Writing The Essay Introduction

Most of the advice in this handout pertains to argumentative or exploratory academic essays.Be aware, however, that different genres have their own special expectations about beginnings and endings.

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The type of essay will determine your topic and thesis.

Essays for standardized tests are typically either persuasive, in which you will answer a question, or literary, in which you will write about something you read.

A good introduction should identify your topic, provide essential context, and indicate your particular focus in the essay. A strong conclusion will provide a sense of closure to the essay while again placing your concepts in a somewhat wider context.

It will also, in some instances, add a stimulus to further thought.

For standardized tests, students usually have to write a five paragraph essay, which should be 500 to 800 words long and include an introductory paragraph, three supporting paragraphs and a concluding paragraph. The introduction is the most important paragraph because it provides direction for the entire essay.

It also sets the tone, and you want to grab the reader’s attention with interest and clarity. They provide details, such as facts, quotes, examples and concrete statistics, for the three points in your introductory paragraph that support your thesis. The best part about introducing your main points in the first paragraph is that it provides an outline for your body paragraphs and eliminates the need to write in transitions between paragraphs. This is often the most difficult paragraph to write.Since no two essays are the same, no single formula will automatically generate an introduction and conclusion for you.But the following guidelines will help you to construct a suitable beginning and end for your essay.The most important part of the introduction is the response to the question: the thesis statement.Thesis statements are discussed in detail here: thesis statements.Online instruction like the Time4Writing essay writing courses for elementary, middle and high school students can help children prepare for state and college-entrance standardized writing tests.These interactive writing classes build basic writing skills, explain essay types and structure, and teach students how to organize their ideas.These aims can be given more or less emphasis depending on the length and type of essay.In a very short essay (less than 1000 words), for example, there is not much room to give a full and detailed context or structure. Essays are usually written for an intelligent but uninformed audience, so begin with some context: the background of the topic, the topic scope, and any essential definitions.A book review may begin with a summary of the book and conclude with an overall assessment of it.A policy briefing usually includes an introduction but may conclude with a series of recommendations.

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