Crafting a good introduction and thesis statement is often the hardest part of writing an essay. However, it can also be the most rewarding experience. The beginning of your paper is your chance to capture the audience's attention through the creativity of your first paragraph and the originality of your thesis statement. Once you understand the purpose and content for both the introduction paragraph and the thesis statement, you can easily write this portion of your paper and begin your essay on the right foot.
Understand the purpose of the introduction paragraph. The introductory paragraph of an essay allows you to give your readers general information about your topic. This general information will lead into the specific point you want to make in your paper, which is known as the thesis statement.
Use techniques in your introduction to attract the audience's attention. There are many options for capturing the interest of your reader in the introductory paragraph. Share an anecdote (a personalized story), find a relevant quotation or make a controversial and surprising statement about the topic. Be creative in order to engage your audience.
Understand the purpose of a thesis statement. A thesis statement appears at the end of the introductory paragraph. It is a specific, one-sentence summary of the topic for your paper and your point of view about that topic. The body of your paper will work to support the thesis statement. This sentence creates a focus for your paper, so that you do not add any unnecessary information. Also, the thesis offers the reader concise information on the point of view of the complete essay.
Create a thesis statement that is narrow and concise. One way to create a thesis statement is to think of a question your topic raises and then create a sentence that answers that question. For example, if your topic for literature class is the Modernist movement, you could turn the topic into a question: How does the Modernist movement continue to influence 21st century authors? Develop a one-sentence answer to that question, and this can be the basis for a thesis statement. Be aware that your thesis statement must be narrow enough that you can answer the question in the assigned length of the paper.
Edit your introduction and thesis as you write. Because ideas develop, change, and grow as you work with them, keep returning to your introductory paragraph and thesis. Edit them as you write your essay. By the end of your paper, be certain that the content of your introduction and thesis statement matches the overall message of your essay.
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- In your introduction, avoid using the trite method of introducing a subject by giving a dictionary definition. Also, pass up such well-worn phrases as: "The purpose of this essay is . . . " or "In this paper I will show . . . ." There is no need to announce your paper's intentions. Your writing should do that without you having to state it explicitly.
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