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Writing the Introductory Paragraph of the Five Paragraph Essay

By Margo Dill

Is your essay getting off to a rough start? Learn how to write a great introduction that captures the attention of the reader, as well as introducing your main topic.

Power Zeros and Power One

When using power writing to write a five paragraph essay, the introductory paragraph contains power zeros and the power one main idea. Since you are introducing your topic and essay to your reader, it will contain your voice and set the tone for the rest of the writing.

For example, if you are writing an informational essay on three astronauts who have landed on the moon, then your first paragraph should be informative, perhaps providing a fact about how many people have landed on the moon (power zero) and a statement that your essay will be about three men that have landed on the moon (power one). If you are writing a humorous essay about funny tricks your dog can do, then your first paragraph may have a fun tone to it. You may start with this opening:

Have you ever seen a dog stand on his head? Believe it or not, my dog can do this trick, and that's not all! (Power zero)

Openings for Introductory Paragraphs

Introductory paragraphs can start in many ways when you are writing a five paragraph essay. Here are some different ways to start your first paragraph. Most of the time, these would be power zero sentences if you are using power writing. You can start with a:

  • Question: What is your favorite summer activity? (Essay topic: Three favorite summer activities)
  • Fact: The Mississippi River is the largest river in the United States. (Essay topic: Three rivers in the United States I have visited)
  • Personal story or statement: When I was seven, I fell off my skateboard and had to get seven stitches on my chin. (Essay topic: three skateboard safety tips)
  • Hyperbole: During my first grade year, I ate at least a million pancakes for breakfast. (Essay topic: Three favorite foods)

Power Twos

Power two and power three sentences do not go in the introductory paragraph of your five paragraph essay, but you have to mention your power twos in your first paragraph. For example, if you are writing the essay on three favorite summer activities, after you have caught the reader's attention with an opening and stated your power one sentence to tell the reader what your essay will be about, then you need to tell the reader what your three favorite summer activities are that you plan to discuss. You might write a sentence such as: My three favorite summer activities are swimming, playing basketball at the park, and spending a week at my grandma's.

Sample Introductory Paragraph

What is your favorite summer activity? Summer is such a fun time when the weather is hot, school is out, and baseball games are on TV every night. I love summer and have many things I like to do, but I have three favorite summer activities. First, I like to go swimming at our neighborhood pool. I also love to spend a week at my grandma's house in Illinois each summer. Finally, I like to go to my softball games. Summer fun can't be beat.