Bad opening line #2: According to dictionary.com, Batman is “a character in an American comic strip and several films who secretly assumes a batlike costume in order to fight crime”. Don’t use dictionary definitions to start your paper.Dictionary definitions are dull and boring, and in most cases, readers already know the word you’re defining, so the strategy isn’t effective.
This type of statement will work well if readers are fans of Keaton or if readers are fans of Nolan, as they’ll want to read on to see why you think Keaton is so much better.
Think about what readers need to know to understand the focus of your paper.
Without a strong thesis, your essay introduction pretty much falls apart. There are so many things wrong with this thesis that I don’t even know where to start. Here’s what your completed essay introduction looks like. It hooks readers with a catchy opening line, provides a brief introduction to your topic, and includes a strong, focused thesis to let readers know what your paper is about.
It’s like putting together a TV stand but deciding to not use all 500 tiny screws in the plastic bag. First, in most types of writing there’s really no need to announce statements like, “In this paper…” Readers should understand the thesis without such announcements. Even though the introduction is the first thing your audience reads, the introduction doesn’t have to be the first thing you write.
A thesis statement is essentially a mini-outline of your paper. This thesis statement is much better because it gives readers a quick overview of the paper.
It tells readers what your paper is about and offers your opinion on the topic. It’s strong enough to stand on its own and strong enough to hold your paper together.You might try using a shocking quote, an interesting statistic, an anecdote, or a question you’ll answer in the essay.If you’re writing a problem/solution essay, for example, you’ll likely be writing about a serious topic.Readers are going to approach your paper in the same way.If they aren’t interested in the first few lines, they’ll stop reading.Let’s look at a few sample opening lines from an evaluation essay.The most appropriate reaction to this line would be: So what? It isn’t interesting and doesn’t grab readers’ attention at all.Avoid such statements that start with the beginning of time.This opening line cites a credible source and offers readers an arguable statement.This broad, uninteresting statement doesn’t work well as opening line.The language is too informal, and readers aren’t sure who “they” might be.