Introduction Paragraphs Video Lecture

دوره: Getting Started with Essay Writing / فصل: Essay Writing / درس 2

Introduction Paragraphs Video Lecture

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And it may be a good way to attract attention to an essay about the dangers of eating fast food. Statistics can be boring, and remember the hook is supposed to be interesting enough to make your reader want to continue reading your essay. The second thesis statement has the topic eating a vegetarian diet, and the controlling idea is that it improves health and extends life.

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This is a lesson about writing introductions to essays. You will learn about hooks, the funnel method, and thesis statements. You probably know that a hook is used to catch a fish. We also use hooks to start our essays in an interesting way. A hook attracts the readers attention and creates interest. We do this because we want to make the reader continue reading our essay. We can use a surprising statement as our hook. For example, some people may not realize that McDonald’s hamburgers can last for many years without rotting. This is something that many people don’t know about McDonald’s food. And it may be a good way to attract attention to an essay about the dangers of eating fast food. Another way to hook your reader is with an anecdote. Anecdotes are just short stories related to your topic. This story here about the American soccer team in the World Cup might be a way to interest your reader in an essay about sports, or about athleticism, or about American values. You can also use an interesting question as your hook. This is okay to use occasionally, but you should not use questions very often in your essays. Questions make the writer sound like he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, or sound like he’s wasting time. Get to your point rather than asking rhetorical questions. That said, a very interesting question that attracts your reader’s attention can be used as a hook. Quotations can also be used as hooks. But again, there’s a warning. Don’t use quotes that everyone knows. They are not interesting to your reader. If you decide to use a quote, make sure it is relevant to your essay, and spend some time finding a quote that the reader may not have heard before and would enjoy reading now. You can also use a statistic to start your introduction. But again, there’s a warning. Statistics can be boring, and remember the hook is supposed to be interesting enough to make your reader want to continue reading your essay. So don’t use too many statistics, don’t use hard to understand statistics, and don’t use common statistics that everyone knows. For all of these types of hooks, they have to be interesting or they won’t be effective. A funnel is that orange thing on the right of the screen. And it is used to put oil in your car, or in your kitchen you might use it to pour liquid into a bottle. We can think of a funnel as a format for our introduction paragraph. The top of the funnel is wide. This is where we put the most general statements. If you’re starting with a hook, it should be the first sentence. This is considered general because it isn’t really what the essay is about. After your hook, you need to get more specific. You narrow the topic from that hook to something closer to your actual essay topic. Then finally, you end the introductory paragraph with the thesis statement. The thesis statement is specific, and has a topic and a controlling idea. We’ll talk more about this in just a minute. At this point, your reader should know what your essay is going to be about. Your whole introduction for a five or six paragraph essay should only be three to five sentences. If it’s over six sentences, you’re probably not writing a very organized introduction. Start with one general statement or hook. Then get more specific, and more specific, until finally, you arrive at the thesis statement, which is the most specific sentence in the introduction. Here are four sentences that make up an introductory paragraph. They are not in the correct order. Pause the video and write the sentences in the correct order on a piece of paper. Remember to use the funnel method, and go from general to specific. Stop the video now and write the paragraph. Here is one way to write the introductory paragraph. The first two sentences are an anecdote. Then, there is a general statement about high crime neighborhoods. Then, there is a more specific sentence telling why this kind of crime happens. Finally, there’s an argument for more police to fight crime. The last sentence is very specific, telling us where this issue is, Smallville. And we find out what is needed, and why. This very specific sentence at the end of our introduction is called the thesis statement. And a thesis statement needs two things. The topic and the controlling idea. If you’re missing one of these things, then your thesis statement is not going to be very good. So what is a topic? A topic is the subject or the thing that you are talking about. The controlling idea is what you want to say about the topic. It’s where your argument is. This is the thing you’re going to prove or show in your essay. The topic and the controlling idea should be as specific as possible. Here are some things that you want to avoid in your thesis statement. Don’t announce your thesis. Don’t say, I will talk about this, or this essay is about. Also don’t write a fact for a thesis statement. Your thesis should be arguable, and facts are not arguable. So your thesis might be your opinion, but it should not be an obvious or popular opinion. If most people agree with you, there is no reason to write your essay. You need to say something fresh, so choose a thesis that you will have to convince the reader of. Another thing you do not want to do is to use pronouns in your thesis. The reason for this is that you need to be specific and say what you are talking about in the thesis statement. Don’t assume your reader knows what you’re talking about. And finally, don’t forget the two parts, the topic and the controlling idea. Let’s look at some examples of good thesis statements. Take a minute to read them. The first one tells us the topic is Iceland and the controlling idea is that it’s a beautiful place to learn about a new culture. The second thesis statement has the topic eating a vegetarian diet, and the controlling idea is that it improves health and extends life. So we know what that essay is going to explain, what it’s going to be about. It’s going to explain how a vegetarian diet improves health and extends life. In the third thesis statement, we learn that the essay is about the American government, and that the essay will argue that the government should provide health care to all its citizens. We know this because the thesis statement has a topic and a controlling idea. Here are some thesis statements that are not good. What do you think is wrong with the first one? Well, what is the topic? We don’t know, because the sentence uses the pronoun it several times. What is it? Probably the student talked about the topic earlier in the introduction, and then used pronouns in the thesis statement. This is correct grammar, but it is not good writing. The thesis statement must have the topic and controlling idea specifically stated. Look at the second sentence. I will give is an announcement. Remember, we don’t want to announce our topic. That’s elementary. What’s wrong with the next thesis? It has a topic, stop smoking, and a controlling idea, because it’s dangerous and a bad habit. But this is what we would call an obvious opinion. Few people think smoking is a good idea anymore. Most people are aware that it’s dangerous. So this is not a good thesis statement. And finally, the last one is not a good thesis statement either, because it doesn’t have a controlling idea. Important is not a controlling idea because it’s too vague. Important can mean a lot of different things to different people. Also, the sentence doesn’t give any context to the statement. Saving money is important for whom, or for what purpose? We don’t know because there’s no controlling idea. So, now you know some ways to help you write a good introduction paragraph. You can use one of the hooks like a surprising statement or an anecdote. The funnel method is a good way to organize your introduction. Each sentence should get more specific as you get into your thesis. Then, remember that a good thesis statement must have two parts, the topic and controlling idea. With lots of practice, writing introductory paragraphs will get easier for you.

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