The Introductory Paragraph The Introductory Paragraph

References
© 2001 by Ruth Luman
The Paragraph that Hooks The Paragraph that Hooks
Your Reader Your Reader
n Introduction n Introduction
Definition and Purpose
n introduction is the first paragraph in your essay and
contains the thesis statement. The main purposes of an
introduction are to.
catch your reader's attention so that he/she will
become interested in reading your essay.
present the focus of your essay and give your
reader some general information about your
subject.
n introduction always includes some
general statements about your subject and a
thesis statement that announces the focus of
your essay. The thesis statement is usually
the last sentence in the introduction because
it is the most specific. Notice how the
introduction below begins with general
information and becomes more specific.
n Introduction n Introduction
General Information and Focus
n Introduction n Introduction
General Information and Focus
Specific focus of
essay and thesis
statement.
General statements provide background
information on the focus of health care
for homeless people with HIV.
There are a number of frightening disease epidemics occurring in
the United States today, but one of the most frightening is the
epidemic spread of sexuaIIy transmitted diseases. Among the most
serious of these sexuaIIy transmitted diseases is HIV which Ieads to
AIDS, a fataI disease. HIV is especiaIIy probIematic among
homeIess peopIe. This particuIar popuIation is difficuIt to treat due to
a number of barriers such as, Iimited access to heaIth care, mistrust
of heaIth care professionaIs, and a Iack of awareness of the disease,
itseIf.
n Introduction n Introduction
Closer Look
Let's look at that introduction again and see how the sentences
become more and more specific leading to the thesis statement.
There are a number of frightening disease epidemics occurring in the
United States today, but one of the most frightening is the epidemic spread
of sexuaIIy transmitted diseases.
Among the most serious of these sexuaIIy transmitted diseases is
HIV which Ieads to AIDS, a fataI disease.
HIV is especiaIIy probIematic among homeIess
peopIe.
This particuIar popuIation is difficuIt to treat due
to a number of barriers such as, Iimited access
to heaIth care, mistrust of heaIth care
professionaIs, and a Iack of awareness of the
disease, itseIf.
General
Statements
More
Specific
Very Specific:
Thesis
Statement
ample #2 ample #2
General Information and Focus
Here is another eample of how an
introduction can begin with general
information and become more specific
with a thesis statement at the end.
ample #2 ample #2
General Information and Focus
Specific focus of
essay and thesis
statement.
General statements provide background
information on the steps the Indian
government is taking to reduce population.
;erpopuIation and finding ways to reduce it are big concerns
of many de;eIoping nations today. ne nation that is concerned
about this issue is India. ne of the biggest causes of o;erpopuIation
in India is the high infant mortaIity rate. Parents often ha;e more
chiIdren because they are fearfuI that if some chiIdren die, there
won't be enough chiIdren to take care of them in their oId age. India is
taking some important steps in deaIing with this probIem. Some of
the steps the Indian go;ernment is taking are pro;iding birth controI
for women, impro;ing pre-nataI care, and educating women on the
benefits of ha;ing fewer chiIdren.
ample #2 ample #2
Closer Look
Look at the eample below to see how the sentences in the
introduction become more and more specific leading to the
thesis statement.
;erpopuIation and finding ways to reduce it are big concerns of many
de;eIoping nations today. ne nation that is concerned about this issue is
India.
ne of the biggest causes of o;erpopuIation in India is the high infant
mortaIity rate.
Parents often ha;e more chiIdren because they are fearfuI that if
some chiIdren die, there won't be enough chiIdren to take care of
them in their oId age.
India is taking some important steps in deaIing with this
probIem. Some of the steps the Indian go;ernment is
taking are pro;iding birth controI for women, impro;ing
pre-nataI care, and educating women on the benefits
of ha;ing fewer chiIdren.
General
Statements
More
Specific
Very
Specific:
Thesis
Statement
n Introduction n Introduction
Catch the Reader's ttention
In addition to stating the thesis and providing some general
information on your subject, an introduction also needs to catch a
reader's attention and cause him/her to become interested in
reading your essay. There are several ways you can introduce
your subject and catch your reader's attention.
Use a story or eample of a personal eperience.
Use a quotation.
Use a question or questions.
brief dramatic story or eample can be
used to get the attention of your reader.
Look at the eample below and think about
how it catches your attention.
Catching ttention Catching ttention
Using a Story or Personal perience
Personal Story or ample Personal Story or ample
personal story can "hook" your
reader into wanting to read more.
Thesis
Statement
hen the car accident happened, my brother was Ieft with a
broken arm, Ieg, and hip. My mother nearIy died due to head
injuries. Howe;er, we aII sur;i;ed due to the team of emergency
medicaI technicians who responded quickIy to the scene and
pro;ided us with the heIp we needed. After my experience of being
in;oI;ed in a car accident, I saw how I couId use my interest in first
aid and desire to heIp other peopIe through becoming an
emergency medicaI technician. Now, after twenty years of work as
an EMT, I think it is the most rewarding job I couId e;er ha;e and
feeI that the occupation, itseIf, has numerous ad;antages o;er other
occupations in the heaIth care fieId.
Personal Story or ample Personal Story or ample
ample #2
Here's another eample of how you
can use a story to catch a reader's
attention in an introduction.
ohn's parents di;orced when he was in eIementary schooI.
After the di;orce, his mother had to go to work to support him and
his three sisters. This disrupted ohn's home Iife in serious ways.
ithout the constant super;ision of his mother and the Iack of a
father for a roIe-modeI, ohn began skipping schooI and sociaIizing
with the wrong group of peopIe. He e;entuaIIy turned to taking
drugs and was Iater arrested for being a drug deaIer and sent to
prison. ohn is not unIike other prisoners. In many prisons today,
o;er haIf of aII inmates come from di;orced famiIies. Di;orce can
be the cataIyst that unIeashes emotionaI probIems in chiIdren
and can affect chiIdren psychoIogicaIIy, mentaIIy, and sociaIIy.
Personal Story or ample Personal Story or ample
ample #2
n eample of a story in the third person.
Thesis
Statement
Sometimes controversial or well-known
quotations can be used to surprise your
reader. Look at the eample below and
notice how a quotation can be used to get
you interested in the rest of the essay.
Catching ttention Catching ttention
Using a Quote
Using a Quote Using a Quote
well-known quotation
from merican literature.
Thesis
Statement
Henry Da;id Thoreau, an American poet, once wrote, " ur Iife is
frittered away by detaiI. simpIify, simpIify!" These words of ad;ice
are difficuIt to foIIow in a society where a hectic pace of Iife is the
norm and the attainment of more materiaI goods is encouraged.
Howe;er, I beIie;e that this phiIosophy of Ii;ing simpIy has quite a
bit of merit. The difficuIty of foIIowing this phiIosophy is knowing
where we shouId begin. If we examine Henry Da;id Thoreau's Iife
carefuIIy, I beIie;e we wiII find a number of ways in which to simpIify
our own Ii;es and yet Ii;e richIy.
(Quotation from: atson, 1951)
Quotation Quotation
ample #2
Here's another eample of how you
can use a quotation to catch a
reader's attention in an introduction.
Horace once wrote, " Many bIessings do the ad;ancing years
bring with them." For many senior citizens in the United States
today, oId age can often come as a curse. Many oIder peopIe suffer
from iII heaIth, IoneIiness, and/or financiaI instabiIity; howe;er, Iife
in Iater years does not ha;e to be this way. Many senior citizens
can experience the bIessings of ad;ancing years that Horace once
wrote about. In order to do that, Iet's consider ways in which oId
age actuaIIy enhances Iife.
(Quotation from: atson, 1951)
Quotation Quotation
ample #2
Quotation
Thesis Statement
nother way to catch your reader's
attention is with a question. Questions can
make your reader begin thinking about the
subject in your essay.
Catching ttention Catching ttention
Using Questions
Ha;e you e;er run in a marathon? Most marathons are twenty
six miIes. Ha;e you e;er heard of one-hundred miIe marathons?
The state of CoIorado hosts a one-hundred miIe marathon each
year. PeopIe from aII o;er the United States and the worId run in
this marathon. Some of the top runners in this race ha;e been
members of the Tarahumara Indian tribe in the Sierra Madre
mountains of Mexico. Tarahumaras do not train for marathons, but
their IifestyIe and cuIture promotes, de;eIops, and supports this
type of athIetic endea;or.
Using Questions Using Questions
Questions that may surprise your reader.
Thesis Statement
Did you know that one of the eight architectural wonders of the world
is located in Cambodia? Angkor Wat is an ancient Buddhist temple that
was the center of culture and religion for the Khmer empire for several
centuries. Ìt was only recently re-discovered by a French explorer during
the 1800's. Ìt has now become one of the most popular tourist attractions
in Southeast Asia. Ìf you visit Angkor Wat, you will find much to admire in
its size, historical significance, and beauty.
Questions Questions
ample #2
Here's another eample of how you can use a question to
catch a reader's attention in an introduction.
Question
Thesis Statement
Practice ercise Practice ercise
Now, you are ready to practice what you´ve learned. Click on
the button below to go back to Unit C. Print and complete the
worksheet for Practice Exercise 1.
#eferences
PowerPoint Presentation by #uth Luman:
Modesto Junior College.
Watson, L. (1951). Light from Many Lamps.
New York: Simon and Schuster.
This project incorporates portions of copyrighted works.
These items are included under the fair use exemption of
the U.S. Copyright Law and have been prepared according
to the educational fair use guidelines. They are restricted
from further use.

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