How to Write an Excellent Introduction Paragraph

December 19, 2016

The Introduction of your paper is possibly one of the most important items. It contains your development of the material and your thesis statement. Without the introduction, your audience will be abruptly reading your arguments/analysis without the proper background information.

A good introduction is something every student should pursue.

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The introduction contains your thesis (the thesis instructions are discussed in the tools section as well). However, your thesis is not the only component of an introduction. As a writer, you want to gently introduce the material to the reader. So, in keeping with this idea, you will want to avoid very specific points in your introduction at the start of your paragraph (the thesis being the most specific). You should think of your introduction as starting with general information about the topic and then converge more and more specifically to the ultimate goal of your thesis.

Think of your introduction as an upside-down triangle. The broad information will go first and the specific information will go last.

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An example introduction is below. This introduction explores the idea that William Faulkner’s short story “Barn Burning” utilizes Faulkner’s own contemporary views of the historic south to better create a more realistic story for the reader.

William Faulkner’s contemporary observations of the world influenced his work in “Barn Burning.” The post-war depression time of many of Faulkner’s stories attempts to reflect the lifestyle and conditions of the America that he experienced. Faulkner’s view of the environment of the South, character traits, and specific procedures and punishments in “Barn Burning” are used to mirror his conception of the prevalent traits of the depression-era south.

The Basics of Writing

The introduction above started out a general (though not extremely broad).

In this instance, the author chose to define what the overall paper would be about (i.e.: Faulkner’s “Barn Burning”) but did not state the actual specific argument being made.

In this case, the first sentence is general because in relation to the thesis it is outside the realm of the specific argument. The thesis is the final sentence in the introduction, and you will note the introduction is composed of 3 total sentences. Every introduction should be composed of at least 3 sentences, and often introductions contain many more sentences depending on the depth obtained in the thesis. Basically, if your paper is a very in-depth and long analysis or topic then you may want to include 5 to 8 sentences for an introduction to the essay.

 Understanding the basics of writing is essential for numerous courses in college and high school.  

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