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Writing Introductions: Where to begin ?. What is an Introductory Paragraph?. An introductory paragraph is the starting point of your essay. This is where you provide the reader with all the points you will be addressing, and some background information.

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what is an introductory paragraph
What is an Introductory Paragraph?
  • An introductory paragraph is the starting point of your essay.
  • This is where you provide the reader with all the points you will be addressing, and some background information.
  • This is your chance to engage your reader in a single paragraph.
parts of an introductory paragraph
Parts of an Introductory Paragraph
  • An introductory paragraph has three main parts that must be included.1. Hook/Opening Statement 2. Commentary/Background 3. Thesis statement
parts of an introductory paragraph1
Parts of an Introductory Paragraph
  • The three parts of an introductory paragraph are also known as: ANT1. A- Attention Getter (Hook/Opening Statement) 2. N- Necessary Information (Commentary/Background) 3. T- Thesis statement
a attention getter the hook opening statement
A = Attention Getter(The Hook/Opening Statement)
  • Your hook is your first chance to spark interest in your reader- first impressions matter!
  • This sentence should give your reader an idea about what the essay is about in an engaging manner.
hooks what to avoid
Hooks: What to Avoid
  • Vague statements should always be avoided in hooks.For example, if your essay was a compare/contrast piece about different types of bears, you would want to avoid a hook like:

Many things are alike, but many things are also different.

Be specific!

hooks what to avoid1
Hooks: What to Avoid
  • “Captain Obvious Statements” should always be avoided in hooks.For example, if your essay was a compare/contrast piece about different types of bears, you would want to avoid a hook like:

In this essay, I will tell you about different bears.OrThe following paragraphs are about the differences between many types of bears.

Show, don’t TELL!

hooks what to avoid2
Hooks: What to Avoid
  • Questions should always be avoided in hooks.For example, if your essay was a compare/contrast piece about different types of bears, you would want to avoid a hook like:

Do you know a lot about different types of bears?

OrDid you know that there are many differences between the many types of bears?

This is an essay, not an infomercial!

hooks what to do
Hooks: What To Do
  • Make your hook interesting and engaging. Though both hooks below are “correct”, which one would get a better score?

Before buying a car, people should do their research, rather than just blindly trust salesmen, commercials, or manufacturers.

OR

Buyers beware! A suit, shined shoes, a Rolex, Old Spice, and a dazzling smile don't make someone an expert and people should not let smooth-talking advertisers, manufacturers, and car salesmen sell them the wrong car.

hooks what to do1
Hooks: What To Do
  • Start with a direction quotation from your book and/or research that relates directly to what you are reading.

For example, if you were writing an essay about why Jonas (in The Giver) made the right choice in running away, you might use this quote to start:

“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It's the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.” (The Giver, pg. 106)You can later draw back on this quote by explaining that running away was the right choice for Jonas’ mental state (too painful and lonely), as well as for the Community (the sharing of memories would change them)

hooks what to do2
Hooks: What To Do
  • Use descriptive words. Though both hooks below are “correct”, which one would get a better score?The day was cold, blistery, and dark, and I couldn’t shake a persistent and nagging feeling of dread.OrThe weather caused me to feel anxious and think that something bad would happen.
n necessary information commentary and background
N- Necessary Information(Commentary and Background?)
  • This section of your introductory paragraph is your chance to expand upon your hook.
  • This is where you, the writer, should provide more detail about what you stated in your hook, as well as give the reader a “sneak peak” of what will be discussed in your essay.
n necessary information commentary and background1
N- Necessary Information(Commentary and Background?)
  • Your necessary information should not give specific details about what will be covered in your essay, it should just introduce your topics.

Leave a little mystery for your readers!

necessary information example
Necessary Information Example
  • Think of your compare/contrast essay about Among the Hidden and The Giver. Here is what commentary/background should look like:
t thesis statement
T = Thesis Statement
  • This is the last sentence in your introductory paragraph.
  • This sentence should indicate the main point your essay will be making.
  • Basically, this sentence tells what your essay is about.
  • When a teacher grades your essay, he/she will be going back to this sentence and asking his/herself- Was this really the main point of the essay and did the student address it thoroughly?
thesis statement what to do
Thesis Statement: What To Do
  • Use direct and specific language.
  • Your thesis statement is almost like a “road map” for your essay, so you should be specific about what you plan to address.
  • Avoid language like “good”, “bad”, “same”, or “different”.
  • Instead use words that specifically show what you are trying to say.

For example:

1. Danielle and Anna form a friendship in Because of Mr. Terupt since they are similar.

VS.2. In Because of Mr. Terupt, Danielle’s and Anna’s shy, kind, and mature personalities cause them to become close friends.

thesis statement what to do1
Thesis Statement: What To Do
  • Answer a question.
  • Sometimes, the prompt you are being asked to write about is the in form of a question. Use your thesis statement to answer that question if it shows what the essay will be about.

For example:If the teachers has asked you to write the following essay: “Should cell phones be banned in schools?”Your thesis statement might be:For emergency and parental contact purposes, cell phones should be allowed in schools.OrBecause of their distracting and unnecessary nature, cell phones should be banned in schools.

thesis statement what to do2
Thesis Statement: What To Do
  • Pass the “So what?” test
  • If your reader asks “so what?” at the end of your thesis statement, chances are you haven’t shown why this essay is important.

For example:

Dogs are good pets for kids.Vs.Dogs are good pets for kids because they teach them responsibility, loyalty, understanding and patience.

putting it all together
Putting it All Together
  • Your hook/opening statement should be about 1-2 sentences.
  • Your commentary/background should be about 3-4 sentences.
  • Your thesis statement should be about 1-2 sentences.
  • A typical introductory paragraph is about 5-8 sentences.
putting it all together examples
Putting it All Together: Examples

Topic: The high cost of living in Tokyo

Attention Getter: For many citizens of Tokyo, the staggering cost of living has become too much to handle, and many have had to take drastic measures to cope.

Necessary Information: Tokyo is one of the most expensive cities in the world. The prices of things in Tokyo are much higher than in other parts of Japan. Many people living in Tokyo have a difficult time paying for their lifestyles.

Thesis Statement: Tokyo is definitely one of the most expensive cities for many reasons.

putting it all together examples1
Putting it All Together: Examples

Topic: How Among the Hidden and The Giver are similar and different

Attention Getter: In two different, yet equally horrifying and controlling dystopias, two boys fight to seek the truth and gain freedom.

Necessary Information: In Among the Hidden, by Margaret Peterson-Haddix, and The Giver, by Lois Lowry, the governments in both societies are bothsimilar and different in the ways in which the people, population, and food were controlled. The main characters, Luke (Among the Hidden) and Jonas (The Giver), also shared many similarities, as well as differences, in their personalities and in how they retaliated against their respective governments.

Thesis Statement: While Among the Hidden and The Giver are distinct books written by different authors, their similarities regarding the societies’ governments and main characters make them easily comparable.