How to Write Opening Paragraphs

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Its tough to get someone to read the middle and end of your essay if he can't get past the beginning. The introductory paragraph of an essay sets the tone. If the beginning of the essay isn't clear and interesting, odds are the rest of it will not be either. Here are some ways to compose a clear and enticing introductory paragraph.

1 Grab the reader's in the first sentence

Grab the reader's attention in the first sentence. The first sentence or two needs to draw the reader into your topic. It can be an interesting quote, fact, statistic or a bit of humor. For example, "Its hard to imagine that a California girl raised in the 21st century could have anything in common with a boy raised in the south in the 1800's, but its true."

2 Write a clear and concise thesis statement

Write a clear and concise thesis statement. This is the main idea of your paper. Sometimes this is given to you by the teacher when she asks you to write about a certain point of view as seen in a particular book. For example, "Compare and contrast how the character of Tom Sawyer was raised with how you were raised. Discuss the similarities and the differences." Your thesis statement should then be, "There are many similarities and differences between how Tom Sawyer and I were raised."

3 Tell the reader

Tell the reader the three main points that your essay will cover. " The three things that show how my upbringing compares to Tom Sawyer's are parenting styles, recreational activities and the time period in which we were raised."

4 Recheck your introductory paragraph

Recheck your introductory paragraph after you have written your essay to make sure that it supports what you wrote in the rest of your essay. If it does not, change it.

Jodi Freedman has been a humanities teacher since 1989. She has been a Feldenkrais Practitioner, and freelance writer for the past few years. She lives in the Bay Area and when she isn't teaching or writing, she is out enjoying all the great things the area has to offer.