The Introduction: Writing a Clear and Coherent Thesis The Introduction



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The Introduction:

The Introduction:

  • The introduction is the first paragraph of the essay.
  • It serves two purposes:
  • One: to get the reader interested in the topic of the essay. It introduces the topic and hooks the reader’s interest!
  • Two: to tell the reader what the essay is all about – the main idea, or thesis.

First one or two sentences of an Introduction:

  • Sentences that try to “hook” the reader into wanting to read the rest of the essay.
  • Some effective strategies:
  • 1.) background information
  • 2.) interesting details
  • 3.) a benefit to the reader
  • 4.) or a statement as to why the topic is important

The Thesis Statement:

  • To write a great essay you need some kind of plan – otherwise your ideas will be all over the place. That’s where a thesis comes in handy
  • It is a one or two sentence summary of the key point of the essay
  • A thesis summarizes the main point of an essay
  • A thesis statement clearly states the topic of the essay.

A thesis statement:

  • 1.) Holds a piece of writing together
  • 2.) Its purpose is to set forth the writer’s perspective, or point of view, on the subject at hand.
  • 3.) All information in the essay should be related to this main idea or thesis.

A good thesis should:

  • Be strong and assertive!
  • Clearly state (and in an interesting manner) the writer’s position and let the readers know where the essay is going and what it is about.
  • Be meaty enough to guide the direction of the whole essay.

You need a thesis statement for every essay that you write:

  • It’s important that you get your thesis right because you have to stick to it throughout your essay – if you keep changing your focus or subject then your essay won’t be organized, consistent, or coherent!
  • If you write a clear thesis and stick to it, your essay will be consistent and organized.

1.) Think of a Subject – a general topic to write about:

  • 1.) Think of a Subject – a general topic to write about:
  • Bad example: having a job
  • Good example: Teaching
  • 2.) Then think of the particular focus that you are taking – your view on the subject.
  • Bad example: …having a job is hard work
  • Good example:…teaching is a pressured job.
  • 3.) Finally, think of some supporting points for your focus:
  • Teachers have to keep up with constantly changing standards.
  • Teachers have to deal with the pastoral care of students as well as their education.

You Need to be Able to Spot the Thesis in Other Writing:

  • You might be asked to identify the thesis of a piece of writing on the exit exam or California State Standards Test.
  • It could be obvious. Where is the subject? Where is the focus?
  • “Chess is becoming a high-profile game. These days winning an international chess tournament brings huge cash prizes as well as great prestige.”
  • The subject
  • The Focus:

…or it could be trickier to spot:

  • There was a time when African elephants roamed freely over much of Africa. However, elephants have suffered much at the hands of man; their habitat has been destroyed and they have been hunted relentlessly for their tusks.”
  • The Thesis isn’t clear, but…
  • You can work out the subject is African elephants and
  • The Focus is how human activity has reduced their populations.

You may need to develop an existing thesis:

  • You will be asked to think of some more supporting points.
  • Example: For the African Elephant essay:
  • “Tourism in Africa means that it’s possible to see elephants in their natural habitat.”
  • Is this supporting point right or wrong for the focus of the essay?
  • Wrong- it doesn’t deal with the right focus

“Human activity increases global warming, which accelerates the destruction of the elephants habitat.”

  • “Human activity increases global warming, which accelerates the destruction of the elephants habitat.”
  • Is this supporting point right or wrong for the focus of the essay?
  • Right – it’s another supporting point for the thesis.


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