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The essay introduction is the most important paragraph in the essay because it must grab the reader's attention and clearly state what the essay will be about. The essay writer will need to devote a fair amount of time and energy to writing the essay introduction, and it often helps to write the thesis statement first to ensure the writer knows what his or her main argument will be. The thesis statement is one sentence that clearly states the argument to be made, and it is usually the last sentence in the first paragraph, though some people write it as the first sentence.
The writer should write down the thesis statement first, and then think of an example, study, or other relevant situation to describe that will briefly introduce the general topic. The essay introduction should start broad and end specific: the first sentence or two will introduce the reader to the broad topic, and the thesis statement will give the author's specific argument pertaining to that topic. The first sentence, sometimes known as the "hook" of the essay introduction, will need to catch the reader's attention, so the writer should use strong and vivid language whenever possible.
An easy way to remember a strong format for the essay introduction is to remember the three basic components; the hook, the transition, and the thesis. The hook grabs the reader's attention, and the thesis states the writer's main argument. The transition sentences in between the hook and thesis will help tie the two concepts together by explaining how the hook relates to the thesis. Writing a clear thesis is the most important part of the essay introduction, and it should contain both a firm statement and brief qualifying proof. The thesis can, for example, read something like this:
"The Internet should be considered a revolutionary development in the publishing industry because it has afforded a wider multitude of writers to reach an audience easily and effectively."
Regardless of the validity of the argument, this is a strong thesis statement because it clearly states what the writer intends to tell his audience, and it gives a specific reason. Including the word "because" in the statement is a good way to give the readers specific reasons why the writer's argument is true and right. Conversely, a weak thesis statement would read like this:
"The Internet is a revolutionary development."
This statement features no proof or examples, and it does not give the reader a clear understanding of what the writer is out to prove.
@indigomoth - It depends on what kind of essay they are supposed to write, though. Some teachers might prefer the essay to be in a different form, so it's a good idea to ask for essay introduction examples so that you can analyze the style the teacher prefers.
The teacher's preference can really play a big part in your marks. When I did History in high school my teacher hated my style and all but failed me every time I handed in an essay, although on multiple choice tests I was top of the class. When we did external exams, I got much higher marks, simply because I had studied the essay structure they wanted and that's what I delivered.
We were always taught to think of an essay as being like a hamburger. The introduction and the conclusion were the buns and they had a little bit of the insides of the burger in them as well.
So, in the introduction, you want to sum up the entire subject of the essay and mention each of the points in the order which you will cover them.
If you're arguing for why chocolate is good, for example your essay will say something like "Chocolate is a good source of calcium, is filling, contains magnesium and can provide you with energy." Then your essay will go over each of those points and explain why they are good (or, depending on what
kind of essay you are writing, might address possible objections and disprove them).
Depending on how long the essay is, you might want a full sentence in the introduction summing up each of the points, like "chocolate is a good source of calcium, which is a vital nutrient for human health." And then you can expand on that in the meat of the essay.
This is why you should always write the introduction last, so you know how to sum up the points.
One of my English teachers in high school was the best teacher I've ever had and he was a great proponent of learning by rote, which might seem surprising. He used to tell us that half the reason we where there was to pass an exam and what we really needed was to memorize the answers to exam questions.
There were, after all, only so many essay questions they could ask in an exam. And he taught us how to structure an essay, then made us memorize really good phrases to go into the essay, so that we weren't sitting there trying to think of what to say.
For example, we had studied "Animal Farm" and the start of almost
any essay about the text could be started with the phrase "Animal Farm is a savage indictment on totalitarian regimes." I still remember that opening phrase over 15 years later.
So, my tip would be to memorize a handful of phrases you can throw into an exam paper (making sure, of course, that you know what they mean, or there's no point) for your essay introduction paragraph.
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