Paragraph One: The Introduction
This first paragraph, made up of 3-5 sentences, has two purposes:
- Grabbing the reader's attention,
- Providing the main point (thesis) of the whole essay.
To get the reader's attention, your first few sentences are key. Use descriptive words, an anecdote, a striking question or an interesting fact related to your topic to draw the reader in.
To state your main point, your last sentence in the first paragraph is key. The last sentence of the introduction tells the reader what you think about the assigned topic and lists the points that you're going to write about in the essay.
Here's an example of a good introductory paragraph given the topic, "Do you think teenagers should have jobs while they are still students?":
I've worked ever since I was twelve. As a teenager, I cleaned houses for my family members, made banana splits at an ice cream parlor, and waited tables at various restaurants. I did it all while carrying a pretty good grade point average in school, too! Teenagers should definitely have jobs while they are still students because a job teaches discipline, earns them cash for school, and keeps them out of trouble.
- Attention Grabber: I've worked ever since I was twelve. Kind of a bold statement, right?
- Thesis: Teenagers should definitely have jobs while they are still students because a job teaches discipline, earns them cash for school, and keeps them out of trouble. Demonstrates the writer's opinion, and provides the points going to be made in the essay.