Have we met?

The introduction is an extremely important part of your essay, and the thesis, which we discussed yesterday, is an extremely important part of your introduction. But don’t you need more than a thesis?

Well, ideally, yes. The good news is that writing a competent introduction isn’t hard at all, and writing a stellar one is only a little more difficult.

I recommend an introduction that begins with an argument from the lips of your opponents, whether it’s a sentence beginning with “some people argue…” or an actual quotation from someone famous. Then, a short, quick sentence saying that the first idea is wrong. The paragraph concludes with a thesis that clearly states your main idea. But enough abstract gobbledygook. How about an example?

Many people believe that telling the truth in all situations is the only proper mode of behavior. However, this idealistic approach to life is wrong-headed. In fact, deception is often justified, especially when one is trying to save someone’s reputation or someone’s life.

I liken it to a boxing match. Let your opponent come in swinging, and then stop him short with a well-placed jab. While he’s stunned, unleash your uppercut–that’s your thesis statement and the following essay–and get the knockout.


I don’t watch a lot of boxing, but that always worked in the video games.

Anyhow, this method works for pretty much any essay, and it’s incredibly flexible, accommodating ideas and arguments from weak writers and strong ones. Try it out yourself. I’ll be giving some other examples in the coming days and hours.


2 thoughts on “Have we met?

  1. Pingback: Have we met?, Part 2 | Number One Pencil

  2. Pingback: Building a body | Number One Pencil

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