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Writing Center

Writing a Strong Introduction

So What?

Just as we introduce ourselves when meeting new people for the first time, so must a writer introduce his/her topic. A writer must imagine that readers are at least somewhat unfamiliar with the topic. Furthermore, the writer should assume that readers are not necessarily interested in the topic. Therefore, it is a writer’s job to present the topic in a way that is intriguing and insightful. Failing to do so might mean that readers choose not to continue reading a text and/or that they read it without a proper understanding of what is being discussed.

Summarized Explanation

  • Most multi-paragraph texts require an introductory paragraph. An introductory paragraph should include three main parts (hook, background information, thesis statement).

Detailed Explanation

Hook Background Thesis

A “hook” should be used to grab the audience’s attention as they begin reading the text. A hook might involve a relevant quotation, an interesting fact, an amusing anecdote, a hypothetical scenario, or possibly a thought-provoking question related to the topic. The type of hook and its length will depend on the writing situation, but the purpose of any hook is to reel in the readers so that they want to read more.

After the hook, relevant background information should be presented. The background information helps the audience understand the significance of the topic. A writer must provide any pertinent contextual information about the topic that readers should know. And if the topic is debatable, then it is important to provide a brief synopsis of its controversial nature. The type of background information and its length will depend on the writing situation, but the purpose of background information is to ensure that readers have a proper understanding of the topic in general.

After the background information, at the very end of the introductory paragraph, a thesis statement ought to appear. The thesis statement is the last yet most important element of an introductory paragraph. The thesis statement presents a writer’s overall position on the topic and forecasts the key ideas that will be addressed in the text. Please see the related writing guide about Thesis Statements

Examples:

Hypothetical Writing Prompt #1: Explain why introductory paragraphs should include a hook, background information, and thesis statement.

Color-coding key:

  • Hook
  • Background
  • Thesis

          Meeting someone for the first time without a proper introduction can be awkward. Likewise, a text without an introductory paragraph leaves a lot to be desired. The introduction is the first thing that readers see in a text. For that reason, it ought to engage and inform readers. To accomplish this, writers should begin texts with an introductory paragraph that includes an effective hook, background information, and thesis statement.

*The rest of the text would include three well-developed body paragraphs that address each key idea from the thesis statement:

  • Why writers should include a hook in an introductory paragraph.
  • Why writers should include background information in an introductory paragraph.
  • Why writers should include a thesis statement in an introductory paragraph.

Hypothetical Writing Prompt #2: Explain whether the previous introductory paragraph is effective.

          They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This adage is true, but not everything is relative. For example, in the world of writing, texts can take many forms, and writers have a lot of creative freedom. That said, there are some basic frameworks that should be employed for most writing forms—for instance, the tried-and-true template for an introductory paragraph. Considering this, the previous introductory paragraph is quite effective because it includes a strong hook, background information, and thesis statement.

*The rest of the text would include three well-developed body paragraphs that address each key idea from the thesis statement:

  • Why the previous introductory paragraph includes a strong hook.
  • Why the previous introductory paragraph includes strong background information.
  • Why the previous introductory paragraph includes a strong thesis statement.