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Arts & Letters Daily

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Introductory Paragraph

Introductory paragraph

Introduction for an essay

     Dr. Otto
You have been asked to write an essay … you have done your research and collected a pile of notes … you have prepared an outline or concept map of what you want to say. You think you are ready to write the essay. Now comes the moment of truth … ‘How to begin the essay’. In other words, …
YouTube Tutorial – click HERE
Text for Tutorial  – click HERE
Sample – scroll down to Sample
Assignment – scroll down to Assignment
Answer Key – scroll down to Answer Key
Practice oral English – click HERE
ASK DR. OTTO – click HERE

Notes

An introductory paragraph often determines whether readers will read an entire essay or report. It has the critical task of announcing to the reader what a report is all about and capturing the readers’ interest. That is why an introductory paragraph should include the main idea and a hook. The main Idea may be stated in a topic sentence, thesis or position, or a hypothesis/hunch. A brief story, a problem statement, a question or a brief description about an event or person can hook readers into reading a report or essay. Readers also want to know how an essay or report is written. Does it describe, compare, analyze, present facts and evidence, provide cause and effect arguments or a combination of some of these strategies. Finally, readers want to know what kind of text they are facing. Is it an essay or a report? When readers detect these clues in a brief well written paragraph, they are prepared for what lies ahead.

In short, writers should include the following key features of an introductory paragraph:

  • Main Idea (may be expressed in several ways)

– state the main idea in a sentence

– state a thesis or position

– state an hypothesis or hunch

  • Hook (may be expressed in several ways)

– present a problem

– tell a brief story

– ask a question

– give a description

  • Identify a Thinking Strategy

– Describe; Analyze; Compare; Facts and Evidence; Cause and Effect

  • Identify a Format

– Essay or Report

Sample

Time is Running Out

While scientists are debating whether the people of the earth should be concerned about global warming, Canadians need to act. This is not said to belittle the debate among scientists; their research provides vital information. However, since many scientists claim that the global warming trend is likely to have negative consequences, the people of Canada should plan for the future with this information in mind. The predominantly negative effects of global warming on Canada will be described in this essay.

Why the people of Canada? Many scientists agree that if the atmosphere continues to get warmer, many regions will experience negative effects. True, some regions may enjoy some benefits. For example, the farmers on the prairies might enjoy a longer growing season.

But, most Canadians would suffer negative consequences. The Maritimes and the West Coast would experience coastal flooding; arid regions of southern Alberta would turn into deserts; and the permafrost in the Yukon would decay more and more. Skiers would have fewer places to ski in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec because of a shortage of snow. The fish migration patterns along the eastern shoreline might change so much that the prime fishing areas may disappear. All these changes together would have a negative impact on the lifestyle of most Canadians.

Of course, more research is needed to determine the impact of global warming. But that is not good enough for responsible Canadians. We need to take steps immediately to slow down the global warming trend. Canadians should object more strongly to clear cut logging in British Columbia. We must change from being one of the highest users in the world of fossil fuels to one of the lowest.

This would be a promising start to save Canada, as we know it. Not to respond to the threat of global warming would be like ignoring a tornado warning. Let’s not wait till devastation is upon us.

Template: Introduction

  • Main Idea – Thesis

Canadians need to act

  • Hook

While scientists are debating whether the people of the earth should be concerned about global  warming,

  • Identify a Thinking  Strategy

will be described

  • Identify a Format

Essay

Assignment

Assignment: Introduction

Read the following report and complete the template below.

Cars of the Future

Since gasoline powered cars are significant contributors to air pollution according to some environmental scientists, they urge industry to find clean fuels to power cars. Two sources of energy need to be explored: electricity and liquid hydrogen. This report compares prototype vehicles that run on electricity with those that run on liquid hydrogen.

Electric powered cars are suitable for driving short distances at relatively low speeds, such as, to work or to shop. The batteries must be recharged regularly, over a six to eight hour period. Therefore, long trips may be inconvenient unless recharging stations are built along major transportation routes. On the other hand, cars fuelled with liquid hydrogen are better suited for traveling longer distances at faster speeds since they do not depend on batteries that require regular recharging. Both electric batteries and hydrogen cell power are environmentally friendly; neither emits pollutants. Cars powered with hydrogen fuel cells are more expensive and will not be available in the near future. The battery-powered car is less expensive and is currently available.

Cars powered by environmentally friendly fuels are available. Since the electric car is the only environmentally friendly car that is immediately available, it may become the choice for city driving.  Cities may regain clean air.

Template: Introduction

  • Main Idea – Thesis

______________________________________________________________________

  • Hook

______________________________________________________________________

  • Identify the Thinking  Strategy

______________________________________________________________________

  • Identify the Format

______________________________________________________________________

Assignment

Writing Assignment

Revise the introductory paragraph of the report you wrote.. Complete the template below to ensure that you have included all aspects of an introductory paragraph. Submit it to your teacher or tutor for feedback. Then edit your paragraph based on the feedback you received.

Writing Assignment

Revise the introductory paragraph of the report you wrote.. Complete the template below to ensure that you have included all aspects of an introductory paragraph. Submit it to your teacher or tutor for feedback. Then edit your paragraph based on the feedback you received.

Answer Key

Introductory Paragraph

  • Main Idea – Thesis

–       some environmental scientists … urge industry to find clean fuels to power cars.

  • Hook

–       Since gasoline powered cars are significant contributors to air pollution

  • Identify the Thinking  Strategy

–       Two sources of energy need to be explored

  • Identify the Format

–       report