Your introduction paragraph should grab your reader's attention, introduce the topic of your essay, and present your thesis.
Grab the reader's attention and introduce the topic
The very first sentence of your introduction should get your reader interested in your topic. Don't start out too generally in your introduction paragraph. Also, don't state all of your specific main points individually in the introduction.
Focus on giving background information that your reader needs to understand the topic generally.
Present your thesis
The thesis states the main idea, or focus, of the essay. The rest of the essay will give evidence and explanations that show why or how your thesis is true.
An effective thesis—
- addresses the prompt if there is one* (i.e., answers the question).
- is usually at the end of the introduction paragraph.
- controls the content of all of the body paragraphs.
- is a complete sentence.
- does not announce the topic (e.g., "I'm going to talk about exercise.").
- should not simply be a fact (e.g., "Many people exercise.").
- should not be too general (e.g., "Exercise is good.").
- should not be too specific (e.g., "Exercise decreases the chance of developing diabetes, heart disease, asthma, osteoporosis, depression, and anxiety.").
- may state or imply main points (e.g., "Exercise is essential because it improves overall physical and mental health." vs. "Exercise is essential for improving our well-being.").