How to Start an Essay: Awesome Introduction in 3 Easy Steps

The very first sentences of your essay are often the hardest ones. Sometimes the entire task is no problem, but you simply don’t know how to start an essay. However, you can fight writer’s blocks. Master the proven strategies of writing an introduction, and your paper will go on wheels.

3 goals

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The first step to writing an effective introduction is to understand why you should spend on it up to 10% of your total word count instead of diving right into the body paragraphs. The main goals of a good introduction are:

How to Start an Essay.
  • Say something everyone knows – connect with the readers
  • Say something not everyone knows – impress the readers
  • Explain why everyone should care about what you say – intrigue the readers

💎 6 best starters

Sure, you can invent your ways of reaching the goals discussed above. However, if it takes you longer than 15 minutes, it would be reasonable to use some of the proven essay starters.

And sure, when working on the introduction, you should never forget about a thesis statement – a must-have at the end of the introduction paragraph.

See a bad example

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Here’s how you should never approach an essay introduction:

Sociology is a great science dealing with the various processes in society. The term ‘sociology’ was coined by Auguste Comte who is recognized as the father of sociology. The debates about gay marriage, as one of the most important questions in today’s society, have a long history too. This paper will discuss the pros and cons of legalization of the gay marriage.

As you’ve noticed, this introduction fails to meet its major goals and breaks several rules:

  • It doesn’t get to the point right from the start.
  • It includes irrelevant information, confusing readers.
  • It doesn’t make a clear point.
  • It doesn’t interest readers.

️ See a good example

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Here’s, however, a much better example of how you might start the same essay:

Legalization of the same-sex marriage is one of the central sociological debates, affecting large groups of the population. According to the 2010 data from Census Bureau, 646,000 households in America are same-sex couples. Legalization of the same-sex marriage is a sign of a progressive society and a developed state system.

As you can see, this introduction is totally different from the one posted above because:

  • It clearly identifies the central issue right from the start.
  • It captures attention with the stats.
  • It gives only relevant information.
  • It contains a strong thesis statement.

Now you have a pretty good idea of how to start an essay, but just before we go any further, let’s face the truth.

Have you ever found yourself sitting and staring at the blank white screen for several minutes or even hours before you start writing your essay?

You are not alone!

Writing the introduction to your essay, paper, or article can be difficult at times. Even professional writers consider the beginning to be the hardest part of the writing process. Keep reading and learn how to write a good introductory paragraph to your essays.

How to write an impressive introduction

An effective introductory paragraph should inform and motivate your reader. You should tell the readers what your essay is about and encourage them to read your essay to the end.

Your introduction paragraph should contain:

  1. An attention-grabbing hook. You should start your essay with a sentence that grabs the interest of your reader and encourages him to keep reading.
  2. General statements. (to present the topic and give some background information) In a short essay, the background information will be two or three sentences. For longer essays, the general statements may cover more than one paragraph. They can include some definitions or classify your essay topic. The general statements should lead into the thesis statement.
  3. A thesis statement. (in which you make a claim or state a view you are going to support in your essay)
    A thesis is the most important part of the introduction paragraph. In the thesis, you should give your reader clear information about the content of your essay. The thesis states the specific essay topic and lists the main ideas of your paper, which will be discussed in the body paragraphs. In the thesis, you may also explain how your essay will be organized. It is normally placed at the end of an introduction.

The thesis normally:

  • States the specific essay topic
  • Often lists main ideas of the essay
  • Possibly explains the method of the essay organization
  • Is put at the end of the introduction
  • Is just one sentence long (though not necessarily)

Need more ideas on how to start an essay? Here they are.

️ Use great introductory strategies of professional writers

There are numerous effective ways to begin your essay. Here is the list of some awesome introductory strategies that professional writers use.

  1. You can state your thesis briefly and directly
  2. Ask a question related to your subject and answer it (or you may ask your readers answer it).
  3. Give some interesting fact about your subject.
  4. You may present your thesis as a discovery or revelation.
  5. Describe the place which serves as the setting of your essay.
  6. Use the narrative strategy of delay (do not tell your readers what your subject is long enough to pique their interest without frustrating them).
  7. You can use the historical present tense and describe the incident from the past as if it were happening now.
  8. You can briefly describe the process that leads into the subject of your essay.
  9. Reveal a secret about yourself.
  10. Start your essay with a riddle, joke or a humorous quotation.
  11. You may provide here contrast between the present and the past that leads to an essay thesis.
  12. Offer the contrast between a common misconception and the real truth.

Consider these ideas when creating an effective beginning to your essay.

📑 How not to start an essay

The opposite of a hooker is a chaser–a terribly boring introduction that scares your essay readers away. You should avoid chasers when writing an introduction to your essays.

  1. Avoid using introductory sentences like “According to my dictionary…”
  2. Avoid starting your essays by giving comments on the assignment itself.
  3. Avoid using clichés and mixed metaphors.
  4. Avoid excessive alliteration, needless modifiers, and excessive use of synonyms.
  5. Do not start your essays with the announcements.
  6. Do not cite dubious sources.

🧾 A checklist for an essay introduction

You can use this checklist when you edit your introduction.

  1. Does your essay start with general statements which introduce the topic?
  2. Does your introduction end with the thesis?
  3. Does the thesis statement show the main ideas of your essay?
  4. Does the thesis statement show how the essay will be organized?

Use these writing tips on how to start an essay and write effective introductions.

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