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The Just-Right Intro Paragraph

The Just-Right Intro Paragraph

By Miss Marm

There's not a writer among us who hasn't struggled with this Sparkler's issue:

I have problems writing introductions for my essays. My teacher says that I write them either too long or to short. When I write I tend to go right to the point after I write my thesis statement. How can fix my introductions so that they aren't so long that they give all my information and not so short that they are practically non-existent?

Here's my formula for introductory paragraphs:

(1) Sentence about the entire world
(2) More specific sentence about the book
(3) Road map of the paper, in which you give the reader a preview of the arguments you'll make in each of your body paragraphs
(4) Thesis

For example:

(1) When we think of places and times notable for acceptance of homosexuality, 1920s suburban England may not be the first to spring to mind. (2) Yet in E.F. Benson's 1922 novel Miss Mapp, Georgie, a gay man, is celebrated by his neighbors. (3) Benson makes Georgie's sexuality clear, shows how enthusiastically both worldly and provincial characters embrace him, and holds him up as an exemplar of kindness and humanity. (4) Benson's novel, frequently lauded for its humorous depiction of small-town life, turns out to be a funny but fervent defense of gay men.

Does that make sense? Do you have other ways of structuring your intros? Let us know in the 'mments!

To contact me, email

Topics: theses, e.f. benson, mapp and lucia

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