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Four Ways to Begin an Essay
by Brad Hyde


Beginning an essay is a bit of an art. Here are four techniques for writing an introduction for an essay with the thesis, “The automobile causes three serious harms to human society.” (note that I provide four variations on the thesis as an example)
 

Technique One: Relate your topic to recent news.

      Two weeks ago four teenage boys were killed in the Fraser Valley while driving a car at high speed. Needless to say, their families, friends and community were devastated by the loss of these young men. In fact, the automobile is a mixed blessing at best. [thesis]

 
Technique Two: Justify your qualifications to write the essay.

      I have been a driver for over 30 years and have seen and experienced the good and the bad sides of the automobile. From my experiences, the automobile, though a blessing in many cases and a convenience for many, is not without its faults.  [thesis]


 Technique Three: Use an anecdote or incident to begin your paragraph.

      My children’s babysitter was a typical urban automobile driver. When she needed to buy cigarettes or visit the local McDonald’s she drove, even though the convenience store and fast food place were only three blocks from her house! Her behaviour illustrates just one of the many problems of the automobile in society. [thesis]

 
Technique Four: Use a striking contrast between common ideas and your topic.

       The automobile is a convenient tool we use to facilitate our movements around the cities in which we live. We love our vehicles dearly and lavish money and attention on them daily. However, the automobile causes almost as much harm as good to our communities. [thesis]

 

Assignment:

 Use a thesis from an essay you've written.

Write three introductions that end with your thesis. Write introductions of about 50 - 60 words, including your thesis sentence. Please label your introduction type (e.g. “Technique Four”)

(April 7, 2005)

                                                               

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