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Writing a Good Introduction Paragraph

Writing a good introduction paragraph is much easier when you know what needs to go in it. Think of it like a recipe. You need to gather all the ingredients, put them in in the right order, and check to be sure it’s done. Your first paragraph works the same way.

First, you need a topic sentence. Your topic sentence should get the reader ready to read what’s coming. You might try to "hook" the reader with a quote, a question, or an interesting piece of information. "Have you ever eaten a sundae so big that it almost toppled over before you could finish?" Another option is to use a topic sentence that simply tells the reader what you’ll be talking about. For example, "My three favorite foods are spaghetti, pizza, and jelly beans." This kind of topic sentence makes it easy to separate your paper into paragraphs. Or, you might want to use an action statement like this, "We practiced all week to get ready for the big game." Try to avoid introductions such as, "Hi my name is . . . and I’m going to tell you about . . ."

Next, you need to tell a little bit about what your paragraphs will focus on, without giving too much away. Try to briefly mention the main topics in your paper. Here’s an example to go along with the favorite foods topic sentence above. "My three favorite foods are spaghetti, pizza, and jelly beans. If I had to plan a whole day of meals, it would be spaghetti with lots of sauce for breakfast, pizza with double cheese for lunch, and a bag full of jelly beans for dinner."

Finally, you might want to close your introductory paragraph with a short conclusion sentence. Something like, "Here are the reasons why I love these foods" is a good start, but don’t forget to add some great word choice in to your writing whenever you can. A better option might be, "You probably wouldn’t pick the same foods as I did, but you might change your mind after you hear my reasons."

Following the structure of an introductory paragraph makes it much easier to keep things in order. It also helps make sure that you add all the important elements.

Time4Writing provides practice in this area. Try a sample resource from our Elementary Paragraphs course or browse other related courses.

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