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Can you guide me through how to write an introductory paragraph?

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Jessica Gardner | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted October 22, 2012 at 11:11 PM via web

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Can you guide me through how to write an introductory paragraph?

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carol-davis | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 23, 2012 at 9:30 AM (Answer #1)

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The introduction is the first impression that the reader has of the rest of the essay. A well formulated introduction will entice the reader to read on.  It serves as a road map for the rest of the paper.  After reading the introduction, the reader should not have trouble following the organization of the paper. 

The introduction contains an abundance of information. There are four features of an introduction:

  1. Grab the attention of the audience.
  2. Show the relationship between the attention getter and the topic
  3. Introduce the topic.
  4. State the thesis of the paper.

Getting the reader’s attention is the first facet of the introduction.

  • A vivid or unexpected anecdote

Think of what the world would be like if there were no more polar bears, no more ice pack, and no more Arctic Circle at all.

  • A provocative quotation (possibly quoting an expert)

In a shrinking ice environment, the ability of polar bears to find food, to reproduce, and to survive will all be reduced," said Scott Schliebe, Alaskan polar bear project leader.

  • A thought provoking or startling question

Is the world willing to watch a polar bear die of starvation?

  • Present surprising facts and statistics

In 50 years, there will be no more polar bears in the world.

  • Adapt a familiar quotation or phrase

To be concerned about global warming, or not; that is the question facing every person in the world right now.

Show the relationship between the attention getter and the topic.

The next step is to connect the attention grabber to the topic.  Then, provide background information introducing the topic. 

When you write an introduction, you need to clearly indicate the topic that you will be writing about. Be careful that you do not confuse your topic with your thesis.

These sentences must serve as a bridge to connect the attention getter to the topic

  • Introduce the topic
  • Explain the importance of the topic
  • Lead into the thesis statement
  • Provide brief and germane sentences that give just enough information

State the thesis statement.

The final part of the introduction is the thesis sentence(s).  This should be the most planned sentence in the essay. The statement must be specific and clearly stated. It should be placed at the end of the introduction.

The type of thesis depends on the purpose of the essay:

Expository paper which explains something to the reader

  • Global warming has impacted polar bears by decreasing population sizes, moving sea ice platforms farther apart, and increasing the scarcity of food.

Analytical paper which breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this analysis and assessment to the audience.

  • The polar bear population reveals one challenge: global warming effect on sea ice in the Arctic can see a loss of two thirds of the entire world’s polar bear population over the next fifty years.

Argumentative paper makes a claim about the topic, justifies the claim with specific evidence.  The goal is to convince the audience that the thesis is true based on the evidence provided.

  • Global warming has moved the polar bear to possible extinction.  Lack of food, natural habitat, and the Arctic weather will doom the polar bears’ survival.

The introduction familiarizes the reader with the subject and helps relate the purpose of the rest of the essay.  The essay will benefit by an interesting well planned introduction.


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user3514820 | eNoter

Posted June 17, 2013 at 1:20 PM (Answer #2)

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you can start with the essay question and you answer it yourself in the next line .

if the essay title is one word , you could start off by giving the definition of the word 

you could also start by going straight to the point .


hope it helps ^^

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Lauren1234 | High School Teacher | eNoter

Posted December 12, 2013 at 5:44 AM (Answer #3)

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Each essay is different in the approach you take to answer it and the style or structure must reflect the question, as stated above. But, if you are still struggling with the basic introduction, try some of these tips.

Look at the question: What type of essay are they expecting of you? (Once you know this, you can form the structure). Underline the key concepts and define the main terms.

Next: Do you agree or disagree with the question? What would be a simple answer to it? Write down at least 3 key arguments to support your belief. Then think of what could be said against it.

Write: Using the format from the above posters, start writing! But, keep it simple. Give your answer (it may be simply rephrasing the original question), then state the main structure of your essay through the main arguments.

Practise makes close to perfect! You just need to keep writing and if you are still confused, compare to other essays that are available (but try yourself first)

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CaitlynnReeves | Student , Grade 12 | eNoter

Posted January 27, 2014 at 6:59 PM (Answer #4)

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The begining is often the hardeset part of any project. In order to avoid writers block, or getting half way through your paper without really knowing what you're saying, I highly sugest prewriting. It seems like an unnecissary step, but it helps! 

To prewrite think about the topic and write down immediately what comes to your mind. Then try to expand on those things and bring in some detail. Once you feel like you have something to say on the topic organize your prewriting scribles into an outline. Your introductory paragraph is usually your first thoughts on the topic combined with a breif summary of your paper. 

Purdue OWL is a really fantastic resource for writing essays. Here's the link below! 


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mlgendron7 | High School Teacher | eNoter

Posted February 18, 2014 at 2:27 PM (Answer #5)

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Your introductory paragraph needs to introduce your topic as well as entice your reader, so that they want to continue reading. A typical sufficient paragraph length is 5-7 sentences in secondary schools.

Your first sentence should "hook" your audience. A hook can be a startling statement, a question, an anecdote, or even a relevant quotation. Next, you want to provide your reader with background. Finally, include your thesis statement, which is your topic sentence that tells exactly what your paper is about.

Your background information should not only clarify your topic, but it should clarify your hook. Explain, for instance, quickly, why your startling statement about America's child obesity rates is connected to your thesis statement that argues all McDonald's should display not only the calorie count on their menu, but also the exercise equivalent to "walk off" those calories.

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