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The Writer’s Reference Book



An introduction is the first chance a writer has to grab the reader’s attention and make him/her keep reading. A writer has various ways to open, and it often depends on the tone and the writer when choosing an option. An introduction should also let the reader know what s/he will be reading and should provide some background statements if a complex topic will be discussed.

A thesis statement is almost always found in the introduction.

In academic writing, you may want to begin with an assertive statement. For example: Drinking is a problem on college campuses across America. You would then want to follow up this statement with an anecdote, researched fact, quotation, or explanation. You can also vary this opening a bit, and begin the first line with a quotation instead, or an anecdote or fact. However, a narrative story’s introduction typically jumps right into the story.


  • Announce what you intend to prove or explain throughout the following essay in formulaic language.
  • Write, “I think.” We know the writer is the one thinking since s/he is the author.
  • Define a word using the dictionary.
  • “Clear your throat.” Many writers warm up and write a few paragraphs when getting into an essay and then realize that the introductory graphs were distracting from the main point – thus “clearing the writer’s throat.”


  • Write broad statements in the opening lines to ease the reader into your topic.
  • Try to generate reader interest through the use of striking images or strong words (when applicable).
  • Lead into your thesis.
  • Provide background for complex topics.
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