How do I write an effective introduction for a college essay?

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Answered by: Ryan, An Expert in the Paragraphs and Essays Category
The first step to write an effective introduction for a college essay is to visualize the paragraph as a triangle with the point facing down. This is to show that the introduction paragraph starts off at its most broad and gradually becomes more and more focused. The introduction is the first chance you get to interest and inform your audience about the topic. If you begin with the core idea (or thesis) for the entire paper in the first sentence, you don't leave yourself with anywhere to go from there; don't worry - you'll get the chance to explain all of that later.

There are many effective types of beginnings. Use an anecdote or short story. Describe a particular scenario or situation, even if this description is purely hypothetical. You can feel free to use appropriate and relevant quotations. Simply pick any detail that would strike your reader as fascinating. After two or three sentences, you should have the attention of the reader.

After this, spend another two or three sentences to explain the scope or depth of the topic to your reader. You are writing about this topic for a reason; make sure your audience knows it is a good one. While you should avoid second person in academic writing, your introduction should still show that your audience has some relationship with your topic or has some prior knowledge or experience with it.

The very last sentence in your introduction - the point on the triangle - is your thesis sentence. This should be one sentence that explains what the rest of your essay is going to include and what order it will include it in. The best method for this is to consider that all good thesis sentences have three components to address: (1.)The prompt, (2.) your opinion on the issue, (3.) and how you plan to organize this. Consider the following: "(1.)Developing automobiles that use alternate fuel sources (2.) should be a top priority (3.)because of their benefits to society, the economy, and the environment." This three-prong thesis helps guide both you as a writer and your audience through the three main ideas you wish to address, what order you plan to address them in, and why you are explaining these things.

If you want to write an effective introduction, just keep in mind that this paragraph needs to be clear and interesting, but it also must set the stage for the rest of the paper so your audience knows why the issue or topic is relevant and what you plan to say about it. If you can write an effective introduction, the body of the essay should fall into place for you much more easily, without having extra information that distracts you or your reader from what your main point is.

So, in short, just tell your audience what is most interesting about your topic, tell them how this could affect them, and tell them what point you want to make. Most importantly: Relax. With these steps, your introductions will impress your readers, and maybe even you!

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