How to Write an Essay Introduction
The introduction of an essay plays a very important role: it introduces the main idea of the essay and provides an idea of the direction that the essay will take. Generally, the introduction consists of a lead-in and a thesis statement.
The lead-in, which is the first few sentences of your introduction, gives your readers the first impression of your essay. A good lead-in will announce the subject matter, catch the readers’ attention and make them want to continue reading Recall the way you read a magazine or a news article: if you find the first few paragraphs interesting, you are more likely to read on. Therefore, you should try to capture your readers’ attention through a good lead-in. Here are some suggestions for and examples of lead-ins: First of all, you can use engaging data.
Second, you can use a question. You can also use a factual statement of common knowledge. Or you can use a comparison and/or contrast. Lastly, you can also use a statement of a problem or a popular misconception. Following the lead-in is a thesis statement. It is usually located at the end of the introduction.
The thesis statement declares the main points of your entire essay and signals how they will be arranged in the body paragraphs. To help you write a good thesis statement, here is some advice: First, a good thesis statement narrows your subject matter to a clearly defined idea. Second, a good thesis statement has something significant and worthwhile to say. Third, a good thesis statement conveys your reason for writing. And last but not least, a good thesis statement usually concisely previews the arrangement of ideas.
Here is an example of a well-written thesis statement of an essay that argues for the banning of smoking in public areas: This is a strong thesis statement because the author clearly states the opinion that smoking should be banned in public areas. More important, the author concisely provides reasons to support why smoking should be banned. Now let’s study each of the following thesis statement. Consider whether it is a strong thesis statement. If the thesis statement is weak or insufficient, explain the problem.
I am going to discuss the negative effects of smoking. This thesis statement is insufficient because it only announces the subject but does not state an opinion toward the subject. Smoking is harmful for health to both smokers and non-smokers. This is a weak thesis statement. Do not merely state a fact.
A thesis statement should claim a clearly defined opinion I think smoking should be banned in public areas. This also is a weak thesis statement. Avoid using expressions such as “I think,” “I believe,” and “in my opinion” in your thesis statement. These phrases are unnecessary and make you sound uncertain.
Remember, while it is important to develop a thesis when you begin drafting your essay, it is common for writers to revise and refine the thesis statement during the writing.