We often write essays because we want to express an unpopular opinion and that is why it is pertinent to make the entrance of our treatise appealing, else we end up creating something very uninteresting and flippant for readers who are ardent and pontifical.
The introduction of an essay is always at the first paragraph and often has its content soloed through the entire writing. Since it contains the general information of the essay, it must be beautifully written to provide a first impression, establish credibility with our readers and also prepare them for the entire content.
Basic Component Of A Good Introduction
A good introduction must contain the thesis statement that tells the reader the point you are trying to make in the essay.
For example, let us read the opening paragraph of a popular essay written by
Bertrand Russell titled “The Ulterior Motive Of Philosophy”
Metaphysics according to F, H. Bradley,
“is the finding of bad reasons for what we believe upon instinct.” It is curious to find this pungent dictum at
the beginning of a long book of earnest and even unctuous metaphysics, which, through much arduous argumentation, leads up to the final conclusion: “Outside of spirit there is not, and there cannot be, any reality, and, the more that anything is spiritual, so much the more is it veritably real.” A rare moment of self-knowledge must have inspired the initial aphorism, which was made bearable to its author by
its semi-humorous form; but throughout
the rest of his labors he allowed
himself to be claimed by “the instinct to find bad reasons.”
When he was serious he was sophistical, and a typical philosopher; when he jested, he had insight and uttered unphilosophical truth.
Philosophy has been defined as “an unusually
obstinate attempt to think clearly”;
I should define it rather as “an unusually ingenious attempt
to think fallaciously.
As seen, he quoted statements related to his essay title and end the introduction paragraph with his thesis which is what his essay is about.
Steps To Writing A Catchy Introduction
You may like to read the introductory paragraph of Bertrand Russell in his work quoted above. He started with a Hook!
A hook is used to catch the readers attention by starting an essay in an interesting way.
Bertrand Russell started by quoting an authority who has written on the same topic he is approaching. Quotations can be used to start an essay in a very appealing way to make the reader want to continue reading our essay.
However,such quotation should not be one which everyone knows. Common quotes are not interesting to your readers
Anecdotes are short stories related to your topic.
Such stories should not be very common, they should be a bit shocking and brief and at the same time, interesting.
Ask An Interesting Question
Though asking questions sometimes make the writer sound like he doesn’t know what he is talking about or he is wasting time. However , asking interesting questions can arouse the curiosity of your readers and make them want to read more.
Once again, let us look at another introductory paragraph of a popular work by Bertrand Russell titled “Ideas That Have Helped Mankind”.
Before we can discuss this subject we must form some conception as to the kind of effect that we consider a help to mankind. Are mankind helped when they become more numerous? Or when they become less like animals?
Or when they become happier? Or when they learn to enjoy a greater diversity of experiences? Or when they come to
know more? Or when they become more friendly
to one another? I think all these things come into our conception
of what helps mankind, and I will say
a preliminary word about
(he then went further to make a general statement that controlled his essay)
Interesting questions are good hooks that attract readers attention.
You can also use statistics as a hook to get the reader’s attention.
Precautions are to be taken while using statistics in the introduction of any essay as it may piss off the reader.
Much statistics,common ones and even difficult ones best serve for an uninteresting twaddle! It can turn the reader off.
That said, statistics when properly used can be a very good hook.
Use a funnel
After your hook you need to get more specific by narrowing the topic from that hook to something closer to actual essay topic.
A funnel is an hollow cone with a tube extending from a point.
The top of the funnel is wide. This is where the thesis-general statements of the essays should be put. Then the ideas will drop in proportionate quantity across the body paragraphs of
So after your hook, you must narrow the idea which is why a funnel is important. This you do by, ending your anecdote,statistics or quotation with a thesis. Here, your thesis statement must be specific with a topic that has the controlling idea of your essay.
Things To Avoid In Your Thesis Statement
1.Do not announce your thesis : Don’t say, ‘I will talk about this’, or ‘this essay is about’
2. Don’t write a fact for a thesis statement:: Your thesis should be arguable or else it is not essay!
Facts are not arguable .
Like I said in the beginning of this article, we write essays because we want to express our opinion some of which may not be popular.
So say something fresh and also choose a thesis that you will have to convince your reader of.
In conclusion, do not use pronoun in your thesis. Trust your ingenuity as you take the white-knucle ride through giving your reader the best work to ponder on.