This lesson is a compilation of hundreds of essays I’ve checked in the past few years.
Let us begin the journey of improvement. Let us begin with the introduction to an essay.
Why do we write an introduction? Why don’t we just begin with the answer? Let me explain with an analogy.
A guy meets a girl for the first time. He likes her and wants to begin a friendship with her. What should be his first step? Well, you guessed it right. He will INTRODUCE himself. He will say ‘Hi’ and tell his name and the most important characteristic. This gives her an idea that the guy wants to develop a friendship with her. (There are other cues, of course. But these are outside the scope of this document.)
The same principle holds in an essay or a letter. You have to introduce the topic. The introduction of an essay states the purpose of the essay. Why are you writing the essay? This gives readers an IDEA of the text that they will read in the body paragraph.
Having said this, let me inform you that writing an introduction is one of the most complex tasks of an essay. It requires a clear vision of how the essay will proceed. That is, you will need to first think through the body paragraphs. What will each body paragraph contain? What will be the theme of each paragraph? These are the vital questions that you need to answer before writing an introduction.
Let me explain with an example:
An August 2018 Essay question was “In some countries, it is illegal for employers to reject people applying for a job based on age criteria. Do you think it is a positive or a negative development?”
Before proceeding with the introduction, you should first have a clear idea of the body paragraphs. This requires a thorough understanding of the question statement “In some countries, it is illegal for employers to reject people applying for a job based on age criteria”. Mark the keywords before proceeding.
Keywords – Illegal, employers, job applicants, age criterion.
Note that the question uses the word ILLEGAL. Not RIGHT or WRONG. Your answer should focus on the LEGAL aspects. Since this is an opinion question “Do you think it is a positive or a negative development”, let me proceed with the assumption that this has both positive and negative consequences.
Let us imagine the body paragraph structure and ideas.
Body Paragraph 1: Positive – Prevents discrimination – equal opportunities to all.
Body Paragraph 2: Negative – Certain occupations are age dependent – Army, BPO, courier service.
The above process will take you about two minutes. Do this quickly so that you can proceed with the introduction.
Now you know what exactly the body paragraphs will constitute. All you have to do is write a SUMMERY of these paragraphs so that the reader gets an idea of expected material in the body paragraphs.
Let us write 3 sentences. Sentence 1 is a general statement which is a paraphrasing of the question statement. Sentence 2 is about body paragraph 1. Sentence 3 is about body paragraph 2.
Sentence 1: Employers in a few countries are legally compelled not to discriminate between job applicants on the basis of age.
Sentence 2: I think this has positive consequences such as ensuring equal opportunities for everyone.
Sentence 3: However, this negatively affects certain occupations such as the army, BPO, courier services.
NOTE the use of cohesive devices and the use of appropriate words.
Employers in a few countries are legally compelled not to discriminate (= illegal to reject) between job applicants on the basis of age. I think this (referencing device – cohesion) has positive consequences such as ensuring equal opportunities for everyone. However, (cohesive device – shows contrast) this (referencing device) negatively affects certain occupations such as the army, BPO, courier services.
Assignment for all readers:
Question 1: Many people believe that the use of new technology improves the lives of employees. Others think it is a disadvantage for them. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.
Question 2: Some people say that sport is very important for a nation’s development, while others believe that sport is no more than a leisure time activity. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.
Question 3: Some people think that children should start school sooner while others believe they should not start it before the age of seven. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.
Question 4: Some people argue that competitive sports are good for bringing together different people and cultures. Others argue that these sports can cause problems and increase conflicts between nations. Discuss both points of view and give your own opinion.
Read Lessons in Writing – INTRODUCTION – 2
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