There are three main sections to think about when essay writing – writing an introduction, the body and the conclusion. In this lesson, ‘essay writing – writing an introduction’ we will look at the skills needed to write an effective introduction for a short essay.
For this lesson, we will use this topic:
‘Older people should be looked after by their children, not the government.’
The main purpose of the introduction is to tell the reader what the essay will be about. To do that, you need to identify the key words in the title. In this case, the keywords are:
Older people, looked after, their children and not the government.
Of course we cannot simply copy these words, so we move on to step 2 – finding other ways to say the same information. For example:
‘Some people feel that responsibility for the care of elderly people rests with the family, not with any government department.’
So we have looked at the first two steps – we have told the reader what the essay is about and we have avoided copying words from the title. Having done that, the next step is to tell the reader which direction the essay will take. That is, how will the essay be presented. For example, we could add the following:
‘Although there are arguments to be made in support of this, there is perhaps a stronger point of view that feels that older people should not have to rely on the goodwill of their family as will now be discussed.’
From this, we can tell that the writer plans to argue most strongly that care of the elderly should be left to the government.
A final point to note about writing an introduction is that in most formal essays, especially for important English exams like IELTS, you should try to avoid using a pronoun. For example, ‘as will now be discussed’ is far better than ‘as I will now discuss’.
You should now be ready to move to the body of your essay.