Always look to make a first impression, a good impression! It is true in everyday life, and it is true when it comes time to write an essay. A powerful opening paragraph will instantly hook your reader into the issue you plan to discuss, and leave them wanting to know more. If you lose your reader's interest in the first few lines of you paper, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to win them back.
First, we'll review the elements that should always go into an introductory paragraph, and then we will provide you with pointers for how to make sure that your essay has a super start!
Different essay genres will require you to write somewhat different essay introductions. For example, if you are writing a personal composition, a narrative, or descriptive essay then you will be setting the stage for the events that will take place. Your opening paragraph should create a picture in your reader's mind, transport them to the place where you want them to be, as you tell your story.
If you have been assigned a cause and effect essay, a scientific research paper, or an argumentative essay assignment, your approach will vary. In these cases, the first person is rarely used, and the wording should be precise, clear and avoid flowery adjectives and adverbs.
With these types of essays, you will need to formulate and state your thesis in your opening paragraph. Your thesis should be carefully thought out, and tell your reader exactly what will be discussed in the essay, or the position that you are taking on a given issue.
Your first paragraph should clearly define the topic of your essay. One mistake that is frequently made by students when they compose their essay assignments, is that they fail to adequately narrow down their topic. You introduction is the place to set the boundaries for what will be covered in the work that follows.
For example, do not start a music history essay with something like “Baroque composers continue to influence the classical violinists of the present day”. Instead, keep your opening specific, and don't be afraid to name names. Try this instead: “The early works of Bach have had a significant impact on the compositions and playing style of the infamous British violinist Nigel Kennedy”.
It is a manageable topic, and one certain to stimulate a music lover's interest!
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