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How to Write an Essay Introduction | 4 Steps & Examples

Published on February 4, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on July 23, 2023.

A good introduction paragraph is an essential part of any academic essay . It sets up your argument and tells the reader what to expect.

The main goals of an introduction are to:

  • Catch your reader’s attention.
  • Give background on your topic.
  • Present your thesis statement —the central point of your essay.

This introduction example is taken from our interactive essay example on the history of Braille.

The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.

Table of contents

Step 1: hook your reader, step 2: give background information, step 3: present your thesis statement, step 4: map your essay’s structure, step 5: check and revise, more examples of essay introductions, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about the essay introduction.

Your first sentence sets the tone for the whole essay, so spend some time on writing an effective hook.

Avoid long, dense sentences—start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.

The hook should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of the topic you’re writing about and why it’s interesting. Avoid overly broad claims or plain statements of fact.

Examples: Writing a good hook

Take a look at these examples of weak hooks and learn how to improve them.

  • Braille was an extremely important invention.
  • The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability.

The first sentence is a dry fact; the second sentence is more interesting, making a bold claim about exactly  why the topic is important.

  • The internet is defined as “a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities.”
  • The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education.

Avoid using a dictionary definition as your hook, especially if it’s an obvious term that everyone knows. The improved example here is still broad, but it gives us a much clearer sense of what the essay will be about.

  • Mary Shelley’s  Frankenstein is a famous book from the nineteenth century.
  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement.

Instead of just stating a fact that the reader already knows, the improved hook here tells us about the mainstream interpretation of the book, implying that this essay will offer a different interpretation.

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Next, give your reader the context they need to understand your topic and argument. Depending on the subject of your essay, this might include:

  • Historical, geographical, or social context
  • An outline of the debate you’re addressing
  • A summary of relevant theories or research about the topic
  • Definitions of key terms

The information here should be broad but clearly focused and relevant to your argument. Don’t give too much detail—you can mention points that you will return to later, but save your evidence and interpretation for the main body of the essay.

How much space you need for background depends on your topic and the scope of your essay. In our Braille example, we take a few sentences to introduce the topic and sketch the social context that the essay will address:

Now it’s time to narrow your focus and show exactly what you want to say about the topic. This is your thesis statement —a sentence or two that sums up your overall argument.

This is the most important part of your introduction. A  good thesis isn’t just a statement of fact, but a claim that requires evidence and explanation.

The goal is to clearly convey your own position in a debate or your central point about a topic.

Particularly in longer essays, it’s helpful to end the introduction by signposting what will be covered in each part. Keep it concise and give your reader a clear sense of the direction your argument will take.

As you research and write, your argument might change focus or direction as you learn more.

For this reason, it’s often a good idea to wait until later in the writing process before you write the introduction paragraph—it can even be the very last thing you write.

When you’ve finished writing the essay body and conclusion , you should return to the introduction and check that it matches the content of the essay.

It’s especially important to make sure your thesis statement accurately represents what you do in the essay. If your argument has gone in a different direction than planned, tweak your thesis statement to match what you actually say.

To polish your writing, you can use something like a paraphrasing tool .

You can use the checklist below to make sure your introduction does everything it’s supposed to.

Checklist: Essay introduction

My first sentence is engaging and relevant.

I have introduced the topic with necessary background information.

I have defined any important terms.

My thesis statement clearly presents my main point or argument.

Everything in the introduction is relevant to the main body of the essay.

You have a strong introduction - now make sure the rest of your essay is just as good.

  • Argumentative
  • Literary analysis

This introduction to an argumentative essay sets up the debate about the internet and education, and then clearly states the position the essay will argue for.

The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts is on the rise, and its role in learning is hotly debated. For many teachers who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its critical benefits for students and educators—as a uniquely comprehensive and accessible information source; a means of exposure to and engagement with different perspectives; and a highly flexible learning environment.

This introduction to a short expository essay leads into the topic (the invention of the printing press) and states the main point the essay will explain (the effect of this invention on European society).

In many ways, the invention of the printing press marked the end of the Middle Ages. The medieval period in Europe is often remembered as a time of intellectual and political stagnation. Prior to the Renaissance, the average person had very limited access to books and was unlikely to be literate. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century allowed for much less restricted circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.

This introduction to a literary analysis essay , about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein , starts by describing a simplistic popular view of the story, and then states how the author will give a more complex analysis of the text’s literary devices.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale. Arguably the first science fiction novel, its plot can be read as a warning about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, and in popular culture representations of the character as a “mad scientist”, Victor Frankenstein represents the callous, arrogant ambition of modern science. However, far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to gradually transform our impression of Frankenstein, portraying him in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:

  • An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
  • Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
  • A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.

The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .

The “hook” is the first sentence of your essay introduction . It should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of why it’s interesting.

To write a good hook, avoid overly broad statements or long, dense sentences. Try to start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:

  • It gives your writing direction and focus.
  • It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.

Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.

The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

McCombes, S. (2023, July 23). How to Write an Essay Introduction | 4 Steps & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved September 30, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/academic-essay/introduction/

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How to Begin an Essay: 13 Engaging Strategies

ThoughtCo / Hugo Lin

  • Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia
  • M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester
  • B.A., English, State University of New York

An effective introductory paragraph both informs and motivates. It lets readers know what your essay is about and it encourages them to keep reading.

There are countless ways to begin an essay effectively. As a start, here are 13 introductory strategies accompanied by examples from a wide range of professional writers.

State Your Thesis Briefly and Directly

But avoid making your thesis a bald announcement, such as "This essay is about...". 

"It is time, at last, to speak the truth about Thanksgiving, and the truth is this. Thanksgiving is really not such a terrific holiday...." (Michael J. Arlen, "Ode to Thanksgiving." The Camera Age: Essays on Television . Penguin, 1982)

Pose a Question Related to Your Subject

Follow up the question with an answer, or an invitation for your readers to answer the question.

"What is the charm of necklaces? Why would anyone put something extra around their neck and then invest it with special significance? A necklace doesn't afford warmth in cold weather, like a scarf, or protection in combat, like chain mail; it only decorates. We might say, it borrows meaning from what it surrounds and sets off, the head with its supremely important material contents, and the face, that register of the soul. When photographers discuss the way in which a photograph reduces the reality it represents, they mention not only the passage from three dimensions to two, but also the selection of a point de vue that favors the top of the body rather than the bottom, and the front rather than the back. The face is the jewel in the crown of the body, and so we give it a setting." (Emily R. Grosholz, "On Necklaces." Prairie Schooner , Summer 2007)

State an Interesting Fact About Your Subject

" The peregrine falcon was brought back from the brink of extinction by a ban on DDT, but also by a peregrine falcon mating hat invented by an ornithologist at Cornell University. If you cannot buy this, Google it. Female falcons had grown dangerously scarce. A few wistful males nevertheless maintained a sort of sexual loitering ground. The hat was imagined, constructed, and then forthrightly worn by the ornithologist as he patrolled this loitering ground, singing, Chee-up! Chee-up! and bowing like an overpolite Japanese Buddhist trying to tell somebody goodbye...." (David James Duncan, "Cherish This Ecstasy." The Sun , July 2008)

Present Your Thesis as a Recent Discovery or Revelation

"I've finally figured out the difference between neat people and sloppy people. The distinction is, as always, moral. Neat people are lazier and meaner than sloppy people." (Suzanne Britt Jordan, "Neat People vs. Sloppy People." Show and Tell . Morning Owl Press, 1983)

Briefly Describe the Primary Setting of Your Essay

"It was in Burma, a sodden morning of the rains. A sickly light, like yellow tinfoil, was slanting over the high walls into the jail yard. We were waiting outside the condemned cells, a row of sheds fronted with double bars, like small animal cages. Each cell measured about ten feet by ten and was quite bare within except for a plank bed and a pot of drinking water. In some of them brown silent men were squatting at the inner bars, with their blankets draped round them. These were the condemned men, due to be hanged within the next week or two." (George Orwell, "A Hanging," 1931)

Recount an Incident That Dramatizes Your Subject

"One October afternoon three years ago while I was visiting my parents, my mother made a request I dreaded and longed to fulfill. She had just poured me a cup of Earl Grey from her Japanese iron teapot, shaped like a little pumpkin; outside, two cardinals splashed in the birdbath in the weak Connecticut sunlight. Her white hair was gathered at the nape of her neck, and her voice was low. “Please help me get Jeff’s pacemaker turned off,” she said, using my father’s first name. I nodded, and my heart knocked." (Katy Butler, "What Broke My Father's Heart." The New York Times Magazine , June 18, 2010)

Use the Narrative Strategy of Delay

The narrative strategy of delay allows you to put off identifying your subject just long enough to pique your readers' interest without frustrating them. 

"They woof. Though I have photographed them before, I have never heard them speak, for they are mostly silent birds. Lacking a syrinx, the avian equivalent of the human larynx, they are incapable of song. According to field guides the only sounds they make are grunts and hisses, though the Hawk Conservancy in the United Kingdom reports that adults may utter a croaking coo and that young black vultures, when annoyed, emit a kind of immature snarl...." (Lee Zacharias, "Buzzards." Southern Humanities Review , 2007)

Use the Historical Present Tense

An effective method of beginning an essay is to use historical present tense to relate an incident from the past as if it were happening now. 

"Ben and I are sitting side by side in the very back of his mother’s station wagon. We face glowing white headlights of cars following us, our sneakers pressed against the back hatch door. This is our joy—his and mine—to sit turned away from our moms and dads in this place that feels like a secret, as though they are not even in the car with us. They have just taken us out to dinner, and now we are driving home. Years from this evening, I won’t actually be sure that this boy sitting beside me is named Ben. But that doesn’t matter tonight. What I know for certain right now is that I love him, and I need to tell him this fact before we return to our separate houses, next door to each other. We are both five." (Ryan Van Meter, "First." The Gettysburg Review , Winter 2008)

Briefly Describe a Process That Leads Into Your Subject

"I like to take my time when I pronounce someone dead. The bare-minimum requirement is one minute with a stethoscope pressed to someone’s chest, listening for a sound that is not there; with my fingers bearing down on the side of someone’s neck, feeling for an absent pulse; with a flashlight beamed into someone’s fixed and dilated pupils, waiting for the constriction that will not come. If I’m in a hurry, I can do all of these in sixty seconds, but when I have the time, I like to take a minute with each task." (Jane Churchon, "The Dead Book." The Sun , February 2009)

Reveal a Secret or Make a Candid Observation

"I spy on my patients. Ought not a doctor to observe his patients by any means and from any stance, that he might the more fully assemble evidence? So I stand in doorways of hospital rooms and gaze. Oh, it is not all that furtive an act. Those in bed need only look up to discover me. But they never do." ( Richard Selzer , "The Discus Thrower." Confessions of a Knife . Simon & Schuster, 1979)

Open with a Riddle, Joke, or Humorous Quotation

You can use a riddle , joke, or humorous quotation to reveal something about your subject. 

" Q: What did Eve say to Adam on being expelled from the Garden of Eden? A: 'I think we're in a time of transition.' The irony of this joke is not lost as we begin a new century and anxieties about social change seem rife. The implication of this message, covering the first of many periods of transition, is that change is normal; there is, in fact, no era or society in which change is not a permanent feature of the social landscape...." (Betty G. Farrell, Family: The Making of an Idea, an Institution, and a Controversy in American Culture . Westview Press, 1999)

Offer a Contrast Between Past and Present

"As a child, I was made to look out the window of a moving car and appreciate the beautiful scenery, with the result that now I don't care much for nature. I prefer parks, ones with radios going chuckawaka chuckawaka and the delicious whiff of bratwurst and cigarette smoke." (Garrison Keillor, "Walking Down The Canyon." Time , July 31, 2000)

Offer a Contrast Between Image and Reality

A compelling essay can begin with a contrast between a common misconception and the opposing truth. 

"They aren’t what most people think they are. Human eyes, touted as ethereal objects by poets and novelists throughout history, are nothing more than white spheres, somewhat larger than your average marble, covered by a leather-like tissue known as sclera and filled with nature’s facsimile of Jell-O. Your beloved’s eyes may pierce your heart, but in all likelihood they closely resemble the eyes of every other person on the planet. At least I hope they do, for otherwise he or she suffers from severe myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness), or worse...." (John Gamel, "The Elegant Eye." Alaska Quarterly Review , 2009)

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How To Start An Essay: Top Foolproof Techniques!

by Kerri-Anne Edinburgh | Jul 29, 2022

Often the most difficult stage of essay writing is just getting started . You’ve got a blank page, perhaps a jumble of notes, maybe even an outline. But … inspiration isn’t striking, and the words aren’t flowing.

So how can you be systematic about starting an essay?

Whether you’re struggling to start writing at all, or just can’t figure out that all-important introduction (the start ) of your essay – don’t panic! We’ve got a fool-proof technique to get you writing AND seven strategies for kicking off your intro with style.

Your essay will be complete in no time at all!

start your essay with

Some tips on essay writing

There’s nothing quite like writing an essay. They demand structure, evidence, analyses, and ordered paragraphs . You’ve usually got to know what you want to say before you start writing.

It’s a unique process, sure. But it’s one you can learn the rhythms of, and soon be churning out top notch essays for your school or college in no time!

So before you start writing your essay, make sure you’re prepared and have:

  • Done your research and compiled a list of referenced sources
  • Collected all your data and made any charts or graphs you need to talk about
  • Made a list of any quotes and citations you want to include
  • Know your essay question or title inside out – it’s important to keep everything relevant!

There are several types of essays, and each comes with its own challenges, expected structures and language. Knowing what is required of you is pretty important!

But whether you’re writing an analytical, argumentative, interpretive, creative, persuasive or expository essay – we’ve got plenty of advice for you below.

If you want to learn more about how to structure an essay effectively , check out our article full of tips and tricks!

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How to get started with writing an essay in 5 easy steps

We probably all know the Sound of Music song that goes “ let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start … ”.

But when it comes to essays, that’s frankly terrible advice.

If you’re struggling to start your essay and don’t know what to write, the introduction is not what you should worry about first!

The intro of your essay should contain and set out the main thesis of your essay. So it’s often best to write it last once all your points are in place. Otherwise, you’ll risk having an unclear argument and confusing your reader.

Yep, that’s right! You should start your essay in the middle and leave the start of your essay until the end . Trust me, it sounds silly, but it will make your life much easier !

A foolproof technique to get writing:

So, if you’ve got blank page terror, what you really need to do is take a deep breath . And then follow this simple five-step technique and get those words flowing!

  • Pick the one thing you feel most confident about discussing – a fact, interesting quote, bit of data, point you want to make …
  • It really doesn’t matter if what you write ends up in the final draft – you’re just processing your thoughts and starting to form your argument .
  • Make sure cover all the essential points and note where the data fits into your burgeoning argument!
  • Go through every paragraph you’ve written and summarise the central idea. Then rearrange them to create a logical sequence for your argument !
  • You may find it helpful to explore different ways of rearranging your ideas: check out our effective note-taking article for plenty of strategies and tips!
  • Armed with your trusty outline of paragraph divisions , start your next (more polished) draft. Again, start with the body of your essay , NOT the intro!
  • Once the main part of your essay is written and you’re clear on your argument, it’s time to round it off with a punchy, concise conclusion and introduction. And hey presto: a complete essay !

Why does this technique work so well?

When you start an essay, your thoughts are probably still pretty muddled. So, working through your them as you write can be a great way to develop your argument and spot connections. Your outline, structure, signposting and paragraphing can be polished much more easily after your first draft !

Tip : If you know where your essay is headed ( the conclusion you want to make ) but not how you’re heading there, why not start right at the end with the conclusion, then develop some points for the body of your essay as your ideas develop?

How to start an essay: the introduction

Every essay should begin with a killer introduction that sets up your topic clearly for the reader and explains why it’s significant.

The introduction is often the hardest section of an essay to write. So take it slow, and ensure that you start out your essay strong !

What’s in an introduction?

So how do you actually set up your topic for your reader? What do you need to include?

There’s not an exact formula that covers every type of essay, but the essentials are the same:

  • Create a map of the sequence of events in your essay in broad strokes (you don’t have to mention every paragraph!)
  • Think about the context of your essay and its topic: in your field or within a debate, historically or socially. Key terms and relevant theories can also be useful information.
  • Don’t give too much detail!
  • Your goal is to clearly convey the position you’re taking, or your central point
  • This must be an accurate representation of your essay – so write it last!

Keep it concise and relevant – an introduction doesn’t need to be long!

Start your essay with a strong first sentence

To get top marks and really engage your audience, it’s important to really capture their attention from the first sentence . Make them care about your topic and the argument you’re making.

How, you ask?

There are several different techniques and rhetorical devices for starting an essay. Not every technique will work with every type of essay – so pick carefully!

Every first sentence ( your “hook” ) should be concise and catchy, and interestingly written to spark your reader’s curiosity. Don’t be dry, and definitely avoid dictionary definitions!

It’s all about getting the right tone . Your intro should match the tone and style of your essay – and especially that first sentence! (Hint: it’s best to avoid humour if you’re exploring a serious topic.)

Let’s explore the seven top strategies for how to start an essay introduction (with examples!):

7 techniques to help you start an essay

1.      Start your essay by stating your thesis directly

And sometimes the best way to start an essay is to simply set out your thesis, very clearly, right from the start. Be simple and direct.

This technique is great for the type of analytical essays you might write in school. It packs a no-nonsense punch that sets the tone for a concise, well-crafted essay:

This essay will explore the complex socio-political factors that contributed to the decline of the Roman Empire between the reign of Constantine (312-337AD) and the fall of Rome in 476AD.

2.      Start with an interesting fact

Shock or amuse your reader with an unexpected fact to immediately hook their attention from the first sentence.

This can work great for expository and persuasive essays, by piquing interest in the data or opinions you’ll be exploring. You can include a significant statistic, or pick a niche detail, but avoid broad claims .

But remember – it must be relevant to your topic ! Don’t shoehorn a random fact it – you’ll just confuse your reader.

Here’s an example:

If we unravelled the entire DNA of a single human, it would stretch 10 billion miles: long enough to reach Pluto and travel back again.

3.      Begin with a powerful quote

Borrow a little wisdom from an expert in your field or an influential writer!

This is a great technique for any type of essay and can make for a powerful introduction when done well. It adds a stamp of authority to the argument you’re going to make, and it’s an easy method to choose.

But remember – as with interesting facts, the quote you pick must be relevant to your topic and argument ! It’s got to add something useful to what you’re saying or provide a springboard for your main exploration.

For instance:

In her seminal novel Frankenstein , Mary Shelley wrote, “nothing is so painful to the human mind as great and sudden change”.

4.      Start by suggesting the common interpretation

If you’re writing an analytical or interpretive essay ( think literary analyses ), this can be a great technique for a subtle start.

Opening your essay by alluding to the mainstream interpretation sets the stage for you to develop your critique or novel perspective.

If you want to be more direct, adding a “ contrary to popular opinion ” statement, or simple “ however ” immediately points your reader in the direction of your argument.

For example:

Shakespeare’s popular tragedy Romeo and Juliet has classically been interpreted as an exploration of love and loyalty.

5.      Open your essay by asking a question

This is a technique common to lots of writing (like blog posts!). It’s effective because directly addressing your reader it helps them to relate to your topic and feel invested in your answers.

It’s an engaging way to start a persuasive essay and get your reader to reflect on your argument and pick a side.

With such a vast and growing market for video games over the past decade, and despite evidence to the contrary, why does the myth that video games cause violence persist in popularity?

6.      Set up a mystery to be solved

A great way to pique your reader’s curiosity is by starting your essay with a mystery ( that you’re hopefully going to solve ). This is a great technique for interpretive and creative essays, although it can be tricky to get right.

It works well if your topic deals with change – has something disappeared? Have (popular) opinions altered over time?

An inventory of common phrases of the past reveals a wealth of strange gobbledegook that slowly vanished from conversational use without the public’s notice.

7.      Get started by setting up the scene and stakes

Here’s a technique that works best for creative essays ( think personal statements) .

Set the scene and tell a story with a little drama. Invite your reader to stand in your shoes (or those of your central character) in a situation directly relevant to your topic .

It’s a technique that works best if there are significant stakes or conflict in the situation. Think of it a little like the technique above (asking a question that places the reader into your topic) – but with more drama and creativity!

You’re trying to show them why this topic, and your argument , matters! Show them that your essay is not just about data and facts, but real people and situations.

On the 23rd July 1944, a dedicated audience of music-lovers listened with rapt attention to the uninterrupted beauty of Schumann’s Carnaval, whilst V2 bombs fell close enough nearby to make the doors of the Lyric Theatre rattle.  

Let’s get started on that essay!

Now you’re all set to get both your essay and your introduction started with ease, it’s time to get writing!

But don’t forget to check off all the steps in the essay-writing checklist before you submit it – you might miss out on easy marks if you don’t! Luckily, we’ve got plenty of helpful writing guides to help you polish your essay at every stage. You can learn:

  • how to create effective paragraphs
  • about the ideal length(s) for your paragraphs
  • how to transition between the stages of your argument
  • the 70+ top connective words and phrases to improve your writing
  • how to signpost your essay for top marks
  • about improving clarity with easy proofreading tricks

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9 Powerful Ways to Start an Essay That Positively Impacts Readers

Teen girl who doesn't know how to start an essay.

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There is just something about essay assignments that seem intimidating at first, especially for beginners. 

The issue for many students is actually a question:

How do I begin writing an essay?

If starting seems to be the hardest part for you, I have a few tips to share that will help you start writing a winning essay—without the stress.

start your essay with

8. Start by Stoking the Reader’s Curiosity 

Another way to introduce an essay and captivate your reader is to begin with a mystery.

When we talk about starting an essay with a “mystery,” this doesn’t mean setting up a whodunnit or posing a riddle. 

When you start an essay with a mystery, you’re offering an interesting fact that requires further explanation. Naturally, the reader will want to find out more. 

This is an effective way to start a compare and contrast essay when you’re discussing the difference between what the reader previously thought was true and the reality you are about to present.

Example of Starting with Mystery:

“Long seen as an anticipated rite of passage for teens, it’s puzzling to older generations to see teenagers across America opting out of obtaining their driver’s licenses.”

9. Start by Contrasting Popular Opinion

Sometimes known in journalism as an editorial, an opinion essay is the result of an author taking a stance on a topic, rather than straddling the fence. 

Looking for ways to start an opinion essay? One unforgettable way is to defend a viewpoint you have that contrasts that of the general public. 

Introducing your essay in this polarizing manner can make it stand out from the pack.

start your essay with

Example of Starting with a Contrast or Deviation from the Norm:

“Contrary to popular opinion, fast food can serve as a primary component of a healthy diet.”

Do You Have a Better Grasp on How to Start an Essay?

The key to writing a good essay starts at the beginning. The introduction to your essay is arguably the most important part. 

If your introduction is boring or confusing, it will be tough to persuade your reader to stick around and read the body of your essay.  (This is especially important if you are writing a persuasive essay .)

But that’s nothing to worry about, is it? 

You are now equipped with nine ways to start an essay that hook the reader from the very beginning. 

It’s just a matter of choosing the introduction style that best suits your essay’s purpose .  

Try to relax and have fun. Your essay will be better for it!

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Teach Your Students to Write Skillfully

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About The Author

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Jordan Mitchell

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7 Simple Tips on How to Start an Essay

How To Start An Essay

If you’re anything like me, you often find you don’t know how to start your essay.

Have you ever sat there and stared at a blank page for 10 minutes straight?

Getting started is the hardest part of essay writing. This is the stage where procrastination can settle in and you get stuck in a rut.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had students email me in distress 6 hours before their essay is due:

“Chris, can I pleaaasse have an extension? I have just been staring at my screen for weeks. I have no idea what to write!!!”

This sort of email does not go down well with your grader. Especially within three days of the due date. You don’t want to get to this stage.

So, here are some of the strategies that you can use when you’re procrastinating and don’t know how to start your essay. These are easy, actionable tips even when you’re totally stuck about what to write!

1. Skip the Introduction

Write the introduction last. Here’s why.

The hardest part is the first few words. Students stare at their computers, procrastinating for days about what to write first. So, skip the intro. It’ll be easier to write those first few words at the end of the process, not the start.

The introduction acts as an engaging orientation and overview of your topic. You will find that it will be so much easier to write the introduction once you know more about the topic. So, write the Introduction (and Conclusion) last.

Often students procrastinate because they treat the first words they write too preciously. Get yourself in the mindset that what you write in your early draft will likely not make the cut for your final submission. This helps to:

  • Relieve the pressure. If you know what you write now doesn’t entirely matter, you’re more likely to start writing.
  • Encourage you to put words on the page. Instead of crafting an engaging, perfect opening sentence, you’ll focus on adding important points that you know you want to make somewhere in the piece.

So, skip the introduction. Forget about it entirely. Just start writing something that is relevant to the essay topic with the knowledge that you can either delete it or edit it later on.

Just remember that the introduction and conclusion will take up about 100-150 words each. So, keep an eye on your word count and leave somewhere between 200 and 300 words to write the introduction and conclusion last.

2. Brainstorm Five Key Points you want to Say

Brainstorming helps you to come up with key points to write in your essay.

If you’re totally stuck about anything to write at all, you’ll need to start brainstorming. Get yourself a blank piece of paper out of your printer tray and write the essay question in the middle. Start writing ideas around the edges of the paper.

How to Brainstorm Get out a blank piece of paper and write any ideas that come to your head – no matter how bad! Just write any ideas or little bits of knowledge you think are relevant to your topic.

Let’s take an example essay – say: “How Climate Change will Impact the Future”.

You’ll want to write that in the middle. Then, around the edges of the page write some points that are relevant to the topic:

  • What is climate change? (definition or explanation?)
  • Temperatures are rising (by how much? – Look this up)
  • Most scientists agree humans are causing temperature rise (What percentage? – Look this up)
  • Some scientists disagree (Why? – look this up)
  • Water levels might rise (Example? – Google this)
  • Some animals might be endangered (Which animals?)
  • More extreme weather conditions (Find a source that says this, eg. IPCC)
  • Humans might need to migrate away from their homes (Florida?)

I wrote those bullet points from my incomplete knowledge of Climate Change.

This information is literally just information I’ve picked up from Facebook, casual TV watching, and conversations with friends. But, it’s enough for me to get started on an essay. If you’ve been attending a class on Climate Change, you’ll probably be able to write even more points than those I’ve come up with above.

You’ll need to find scholarly sources for your brainstormed points

If you’ve read my post on writing perfect paragraphs , you’ll already know how to turn a brainstormed idea into an amazing paragraph.

One point in my paragraph writing post is that you should provide at least two academic references per paragraph. Do you see how I’ve written in brackets what additional information I will need? That’s good practice to help you signpost for yourself what more you might want to find out on your points.

So, for each of these points I’ve brainstormed on Climate Change, I’ll need to find some academic sources to back them up. The next tips outline how you might go about finding sources to add depth to the ideas you’ve brainstormed.

3. Use key points from your Lecture Slides

The lecture slides are a gold mine for getting information for your essay.

You might have had trouble brainstorming key points. Or, you might have already found several good points to write about.

Either way, your next step is to look for additional information on the topic that was provided by your teacher. Here, you’ll be able to add more points to your brainstorming page .

The first place to find more information– which you can add as brainstorming points – is the lecture slides (or your own lecture notes ). If your course has weekly lectures, your teacher will have created lecture slides.

Where to find your Lecture Slides The lecture slides are usually provided on your class’s homepage. Nearly all universities use either the Blackboard, Canvas, or Moodle learning management systems – these are the sites you’ll need to use to find your lecture slides. Have a scan around and try to find all the lecture slides your teacher has provided and download them.

You should add all the lecture slides to one folder on your computer, preferably in weekly order.

If your class has lectures but the teacher hasn’t provided the lecture slides online for you, send the professor an email … and ask for them!

You’ll want to be very respectful in this email. Before you send the email, you might want to check our page on Seven Emails that University Teachers Hate. In this post, you will learn how to write the ideal email to your teacher to get from them what you want.

Here’s a template you might want to use to send an email to your teacher:

Hi [Name] ,

I’m just working on my essay plan for our next assignment now. I really want to do well on this essay because I really need a [Insert Grade Here] in order to keep up my average grade. It’s really important to me.

I’ve looked through the class homepage but can’t find the lecture slides anywhere. They’re probably right under my nose but I just cannot find them!

I remember you made some really good points in the [Week XX] lecture and I wrote in my lecture notes to “refer to lecture slides”. But now I can’t find the slides!

I was wondering if you could please give me some guidance on where to find the lecture slides, or if they’re not online, email the relevant lecture slides for the assignment through to me so I can check what I meant when I wrote my notes?

Thank you for your help, I really appreciate it.

Regards, [Your full name] [The Class you’re in]

A few quick points about this email to keep in mind:

  • Let your teacher know what grade you’re aiming for. It will be a psychological signpost to them when they’re grading your work. If they are equivocating about your grade, it will make a big difference if you’ve told them what you’re aiming for.
  • Let your teacher know that you’ve done everything you can to help yourself. Nothing annoys a teacher more than a student who emails them every five minutes rather than putting in the effort themselves. Show that you’ve taken initiative.
  • Let your teacher know that you’ve taken lecture notes. You don’t want them to think you want the lecture slides because you missed that week’s lecture. This also dissuades the teacher from emailing back a snarky comment about how you should have taken notes.
  • Always start and end your email with a greeting and a thank you. Also, indicate what class you’re in – your teacher has several classes, and they probably don’t know your name. Make their life easy. Remind them.

Once you’ve got your lecture slides, read through them and add any new points that are relevant to your essay topic to the brainstorming page.

If your teacher has provided references to back up their slides, add them to your brainstorming points as well. You might need them when referencing the points.

4. Use the Articles your Teacher Provided

The readings are a must-use source to read when you’re stuck for ideas.

Teachers spend weeks finding readings that are relevant to their classes. I always make sure my readings are the ones that provide the clearest and most accurate information on the topics I’m teaching.

If you can’t think of anything else to say in your essay, you need to go back and find additional details from the assigned readings.

Set readings are therefore a key place to find information for your essay. Jump onto your class’s homepage to find these set or ‘recommended’ readings.

Once you’ve found the provided readings, save them onto your computer – all of them!

Just like the lecture slides, you want them saved on your computer to use at your leisure. Once you’ve downloaded them you should have a whole stack of readings to use as the foundation to fill out your essay ideas.

I mark students down who don’t reference the set readings. It gives the impression that they haven’t put the effort in. So, use them – a lot.

The set readings should add additional points to your essay. You should:

  • Take notes on any specific examples used that are relevant to your essay
  • Take down any facts and figures used that are relevant to your essay
  • List the three or four main points that the essay makes. These should be clearly accessible in any journal article’s Abstract

The set readings will help add depth to your paragraphs by giving new information and details about an idea.

The difference between the top student and the average student in the class is engagement with readings. The top student has used the readings to add details. The average student skipped this step, and their essay is clearly nowhere near as good.

If you’re struggling with engaging with readings, finding them too hard to understand, or finding you’re spending over 30 minutes on one journal article, you might want to quickly have a look at our page on How to read Journal Articles to get some tips on how to extract key information from your set readings.

5. Find Additional Articles from Google Scholar

Once you’ve used your lecture slides and assigned readings to get ideas, head over to google scholar to get more ideas.

Google Scholar has improved enormously in recent years. About 2015 the rules changed about how journal articles could be stored and accessed, making it easier to bypass journals’ paywalls. Now, authors store their articles on their institution’s research bank or sites like academia.edu and researchgate.net . Google Scholar scours these sites and finds academic articles that everyone can access – for free!

Nowadays, you’ll be able to find tons of academic articles through Google Scholar.

What is Google Scholar? Google Scholar and Google are different search engines. Google Scholar will provide academic sources . Google will provide un-academic webpages that you should not reference. helpfulprofessor.com provides some great advice on what sources to use and not use in our series on finding quality sources.

In the google scholar search site, try out keywords related to your essay topic. Open up ten relevant pdf or Html links to relevant sources.

You’ll find that after reading the abstracts of the articles you’ll want to delete at least half of these sources, leaving 5 or so sources that you can reference in your essay .

Referencing additional readings is a great strategy for getting extra grades. It shows you’ve done your own independent research and pushes you to the top of the class.

Additional readings will also give you more information and details to add to your article. Find two or three key points from each additional reading and weave them into your essay in full, paraphrased paragraphs. To learn how to write full paraphrased paragraphs, you might want to take a look at our page on how to paraphrase like a pro or, better yet, take our Get Ahead in Essay Writing Masterclass course.

If you want to learn to master Google Scholar, read my long-form detailed post on Google Scholar here .

6. Write an Essay Plan

This is where the rubber hits the road.

If you’ve done points 1 to 4 above, you should have tons of points jotted down and ready to write your essay. To get started, you’ll want to quickly write an essay plan to help you structure your work. For students who really struggle with starting to write, essay plans are a great help.

The good news is that your essay plan is already half done. Those key brainstorming points you did in points 1 to 4 basically are your essay plan! All you need to do is list them in order of which one you want to say first.

Let’s look back at our key points on Climate Change:

The average paragraph is 150 words. If we include an introduction and conclusion and turn each key point into a paragraph, the essay plan will be:

  • Introduction (150 words)
  • What is climate change? (150 words)
  • Temperatures are rising (150 words)
  • Most scientists agree humans are causing temperature rise (150 words)
  • Some scientists disagree (150 words)
  • Water levels might rise (150 words)
  • Some animals might be endangered (150 words)
  • More extreme weather conditions (150 words)
  • Humans might need to migrate away from their homes (150 words)
  • Conclusion (150 words)

If your teacher wants you to write a 1500-word essay, then you’re bang on target to hit your planned word count. If not, don’t worry too much at this point. You might find that when you start writing you might end up going over or under the word count. That can be fixed later on.

Once the essay plan is done, all you need to do is start turning these key ideas into full paragraphs. The first sentence of the paragraph is easy: it’s your topic sentence. All you need to do is explain what the paragraph is about.

For example, your first sentence for your point on ‘Temperatures are rising’ will simply be: “Scientists have discovered that climate change is causing the global sea and air temperatures to rise.” Then, you’ll need to finish off that paragraph with 3 to 5 more sentences to create a full 4 to 6-sentence paragraph.

Fore advice on how to turn an idea into an amazing paragraph, check my formula for perfect paragraphs or my list of the best words to start a paragraph .

7. Email your Teacher with your Ideas

This one tip separates average students from top students.

Not sure if your ideas are correct? Email your instructor to get support. Not to worry. You can always email your teacher to get support. No matter how much teachers like to grumble about their students nagging them, it’s their job and they’re paid for it.

Furthermore, if your teacher knows your name, they’re more likely to grade your work kindly . So, it’s a good idea to send the occasional polite, constructive email letting your teacher know you are an engaged and enthusiastic student. You’ll get bonus points for the effort.

As I’ve mentioned already, the key to a good email to your teacher is to:

  • Show Initiative.  Show them you’ve taken the initiative and thought about the topic before contacting them;
  • Show You Care.  Show them that you’re contacting them because you care about getting great grades on their assignment;
  • Be Professional.  Being professional and respectful (‘Hello’, ‘Thankyou’ and ‘Regards’ are three must-use terms)

So, when you email your teacher your ideas, let them know you’ve already come up with some ideas and that you want their advice on how good your ideas are . Ask them what they think of your ideas, and whether they might have any tips on how to improve upon them.

You’ll find that most teachers have a clear idea about what they expect in your essay. They’ll tell you whether you’ve done well, and they should give a quick tip on what additional points our sources might want to use to gain extra grades.

how to write an essay

You need to start your essay early. Aim to finish up a full draft with at least a week to go before submission. This is because:

  • You want to edit your work.  You want to have time to leave your essay aside and come back to your essay with eyes to edit it. See our page on Five ways Top Students Edit their Work for more advice on this;
  • Something might come up. You want to make sure you have some grace in case something comes up – work might call you in to work double shifts, your car might break down, or you might get sick. Asking for extensions looks really bad, so give yourself time so you don’t ever have to do this.

So, let’s sum up our seven steps for starting an essay when you’ve got no idea what to write:

Seven easy steps for starting an essay when you don't know what to write.

I hope this post has been useful for all the procrastinators out there who are struggling with their essays! If you found it helpful, please share the infographic on your social media account, university website, or blog. Just remember to please include a link straight back to this page.


Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 50 Influence Examples
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  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ Extrinsic Reward: Definition & 28 Examples
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ Social Climate: Definition and 10 Examples

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Learn English Team

20 Useful Vocabulary & Phrases to Start Your Essay

There are many ways to write a strong essay opening. Using these essay opening phrases will help you to become an essay writing master.

The first sentence of your essay is called the “hook.” You can start your essay with a relevant quotation or general statement. You can find more ideas from the list down below.

start your essay with

1. Today, Nowadays, These days:

☛Today, many people do not know their neighbors in big cities. ☛Nowadays, there is a trend that the media focuses on problems and emergencies rather than positive developments. ☛These days most of the students are doing their assignments with the help of the internet.

2. In this day and age, at the present time, now:

☛In this day and age, companies have a much greater responsibility than the old mantra to do no evil.

3. In today’s modern world:

☛In this modern world Muslims are facing many challenges.

4. We live in an age when many of us are…

5. There is no denying that….

6. It is often said that…

7. It is a well-known fact that…

8. There is no doubt that…

9. It goes without saying that…

10. It is universally accepted that…

11. Recently, ….. has changed our life completely.

12. Recently, ….. has become an indispensable part of our lives.

13. Over the past ten years or so the media have frequently carried reports of …

14. Recent research indicates that the number of ……. who ……… is increasing.

15. Hardly a week goes by without another report of …………….. appearing in the media and this raises the issue of whether ……………..

16. People are divided in their opinion regarding…

17 . …. is one of the most important issues…

18. Whether …. or …. is a controversial issue…

19. Although most people would generally agree that …………… few would deny that …………….

20. Some people like to ….

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Awesome Guide on How to Write an Essay Introduction

start your essay with

'I'd like to recall the day I nearly burned myself in flames in my automobile while going 250 mph and escaping the police'. – Thankfully, we don't have a story like that to relate to, but we bet we piqued your interest.

That's what we refer to as an efficient hook. Fundamentally, it's an attention-grabbing first sentence that piques an audience's interest and encourages them to keep reading. While writing an essay, a strong hook in essay introductions is essential.

Delve into the article if you're wondering how to start an essay with a strong introduction. This is the ultimate guide for writing the parts of a introduction paragraph from our custom dissertation writing service to engage your readers.

Introduction Definition

The introduction paragraph, to put it simply, is the first section of an essay. Thus, when reading your essay, the reader will notice it right away. What is the goal of an opening paragraph? There are two things that an excellent introduction achieves. It initially informs the reader on the subject of your work; in other words, it should describe the essay's topic and provide some background information for its main point. It must also spark readers' interest and persuade them to read the remainder of your article.

To provide you with essay writing services , we only need your paper requirements to create a plagiarism-free paper on time.

How Long Should an Introduction Be

Typically, there are no strict restrictions on how long an opening paragraph should be. Professional essay writers often shape the size of it with the paper's total length in mind. For instance, if you wonder how to make introduction in essay with five paragraphs, keep your introductory sentence brief and fit it inside a single section. But, if you're writing a longer paper, let's say one that's 40 pages, your introduction could need many paragraphs or even be pages long.

Although there are no specific requirements, seasoned writers advise that your introduction paragraph should account for 8% to 9% of your essay's overall word length.

And, if you place an order on our coursework writing services , we will certainly comply with your introduction length requirements.

What Makes a Good Introduction

All of the following criteria should be fulfilled by a strong opening sentence:

  • Start your introduction on an essay with a catchy sentence that draws the reader in.
  • It needs to include baseline information about your subject.
  • This should give readers a sense of the main argument(s) that your essay will address.
  • It must include all necessary information on the setting, locations, and chronological events.
  • By the end of your introduction, make a precise remark that serves as your essay's thesis.

What Are the 3 Parts of an Introduction Paragraph

So, what should be in a introduction paragraph? The introduction format essay has three sections: a hook, connections, and a thesis statement. Let's examine each component in more depth.

What Are the 3 Parts of an Introduction Paragraph

Part 1: Essay Hook

A hook is among the most effective parts of a introduction paragraph to start an essay. A strong hook will always engage the reader in only one sentence. In other words, it is a selling point.

Let's now address the query, 'how to make an essay introduction hook interesting?'. Well, to create a powerful hook, you can employ a variety of techniques:

  • A shocking fact
  • An anecdote 
  • A short summary

And here is what to avoid when using a hook:

  • Dictionary definitions
  • Generalizations
  • Sweeping statements that include words like 'everywhere,' 'always,' etc.

Once you've established a strong hook, you should give a general outline of your major point and some background information on the subject of your paper. If you're unsure how to write an introduction opening, the ideal approach is to describe your issue briefly before directing readers to particular areas. Simply put, you need to give some context before gradually getting more specific with your opinions.

The 5 Types of Hooks for Writing

Apart from the strategies mentioned above, there are even more types of hooks that can be used:

  • A Common Misconception — a good trick, to begin with, to claim that something your readers believe in is false.

Example: 'Although many falsely believe that people working from home are less productive – employees who get such work-life benefits generally work harder.'

  • Statistics — Statistical facts may provide a great hook for argumentative essays and serious subjects focusing on statistics.

Example: 'A recent study showed that people who are satisfied with their work-life balance work 21% harder and are 33% more likely to stay at the same company.'

  • Personal Story — sometimes, personal stories can be an appropriate hook, but only if they fit into a few brief sentences (for example, in narrative essays).

Example: 'When I had my first work-from-home experience, I suddenly realized the importance of having a good work-life balance; I saw plenty of the benefits it can provide.'

  • Scenes — this type of hook requires making the readers imagine the things you are writing about. It is most suitable when used in descriptive and narrative essays.

Example: 'Imagine you could have as much free time as you wish by working or studying from home—and spend more time with your loved ones.'

  • Thesis Statement — when unsure how to do an essay introduction, some writers start directly with their thesis statement. The main trick here is that there is no trick.

Example: 'I strongly believe there is a direct correlation between a healthy work-life balance and productivity in school or at work.'

Part 2: Connections

Give readers a clearer sense of what you will discuss throughout your article once you have given a hook and relevant background information about your essay topic. Briefly mentioning your main points in the same sequence in which you will address them in your body paragraphs can help your readers progressively arrive at your thesis statement.

In this section of your introduction, you should primarily address the following questions:

You may make sure that you are giving your readers all the information they need to understand the subject of your essay by responding to each of these questions in two to three lines. Be careful to make these statements brief and to the point, though.

Your main goal is gradually moving from general to specific facts about your subject or thesis statement. Visualize your introduction as an upside-down triangle to simplify the essay writing process. The attention-grabbing element is at the top of this triangle, followed by a more detailed description of the subject and concluding with a highly precise claim. Here is some quick advice on how to use the 'upside-down triangle' structure to compose an essay introduction:

  • Ensure that each subsequent line in your introduction is more focused and precise. This simple method will help you progressively introduce the main material of your piece to your audience.
  • Consider that you are writing a paper on the value of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. In this situation, you may start with a query like, 'Have you ever considered how a healthy work-life balance can affect other areas of your life?' or a similar hook. Next, you could proceed by giving broad factual information. Finally, you could focus your topic on fitting your thesis statement.

Part 3: The Thesis Statement

If you're unsure of the ideal method to create an introduction, you should be particularly attentive to how you phrase your thesis statement.

The thesis of your work is, without a doubt, the most crucial section. Given that the thesis statement of your piece serves as the foundation for the entire essay, it must be presented in the introduction. A thesis statement provides readers with a brief summary of the article's key point. Your main assertion is what you'll be defending or disputing in the body of your essay. An effective thesis statement is often one sentence long, accurate, exact, unambiguous, and focused. Your thesis should often be provided at the end of your introduction.

Here is an example thesis statement for an essay about the value of a proper work-life balance to help you gain a better understanding of what a good thesis should be:

Thesis Statement Example: 'Creating flexible and pleasant work schedules for employees can help them have a better work-life balance while also increasing overall performance.'

Catchy Introductions for Different Essay Types

Although opening paragraphs typically have a fixed form, their language may vary. In terms of academic essays, students are often expected to produce four primary intro to essay examples. They include articles that are analytical, argumentative, personal, and narrative. It is assumed that different information should appear in these beginning paragraphs since the goals of each sort of essay change. A thorough overview of the various paper kinds is provided below, along with some good essay introduction samples from our argumentative essay writers:

Narrative Introduction

  • The writer of a narrative essay must convey a story in this style of writing. Such essays communicate a story, which distinguishes them from other essay types in a big way.
  • Such a paper's hook will often be an enticing glimpse into a specific scene that only loosely links to the thesis statement. Additionally, when writing such an essay, a writer should ensure that every claim included in the introduction relates to some important moments that have significantly impacted the story's outcome.
  • The thesis in narrative writing is usually the theme or main lesson learned from the story.
Narrative introduction example: 'My phone rang, and my mother told me that Dad had suffered a heart attack. I suddenly experienced a sense of being lifted out from under me by this immaculately carpeted flooring. After making it through, Dad left me with a sizable collection of lessons. Here are three principles that I know dad would have wanted me to uphold...'

Still Can't Think of a Perfect Intro?

When assigned to write an essay, students end up with a ton of questions, including “How to structure an essay?”, “How to choose a good topic?”. Here at EssayPro, we employ only the best essay writers who are committed to students’ success.

Analytical Introduction

  • Analytical essay introduction format is another popular type. In contrast to a narrative paper, an analytical paper seeks to explore an idea and educate the reader about a topic.
  • Three important facts that support the analytical premise should be included in the middle section of the introduction.
  • A well-researched and well-thought-out claim will form a wonderful thesis because the main goal of this paper is to study the topic and educate readers. It's crucial to remember that this assertion shouldn't initially have any real weight. Although it will still be theoretical, it has to be articulated practically.
Analytical introduction example: “... Hence even though presidents, CEOs, and generals still have their daily schedules full of economic crises and military conflicts, on the cosmic scale of history humankind can lift its eyes up and start looking towards new horizons. If we bring famine, plague, and war under control, what will replace them at the top of the human agenda? Like firefighters in a world without fire, so humankind in the twenty-first century needs to ask itself an unprecedented question: what are we going to do with ourselves? What will demand our attention and ingenuity in a healthy, prosperous, and harmonious world? In a healthy, prosperous, and harmonious world, what will demand our attention and ingenuity? This question becomes doubly urgent given the immense new powers that biotechnology and information technology are providing us with. What will we do with all that power? ...” Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, Yuval Noah Harari

Persuasive Introduction

  • To persuade readers of anything is the sole goal of persuasive essay writing. This may be accomplished using persuasive strategies like ethos, pathos, and logos.
  • A hook statement for this paper may be anything from a fascinating fact to even comedy. You can use whatever technique you choose. The most crucial advice is to ensure your hook is in line with your thesis and that it can bolster further justifications.
  • Generally speaking, a persuasive essay must include three supporting facts. Hence, to gradually lead readers to the major topic of your paper, add a quick summary of your three arguments in your introduction.
  • Last, the thesis statement should be the main claim you will be disputing in this paper. It should be a brief, carefully thought-out, and confident statement of your essay's major argument.
Persuasive introduction example: 'Recycling waste helps to protect the climate. Besides cleaning the environment, it uses waste materials to create valuable items. Recycling initiatives must be running all around the world. ...'

Personal Introduction

  • The final sort of academic writing that students frequently encounter is a personal essay. In principle, this essay style is creative nonfiction and requires the author to reflect on personal experiences. The goals of such a paper may be to convey a story, discuss the lessons that certain incidents have taught you, etc. This type of writing is unique since it is the most personal.
  • Whatever topic you choose can serve as the hook for such an essay. A pertinent remark, query, joke, or fact about the primary plot or anything else will be acceptable. The backdrop of your narrative should then be briefly explained after that. Lastly, a thesis statement can describe the impact of particular experiences on you and what you learned.
Personal introduction example: 'My parents always pushed me to excel in school and pursue new interests like playing the saxophone and other instruments. I felt obligated to lead my life in a way that met their standards. Success was always expected on the route they had set out for me. Yet eight years after my parents' separation, this course was diverted when my dad relocated to California...'

Tips for Writing a Winning Introduction Paragraph

You now understand how to do introduction and have specific intro example for essays to help you get going. Let's quickly examine what you should and shouldn't do during the writing process.

  • Keep the assignment's purpose in mind when you write your introduction, and ensure it complies with your instructor's requirements.
  • Use a compelling and relevant hook to grab the reader's attention immediately.
  • Make sure your readers understand your perspective to make it apparent.
  • If necessary, establish key terms related to your subject.
  • Show off your expertise on the subject.
  • Provide a symbolic road map to help readers understand what you discuss throughout the post.
  • Be brief; it's recommended that your introduction make up no more than 8 to 9 percent of the entire text (for example, 200 words for a 2500 words essay).
  • Construct a strong thesis statement.
  • Create some intrigue.
  • Make sure there is a clear and smooth transition from your introduction to the body of your piece.
  • If you're looking for a custom writer , request assistance from the EssayPro team. We know how to write a term paper along with many other types of essays.


  • Provide too much background information.
  • Use sentences that are off-topic or unnecessary.
  • Make your opening paragraph excessively long.
  • Keep some information a secret and reveal it later in conclusion.
  • Employ overused phrases or generalizations.
  • Using quotation marks excessively

Now that you know what is in the introduction of an essay, we recommend reading the information on how to critique an article to gain more academic insight.

If you are still struggling with that, keep in mind that you can always send us your request to get professional assistance from our law essay writing service .

Get Help With Your ESSAY INTRO!

Address to our professional writers to get help with your homework.

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How to build an essay

  • Introduction
  • Body paragraphs

Preparing an outline

You are ready to write an essay after you have done these steps:

  • Identified all the components that you must cover so that you address the essay question or prompt
  • Conducted your initial research and decided on your tentative position and line of argument
  • Created a preliminary outline for your essay that presents the information logically.

Most essays follow a similar structure, including an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion, as shown in the diagram below.

Click on the plus icons for more information.

Writing an introduction

The purpose of the introduction is to give your reader a clear idea of what your essay will cover. It should provide some background information on the specific problem or issue you are addressing, and should clearly outline your answer. Depending on your faculty or school, ‘your answer’ may be referred to as your position, contention, thesis or main argument . Whatever term is used, this is essentially your response to the essay question, which is based on the research that you have undertaken or the readings you have analysed.

An essay is not like a mystery novel which keeps the reader in suspense; it should not slowly reveal the argument to the reader. Instead, the contention and supporting arguments are usually stated in the introduction.

When writing an introduction, you should typically use a general to specific structure. This means that you introduce the particular problem or topic the essay will address in a general sense to provide the context   before you narrow down to your particular position and line of argument.

start your essay with

Key elements of an introduction

Click on each of the elements to reveal more.

Content Container

Provide some background information and context.

The introduction usually starts by providing some background information about your particular topic, so the reader understands the key problem being addressed and why it is an issue worth writing about. However, it is important that this is brief and that you only include information that is directly relevant to the topic.

This might also be an appropriate place to introduce the reader to key terms and provide definitions, if required.

Don’t be tempted to start your essay with a grand generalisation, for instance: ‘War has always been a problem for humanity….’, or ‘Since the beginning of time…’. Instead, make sure that your initial sentence relates directly to the problem, question or issue highlighted by the essay topic.

Limit the scope of your discussion

Setting the parameters of the essay is important. You can’t possibly cover everything on a topic - and you are not expected to - so you need to tell your reader how you have chosen to narrow the focus of your essay.

State your position / contention

State your position on the topic (also referred to as your main argument , or contention , or thesis statement ). Make sure that you are directly answering the question (and the whole essay question if there is more than one part to it).

"Stating your position" can be a single sentence answer to the essay question but will often include 2-3 sentences explaining the answer in more detail.

Outline the structure or main supporting points of your essay

This usually involves providing details of the most important points you are going to make which support your argument.

Sample introduction

[1] Business leadership has been described as the ‘ability to influence, motivate and enable others to contribute to the effectiveness and success of the organisations of which they are members’ (House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman & Gupta, 2004, p. 63). Whether this ability is something a person is born with, or whether it is something that a person can learn, has been the subject of considerable debate. Kambil (2010) has outlined two categories of leadership attributes that help to frame the discussion: 'traits' (mostly innate) and 'skills' which can be developed through experience or training. [2] This essay will draw on the trait theory of leadership to argue that that leaders are first born, but then must be made. [3] While good business leaders share certain traits that are essential to success, including ‘curiosity, courage, perseverance, personal ethics and confidence’ (Kambil, 2010, p.43), they also need learnable skills, such as communication, negotiation and conflict resolution, that are only developed through practice. A potential leader should develop their natural traits as well as learn and practise skills which will help them to persuade, equip and inspire others to realise their vision.

Legend: [1] Background / Context ; [2] Position / Contention ; [3] Structure or main point of essay

Check your understanding View

Key features of an introduction.

Read the paragraph in the accordion below and see if you can identify the key features of an introduction. This is an introduction written in response to the essay question: 'Can Rome's actions towards Carthage be described as defensive imperialism?'

Writing a body paragraph

The body of the essay is where you fully develop your argument. Each body paragraph should contain one key idea or claim, which is supported by relevant examples and evidence from the body of scholarly work on your topic (i.e. academic books and journal articles).

Together, the body paragraphs form the building blocks of your argument.

How do I structure paragraphs?

The TEECL structure provides an effective way of organising a paragraph. TEECL stands for Topic sentence, Explanation, Evidence, Comment, and Link. You may find it helpful to add C for Comment before Link. A paragraph structured this way would contain the following:

  • Topic sentence – the first sentence in a body paragraph that tells the reader what the main idea or claim of the paragraph will be.
  • Explanation – Explain what you mean in greater detail.
  • Evidence – Provide evidence to support your idea or claim. To do this, refer to your research. This may include: case studies, statistics, documentary evidence, academic books or journal articles. Remember that all evidence will require appropriate citation.
  • Comment – Consider the strengths and limitations of the evidence and examples that you have presented. Explain how your evidence supports your claim (i.e. how does it ‘prove’ your topic sentence?).
  • Link – Summarise the main idea of the paragraph, and make clear how this paragraph supports your overall argument.

Sample paragraph

[1] One of the main obstacles to reaching international consensus on climate change action is the ongoing debate over which countries should shoulder the burden. [2] Because the developed world has historically been responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions, it has been argued that they should reduce emissions and allow developed nations to prioritise development over environmental concerns (Vinuales, 2011). [3] The notion of ‘common but differentiated responsibility’ (CBDR) was formalised in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 (UNFCCC, 1992). Article 3.1 explicitly states 'Accordingly, the developed country Parties should take the lead in combating climate change and the adverse effects thereof' (p. 4). [4] However, because CBDR outlines a principle and not an actionable plan it has remained problematic. For example, it does not stipulate the extent to which, under the principle of CBDR, developing nations should be exempt from specific emissions targets. This has continued to be a point of contention in global negotiations on climate change, with developed countries such as the USA arguing that developed nations should do more to reduce emissions (Klein et. al., 2017). [5] Fairness and equity need to be pursued in reaching a global agreement on climate change, but transforming this into an actionable strategy is problematic.

Legend : [1] Topic sentence [2] Explanation [3] Evidence / Example [4] Comment [5] Link

What is missing?

The paragraph below was written in response to the essay question: '"Leaders are made rather than born." Do you agree or disagree? Provide reasons for your opinion.'

Read the paragraph then answer the question that follows.

The function of a conclusion is to draw together the main ideas discussed in the body of the essay. However, a good conclusion does more than that.

You may choose to also:

  • reflect on the broader significance of the topic
  • discuss why it is difficult to arrive at a definitive answer to the question posed
  • raise other questions that could be considered in a subsequent essay
  • make a prediction or a caution or a recommendation about what will happen to the phenomenon under investigation

When writing a conclusion, a specific to general structure is usually recommended. Yes, this is opposite to the introduction! Begin by re-stating or re-emphasising your position on the topic, then summarise your line of argument and key points. Finish off by commenting on the significance of the issue, making a prediction about the future of the issue, or a recommendation to deal with the problem at hand.

Diagram of conclusion structure

Sample conclusion

[1]   No single theory can adequately explain the relationship between age and crime, and the debate over their correlation is ongoing. Instead, each theory provides valuable insight into a particular dimension of age and crime. [2] The emergence of the criminal propensity versus criminal career debate in the 1980s demonstrated the importance of both arguments. It is now believed that the age-crime curve created by Gottfredson and Hirschi is a good basic indicator for the age-crime relationship. However, the criminal career position has stood up to stringent empirical testing, and has formed an integral part of developmental theories such as Thornberry’s interactional theory. [3] These theories provide important insight into the complex relationship between age and crime, but, more than this, are useful for developing strategies for delinquency and crime prevention.

Legend : [1] Specific contention ; [2]   Specific summary of main points ; [3] Broader and general significance


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