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How to write persuasive essay introduction paragraph

May 20, 2018

We must restore hope to young people, help the old, be open to the future, spread love. Be poor among the poor. We need to include the excluded and preach peace. Pope Francis

The introductory paragraph of any essay is where you will, ideally, capture your reader’s attention. Whether you’re writing an argumentative, persuasive essay for a debate class or creating a poetic piece of descriptive writing, the opening paragraph should invite the reader in and make the purpose of your essay clear. Depending on the complexity of your essay assignment, there are a few methods you can try to make your essay introduction strong, powerful and engaging.

Establishing Voice and Point of View

When writing an essay, it’s important to determine your point of view and use it consistently. The most common POVs in essay writing are the following:

Once you decide on the appropriate POV, you should stick to it throughout your entire essay. In other words, avoid using an “I” statement in the introduction, only to switch to a neutral third-person POV in the body paragraphs. Your introduction is the place to establish the voice you’ll be using in the essay, so the first step is making sure you’re clear on which voice to use!

Essay Opening Techniques

Once you’ve established your POV, you can decide which opening technique you’d like to use to capture your audience’s attention and introduce your essay subject:

State Your Purpose and Your Plan

Once you’ve gained your audience’s attention with one of the above techniques, you can move into stating the purpose of your essay. For an expository or persuasive essay, this can be your thesis statement. The thesis statement is typically one sentence that clearly summarizes what your paper is about and/or what you’re trying to prove. Narrative and/or descriptive essays don’t always have a formal thesis statement, but they should still make clear in the opening what the essay will cover. Here are some examples of purpose setting for each type of essay. Note the different POVs!

A Final Note

The opening paragraph of your essay may be easier for you to write once you’ve already drafted your body paragraphs. Once you know where your essay is going, it can be easier to introduce it to your readers. If you find yourself getting stuck on the introduction, shift your focus to the main body of the essay; then, come back to it after you’ve read through your work.

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