Introduction Paragraph

This is the first paragraph of a persuasive composition. It includes a "hook", the topic (issue), and the thesis. After the "hook", the introduction needs to give enough general information about the topic to help the reader understand and care about the position statement being presented. Information about the topic is often provided to make the transition from the "hook" to the thesis statement.

--The "Hook" or Attention Grabber
The "hook" is written in the first paragraph and usually begins the paragraph, because it draws the reader into the writer's position and arguments. There are many "hooks" or ways to interest the reader:

Anecdote
Dictionary.com's definition of an anecdote is "a short account of a particular incident or event of an interesting or amusing nature, often biographical." An anecdote can be a very entertaining and effective opener. It must be short and pithy or the reader's interest may be lost before getting to the point. It might be used to illustrate the issue, situation, or problem being addressed, or it might illustrate the solution being suggested. It must always give purpose to the position and arguments.

Conversation
If kept brief to only a few exchanges, conversation as an opener between two people can effectively make a dry topic seem real and personal to the reader. As with an anecdote, conversation exchanges should be kept short and to the point. They also need to be relevant to the position and arguments.

An Interesting Fact or Statistic
An interesting fact that supports the position can be another way to begin a persuasive composition, particularly if this nugget of information is so unusual that it can't be ignored by the reader. Make sure the fact is accurate and the source of the fact is reliable.

A Quotation
A quotation can be an effective attention grabber, particularly if it is by an expert who shares the same position on the issue. A quotation is usually used in support of a position, but it may also be used to draw in the reader because of its startling untruth in support of the opposing argument.

Exaggerated Information
A statement that is overstated for its effect to capture the reader's interest.
It must have relevance to the composition's position.

A Question
A question can engage and draw in the reader. A well-written question helps the reader begin to ponder and see value in the reasons for your position.

--The Topic
The topic is the situation, problem, or issue about which the thesis takes a position.

--The Thesis
A well-written thesis will include:
1. A concise statement that presents the writer's position about the topic, either pro or con.
2. Reasons in support of the writer's position on the topic. The reasons must be relevant and logical in support of the writer's position.
The thesis position statement and reasons given in support of that position will limit the degree to which the topic will be discussed and will define the organizational structure of the composition.