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Developing an Introduction: The Top-Down Model

What is an introduction?

An introduction is the first paragraph (or paragraphs) of any written work.

What is the function of an introduction?

An introduction

How can I write an introduction?

There are three basic ways to write an introduction:

  1. You can write the introduction after you write the body of your essay.

  2. You can write the introduction before you write the body of your essay.

  3. You can rough out the introduction first and then focus and revise it once you have written your essay.
Many people write a rough draft and from that find out what their purpose really is and what they really believe. Then they revise the focus, language, or order of their introduction. This sequence -- of drafting an introduction and then revising and refining it once the body of the paper is sketched out -- is very common.

None of the above situations is better!

What goes on in an introduction?

There is no single right form for an introduction to take, but one common form that many writers use is the following:

Do all introductions have four sentences?

No, introductions can have a very few to many sentences, or even be more than one paragraph in length, depending on the length of your essay. In short, the actual number of sentences in an introduction is not important.

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LEO: Literacy Education Online

This handout was written by Sam McCoy and revised by Sharon Cogdill for the Write Place, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota; the html markup was done by Joe Mathison. This document may be copied for educational purposes only. If you copy this document, please include our copyright notice and the name of the writer; if you revise it, please add your name to the list of writers.

Last update: 15 November 2004

URL: http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/acadwrite/intro.html