Writing Instruction–writing introductions (three models)


Writing Introductions


Writing an introduction is much like cooking.  Anyone can do it by following a recipe.  The individuals who do it best don’t need the recipe, but anyone can still make macaroni and cheese from a box.  With that belief in mind, here are several models of introductions.

            Please note that all the introductions end with a controlling idea or thesis:  a specific statement that sets a focus for the essay. 


Model #1: The Turn

In this model of introduction, the writer begins by presenting the opposite idea of the rest of the essay, then questions what has been stated or explains why it is wrong.


People walk every day, and walking is a simple operation.  It is difficult to imagine what could be safer than walking on one’s own two feet.  However, walking is not as safe in many communities as it should be.  In 1998, thirteen percent of all traffic accidents involved pedestrians, and cars injured more than 68,000 pedestrians.  Increased traffic and poor community design have made walking inconvenient and unsafe.  Communities must consider the health of pedestrians through traffic calming techniques and designs that encourage walking.


Model #2: The Funnel

This model of introduction begins with general ideas, then gradually works to a more specific controlling idea.


People read literature for many reasons.  Perhaps entertainment is the most basic of these motivations.  Excitement over what will happen next leads readers to turn the page.  Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories have generated such excitement for over a hundred years.  For example, in “The Cask of Amontillado,” Poe masterfully creates suspense by hinting at the narrator’s vengeful intentions but withholding his ultimate plan.



 Model #3: The Eye-Catching Fact

This model begins with an example or fact that will catch the reader’s attention, then goes on to explain its significance.


Thousands of shark carcasses without fins lie in the water near Costa Rica.  People killed the sharks and removed the fins to make soup—the rest of the animal is simply thrown away.  This is just one example of the harm humans do to the ocean environment.  The excessive slaughter of sea creatures and pollution both threaten to irreversibly damage Earth’s oceans.

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