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Following the thesis, you should provide a mini-outline which previews the examples you will use to support your thesis in the rest of the essay.
You see, if your essay has the same structure as every other one, any reader should be able to quickly and easily find the information most relevant to them.
The principle purpose of the introduction is to present your position (this is also known as the "thesis" or "argument") on the issue at hand but effective introductory paragraphs are so much more than that.
For the first body paragraph you should use your strongest argument or most significant example unless some other more obvious beginning point (as in the case of chronological explanations) is required.
The first sentence of this paragraph should be the topic sentence of the paragraph that directly relates to the examples listed in the mini-outline of introductory paragraph.
Only then, with the reader’s attention "hooked," should you move on to the thesis.
The thesis should be a clear, one-sentence explanation of your position that leaves no doubt in the reader’s mind about which side you are on from the beginning of your essay.
The first sentence – the topic sentence - of your body paragraphs needs to have a lot individual pieces to be truly effective.
Not only should it open with a transition that signals the change from one idea to the next but also it should (ideally) also have a common thread which ties all of the body paragraphs together.
The reader needs to know this and it is your job as the writer to paint the appropriate picture for them.
To do this, it is a good idea to provide the reader with five or six relevant facts about the life (in general) or event (in particular) you believe most clearly illustrates your point. The importance of this step cannot be understated (although it clearly can be underlined); this is, after all, the whole reason you are providing the example in the first place.