Unit 6 Introductory

Thesis Statement, Supporting and Conclusion Paragraphs

1. Introductory paragraph 

1.1 Meaning of an introductory paragraph 

The introduction is the first paragraph of the essay. It should capture the reader’s attention and motivate readers to read the rest of the essay. The introduction should start with a general discussion of your topic and lead to very specific statement of your main point, or thesis. A good introductory paragraph does many things. It attracts the reader’s interest, states or points toward the thesis, and moves the reader smoothly into the body paragraphs, the developmental paragraphs.

1.2 Characteristics of a good introductory paragraph 

A good introductory paragraph should have the following characteristics: 

1. It should introduce the topic immediately because this paragraph is the first thing that a reader reads. This means that it should inform the reader first of the topic being discussed in the essay. 

2. It should indicate the plan of development: the way in which the subject is going to be developed. That is to say a good introductory paragraph might indicate whether the essay is going to discuss causes, effects, reasons, comparisons, and contrasts, and whether the essay is going to classify or divide a subject or explain a process.

3. It should motivate the reader’s interest. This means that it should be interesting enough to motivate the reader to want to continue reading. 

4. The most important characteristic of the introductory paragraph is that it must state the clear thesis sentence that states the main idea of the essay. This sentence serves as a plan for the whole essay.

1.3 Techniques for writing a good introductory paragraph

The followings are some techniques for writing introductory paragraph: 

• A direct statement of the thesis 

For example: 

Anyone on the road in any city near midnight on Friday and Saturday is among dangerous people. They are not the product of the witching hour; they are the product of the “happy hour.” They are called drunk drivers. These threats to our lives and limbs need to be covered by federal laws with strong punitive provisions. 

• Background 

For example: 

In one four-year period in California (2005–2009), 17,942 people were injured and 6,632 were killed by drunk drivers. Each year, the same kinds of figures come in from all our states. The federal government does virtually nothing. Drunk driving has reached the point of being a national problem of huge proportions. This slaughter of innocent citizens should be stopped by following the lead of many other nations and passing federal legislation with strong punitive provisions.

• Definition of term(s) 

For example: Here is a recipe. Take two thousand pounds of plastic, rubber, and steel, pour in ten gallons of gas, and start the engine. Then take one human being of two hundred pounds of flesh, blood, and bones, pour in two glasses of beer in one hour, and put him or her behind the wheel. Mix the two together, and the result may be a drunken driver ready to cause death and destruction. This problem of drunk driving can and should be covered by federal legislation with strong punitive provisions. 

• Quotation(s) 

For example: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has stated that 50 percent of all fatal accidents involve intoxicated drivers and that “75 percent of those drivers have a Blood Alcohol Content of .10 percent or greater.” That kind of information is widely known, yet the carnage on the highways continues. This problem of drunk driving should be addressed by a federal law with strong punitive provisions. 

• Shocking Statement and Questions 

For example: Almost 60,000 Americans were killed in the Vietnam War. What other war kills more than that number every four years? Give up? It is the war with drunk drivers. The war in Vietnam ended more than three decades ago, but our DUI war goes on, and the drunks are winning. This deadly conflict should be covered by a federal law with strong punitive provisions.

• Questions and a Definition 

For example: 

What is a drunk driver? In California it is a person with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or more who is operating a motor vehicle. What do those drivers do? Every year some of them kill more than 16,000 people nationwide. Those are easy questions. The difficult one is, What can be done? One answer is clear: Drunk drivers should be covered by federal laws with strong punitive provisions. 

• A combination of two or more methods on this list above.

2. Thesis statement 

2.1 Definition of thesis statement 

Thesis statement doesn’t not only introduce your topic, but also alerts the reader to your conclusion. An essay introduction may be an announcement, a statement of fact, or just an observation, while a thesis statement is an assertion that defines the point (or argument) of your essay. A thesis statement is your answer to the question your essay explores. For example, think of a thesis statement as the opening statement in a trial. The question is "who done it?" As the prosecuting attorney, your thesis statement lays out your case for your reader, the jury. The defendant had motive, opportunity, and access to the weapon or method used to commit the crime. Your opening statement or thesis introduces this evidence to your reader. The trial (body of your essay) supports your evidence and proves the validity of your argument.

2.2 Characteristics of a good thesis statement 

A Good Thesis Statement should be:

• easily identifiable: It clearly defines what follows in the essay body and tells the reader what to expect from the rest of your essay.

• an assertion: It "takes a stand" on certain subject and shows the strength of your argument.

• specific: It is the conclusion that is supported point by point in the body of your essay.

• neither too general nor too specific: a thesis sentence should be general enough to cover all aspects of the topic but specific enough to let the reader know exactly what point the writer wants to make. When a thesis is too general, the reader does not quite know what the paper will say about the topic. When a thesis sentence is too specific, it usually contains details that should come later in the essay or that has nothing to do with the writer’s purpose and should be cut. Compare these thesis sentences:

Too general: Many students are too concerned with grades. 

Too specific: Many students at _________just cram for tests and don’t care what they learn. (Cramming would probably be only one point used to support your thesis.) 

Just right: Many students at _________ College value grades more than learning. To make sure your thesis is not too general, try to avoid using such vague words as interesting, bad, neat, unique, great, and so on. To make sure your thesis is not too specific, save your details for the body of the paper.

• argumentative or demonstrable: a thesis should not be an obvious fact that your audience will accept without argument. A thesis can be a controversial argument, such as a claim that gun control is right or wrong, or it can be a sentence that just needs to be demonstrated for the reader to accept it.

Fact:                              Los Angles has a smog problem. 

Thesis statement:      Smog makes Los Angles an unpleasant place to live. 

Fact:                             My paper will explain the Battle of Bull Run. 

Thesis statement:     The Battle of Bull Run showed the North that South was prepared to fight the                                           Civil War.

4. Conclusion paragraph 

4.1 Definition of conclusion paragraph 

The last paragraph is the summary paragraph. It is important to restate the thesis and three supporting ideas in an original and powerful way as this is the last chance the writer has to convince the reader of the validity of the information presented. 

4.2 Techniques for writing a good conclusion paragraph 

The conclusion paragraph can be ended in several ways. You can give the answer to a question, recommend a course of action, restate the main point of your essay, or simply underscore the point with one final example. The final paragraph is the final chance to drive your main point home and it should leave the reader with a clear understanding of what you have been trying to show or to do in the essay as a whole.

4.2.1. To answer the question posed by the introduction. The complete introduction to Norman Cousin’s essay “The Right to Die” leads up to a question: “Does an individual have the obligation to go on living even when the beauty and meaning and power of life are gone?” The following is the final paragraph of Cousin’s essay: 

Death is not greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live. The unbearable tragedy is to live without dignity or sensitivity. 

4.2.2. To make recommendation or prediction. The introduction to Nancy Weinberg’s essay “Disability Isn’t Beautiful” charges that handicapped people have been subject to discrimination “while the Government acts as if they were different from other minorities.” The following is final paragraph of the essay: 

The physically handicapped have the liabilities of a minority group. Shouldn’t they be given the rights of a minority group? The answer is affirmative. It is time the action was also. Thus, this final paragraph makes a specific recommendation.

4.2.3. To restate the main point, making its implications clear. Here is the concluding paragraph of an essay that sets out to show that violence on television makes the heavy viewer unusually frightened of the real world: 

We have found that violence on prime-time network TV cultivates exaggerated assumption about the threat of danger in the real world. Fear is a universal emotion, and easy to exploit. The exaggerated sense of risk and insecurity may lead to increasing demands for protection and to increasing pressure for the use of force by established authority. Instead of threatening the social order, television may have become our chief instrument of social control. 

                                                                                                                ---George Gerbner and Larry Gross,                                                                                                            “The Scary World of TV’s Heavy Viewer”

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Public - 9/23/16, 1:45 PM