An introductory paragraph is the first paragraph in writing. Its function is to lead the readers into the essay. Consequently, it should give the readers a preview of the essay. If it captures their attention, the readers will find it easier to follow the writer’s flow of expression. In order to attract the readers’ attention, ideally, the introductory paragraph should be interesting.
The introductory paragraph consists of two parts.
- The first part is general statement about the subject to attract readers’ attention
- The second part is a thesis statement, which specifies the topic or the plan of the paper. The function of thesis statement is to control the idea of the paper.
Good introductory paragraph has some characteristics. They are:
- The introductory paragraph should introduce the topic.
- The introductory paragraph should indicate generally how the topic is going to be developed, whether the essay is to discuss causes, effect, reasons, or examples. Whether the essay is going to describe, narrate, or explain something. Since this discussion is about expository, it should explain something.
- The introductory paragraph should contain thesis statement.
- The introductory paragraph should be inviting.
There are four basic types of introductory paragraph. They are:
The first is turnabout type of introduction. In this type, the writer opens with a statement contrary to his or her actual thesis. Look at the following example:
We live in era where television is the national pastime. Since the invention of television set, people have been spending more of their free time watching television than doing anything else. Many of the television addicts feel that this particular pastime is not bad one; indeed, they argue that people can learn a great deal watching television. I am sure if you look long and hard enough; you can probably find some programs that are educationally motivating. But, for most part, I say that watching television is a waste of time (Smalley and Hank, 1986:228)
The second type, the dramatic entrance, is a type of introduction in which the author opens with narrative, descriptive, or dramatic example. Look at the following example:
The rain pours down as if running from a faucet, lightning streaks across the dark restless sky, and thunder pounds the roof and walls of the house. All of a sudden the wind kicks up. Trees sway madly back and forth; loose objects are picked up and thrown all way round. The house streaks and moans with every gust of wind. Windows are broken by pieces of shingle from a neighbour’s roof or by loose objects picked by the wind. Power lines snap like thread. The unprepared house and its occupants are in grave prepared for hurricane approaches. Had they prepared for hurricane, they might not be in such danger. Indeed, careful preparation before a hurricane is essential to life and property (Smalley and Hank, 1986:260)
The third type is relevant quotation. In this way, the writer opens with the quotation relevant to the topic. Look at the following example:
“As an airplane or missile becomes more complicated,” warned James fallows in his 1981 book National Defence,” the probability that all its parts will be working at the same time goes down”. Indeed the reliability and power of modern U.S military hardware depend heavily on increasingly complex electronic circuits. This worrisome vulnerability prompted Pentagon officials more than two years ago to launch an extensive probe of microchip suppliers in order to spot any lax manufacturing practices. Last week the inquiry produced an indictment against a major electronic company (Smalley and Hank, 1986:299)
The last type is, the Funnel. That is the type of introductory in which the progress of the idea is from general to specific one. See the following paragraph example:
Travelling to a foreign country is always interesting, especially if it is a country that is completely different from your own. You can delight in tasting new foods, seeing new sight, and learning about different customs, some of which may seem very curious. If you were to visit my country, for instance, you would probably think that my people have some very strange customs, as these three examples will illustrate (Smalley and Hank, 1986:143)
Another important thing in introductory paragraph is the existence of thesis statement, thatis a single sentence that contains an arguable proposition and clearly states the author’s position on the issue. The thesis statement is said to be the good one as it qualifies the following:
- The thesis statement appears at the end or near the end of the introductory paragraph.
- It states the main point of the writer
- It indicates how the writer will limit and support the main point.
- It shows how the writer will organize the entire essay.
In addition to those all mentioned above, the thesis statement should follow the following criteria, they are:
- The thesis statement should be expressed in a complete sentence.
- The thesis statement expresses an opinion, attitude, or idea; it does not simply announce the topic of the essay will develop.
- The thesis statement should express an opinion; it should not express the fact.
- The thesis statement should express only one idea toward one topic.