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How to Write a Funnel-Shaped Introduction

Mr. Klingensmith's Online Writing Guide

An easy to understand Online Writing Guide for beginning writers.  Here you will find a list of various writing models, general tips and hints to help guide you to writing success.

Before you begin

Be sure you know what your thesis is going to be (and how to write one).

The big idea

The introduction of a persuasive piece should serve three main purposes: first, it should catch the reader's attention; second, it should clearly explain what the topic of the essay is; finally, it should give the writer's position on the topic (for it or against it) and mention the subtopics the reader can expect to see later in the essay.  This last sentence is called the thesis.

How to do it

This is called a funnel-shaped introduction because it begins broad (like the mouth of a funnel) and then leads you step by step down to the very narrow point of your essay (the thesis).

The first sentence of the introduction should get the reader's attention.  It should be on the general subject, but you don't necessarily need to be able to tell what the specific topic or thesis of the piece is going to be.

The introduction should lead the reader step by step, sentence by sentence, through a chain of connected sentences that leads to the most important sentence in the entire thing: the thesis.  This should be at the end.  If the thesis is not at the end, then you're not writing a funnel-shaped introduction.

An example

Being a kid is hard; don't let anyone tell you differently.  If you ask 100 adults, you'll find that most of them wouldn't want to live through adolescence over again.  Why not?  There are too many things to worry about: friends, grades, why your P.E.  teacher hates you, what to do when you grow up--the list is endless.  That's why it would be doing most kids a favor to give them one less major concern in life.  Because it would give them fewer worries, and because it would save their parents money, students in public school should have to wear uniforms.

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Copyright 1996-2004 by Michael Klingensmith