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The Appetizer: Writing a Great Introduction The Essay
Elements of the Introductory Paragraph An introductory paragraph –should do three things: 1. grab your reader’s attention, 2. introduce your subject, and 3. identify the specific focus, or thesis, of your writing.
Shape of the Introductory Paragraph Remember, that the shape of the introductory paragraph is the inverted triangle. The introduction paragraph should start with general comments about the topic that will draw readers into the essay. From here, the introduction should narrow the focus and state specifics of what the writer will cover.
v I. Introduction 1. General/Broad Statement 2. Topic Sentence 3. Main Idea Sentences (3) 4. Thesis Statement
3. The Thesis Statement Thesis statement – A specific statement that gives the main idea or focus of an essay. It tells the reader what your paper will discuss, sets limits on what your paper will discuss, and provides a roadmap of what’s to come in the body of the essay.
Does This Sound Familiar? A thesis statement is much like a topic sentence. But instead of introducing and controlling a paragraph, the thesis statement introduces and controls the whole essay. Topic + Assertion + Blueprint (specific opinion)
topic + assertion + blueprint Thesis Statement Formula: ____________ (topic) is ___________ (an astounding military leader, brilliant musician, outstanding political leader) because ______,______, and ________. (list your 3 points)
OR Based on/Because of, ___________, _________, and _____________ , _________ (topic) became a ______________.
The thesis statement should be the last sentence in the introductory paragraph. (Something/does something/because/reasons)
In a Persuasive Essay Topic: Should school uniforms be required in public schools? Too broad: It is outrageous for students to be forced to wear school uniforms. Too narrow: Students who are forced to wear school uniforms have their creativity stifled. Off topic: When kids grow up, they will have bad memories of school.
Just right! Good thesis statement: School uniforms should not be mandatory in public schools because this would stifle students’ creativity, take away students’ rights, and cause students to lose interest in school.
In an Expository Essay Topic: Explain the importance of a healthy diet Too broad: A healthy diet is important. Too narrow: Everybody should include eight servings of fruits and vegetables in his or her diet every day. Off topic: Bananas are one of the most nutritious foods on earth.
Just right! Good thesis statement: A healthy diet is important because it increases energy, prevents illness, and helps one maintain a healthy weight. (Something/does something/because/reasons)
The life of the typical middle school student is characterized by time spent studying, attending class, and socializing with peers.
(Because/reasons/something/does something) Security doors, alarm systems, and flood lights help Americans feel safer in their neighborhoods.
Location, amenities, and expenses are important considerations when someone rents an apartment. From childhood, through his prolific years of writing operas and symphonies, to his tragic death at the age of thirty-five, Mozart’s musical genius was revealed.
1. Grab Your Readers’ Attention There are many different ways to begin an introductory paragraph. You might…
Possible Leads 1. include some action, 2. share some interesting or important details, 3. start with some thoughtful dialogue, or story, 4. ask the readers a question, 5. begin with an informative quotation, or 6. physical description of the person
2. Now That You’ve Got Their Attention… Following the attention grabber sentence(s), a good introductory paragraph will usually have two or three sentences that provide background information on the topic and begin to narrow the readers’ focus toward the thesis statement.
Example On January 27 1756, a boy was born in the town of Salzburg, Austria. This child was not just a prodigy; he became one of the greatest musical geniuses of all times. His name was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. From childhood, through his prolific years of writing operas and symphonies, to his tragic death at the age of thirty-five, Mozart’s musical genius was revealed.
HMWK: Write your Introductory Paragraph Using what you’ve learned about writing an introductory paragraph, write the introduction for your essay. Due: Friday, 2/18/11