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How to Set Up an Introductory Paragraph


The introduction of any document or essay introduces the reader to the topic you are writing about. The introduction is also essential in capturing the reader's interest and making him want to keep reading. The introductory paragraph generally consists of three to five sentences and should only highlight the main topic and intention of the essay. With some careful thought and planning, you can easily set up an introductory paragraph.

Reflect on the topic of your paper and the information you'll be presenting. Will you be presenting a lot of facts and statistics or more theories and hypotheses? Think about how you might engage the reader in your introduction, such as presenting a shocking fact or statistic. Ask yourself "If I was the reader, what would draw me in?"

Write the first sentence of your introduction. Known as the topic sentence, the first sentence of an introduction generally eases readers into the essay with a general statement, such as "Political campaigns have been around for centuries." An introduction can also start with a statistic to help attract the reader's interest, such as "Voter registration has nearly doubled in the state since 2000."

Write a supporting detail sentence for your second sentence. A supporting detail sentence further narrows down the topic of your paper. For example, if your topic sentence was "Political campaigns have been around for centuries," your second sentence may be "Political campaigns are particularly popular in the United States, where some candidates resort to name-calling and mudslinging to obtain office." In combination, these sentences let your reader know that the essay will not only be about political campaigns, but about American campaigns in which candidates resort to badmouthing one another. A second supporting detail sentence can be written if you feel it's necessary.

Write a thesis statement as your third sentence. A thesis statement explicitly states what you will be trying to prove in the essay or what your official stance is on the topic. For example, you could write "Political campaigns have become nastier since the popularization of the Internet in the 1990s" or "Mudslinging is morally wrong and unnecessary and I believe candidates can win without engaging in such behavior." Both sentences informed the reader what to expect from the rest of your paper.

About the Author

Dan Richter began freelance writing in 2006. His work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the "Wausau Daily Herald," "Stevens Point Journal," "Central Wisconsin Business Magazine" and the "Iowa City Press-Citizen." Richter graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in communication and media studies.

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