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Things to Avoid in Your Introductions
- General comments about human nature/society.
- Rambling incoherence designed to fill the paragraph until you get tired of writing.
- Obviously false stories.
- Generic, weak questions that are easily answered.
- Opening with a quotation.
- Generalized, cliched, trite observations or truisms.
- Opening with the author/title of the piece as your opening phrase.
- Don’t open with weak, vague nouns and adverbial phrases. A stronger approach is to open with verbs or vivid adjectives.
Structure of the Introduction
- Hook: A brief, STAMPy introduction to the piece, one that draws the reader into the rest of the essay. Generally, the hook should be a specific detail that broadens into a more interesting claim.
- Bridge: A transition sentence that moves from the specific of the hook to the broader topic of the thesis.
- Thesis: Your central argument, outlining your claim and previewing the arguments you will make in the rest of the piece.
Effective Introductory Approaches (Stamp)
- Shock your audience with a statistic. It should be shocking, but plausible.
- Tell a story/establish a scenario. (Literary or real) Ideally, this will be bookended in your conclusion.
- Analogize with an effective comparison.
- Make a good question, one that does not have an easy answer.
- Personalize with an effective anecdote.