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Writing the Best Essay Introduction

Miriam likes writing. To become an exceptional writer, a huge investment in learning is mandatory. She has studied various writing courses.

Essay Introduction Writing

The introduction is very important in an essay. It is the introduction that grasps the reader’s attention. To write an effective introduction, it is important to understand your audience. Draw the reader’s attention by telling them something they did not know. You can ask a question about the topic of an essay, to show the reader that you want to answer that question. This is the hook of the essay. The hook can be explained in one sentence and it is the most important part of introduction. Hooking the reader attracts them to continue reading your content. A hook that is not impressive will not attract readers to your content.

Functions of an introduction

  • It provides general background information
  • It makes clear the scope of the work
  • It defines important terms
  • It states the aims/ main claims of your work (give the thesis statement)
  • It outlines the structure of your work

Structure of essay introduction

The introduction has two main parts. The first part is the part that introduces the background information, and the second part introduces the essay.

Example

The amount of homework that school children are required to complete varies immensely, depending on factors such as the child’s age, the school’s policy and how soon any exams will take place [General background]. In this essay, homework in secondary schools will be discussed [Scope of essay]. It will be argued that generally homework should be given regularly but in small amounts [Thesis statement]. However, during exam season, the amount of homework should be increased to help with revision [Thesis statement].

  • When giving the background of an essay, it should not be too general. The introduction should relate to the essay topic you are writing.

Example

Analyze the presentation of romantic love in Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet.

Too general

Since the beginning of time, romantic love has fascinated mankind.

Specific

Romantic love in Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet has been interpreted in several different ways.

  • Definitions of words can also be included in the general background. As you move from the background information which is general, the focus to the scope of the essay should be narrowed. If the focus is not narrowed, the thesis statement may not be specific enough, or could even be inaccurate.

Sometimes the focus is narrowed in the same sentence that gives the thesis statement.

The amount of homework that school children are required to complete varies immensely, depending on factors such as the child’s age, the school’s policy and how soon any exams will take place. In this essay, homework in secondary schools will be discussed and it will be argued that generally homework should be given regularly but in small amounts. However, during exam season, the amount of homework should be increased to help with revision.

Thesis statement

The second part of the introduction is the thesis statement. A thesis statement is a proposition / a point of view/ claim especially as a theme to be discussed and proved, or to be maintained against attack. The thesis statement is the main idea that your essay is trying to prove or defend. A thesis statement is important in answering the question and demonstrating critical thinking. It should be between two to three sentences. It is usually positioned at the end of the introduction. It should be a claim.

Example

This essay will discuss the effects of the 2008 financial crisis upon three sectors of Britain’s economy: agriculture, construction and manufacturing. (Makes no claim)

It will be argued that to protect against possible damage by similar events in the future, these sectors should increase exports to non-EU countries. (Makes a claim)

Precision

A thesis statement should be precise.

Example

Is money essential for happiness?

This essay argues that there can be both positive and negative effects of wealth upon a person’s sense of happiness (vague thesis statement)

This essay argues that there are advantages and disadvantages of the internet (vague thesis statement)

Precise statements

Cases will be examined where increased wealth has led to unhappiness (as well as happiness), in order to show that wealth is not a necessary condition for happiness.

It will be demonstrated that, overall, the internet is beneficial for society, and the advantage it offers in terms of opportunities for the spread of knowledge outweigh the potential harm done through cyber-crime.

Cautiousness

Cautiousness is crucial when writing thesis statements.

Example

It will be urged that money is essential for happiness. (Not cautious)

It will be argued that whilst increased wealth does not necessarily lead to increased happiness, personal socio-economic stability is essential for happiness. (Cautious)

Evidence –based

A thesis statement should not be an opinion. It should be evidence-based.

Example

It will be proposed that the film Batman is less exciting than Superman.

Grammar for background information

There are various appropriate grammars that can be used to write introductions. They are as named below:

Background information

Present simple: It refers to a permanent situation.

Example: The amount of homework that school children are required to compete varies immensely.

Do not use present continuous

Example: The amount of homework that school children are required to compete is varying immensely.

Present perfect: Have/has +participle (for regular verbs, ending is –ed. It gives general background information about the time period up to the present.

Example: In recent years e-books have gained greatly in popularity.

Example: The field of English language teaching has changed significantly in the last ten years.

Narrowing the focus to your topic

Future tense: In this essay, homework in secondary will be discussed.

Present tense: Against the background of the international financial crisis, we examine/ discuss/ explore/ investigate x.

Thesis statement

Present simple tense: This essay argues that money is not necessary for happiness.

Future tense: This essay will argue that money is not necessary for happiness.

Use the first person pronoun: In this essay, I will propose…..

The passive voice sounds formal and objective: However, in this essay, it is argued that paper books will never disappear. The current state of the worldwide publishing industry will be examined and it will be demonstrated that paper books sales still exceed e-books sales. With regard to the future, it is proposed that…..

© 2021 Miriam Syombua Mutisya

Comments

Miriam Syombua Mutisya (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on August 27, 2021:

Improve your essay writing

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