Writing Center, we have seen countless papers that begin with a sentence
like this: "Abortion is one of the most controversial topics in America
today." What a sleeper! As a writer, you should pay close attention to your
first few sentences because they have the power to pique your readers'
interest and encourage them to keep reading; unfortunately, they can also
make your readers yawn and toss the paper aside. Below are some suggestions
for attention-getting introductions, with examples about graduate teaching
Controversial Statement: Some students swear that graduate teaching
assistants are inexperienced, ignorant, and uninteresting; others insist
that they are enthusiastic, friendly, and inspiring.
of Surprise: That slightly older dude, garbed in jeans and a sweatshirt,
sometimes with a beard, often with a pipe, nearly always with a sack of
books, is neither a student nor a professor, but a peculiar species known as
a graduate teaching assistant.
A Note of
Contradiction: Graduate teaching assistants are neither fish nor fowl,
neither completely students nor teachers, neither really graduates nor
Dramatic Statement: Beware of graduate teaching assistants.
of Statistics: Most of the two million freshman entering colleges and
universities this fall will be instructed by graduate teaching assistants.
of Speech (Simile or Metaphor): A graduate teaching assistant is like a
pilot on a new route: each is capable, but each is unfamiliar with the
of a Quotation: "Although they are inexperienced, most graduate teaching
assistants are generally effective instructors because they relate well to
their students." state Adelstein and Pival in their book
The Writing Commitment.*
Reference to a Current Event: The recent debate in the freshman dorm about
graduate teaching assistants was almost as heated as the one in the United
Nations about the Middle East.
your Authority: Having had seven graduate teaching assistants in my first
two semesters at college, I feel well qualified to discuss their strengths
from The Writing Commitment by Adelstein and