This is a lesson about writing introductions to essays. You will learn about hooks, the funnel method, and thesis statements. You probably know that a hook is used to catch a fish. We also use hooks to start our essays in an interesting way. A hook attracts the reader's attention and creates interest. We do this because we want to make the reader continue reading our essay. We can use a surprising statement as our hook. For example, some people may not realize that McDonald's hamburgers can last for many years without rotting. This is something that many people don't know about McDonald's food and it may be a good way to attract attention to an essay about the dangers of eating fast food. You can also use an interesting question as your hook. This is okay to use occasionally, but you should not use questions very often in your essays. Questions make the writer look like he doesn't know what he's talking about or sound like he is wasting time. Get to your point rather than asking rhetorical questions. That said, a very interesting question that attracts your reader's attention can be used as a hook. Quotations can also be used as hooks. But again, there's a warning, don't use quotes that everyone knows. They're not interesting to your reader. If you decide to use a quote, make sure it is relevant to your essay and spend some time finding a quote that the reader may not have heard before and would enjoy reading now. You can also use a statistic to start your introduction. But again, there's a warning, statistics can be boring. Remember, the hook is supposed to be interesting enough to make your reader want to continue reading your essay so don't use too many statistics. Don't use hard to understand statistics and don't use common statistics that everyone knows. All types of hooks have to be interesting or they won't be effective. This red thing is a funnel and it's used to put oil in your car or in your kitchen, you might use it to pour liquid into a bottle. We can think of a funnel as a format for our introduction paragraph. The top of the funnel is wide. This is where we put the most general statements. If you're starting with a hook, it should be the first sentence. This is considered general because it isn't really what the essay is about. After your hook, you need to get more specific. You narrow the topic from that hook to something closer to your actual essay topic. Then finally, you end the introduction paragraph with the thesis statement. The thesis statement is specific and it has a topic and a controlling idea. We'll talk about that in just a minute. At this point, your reader should know what your essay is going to be about. Your whole introduction for a five or six-paragraph essay should be only three to five sentences. If it's over six sentences, you're probably not writing a very organized introduction. Start with one general statement or hook, then get more specific and more specific until finally, you arrive at the thesis statement, which is the most specific sentence in the introduction. Here are four sentences that make up an introductory paragraph. They're not in the correct order. Pause the video and write the sentences in the correct order on a piece of paper. Remember to use the funnel method and go from general to specific. Stop the video now and write the paragraph. Here is one way to write the introductory paragraph. The first two sentences are an anecdote, then there is a general statement about high crime neighborhoods, then there is a more specific sentence telling why this kind of crime happens. Finally, there's an argument for more police to fight crime. The last sentence is very specific, telling us where this issue is, Newton, and we find out what is needed and why. This is very specific. This sentence at the end of our introduction is called the thesis statement. A thesis statement needs two things, the topic and the controlling idea. If you're missing one of these things, then your thesis statement is not going to be very good. So what is the topic? A topic is the subject or the thing that you are talking about. The controlling idea is what you want to say about the topic. It's where your argument is. This is the thing you're going to prove or you're going to show in your essay. The topic and the controlling idea should be as specific as possible. Here are some things that you want to avoid when writing your thesis statement. Don't announce your thesis, that is don't say, I will talk about this or this essay is about. Also, don't write a fact for a thesis statement. Your thesis should be arguable, and facts aren't arguable. Your thesis might be your opinion, but it should not be an obvious or a popular opinion. If most people agree with you, then there's no reason to write your essay. You need to say something fresh, so choose a thesis that you will have to convince the reader of. Another thing you don't want to do is use pronouns in your thesis. The reason for this is that you need to be specific and say what you're talking about in the thesis statement. Don't assume your reader knows what you're going to talk about, and finally, don't forget the two parts, the topic and the controlling idea. Let's take a look at some examples of good thesis statements. Take a moment to read them. The first one tells us that the topic is Iceland and the controlling idea is that it's a perfect place to take a vacation. The second thesis statement has the topic, eating a vegetarian diet, and the controlling idea is it improves health and extends life. So we know what the essay is going to explain. We know what it's going to be about. It's going to explain how a vegetarian diet improves health and extends life. In the third thesis statement, we learned that the essay is about government and that the essay will argue that the government should provide health care to all its citizens. We know this because the thesis statement has a topic and a controlling idea. Here are some thesis statements that are not good. What do you think is wrong with the first one? Well, what is the topic? We don't know because the sentence uses the pronoun it several times. What is it? Probably the student talked about the topic earlier in the introduction, and then used pronouns in the thesis statement. This is correct grammar, but it's not good writing. The thesis statement must have the topic and the controlling idea specifically stated. Look at the second sentence, I will give is an announcement. Remember, we don't want to announce our topic, that's elementary. What's wrong with the next thesis? It has a topic, stop smoking and a controlling idea because it's dangerous and a bad habit, but this is what we would call an obvious opinion. A few people think smoking is a good idea anymore. More people are aware it's dangerous, so this is not a good thesis statement. Finally, the last one is not a good thesis statement either because it doesn't have a controlling idea. Important is not a controlling idea because it's too vague. Important can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Also, this sentence doesn't give any context to the statement. Saving money is important for whom or for what purpose? We don't know because there's no controlling idea. Now you know some ways how to write your introduction paragraph. You can use one of the hooks, like a surprising statement or an anecdote. The funnel method is a good way to organize your introduction. Each sentence should get more and more specific as you get to your thesis statement at the end, and remember that a good thesis statement must have two parts, the topic and the controlling idea. With lots of practice, writing introduction paragraphs will get easier for you.