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  • 00:01

    [Introductions 1]

  • 00:07

    SPEAKER: College essays and reports have three main parts--the introduction, the body, and the conclusion.This is the first movie on introductions,looking at structure.And maybe print out the text versionso you can add notes as you listen.So let's start by looking at this very simple example

  • 00:27

    SPEAKER [continued]: of an introduction for an essay on advertisingto get the basic idea.As you can see, there are two main parts--the general sentences and then organizing statements,sometimes called a thesis statement.Try to blend these two parts.So basically, start very general.

  • 00:49

    SPEAKER [continued]: Then slowly get more and more particular.So next let's look at these two parts in more detail.First, the general sentences.Be general, and introduce your subject.Don't just jump straight into your answer,but start gradually and ease your reader in.

  • 01:12

    SPEAKER [continued]: So what's in this part?Well, it could include any of these things to build it up.So let's go through them one by one.First, you could use key words in the title, like here.And/or use your general knowledge or, of course,your reading to make some comments on the subject.

  • 01:36

    SPEAKER [continued]: Or you could reword the title in some way,like here, which can be a good way of narrowing downto the organizing statement, getting more particular.So this example, then, is a mix of key words,general knowledge, and rewording.But let's look at some other possible ways

  • 01:57

    SPEAKER [continued]: to build up general sentences.You could give some contemporary background,meaning something in the news.Or the opposite-- some historical background,like here.Or you could use a definition, especiallyif some of the key words are not that clear.

  • 02:22

    SPEAKER [continued]: For these last two--historical background and definitions--if you want a lot of detail, maybemake these the first body paragraphs of your essay.Because the introduction is not the bestplace to put in detail.And two final ways of building up this general part--you could use a quotation, or you could use a statistic.

  • 02:49

    SPEAKER [continued]: With these two, think about putting in a referenceif it comes from your reading and is notvery well known already.So key things about the general part of the introduction--introduce a subject, do this in a number of ways,and slowly narrow down, ready for the organizing or thesisstatement.

  • 03:15

    SPEAKER [continued]: So the organizing or thesis statements.Be particular.Introduce your essay.So this is a much more detailed partof the introduction compared to the general part.So what's in this part?Well, it's based on your essay plan.And it's a list of the main sections of your essay.

  • 03:35

    SPEAKER [continued]: And it can be neutral or opinionated.So let's look at all this.Here are three very basic essay planswith this essay on advertising, whichanswer the same title in three very different ways.So each essay might have the same general part,

  • 03:56

    SPEAKER [continued]: but the organizing statement in each would be very different.In the first plan, the writer is goingto argue no, advertising shouldn't be banned, and givethree main reasons.See how this essay would, therefore,have this organizing statement.Here is the overall no part.

  • 04:18

    SPEAKER [continued]: Here is the research part.Here is the practical part.And here is the economic part.So the reader now has a good ideaof how this particular essay is going to develop.Let's look at the second plan, which looks at those affected.

  • 04:41

    SPEAKER [continued]: See how this essay would, therefore,have this organizing statement, giving these two main groups--children and then business.In the last plan, the writer is goingto focus on types of adverts.It would, therefore, have this organizing statement.

  • 05:06

    SPEAKER [continued]: In the body paragraphs, the writerwould expand on these main ideas in oneor even several paragraphs, dependingon how long the essay is.And that's what organizing statements are--to show what your argument will be, what your approach will be.Because there are always lots of ways to cover the topic.

  • 05:29

    SPEAKER [continued]: You want to be clear what your way is going to be.This part can be quite neutral, like here.Just a description of the sections.Or it could be very opinionated.Still a description, but also a strong pointof view on the whole issue.You choose.

  • 05:50

    SPEAKER [continued]: So finally, put the two parts togetherto get the whole introduction, like in these examples.And here are a few tips on introductions.

  • 06:14

    SPEAKER [continued]: Maybe write it last, when you are really clear whatthe argument of your essay is and what sectionsare to make that argument.Because it is really a summary of your whole approach.Also, try and blend the two parts of the introduction.It should be more like a trianglethan two separate blocks.

  • 06:35

    SPEAKER [continued]: So start wide, then get to the point.And balance the parts.So about half general, half organizing.Or two thirds to one third, I.e. don'twrite 10 general sentences, then one organizing statement,and vice versa.

  • 06:56

    SPEAKER [continued]: Next, match the introduction to the length of the essay.With shorter essays in particular,some students write a third intro, third body paragraphs,third conclusion.But that's too much.The body paragraphs should actually be about 85%of your essay, meaning your introduction should

  • 07:16

    SPEAKER [continued]: be 10% or even less.And last but not least, try and be interesting and clear.This is your first impression, so make it a good one.That's it for the basics.But watch the second movie to learn useful languagefor introductions.And improve yours by trying all the exercises.

Video Info

Series Name: Essay Writing Kit

Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd

Publication Year: 2015

Video Type:Tutorial

Methods: Study skills, Practical skills

Keywords: essays; language; thesis

Segment Info

Segment Num.: 1

Persons Discussed:

Events Discussed:



Eveline Powell explains the structure of an essay introduction.

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Introductions 1

Eveline Powell explains the structure of an essay introduction.

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