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Every teacher at school seems to have a different way that they like to set up an introduction for an essay.

For a persuasive essay, what exactly should be included in the introduction?

What techniques are helpful in making the introduction?

Is there anything to avoid, such as a bullet beginning (one to two sentence introduction)?

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    The subject-matter belongs on Writers.SE, but this probably falls into the "Every answer is equally valid" category, so it may need to be altered -- perhaps radically altered -- to be answerable. – Andrew Leach May 20 '15 at 6:29
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An introduction needs to do two jobs --it should give an overall global context for your writing, and it should offer readers a preview of what you are going to tell them. There are many possible ways to do that. One structure I learned in high school that I have personally found valuable is called the funnel paragraph. The idea is that you begin your opening paragraph with a broad general statement on your chosen topic, you narrow in on your specific thesis with each successive sentence, and then you make that thesis explicit in the last sentence.

For example:

All living things crave companionship [very general]. For human beings, pets can often be the chosen companion [more specific]. Dogs and cats are the most popular pets [more specific]. A dog is the best kind of pet because [X], [Y] and [Z].

Then, when you actually write the essay, the three sections are "A dog is the best kind of pet because of [X]," "A dog is the best kind of pet because of [Y]," and "A dog is the best kind of pet because of [Z]."

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In an essay one should most importantly introduce the topic and have a clear contention. Quotes from novels and such can be a good lead-in sentence.

An effective introduction should interest the reader of the essay and make them want to continue reading.

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There is a lot of debate about essay structure, but the way I teach it (and use myself)is:

Introduction: 1) re-state the topic positively e.g. 'Solar power is better than wind power.' if the topic was 'Which is better, solar or wind power?' 2) outline your argument briefly.

Body: take each point from your outline and write about it, using the point as your topic sentence for each paragraph and then providing analysis, examples, etc.

Conclusion: re-state your position and then re-state your argument (this is very similar to the introduction but try to use different words).

This structure works particularly well in exams. Once your have a plan for your essay, which then becomes your outline in the introduction, you can just get on and write it.

The extent to use persuasive writing features such as emotive language, will depend on the subject your are writing for. English literature classes expect them far more than say psychology.

Note that a discursive essay (something that is still sometimes expected in certain circumstances) may use a different structure.

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  • I'm not in a position to comment on the efficacy of your essay's structure, but would it be worth noting that some subjects should likely be broken down into the different aspects involved, since words like good and bad can be broader than the development of an essay will accommodate? E.g. solar and wind power aren't comparable resources, so it could be difficult to effectively persuade someone that a solar array is superior to a windmill. It would, however, be very simple to prove its greater reliability, lower cost of installation, etc. – Kai Maxfield Mar 1 '16 at 20:32