ENG 4U 2013: Introductions

  • General to Specific: move the reader from a general discussion of the subject to a clear and specific thesis statement
  • Anecdotal: begin the introduction with an experience (yours or someone else’s) that helps you lead the reader to the thesis. This can also include a hypothetical scenario in which you ask the reader to imagine him/herself in the situation you’ve presented.
  • Informative: use a relevant and compelling bit of information to entice the reader. Make sure, however, that your introduction clearly connects the fact to the thesis.
  • Contrasting: Present statements, facts, or explanations that seem to support a particular view, and “flip” your perspective just before reaching the thesis. For example, you begin your introduction by explaining why something may be bad, but lead the reader to a thesis that argues that the thing is actually good.

The General to Specific method can be used in a variety of situations, but it is most common in the introductions to essays. The writer uses a general to specific introduction to move the audience from a general discussion of the topic to a specific and clear thesis. Here are some examples:

Topic The presidency of George Bush The film Toy Story 3
Potential beginning The importance of the Presidency How animated films have become mainstream
Narrowing the topic What American voters want from a President Why animated films are so popular with film studios (easier to produce sequels)
Thesis Despite his initial promise, George Bush did not live up to the expectations of the American people. While Toy Story 3 features the same lovable characters as the first two films, the story fails to capture the hearts of the viewers.

Your task: Choose one of the thesis statements below, and write an introduction that will move the reader from the general to the specific (the thesis). You are NOT writing the essay itself.

  • Despite the distance between users, social media provides suprisingly complex and meaningful ways for users to communicate.
  • Publishing lies or slander on the internet is not a crime, but it should be.
  • Sadly, our culture tends to focus on the worst qualities of professional athletics, thus ignoring the true value of sport.

I also want you to understand that these methods are not restricted to essays. Let’s take a look at some other forms of communication that rely on these styles. We will consider the openings of the media pieces below. Remember that the introductions may combine several techniques:

We will use the same writing prompts/topics we used last week.


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