How to Write an Introduction

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A good introduction is key to a good paper. A good introduction gets the reader's attention and lets them know what to expect in the rest of the paper. A bad introduction tells the reader to stop right now, because it's not getting any better from here.

1 Know what you are introducing

Know what you are introducing. Many novice writers think that they must write the paper in order, starting with the introduction and going on from there. While that may work for some writers, it is important to know what the rest of your paper is going to say before you try to come up with a good way to introduce. Whether you create an outline or actually write the body of your paper first, have a firm grasp on what your paper is saying before you write the introduction.

2 Grab the reader's attention

Grab the reader's attention. If you are writing for class, you assume that the intended audience (your instructor) is going to keep reading no matter what, because he/she has to give you a grade. But try to envision your target reader as someone who does not have to read your paper. You need to grab their attention in the beginning and tell them that they should keep reading. The first few sentences of your paper should do this. Some good strategies for grabbing a reader's attention at the beginning of your paper include:\n\n-a compelling anecdote\n-a clever quotation\n-a startling statistic

3 Tie your attention grabber to your thesis

Tie your attention grabber to your thesis. After you have grabbed your reader's attention with your first few sentences, you now have to show how this relates to the thesis of your paper. Transition from your attention grabber to your thesis. For example, let's say your paper is arguing that the government should do more to help abused children. Your attention grabber could be a shocking story you found about an abused child. You can then transition with something like this:\n\nThis story illustrates that child abuse is still a serious problem in the United States. The U.S. government has not done enough to help abused children.\n\nThis would lead naturally into your thesis statement. The length of the transition wll vary, but try to keep it as short as possible, as you want to quickly get to your thesis and then to the body of your paper.

4 Conclude your introduction by stating your thesis

Conclude your introduction by stating your thesis. Many instructors explicitly require you to put a thesis statement at the end of your introduction. Others do not. Regardless, it is a good idea to end your intro by telling your reader what the rest of the paper is going to be about. This may or may not be a traditional \"thesis statement\", and it may take more than one sentence, but it should make it clear to the reader what the paper is about.

David Boyles is a graduate student, teacher and professional writer. He has been teaching writing since 2005, while his own work has been featured in various publications and websites, including "Vegas Seven," "ArtsVegas," "AZ on the Scene Magazine" and the "Las Vegas Review of Books." Boyles holds a master's degree in English literature.