Matthew Walsh's EFL ESL website
The Next topic will be  Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Only people who earn a lot of money are successful.

1) Before next class, use the 'Graphic Organizer' to make a mind-map.

2) Many students have noticed that Criterion tells them there is no 'introductory material'. This time, let's try to make an 'introduction' before the topic sentence.

What is an introduction?

An introduction is at the beginning.
It gives the reader an idea of what the essay is about.
It leads into the thesis (topic sentence).

How do I write an introduction?

Introductions can be written in many different ways. Here are some ideas you can use to write a good introduction:

*    General background(自分の意見を支える一般常識)
*    Narrative(エピソード)
*    Quotation (引用)
*    Dramatic statistics/facts(驚きの数字、事実)
*    Shocking statement(ショッキングな意見)
*    Questions that lead to the thesis(自分の意見へ繋がるような読者への問いかけ)

 Read these examples
General background:

Since the beginning of time, there have been teachers. The "classroom" teacher has many important tasks to do. Not only does a teacher have to teach information, but the teacher has to keep things interesting. She also has to sometimes be a referee, a coach, and a secretary. Not only that, but sometimes a teacher has to be a nurse or just a good listener. This career demands a lot, but it is the career I most want to have.


My fourth grade teacher, Miss Ryan, was not a big woman. She was about five feet tall and had gray hair. Even though she did not look very strong, she never had trouble controlling all her students. She could quiet us down with just a stare. We always wanted to make her happy because we knew how much Miss Ryan cared about us. She expected us to do the best we could, and we all tried our best. Miss Ryan was the kind of teacher who made me know that I wanted to be a teacher.


"Teaching is better than tossing a pebble into a pond of water and watching those ripples move out from the middle. With teaching, you never know where those ripples will end." I remember those words of my fourth grade teacher. Miss Ryan once told me that years after they left her class, her students would come back to tell how much she helped them. Miss Ryan's students said that it was because of her that they learned to work hard and to feel proud of what they did. I would like to teach because I would like to make that kind of difference.

Dramatic statistics/facts:

Three out of four people we talked to in town said that it didn't matter how many kids were taught in one class. However, our class researched this and found the opposite is true. Studies done at the university show that having small class sizes makes a big difference in how much students learn. Before our town votes about the school budget next week, we need to think more carefully about how important smaller class size is.

Shocking statement:

Music and art are a waste of time and shouldn't be taught in our schools. Anyone can learn about these subjects on his own if he wants to. Although not many people would openly say this, this is the message we get when we read the letters to the editor. The letters they write to the newspaper are against setting aside money for music and art classes. However, most people believe music and art are important subjects. Therefore, we need to write to our school board and tell them that the school budget must include these classes.

Questions that lead to the thesis:

It might be fun to use computers to learn some things, but what if that was the only way we were taught? After a while, who would answer the questions we have? What if no one wanted to work with students in the classroom? Teaching is such an important job that I plan to make teaching my career.

My Example using a narrative introduction

The first time I visited Japan, I went into a yakitori bar in Tokyo. I smelled something awful. At first I thought it was the smell of someone's feet. I looked all around the restaurant to find the person that the smell was coming from. I looked under the tables to see what kind of shoes the customers had on. I expected to find one person with very old and unclean tennis shoes. After finding that everyone in the restaurant had fairly new shoes, I realized it must be something else. I asked the master of the establishment and he told me it was a food called 'Natto'. I really hate Natto.

First of all, these fermented soy beans smell terrible. Some people say that it is healthy, but the first time I smelled it, I thought I was going to be sick. Even now if I catch a wiff of it, I think something must be rotten like spoiled meat or a dead animal. 

Secondly, it looks terrible. If you are used to it, I'm sure you wouldn't think it looked strange, however, it is slimey and sticky when you stir it up, seeming something like moldy leftovers that have been in the back of the refrigerator at a single man's apartment for over a year. Although it is considered a delicacy, It certainly does not look like something safe to put in your mouth! 

Finally, the food is very messy. It is stringy and sticks to everything it touches. For this reason it usually spills on the floor or leaves a hard-to-clean residue on the fingers and face of the person who eats it. The individual then goes around all day with the substance on his or her hands and mouth and gives off a terrible odor. People around the unknowing culprit, like their family, get angry because of the smell. 

For these reasons, I believe Natto is the worst food on the planet earth and should be banned from stores and made illegal to produce.

note*  This essay is kind of a joke. I actually don't hate natto.

Examples of an introduction for this essay

Many people throughout history have been successful without having earned a lot of money. Artists, for example are famous for being poor and are often recognized more after death than during their lives. Also people working for a humane cause often do so sacrificing a life of economic wealth. Examples of this could be anybody working for a volunteer organization, charity, or NGO. I disagree with the statement and think the opposite is often true.

I have a friend who works as a diving instructor in Hawaii. He loves diving and almost every day he guides divers through some of the most beautiful waters in the world. He doesn't make a lot of money, and lives a simple life. In the tourist season, business gets busy and he sometimes has to work 7 days a week, however he doesn't mind because there is nothing he'd rather be doing than diving anyway! I think success is not measured in money but in enjoyment of life.

"One man's trash is another man's treasure."  is a famous saying and the meaning is that different things are important to different people. Everybody has different values, and there is no single answer as to what is meant by 'success'. While some people measure success in terms of money, I think this is not true for everyone so I disagree with this statement.

People who don't make a lot of money have all failed in life. People who have money have all worked hard, succeeded in life and are happy. I don't agree with statements like this and I don't agree with the statement that "Only people who earn a lot of money are successful."  I think there are many people who earn a lot of money and yet are unsuccessful, and, there are lots of people who are successful but don't necessarily earn a lot of money.

Have you watched the television recently?  Everyday there is news of corrupt politicians, businessmen cheating people out of their money, and companies lying to the public to protect their profits. Would you consider people like this successful? Do you want to become a person like this? I certainly don't!  I disagree with the statement because I think success is about becoming a better person and what you do for the people around you and money has little to do with it.

The average person in Japan spends 19,700 us dollars a year, but the average person in Somalia spends 17 us dollars a year. If success was only about money than the average Japanese person would be 1158 times more successful than the average person from Somalia. This would also make almost any Japanese person more 'successful' than virtually anybody from Somalia. This simply cannot be true. I disagree with the statement because I think that success is measured in other things than money.