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Writing a good introduction

There are 3 very important steps you should remember when you write your introduction paragraph in task 2 of the IELTS writing test. They are:

1) Introduce the topic
2) Explain your position
3) Give an overview

Regarding the first point, far too many students simply copy parts of the question in the introduction. Any copied words taken directly from the question will be deducted from the overall word count by the examiner. Instead you need to introduce the topic by paraphrasing or rephrasing the question (using your own words). To do this, you need to know a range of synonyms and how to use different grammatical structures to say the same thing in a different way.

Secondly, you must give the reader a general idea about your own opinion. Even if you are going to write a balanced essay by discussing two opposing viewpoints, you still need to make your own position clear and this must be expressed in the introduction before you give more detail in your main paragraphs. So, it’s very important to decide what you think about the topic before you start writing. Are you for, against or somewhere in the middle? You need to state your opinion clearly but concisely. However, it’s also important to remember that you should never begin your introduction by writing your opinion. You must introduce the topic first.

Finally, you need to check that your introduction gives the reader a clear idea about what the next 2-3 paragraphs will include. It shouldn’t be a surprise. This helps start the essay off in a very natural way and makes it easier for the reader to follow your main ideas and arguments. In short, the examiner should have a clear understanding of what your essay is going to be about, just from reading the introduction. For example, if the essay is going to discuss two different views, this should be clearly stated and the reader should also know which viewpoint you agree with.

When you finish writing your introduction, read it back to yourself and ask yourself these 3 questions:

1. Have I introduced the main topic by paraphrasing the question?
2. Have I given the reader a general idea about my own opinion?
3. Have I made it clear what the essay is going to be about?

If the answer to all 3 questions is ‘yes’, you’re ready to continue with the main paragraphs of your essay!

Check out our list of IELTS writing tasks if you want some practice in writing introductions.

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