How to Write an Essay Introduction
Your introduction acts like a map for your essay’s readers. It should give necessary background or contextual information for your topic, as well as present your thesis statement. A good introduction addresses the “what,” “why,” and “how” of your topic: What is your essay going to discuss? Why is it important or useful? How are you going to argue your point? It can seem a bit intimidating at first, but with some good preparation and a little hard work, you can write a great introduction.
Part One of Three:
Prewriting For Your Introduction
Think about your “angle” on your topic. If you’re writing an introduction, you probably already know what your topic is and what you want to say about it. (If you don’t, you need to go back and do that before you try to write an introduction!) A good essay has an “angle,” or way of presenting argument or information, to its readers. Think about what questions your essay addresses and why they’re important. You should have your thesis before you start writing your introduction. It can even help to save the introduction for last, after you’ve written the rest of your essay, so you know exactly what your argument is. Remember that a thesis statement Is an assertion, not a fact or an observation. It takes a stand; someone should be able to argue either in favor or against the argument in your thesis. For example: “Because of its humiliating and demoralizing effect on African American slaves, black face was used less as a comedy routine and more as a way of enforcing racial segregation” and “Science is beginning to seriously question whether a comet, not an asteroid, was responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs” are both thesis statements. The first is for an analytical essay, and the second is more for an informative essay. 2
Consider your readers. Your audience probably includes your teacher or professor, but consider your audience more generally, too. What...
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