It is essential to avoid writing ‘waffle’ in your opening paragraph.
What is ‘waffle’? It is when a student attempts to hide that they have
nothing much to say about a subject by making generalised, empty
statements that could apply to a whole range of topics, but which
manage to say nothing relevant in answer to the question.
• Consider this opening to an essay:
This is a very important issue and there are many
different approaches that can be taken in regard to
it. Many experts have considered this matter, but no
one has come up with proven solutions. There are
arguments for and against and many people feel
very strongly about it.
What is wrong with this paragraph as an opening? Just about everything!
It manages to say nothing, is far too general and non-specific, and the
main purpose seems to be to fill up space and get that ‘awkward’
opening paragraph out of the way. In fact, it is not worth writing and is
bound to make a bad impression. It is pure ‘waffle’. The ‘issue’ is not
even mentioned, neither are the ‘different approaches’ that can be taken,
and none of the arguments for and against. It says nothing in 45 words!
There is nothing specific in this opening paragraph, just generalised verbiage!
It could be the ‘waffly’ opening to any essay on any topic.