Introductory Paragraphs



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Introductory Paragraphs

  • Introductory Paragraphs should do 3 things:
  • 1. Catch the reader’s interest
  • 2. Set the tone for the essay (academic, formal, comical, ironic, etc.)
  • 3. Present the thesis

6 Ways to Catch the Reader’s Interest

  • For each of the following 6 techniques, make sure that all parts of your thesis statement are addressed in whichever technique you use.
  • This will prep your reader for all parts of your thesis statement, and make your overall argument more convincing.
  • The example thesis we’ll be using for these techniques is:
  • The war in Afghanistan is detrimental to the United States politically, economically, and militarily.

6 Ways to Catch the Reader’s Interest

  • 1. Begin with a question (but answer it):
  • Example: Is military conflict without end a good foreign policy? Most people would answer no. Yet, the bellicose U.S. foreign policy continues to weaken all major parts of our nation. The war in Afghanistan is an example of this policy and is detrimental to the United States politically, economically, and militarily.

6 Ways to Catch the Reader’s Interest

  • 2. Begin with an anecdote (short, intriguing story):
  • Example: Outside the U.S. embassy, the Afghan people protested the presence of United States troops by yelling for them to leave, and threatening boycotts and violence. This lack of popular support is a recipe for foreign policy disaster and is why the war in Afghanistan is detrimental to the United States politically, economically, and militarily.

6 Ways to Catch the Reader’s Interest

  • 3. State a startling fact:
  • Example: After the worldwide loss of respect for the U.S., 6,778 U.S. soldiers dead, and over $776,000,000,000 spent it is time for our soldiers to come home from Afghanistan. The costs of this ill-planned war are too high and will continue to rise for the foreseeable future. Clearly, the war in Afghanistan is detrimental to the United States politically, economically, and militarily.

6 Ways to Catch the Reader’s Interest

  • Example Thesis: 4. Begin with background information:
  • Example: It is estimated that the United States’ occupation of Afghanistan will diminish our political standing, burden our grandchildren with crushing debt, and stretch our military dangerously thin. It is inconceivable that one foolish generation be allowed to ruin the future of the next. The war in Afghanistan will do this, because it is detrimental to the United States politically, economically, and militarily.

6 Ways to Catch the Reader’s Interest

  • 5. Begin with a quotation (from a well-known person or expert in the topic):
  • Example: President Obama proclaimed, “All of our combat troops will be brought home from Afghanistan” during a presidential debate. Now, nine years after that political campaign speech, the war continues to drain our resources and dishearten our military. There must be an end to this campaign, because the war in Afghanistan is detrimental to the United States politically, economically, and militarily.

After your Opening Technique and your Thesis Statement

  • After stating your thesis statement, summarize/preview the points you will make in your body paragraph. Not longer than 1-2 sentences per topic (save your really good points for you body paragraphs)


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