Have we met?, Part 2

Your introduction can be simple or complex, seductive or workmanlike, elaborate or austere. On a basic level, it doesn’t really matter, as long as you get your main idea across.

However, if you want to wow your readers, go big.

The style I mentioned in my last post is pretty flexible. When I write essays, I like to start not with just a bare statement that “some people think” an idea that I disagree with. Instead, I mention a famous person or concept that disagrees with me. For example, I might write something like this:

“Many people agree with Thomas Jefferson, who once said, ‘Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.’ However, honesty is not that last chapter of that book. Though in an ideal world dishonesty would be unnecessary, the world in which we live often requires deception to live a moral life, in situations both mundane and extreme.”

See how this quickly written intro conforms to the basic template in my previous post, yet adds bells and whistles (a quotation, a qualifying clause in the thesis) that increase its sophistication without distorting the format?

Try it out yourself. Next, we’ll move on to the body paragraphs, another place where tyros often go off track.

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