The Introductory Paragraph

The Introductory Paragraph

Updated February 08, 2017

Very first impressions are so significant. How many times have you heard that? It is true that the very first impression—whether it’s a very first meeting with a person or the very first sentence of a paper—sets the stage for a lasting opinion.

The introductory paragraph of any paper, long or brief, should begin with a sentence that piques the interest of your readers.

In a well-constructed very first paragraph, that very first sentence will lead into three or four sentences that provide details about the subject or your process you will address in the bod of your essay.

These sentences should also set the stage for your thesis statement .

The thesis statement is the subject of much instruction and training. The entirety of your paper dangles on that sentence, which is generally the last sentence of your introductory paragraph.

In summary, your introductory paragraph should contain the following:

  • an attention-grabbing very first sentence
  • informative sentences that build to your thesis
  • the thesis statement, which makes a claim or states a view that you will support or build upon

Your Very first Sentence

To get your paper off to a superb commence, you should attempt to have a very first sentence that engages your reader. Think of your very first sentence as a hook that draws your reader in. It is your big chance to be so clever that your reader can’t stop.

As you researched your topic, you most likely discovered many interesting anecdotes, quotes, or trivial facts. This is exactly the sort of thing you should use for an engaging introduction.

Consider these ideas for creating a strong beginning.

Surprising fact:The pentagon has twice as many bathrooms as are necessary. The famous government building was constructed in the 1940s, when segregation laws required that separate bathrooms be installed for people of African descent. This building isn’t the only American icon that harkens back to this embarrassing and hurtful time in our history.

Across the United States there are many examples of leftover laws and customs that reflect the racism that once permeated American society.

Humor:When my older brother substituted fresh eggs for our hard-boiled Easter eggs, he didn’t realize our father would take the very first crack at hiding them. My brother’s holiday ended early that particular day in 1991, but the rest of the family liked the warm April weather, outside on the lawn, until late into the evening. Perhaps it was the warmth of the day and the joy of eating Easter roast while Tommy contemplated his deeds that make my memories of Easter so sweet. Whatever the true reason, the fact is that my dearest holiday of the year is Easter Sunday.

Quotation:Hillary Rodham Clinton once said that “There cannot be true democracy unless women's voices are heard.” In 2006, when Nancy Pelosi became the nation’s very first female Speaker of the House, one woman’s voice rang out clear. With this development, democracy grew to its truest level ever in terms of women’s equality. The historical event also paved the way for Senator Clinton as she heated her own vocal chords in prep for a presidential race.

Finding the Hook

In each example, the very first sentence draws the reader in to find out how the interesting fact leads to a point.

You can use many methods to capture your reader’s interest.

Curiosity:A duck’s quack doesn’t echo. Some people might find a deep and mysterious meaning in this fact …

Definition:A homograph is a word with two or more pronunciations. Produce is one example …

Anecdote:Yesterday morning I observed as my older sister left for school with a bright white glob of toothpaste gleaming on her chin. I felt no regret at all until she stepped onto the bus

Supporting Sentences

The assets of your introductory paragraph should fulfill two functions: it should explain your very first sentence and it should build up to your thesis statement. You'll find that this is much lighter than it sounds. Just go after the pattern you see in the above examples.

End With a Good Beginning

Once you accomplish a very first draft of your paper, go back to re-construct your introductory paragraph.

Related video: WWI Causes Intro


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