The Opening or Introductory Paragraph in Expository Writing What is an introduction paragraph in expository writing?

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The Opening or Introductory Paragraph in Expository Writing

What is an introduction paragraph in expository writing?

  • The introduction paragraph is the first paragraph of your essay.

What does it do?

  • It introduces the main idea of your essay.

  • A good opening paragraph captures the interest of your reader and tells why your topic is important.

  • The introductory paragraph contains your THESIS.

The Introductory Paragraph Start With a Great First Sentence

  • First impressions are so important. It is true that the first impression—whether it’s a first meeting with a person or the first sentence of a paper—sets the stage for a lasting opinion.

  • The introductory paragraph of any paper, long or short, should start with a sentence that catches (hooks) the interest of your readers.

  • In a typical essay, that first sentence leads into two or three sentences that provide information about the supporting details about your subject. All of these sentences build up to your thesis statement. The thesis statement is the main subject/idea of the essay The thesis is what your essay will prove. The entirety of your paper hangs on that sentence. But its function is to be informative and direct. This means it’s not normally very exciting.

Your First Sentence

  • To get your paper off to a great start, you should try to have a first sentence that engages your reader. Think of your first sentence as a hook that draws your reader in. It is your big chance to be so clever that your reader can’t stop. Some ways to “hook” the reader are:


Can you remember the fear and excitement you felt the first time you went to a foreign country?


Over 80% of American visitors to Canada in 2001 arrived by automobile.


"Sometimes it's a little better to travel than to arrive."

Robert M. Pirsig — Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


Sally had no idea you could reach Canada by car.

Introduce Supporting Details

The introductory paragraph will also introduce the supporting details that will be in body paragraph. Be sure to name these supporting details in the same order as the body paragraphs. For example, if your winter essays body paragraphs are about, in order, #1 holidays, #2 outside activities and #3 Christmas, then you would talk about them in that order in your introductory paragraph.

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