How would you write a perfect introduction paragraph for an essay?  I need help on writing an effective thesis statement specifically!

Expert Answers
Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You ask about two things in your question:  introductions and thesis statements.  First, I don't know if a perfect introduction necessarily exists.  But excellent introductions do.  Here's what the enotes Study Guide on writing introductions suggests:

How to Write an Introduction in 6 Easy Steps

The most crucial part of your essay is the introduction: it can tell readers how well your thoughts are put together, how well organized your entire essay is, and how well you write. And if they don’t like what they see...well, they probably won’t read any further....

1) Research, take notes, and outline. Prepare before you actually start writing your introduction. First, do some initial research, which should establish what it is you will be writing about, what issue you will argue for or against, and why you will take this position....

2) Indicate your topic. When you write an introduction, you need to clearly indicate the topic (i.e., the subject matter) that you will be writing about. Be careful that you do not confuse your topic with your thesis....

3) Set the foundation for the structure. After you have clearly stated your topic, you will need to address how you’ve organized the body of your essay. You should use the notes and outline you made during your initial research and write a few sentences explaining the order in which your essay will be structured....

4) Writing the thesis. Every good introduction has a clearly stated thesis. The thesis statement is where you will let your readers know what position you will take on your topic. When you write your thesis, don’t be shy: make a bold and factual statement that expresses your position.

5) Keep it short. An introduction must not be so detailed that it includes everything you want to say. Remember that you’re introducing an idea or topic, your structure of the essay, and your thesis statement. A general rule to follow is that the introduction should be about 10% (or less) of your whole paper.

6) Be creative! An introduction should be structured and follow a format, but that does not mean it has to be boring. One (and only one) of the following techniques can draw people in and really make them want to read your entire essay:

  • Start with a quote that is related to your topic, and make sure it's a powerful attention getter.
  • Start with a question, perhaps a question you had yourself before you began your initial research.
  • Begin with an interesting fact that is related to your topic.
  • Use an analogy, but make sure it is concise and easy to understand. You don't want to get too lengthy, because your introduction should be about 10% of your entire essay.
  • Try presenting a paradox if it is related to your topic; readers are interested in the unusual and seemingly unanswerable.

If I were to qualify any statement in the above Study Guide entry, I would mention that, in general, your thesis statement shouldn't be a fact.  If your thesis is an absolute fact, then the essay probably doesn't need to be written.  The thesis is usually an opinion that you are attempting to prove accurate or true.  But a thesis is usually arguable. 

I've given you a general answer with the help of the enotes Study Guide.  If I knew your topic and angle, or even what level in school you are, I could be more specific.   

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would like to echo the previous thoughts.  I think it's really important to stress that there is no such thing as anything "perfect" in writing.  There is a maturation in the writing process that ends up seeing writing as simply that:  A process.  Perfection in writing is difficult, if not impossible, to achieve because there is a level of growth and development that causes the writer to compose a sample in one manner, but then after some time, there is a desire to take the writing in another way.  The idea of "perfection" is highly elusive, in general, but really so in writing.  An effective introduction will bring up the topic, discuss it in some detail, and incorporate a statement of what will be proven throughout the writing sample.

coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When writing an essay introduction always define your terms and subject matter. that is, make sure you set out what your definintion of the key words or language is , so that everyone understands they are talking about the same thing. it also shows you have a good grasp of what you have been asked to write about. Then set a couple of ideas to compare and contrast, and a sentence saying what you intend to achieve in your essay (what you want to show, explain or argue.) Broadly and briefly give some idea of how your essay will 'pan out' ( and stick to it, returning to the plan at the end of every paragraph so you don't drift off track.) Finish your paragraph with a good rounding-off sentence, summing up what you've just said.