Remember that the introduction is like an inverted triangle. The beginning of your introduction paragraph is general (e.g., establishes what you will compare). Then you narrow down the topic to a specific idea (e.g., what the differences or similarities are).
Don't forget to catch your reader's interest by starting your introduction with a hook. There are many types of hooks: facts, questions, problems, descriptions, etc. There is not one perfect hook for each essay.
Type of Hook
There many differences between beach and city vacations.
Have you ever wondered which is better: a beach or city vacation?
Many people don't take the time to think about what type of vacation will be the most fun and relaxing for them.
A beach vacation can be very relaxing, while a city vacation can be full of interesting things to do.
The thesis states the main idea, or focus, of the essay. The rest of the essay should give evidence and explanations that show why or how your thesis is true.
An effective thesis—
- addresses the prompt if there is one* (i.e., answers the question).
- is usually at the end of the introduction paragraph.
- controls the content of all of the body paragraphs.
- is a complete sentence.
- does not announce the topic (e.g., “I’m going to talk about my wedding day.”).
- should not simply be a fact (e.g., “Many people get married.”).
- should not be too general (e.g., “Marriage is good.”).
- should not be too specific (e.g., “Most people spend thousands of dollars on their wedding day to make it special.”).
- may state main points (e.g., “My wedding day was the happiest day of my life because of my family, the ceremony, and my husband.”).
- may imply main points (e.g., “My wedding day was the happiest day of my life.”).
- REVIEW: Body Paragraphs
Review: Body Paragraphs
Don't forget that the body paragraphs for comparison should focus on one similarity or difference between the two topics. Divide your ideas either by talking about the two topics and that point (point-by-point) or by talking about each topic individually (block). Also, make sure each body paragraph is complete with a topic sentence, supporting sentences, and a concluding sentence.
A topic sentence is the first sentence of a paragraph. It states the main idea of the paragraph. The topic sentence will contain a topic and an idea about the topic, called a "controlling idea." The controlling idea controls, or limits, the amount of information you will write about the topic in your paragraph.
Your body paragraph needs to explain why or how your topic sentence is true. The sentences that explain your topic sentence are called supporting sentences. You can have many types of supporting sentences. Supporting sentences can give examples, explanations, details, descriptions, facts, reasons, etc.
The last sentence in a body paragraph is your concluding sen- tence. Your concluding sentence should end your paragraph logically. Concluding sentences can restate the main idea of your paragraph, state an opinion, make a prediction, give advice, etc. New ideas should not be presented in your concluding sentence.
Exercise 1: Check your essay.
Remember to complete a self-check questions below for your essay before you ask someone for feedback. Good luck with your revisions!
- Does the introduction provide the general information a reader needs in order to understand the topic?
- Does the introduction end with an effective thesis? Does it match the style of the essay?
- Do each of the body paragraphs begin with an effective topic sentence?
- Are the body paragraphs sequenced in a logical order?
- Look at each body paragraph. Do the supporting sentences support the topic sentence?
- Look at each body paragraph. Are the supporting sentences sequenced in a logical order?
- Look at each body paragraph. Is there enough development? Are there more details or examples that would help the reader?
- Look at each body paragraph. Does the concluding sentence close the paragraph logically?
- Does the conclusion paragraph start by restating the thesis?
- Does the conclusion paragraph have a suggestion, prediction, or opinion at the end?
Exercise 2: Revise for unity.
Revise the body paragraph for unity. Write your changes on a piece of paper.
Corn and wheat are the most important base ingredient in Mexican and American food, respectively, which distinguishes these two types of food. Wheat is used in many popular American dishes. For example, many kinds of sandwiches are popular (e.g., subs, hamburgers, croissant breakfast sandwiches, etc.) and pastas are made from wheat flour. The best example is the hamburger; however, it has other ingredients like tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise. These vegetables are an essential part of the American diet. On the other hand, corn is the most important ingredients in Mexican food. Corn is used to make traditional food like tamales, sopes, and tortillas. American and Mexican food are different due to the principal ingredients used in each.