Writing An Introductory Paragraph Hooks A good introductory paragraph is between 4-10 sentences in length, begins with a hook strategy, and ends with a clear thesis statement, also known as a controlling idea (informational) or claim (argumentative). Not only should your hook serve to immediately grab the readers interest, but it
should be a natural lead-in to your thesis, and a meaningful opportunity for the reader to relate to the topic of your essay. Make sure to include a transitional sentence or two between the hook and the thesis statement. You may use personal anecdotes, startling statements, vivid description, and/or interesting questions as hooks. Hook No-nos DO NOT INCORRECTLY ATTRIBUTE QUOTES TO WRONG SOURCES.
Example currently on the internet of misattributed quote: Marilyn Monroe once said, To all those girls who think they're fat for not being size zero, it is not you is ugly; it is society." ****Newsflash: There was no such thing as a size zero during Monroes era! DO NOT INVENT STATISTICS OR FABRICATE FACTS. Example from a students paper of fabricated statistic: Schools should not spend money on field trips since field trips are unsafe. According to TIME Magazine, 9 out of 10 students get injured when they go on a field trip.
****Blatant lies spotted by the reader weaken your argument and make you sound like a fool. Sample Hook Statements: Opening that provides general background information Give readers the background information they will need in order to understand the body of your paper. You might need to define important terms, identify people and places, or provide a brief history. Hook: Although friction between Native Americans and settlers existed from the moment the first Europeans arrived in North America, the Trail of Tears incident of 1830 marked the lowest point in
Americas relationship with its native population. Transition/Lead-in: In defiance of an 1832 Supreme Court ruling declaring the Indian Removal Act of 1830 unconstitutional, Federal and Georgian authorities proceeded to force the exodus of fifteen thousand members of the Cherokee Nation from their homes in Georgia to Oklahoma, hundreds of miles to the west. Because of their suffering, the Cherokee people called the path they were forced to follow to Oklahoma The Trail of Tears. Thesis: The authorities who forced Native Americans to flee their homes were responsible for stripping Native Americans of their land, depriving them of their freedom, and forcing them to adapt and create a new culture.
Sample Hook Statements: Opening with an unusual detail This is something that people would likely not know; it makes them want to read on to find out why. The pentagon has twice as many bathrooms as are necessary (Source to follow here). Opening with a strong statement Schindler's List graphically portrays the horrific acts of German concentration camps in World War two.
Sample Hook Statements: Opening with a quotation My mother always said, The ultimate responsibility always lies within you, and the opportunities are the ones you create. John F. Kennedy once said, Ask not what your country can do for you ask what you can do for your country. (If the quote is widely known, you do not have to include the source.) Quotation: Hillary Rodham Clinton once said that There cannot be true democracy
unless women's voices are heard (Source to follow here). Quote Examples Quote Examples Quote Examples Sample Hook Statements:
Opening with an anecdote- Since most people enjoy a good story, an anecdote is often a good way to begin your essay. But make sure that the anecdote is short and to the point and relates to the main idea of your essay. Yesterday morning I watched as my older sister left for school with a bright white glob of toothpaste gleaming on her chin. I felt no regret at all until she stepped onto the bus I remember the time when I was in Mr. Days 5th grade class One sunny afternoon while walking Blanca, my very sociable bullterrier, I decided to introduce her to Phillip, the mailman. At first, she was friendly, but as Phillip turned to leave, Blanca treacherously leaped for his buttocks and ripped off the back of Phillips blue and gray trousers. Fortunately, Phillip
was not injured. Nevertheless, I was very concerned about my dogs behavior, so I took Blanca to my veterinarian to find out why she had acted so aggressively. Dr. Rios, Blancas veterinarian, explained that there were three factors which could trigger an aggressive response from almost any dog. Anecdote Examples Anecdote Examples Anecdote Examples
Sample Hook Statements: Opening with description-- Depending on the length of your essay and your topic, you may decide to lead gradually into your thesis by depicting a scene that will appeal to your audience's senses and set the mood for you essay. Notice how this technique brings life to these introductions. Description Examples
Sample Hook Statements: Opening with a statistic or fact- Sometimes a statistic or fact will add emphasis or interest to your topic. It is necessary to include the source of your statistic or fact. Cigarettes are the primary cause of cancer. (If the fact is undisputed and widely known and accepted, you do not have to cite a source.) Fifty percent of marriages end up in divorce. (If the fact is undisputed and widely known and accepted, you do not have to cite a source.)
"Seventy-two percent of Canadians have been directly related to a person, or persons, killed during WWII" (Source to follow here). Sample Hook Statements: Opening with a question- Questions can create personal interest in the essay, but be careful your question is not too general. For example, in an essay about cell phone use asking, Do you own a cell phone? is too general. What would you do if you discovered a secret that changed everything? Can you imagine how much a single day can cost if you live in Shibuya, Tokyo?
Opening with an exaggeration or outrageous statement The whole world watched as the comet flew overhead. If the government cuts any more money from education, the entire country will crumble. If I have to do one more chore around the house, I am going to go crazy! Sample Hook Statements: Opening by saying what is mistakenly believed to be true by many people; then using your thesis statement to provide correct
information. Hook: Most Americans mistakenly believe that all rice is essentially the same. Lead in: They find it very difficult to understand why people from Asian countries are so particular about the type of rice they buy. In order to understand these preferences, Americans must become familiar with other varieties of rice and their characteristics. Types of Hooks In Review
General background Unusual detail
Strong statement Quotation Anecdote Description Statistic or fact Exaggerated or outrageous statement Question
Thesis (also called Controlling Idea or Claim) The controlling idea should be a full sentence observation about a topic that is true of all passages/sources and could be true in the world as well. It is the main point of your essaythe GPS to keep you on the correct
pathand should include the topics of each body paragraph in parallel form. Assigned Prompt: Americans are facing an obesity epidemic. Think of reasons why Americans are gaining weight and becoming obese. Write to explain reasons that Americans are fighting a weight battle.
DIRECTIONS: Formulate an introductory paragraph that begins with the hook and ends with the thesis or controlling idea. Exchange papers with one of your peers. Get feedback. Revise. You may write your paragraph, get feedback and revise digitally by going to collaborations and choosing GoogleDocs. Open using your studentIDfirstname.lastname@example.org, then share with your partner(s). Hook: Lead-in/Bridge sentences:
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