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Introductory Paragraph - Persuasive Essay

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by

Margaret Eissler

on 5 February 2014

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Transcript of Introductory Paragraph - Persuasive Essay

Attention Catcher
Thesis Statement
Introductory Paragraph - Persuasive Essay
Preview of Main Ideas/Arguments
The attention catcher or lead should be the first sentence in the persuasive essay. It is the writer’s first chance to make an impression on the reader, so it should not be spent thoughtlessly. A good attention catcher immediately pushes the reader toward the writer’s position.
Strong:
Do you think students should be forced to wear pants when it is over 100 degrees?

This example is much stronger because the writer’s position is clear from the first line. They ask a question to which they already know the answer. Persuasion is about convincing others to understand and agree with your position.
Weak:
Do you think students should have to wear uniforms?

Notice that this question is open-ended and does not provide an opinion. You can't tell which side they were arguing. This should not be the case. The writer’s position should be clear before they even mention it based on the strength of their attention catcher.
Attention Catching Techniques
Here are a few examples to get you started on your attention catcher:
*Asking a Question:
This is my favorite technique because it can be used on any topic at any time. Additionally, it has a strong rhetorical effect on readers: people are conditioned to think about questions because answers are often expected of them. When you ask a question in your paper, readers are more likely to consider your ideas. As with any attention catcher, you’ll want to take your time making a good one that begins persuading your audience immediately.
*Quotation:
A wise person once said, “No matter what you’re trying to say, someone else has probably said it better.” I find that in most cases this statement is true. While you are unlikely to have access to the necessary resources to dig up quotes for a timed essay or standardized test, if you do have time, using an appropriate quote is a classy way to start off your essay. Just be sure that the quote is connected to your topic in some easily identifiable way.
*Startling Fact or Statistic:
Did you know that two out of three persuasive essays do not begin with a proper attention catcher? Using a startling fact or statistic is another great way to pique the reader’s interest, assuming that you can locate just such a fact.
A thesis is a clearly worded statement telling readers exactly what the writer intends to do in the essay. Good persuasive writing does not make the reader guess as to what the author’s intentions were. The writer’s intent should be made very clear. The best place to do this is immediately after the attention catcher. After gaining the reader’s interest, clearly state the position of your essay, as in the following example:
Do you think students should be forced to wear pants when it is over 100 degrees? Of course not.
Students should not have to wear uniforms.

The
green
text represents the thesis or central argument in my essay. Every sentence in my paper should in some way connect to that central argument. Any sentence that is not furthering my thesis is distracting from it and should be removed. Clearly state your thesis in your introductory paragraph and spend the rest of the essay trying to support it. If your position changes during the course of your writing, don’t be afraid to go back and revise your thesis, but your thesis must align with the arguments in your essay.
*The preview briefly states the main points that will be argued in the essay. The preview is
not
where the arguments are developed. The preview merely summarizes each point in as few words as possible.
*Each body paragraph should have one main point. All of the main points should be concisely stated in the preview. An appropriately structured five-paragraph essay will preview three main points. It is important for writers to preview their main points in the exact order that they will be developed.
*For example, if I claim that my essay will argue
square
,
circle
, and
triangle
. My
first body paragraph should be about squares
,
my second should be about circles
, and
my third should be about triangles
.
*Put your previews right after the thesis statement in your introductory paragraph.
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