How to Prepare the Introduction in the Writing Sample
You have read through three topics and you have decided on one. You feel you have something to say about the topic but you are not quite sure how to start.
1.Quickly think of stand/ opinion
You can have a middle position on the topic. In fact some of the best essays I have seen take a middle position. The thing is to settle in on your position fairly quickly. Do not panic that perhaps you have little knowledge. All that is required is that you have an ability to think logically about an issue.
2. Think of 2 reasons
This is a crucial step. Whatever position you take on an issue it is helpful to think about. Write down brief and reasonably enough general reasons (E.g. If you disagree with a proposal you might quickly write 1) Expensive 2) Waste of time' 3) Unfair). Each of these reasons can open a new paragraph.
The first reason this proposal would not be a good solution is because it is expensive.......
Another problem with the idea is that it would likely be a waste of time. ......
Finally ....ing...... would be unfair for many people. .........
3.Brainstorm for examples
Think of some examples in your real life that connect to this topic. The connection does not have to be so direct. For example, if you are writing about capital punishment (i.e. the death penalty) you obviously have had no experience with this but it is likely you have read cases or you may have been punished for something in your life that might give you some authority to comment on the nature of punishment. Do harsh punishments work as a deterrence? Did you really think of the punishment issue before misbehaving?
4. Think of logical development. I will comment more about this in further posts but think about what your logical steps are to your conclusion for supporting or being against an issue. You can think of various combinations such as
a. Condition/ Consequence (if A then B will occur)
b. Cause/ effect (A leads to B)
c. Equivocation (We allow A so B should be allowed)
d. Counter arguments (Some say A but I think B)
5. Think of a ‘catchy opener’
The catch opener is a hook that leads into your thesis. In other words you give a bridge statement before stating your position.
There are different ones you can use but think about a number of issues
1. What’s my experience with this topic (if you have lots you may wish to start with an anecdote)?
2. Is this topic growing in importance? (If so you may wish to use a ‘trend’ hook)
3. Do I have a background statement that most could agree about? It could be a type of general truth, axiom, quote or even facts. If so, you may wish to use it as an opener
Nevin Blumer (MA Applied Linguistics, B.Ed., B.Mgmt, TESL Dip) has been teaching LPI for 4 years and is the Director of TPS