, long or short, should start with a sentence that piques the interest of your readers. In a well-constructed first paragraph, that first sentence will lead into three or four sentences that provide details about the subject or your process you will address in . Writing a Good Introductory Paragraph The primary purpose of an introductory paragraph is to pique the interest of your reader and identify the topic and purpose of the .

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Since the dawn of man, writing has been used to communicate ideas. In academic settings, ideas are typically communicated using formal types of writing such as essays. Most academic essays contain an introductory paragraph, which includes a thesis. The Introductory Paragraph. The paragraph that begins an essay causes students the most trouble, yet carries the most importance. Although its precise construction varies from genre to genre (and from essay to essay), good introductory paragraphs generally accomplish the .