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It’s the roadmap to your essay, it’s the forecast for your argument, it’s...your introduction paragraph, and writing one can feel pretty intimidating. The introduction paragraph is a part of just about every kind of academic writing , from persuasive essays to research papers. But that doesn’t mean writing one is easy!

If trying to write an intro paragraph makes you feel like a Muggle trying to do magic, trust us: you aren’t alone. But there are some tips and tricks that can make the process easier—and that’s where we come in. 

In this article, we’re going to explain how to write a captivating intro paragraph by covering the following info:  

  • A discussion of what an introduction paragraph is and its purpose in an essay
  • An overview of the most effective introduction paragraph format, with explanations of the three main parts of an intro paragraph
  • An analysis of real intro paragraph examples, with a discussion of what works and what doesn’t
  • A list of four top tips on how to write an introduction paragraph

Are you ready? Let’s begin!

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What Is an Introduction Paragraph? 

An introduction paragraph is the first paragraph of an essay , paper, or other type of academic writing. Argumentative essays , book reports, research papers, and even personal  essays are common types of writing that require an introduction paragraph. Whether you’re writing a research paper for a science course or an argumentative essay for English class , you’re going to have to write an intro paragraph. 

So what’s the purpose of an intro paragraph? As a reader’s first impression of your essay, the intro paragraph should introduce the topic of your paper. 

Your introduction will also state any claims, questions, or issues that your paper will focus on. This is commonly known as your paper’s thesis . This condenses the overall point of your paper into one or two short sentences that your reader can come back and reference later.

But intro paragraphs need to do a bit more than just introduce your topic. An intro paragraph is also supposed to grab your reader’s attention. The intro paragraph is your chance to provide just enough info and intrigue to make your reader say, “Hey, this topic sounds interesting. I think I’ll keep reading this essay!” That can help your essay stand out from the crowd.

In most cases, an intro paragraph will be relatively short. A good intro will be clear, brief, purposeful, and focused. While there are some exceptions to this rule, it’s common for intro paragraphs to consist of three to five sentences . 

Effectively introducing your essay’s topic, purpose, and getting your reader invested in your essay sounds like a lot to ask from one little paragraph, huh? In the next section, we’ll demystify the intro paragraph format by breaking it down into its core parts . When you learn how to approach each part of an intro, writing one won’t seem so scary!

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Once you figure out the three parts of an intro paragraph, writing one will be a piece of cake!

The 3 Main Parts of an Intro Paragraph

In general, an intro paragraph is going to have three main parts: a hook, context, and a thesis statement . Each of these pieces of the intro plays a key role in acquainting the reader with the topic and purpose of your essay. 

Below, we’ll explain how to start an introduction paragraph by writing an effective hook, providing context, and crafting a thesis statement. When you put these elements together, you’ll have an intro paragraph that does a great job of making a great first impression on your audience!

Intro Paragraph Part 1: The Hook

When it comes to how to start an introduction paragraph, o ne of the most common approaches is to start with something called a hook. 

What does hook mean here, though? Think of it this way: it’s like when you start a new Netflix series: you look up a few hours (and a few episodes) later and you say, “Whoa. I guess I must be hooked on this show!” 

That’s how the hook is supposed to work in an intro paragrap h: it should get your reader interested enough that they don’t want to press the proverbial “pause” button while they’re reading it . In other words, a hook is designed to grab your reader’s attention and keep them reading your essay! 

This means that the hook comes first in the intro paragraph format—it’ll be the opening sentence of your intro. 

It’s important to realize  that there are many different ways to write a good hook. But generally speaking, hooks must include these two things: what your topic is, and the angle you’re taking on that topic in your essay. 

One approach to writing a hook that works is starting with a general, but interesting, statement on your topic. In this type of hook, you’re trying to provide a broad introduction to your topic and your angle on the topic in an engaging way . 

For example, if you’re writing an essay about the role of the government in the American healthcare system, your hook might look something like this: 

There's a growing movement to require that the federal government provide affordable, effective healthcare for all Americans. 

This hook introduces the essay topic in a broad way (government and healthcare) by presenting a general statement on the topic. But the assumption presented in the hook can also be seen as controversial, which gets readers interested in learning more about what the writer—and the essay—has to say.

In other words, the statement above fulfills the goals of a good hook: it’s intriguing and provides a general introduction to the essay topic.

Intro Paragraph Part 2: Context

Once you’ve provided an attention-grabbing hook, you’ll want to give more context about your essay topic. Context refers to additional details that reveal the specific focus of your paper. So, whereas the hook provides a general introduction to your topic, context starts helping readers understand what exactly you’re going to be writing about

You can include anywhere from one to several sentences of context in your intro, depending on your teacher’s expectations, the length of your paper, and complexity of your topic. In these context-providing sentences, you want to begin narrowing the focus of your intro. You can do this by describing a specific issue or question about your topic that you’ll address in your essay. It also helps readers start to understand why the topic you’re writing about matters and why they should read about it. 

So, what counts as context for an intro paragraph? Context can be any important details or descriptions that provide background on existing perspectives, common cultural attitudes, or a specific situation or controversy relating to your essay topic. The context you include should acquaint your reader with the issues, questions, or events that motivated you to write an essay on your topic...and that your reader should know in order to understand your thesis. 

For instance, if you’re writing an essay analyzing the consequences of sexism in Hollywood, the context you include after your hook might make reference to the #metoo and #timesup movements that have generated public support for victims of sexual harassment. 

The key takeaway here is that context establishes why you’re addressing your topic and what makes it important. It also sets you up for success on the final piece of an intro paragraph: the thesis statement.

Elle Woods' statement offers a specific point of view on the topic of murder...which means it could serve as a pretty decent thesis statement!

Intro Paragraph Part 3: The Thesis

The final key part of how to write an intro paragraph is the thesis statement. The thesis statement is the backbone of your introduction: it conveys your argument or point of view on your topic in a clear, concise, and compelling way . The thesis is usually the last sentence of your intro paragraph. 

Whether it’s making a claim, outlining key points, or stating a hypothesis, your thesis statement will tell your reader exactly what idea(s) are going to be addressed in your essay. A good thesis statement will be clear, straightforward, and highlight the overall point you’re trying to make.

Some instructors also ask students to include an essay map as part of their thesis. An essay map is a section that outlines the major topics a paper will address. So for instance, say you’re writing a paper that argues for the importance of public transport in rural communities. Your thesis and essay map might look like this: 

Having public transport in rural communities helps people improve their economic situation by giving them reliable transportation to their job, reducing the amount of money they spend on gas, and providing new and unionized work .

The underlined section is the essay map because it touches on the three big things the writer will talk about later. It literally maps out the rest of the essay!

So let’s review: Your thesis takes the idea you’ve introduced in your hook and context and wraps it up. Think of it like a television episode: the hook sets the scene by presenting a general statement and/or interesting idea that sucks you in. The context advances the plot by describing the topic in more detail and helping readers understand why the topic is important. And finally, the thesis statement provides the climax by telling the reader what you have to say about the topic. 

The thesis statement is the most important part of the intro. Without it, your reader won’t know what the purpose of your essay is! And for a piece of writing to be effective, it needs to have a clear purpose. Your thesis statement conveys that purpose , so it’s important to put careful thought into writing a clear and compelling thesis statement. 

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How To Write an Introduction Paragraph: Example and Analysis

Now that we’ve provided an intro paragraph outline and have explained the three key parts of an intro paragraph, let’s take a look at an intro paragraph in action.

To show you how an intro paragraph works, we’ve included a sample introduction paragraph below, followed by an analysis of its strengths and weaknesses.

Example of Introduction Paragraph

While college students in the U.S. are struggling with how to pay for college, there is another surprising demographic that’s affected by the pressure to pay for college: families and parents. In the face of tuition price tags that total more than $100,000 (as a low estimate), families must make difficult decisions about how to save for their children’s college education. Charting a feasible path to saving for college is further complicated by the FAFSA’s estimates for an “Expected Family Contribution”—an amount of money that is rarely feasible for most American families. Due to these challenging financial circumstances and cultural pressure to give one’s children the best possible chance of success in adulthood, many families are going into serious debt to pay for their children’s college education. The U.S. government should move toward bearing more of the financial burden of college education. 

Example of Introduction Paragraph: Analysis

Before we dive into analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of this example intro paragraph, let’s establish the essay topic. The sample intro indicates that t he essay topic will focus on one specific issue: who should cover the cost of college education in the U.S., and why. Both the hook and the context help us identify the topic, while the thesis in the last sentence tells us why this topic matters to the writer—they think the U.S. Government needs to help finance college education. This is also the writer’s argument, which they’ll cover in the body of their essay. 

Now that we’ve identified the essay topic presented in the sample intro, let’s dig into some analysis. To pin down its strengths and weaknesses, we’re going to use the following three questions to guide our example of introduction paragraph analysis: 

  • Does this intro provide an attention-grabbing opening sentence that conveys the essay topic? 
  • Does this intro provide relevant, engaging context about the essay topic? 
  • Does this intro provide a thesis statement that establishes the writer’s point of view on the topic and what specific aspects of the issue the essay will address? 

Now, let’s use the questions above to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of this sample intro paragraph. 

Does the Intro Have a Good Hook? 

First, the intro starts out with an attention-grabbing hook . The writer starts by presenting  an assumption (that the U.S. federal government bears most of the financial burden of college education), which makes the topic relatable to a wide audience of readers. Also note that the hook relates to the general topic of the essay, which is the high cost of college education. 

The hook then takes a surprising turn by presenting a counterclaim : that American families, rather than students, feel the true burden of paying for college. Some readers will have a strong emotional reaction to this provocative counterclaim, which will make them want to keep reading! As such, this intro provides an effective opening sentence that conveys the essay topic. 

Does the Intro Give Context?

T he second, third, and fourth sentences of the intro provide contextual details that reveal the specific focus of the writer’s paper . Remember: the context helps readers start to zoom in on what the paper will focus on, and what aspect of the general topic (college costs) will be discussed later on. 

The context in this intro reveals the intent and direction of the paper by explaining why the issue of families financing college is important. In other words, the context helps readers understand why this issue matters , and what aspects of this issue will be addressed in the paper.  

To provide effective context, the writer refers to issues (the exorbitant cost of college and high levels of family debt) that have received a lot of recent scholarly and media attention. These sentences of context also elaborate on the interesting perspective included in the hook: that American families are most affected by college costs.

Does the Intro Have a Thesis? 

Finally, this intro provides a thesis statement that conveys the writer’s point of view on the issue of financing college education. This writer believes that the U.S. government should do more to pay for students’ college educations. 

However, the thesis statement doesn’t give us any details about why the writer has made this claim or why this will help American families . There isn’t an essay map that helps readers understand what points the writer will make in the essay.

To revise this thesis statement so that it establishes the specific aspects of the topic that the essay will address, the writer could add the following to the beginning of the thesis statement:

The U.S. government should take on more of the financial burden of college education because other countries have shown this can improve education rates while reducing levels of familial poverty.

Check out the new section in bold. Not only does it clarify that the writer is talking about the pressure put on families, it touches on the big topics the writer will address in the paper: improving education rates and reduction of poverty. So not only do we have a clearer argumentative statement in this thesis, we also have an essay map!  

So, let’s recap our analysis. This sample intro paragraph does an effective job of providing an engaging hook and relatable, interesting context, but the thesis statement needs some work ! As you write your own intro paragraphs, you might consider using the questions above to evaluate and revise your work. Doing this will help ensure you’ve covered all of your bases and written an intro that your readers will find interesting!

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4 Tips for How To Write an Introduction Paragraph

Now that we’ve gone over an example of introduction paragraph analysis, let’s talk about how to write an introduction paragraph of your own. Keep reading for four tips for writing a successful intro paragraph for any essay. 

Tip 1: Analyze Your Essay Prompt

If you’re having trouble with how to start an introduction paragraph, analyze your essay prompt! Most teachers give you some kind of assignment sheet, formal instructions, or prompt to set the expectations for an essay they’ve assigned, right? Those instructions can help guide you as you write your intro paragraph!

Because they’ll be reading and responding to your essay, you want to make sure you meet your teacher’s expectations for an intro paragraph . For instance, if they’ve provided specific instructions about how long the intro should be or where the thesis statement should be located, be sure to follow them!

The type of paper you’re writing can give you clues as to how to approach your intro as well. If you’re writing a research paper, your professor might expect you to provide a research question or state a hypothesis in your intro. If you’re writing an argumentative essay, you’ll need to make sure your intro overviews the context surrounding your argument and your thesis statement includes a clear, defensible claim. 

Using the parameters set out by your instructor and assignment sheet can put some easy-to-follow boundaries in place for things like your intro’s length, structure, and content. Following these guidelines can free you up to focus on other aspects of your intro... like coming up with an exciting hook and conveying your point of view on your topic!

Tip 2: Narrow Your Topic

You can’t write an intro paragraph without first identifying your topic. To make your intro as effective as possible, you need to define the parameters of your topic clearly—and you need to be specific. 

For example, let’s say you want to write about college football. “NCAA football” is too broad of a topic for a paper. There is a lot to talk about in terms of college football! It would be tough to write an intro paragraph that’s focused, purposeful, and engaging on this topic. In fact, if you did try to address this whole topic, you’d probably end up writing a book!

Instead, you should narrow broad topics to  identify a specific question, claim, or issue pertaining to some aspect of NCAA football for your intro to be effective. So, for instance, you could frame your topic as, “How can college professors better support NCAA football players in academics?” This focused topic pertaining to NCAA football would give you a more manageable angle to discuss in your paper.

So before you think about writing your intro, ask yourself: Is my essay topic specific, focused, and logical? Does it convey an issue or question that I can explore over the course of several pages? Once you’ve established a good topic, you’ll have the foundation you need to write an effective intro paragraph . 

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Once you've figured out your topic, it's time to hit the books!

Tip 3: Do Your Research

This tip is tightly intertwined with the one above, and it’s crucial to writing a good intro: do your research! And, guess what? This tip applies to all papers—even ones that aren’t technically research papers. 

Here’s why you need to do some research: getting the lay of the land on what others have said about your topic—whether that’s scholars and researchers or the mass media— will help you narrow your topic, write an engaging hook, and provide relatable context. 

You don't want to sit down to write your intro without a solid understanding of the different perspectives on your topic. Whether those are the perspectives of experts or the general public, these points of view will help you write your intro in a way that is intriguing and compelling for your audience of readers. 

Tip 4: Write Multiple Drafts

Some say to write your intro first; others say write it last. The truth is, there isn’t a right or wrong time to write your intro—but you do need to have enough time to write multiple drafts . 

Oftentimes, your professor will ask you to write multiple drafts of your paper, which gives you a built-in way to make sure you revise your intro. Another approach you could take is to write out a rough draft of your intro before you begin writing your essay, then revise it multiple times as you draft out your paper. 

Here’s why this approach can work: as you write your paper, you’ll probably come up with new insights on your topic that you didn’t have right from the start. You can use these “light bulb” moments to reevaluate your intro and make revisions that keep it in line with your developing essay draft. 

Once you’ve written your entire essay, consider going back and revising your intro again . You can ask yourself these questions as you evaluate your intro: 

  • Is my hook still relevant to the way I’ve approached the topic in my essay?
  • Do I provide enough appropriate context to introduce my essay? 
  • Now that my essay is written, does my thesis statement still accurately reflect the point of view that I present in my essay?

Using these questions as a guide and putting your intro through multiple revisions will help ensure that you’ve written the best intro for the final draft of your essay. Also, revising your writing is always a good thing to do—and this applies to your intro, too!

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What's Next?

Your college essays also need great intro paragraphs. Here’s a guide that focuses on how to write the perfect intro for your admissions essays. 

Of course, the intro is just one part of your college essay . This article will teach you how to write a college essay that makes admissions counselors sit up and take notice. 

Are you trying to write an analytical essay? Our step-by-step guide can help you knock it out of the park.

Need more help with this topic? Check out Tutorbase!

Our vetted tutor database includes a range of experienced educators who can help you polish an essay for English or explain how derivatives work for Calculus. You can use dozens of filters and search criteria to find the perfect person for your needs.

Connect With a Tutor Now

Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.

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Examples of Great Introductory Paragraphs

Grab your reader's attention with the first words

  • 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 introductory paragraph, as the opening of a conventional essay ,  composition , or  report , is designed to grab people's attention. It informs readers about the topic and why they should care about it but also adds enough intrigue to get them to continue to read. In short, the opening paragraph is your chance to make a great first impression.

Writing a Good Introductory Paragraph

The primary purpose of an introductory paragraph is to pique the interest of your reader and identify the topic and purpose of the essay. It often ends with a thesis statement .

You can  engage your readers right from the start through a number of tried-and-true ways. Posing a question, defining the key term, giving a brief anecdote , using a playful joke or emotional appeal, or pulling out an interesting fact are just a few approaches you can take. Use imagery, details, and sensory information to connect with the reader if you can. The key is to add intrigue along with just enough information so your readers want to find out more. 

One way to do this is to come up with a brilliant opening line . Even the most mundane topics have aspects interesting enough to write about; otherwise, you wouldn't be writing about them, right?

When you begin writing a new piece, think about what your readers want or need to know. Use your knowledge of the topic to craft an opening line that will satisfy that need. You don't want to fall into the trap of what writers call "chasers"  that bore your readers (such as "The dictionary defines...."). The introduction should make sense and hook the reader right from the start .

Make your introductory paragraph brief. Typically, just three or four sentences are enough to set the stage for both long and short essays. You can go into supporting information in the body of your essay, so don't tell the audience everything all at once.

Should You Write the Intro First?

You can always adjust your introductory paragraph later. Sometimes you just have to start writing. You can start at the beginning or dive right into the heart of your essay.

Your first draft may not have the best opening, but as you continue to write, new ideas will come to you, and your thoughts will develop a clearer focus. Take note of these and, as you work through revisions , refine and edit your opening. 

If you're struggling with the opening, follow the lead of other writers and skip it for the moment. Many writers begin with the body and conclusion and come back to the introduction later. It's a useful, time-efficient approach if you find yourself stuck in those first few words.

Start where it's easiest to start. You can always go back to the beginning or rearrange later, especially if you have an outline completed or general framework informally mapped out. If you don't have an outline, even just starting to sketch one can help organize your thoughts and "prime the pump" as it were.

Successful Introductory Paragraphs

You can read all the advice you want about writing a compelling opening, but it's often easier to learn by example. Take a look at how some writers approached their essays and analyze why they work so well.

"As a lifelong crabber (that is, one who catches crabs, not a chronic complainer), I can tell you that anyone who has patience and a great love for the river is qualified to join the ranks of crabbers. However, if you want your first crabbing experience to be a successful one, you must come prepared."
– (Mary Zeigler, "How to Catch River Crabs" )

What did Zeigler do in her introduction? First, she wrote in a little joke, but it serves a dual purpose. Not only does it set the stage for her slightly more humorous approach to crabbing, but it also clarifies what type of "crabber" she's writing about. This is important if your subject has more than one meaning.

The other thing that makes this a successful introduction is the fact that Zeigler leaves us wondering. What do we have to be prepared for? Will the crabs jump up and latch onto you? Is it a messy job? What tools and gear do I need? She leaves us with questions, and that draws us in because now we want answers.

"Working part-time as a cashier at the Piggly Wiggly has given me a great opportunity to observe human behavior. Sometimes I think of the shoppers as white rats in a lab experiment, and the aisles as a maze designed by a psychologist. Most of the rats—customers, I mean—follow a routine pattern, strolling up and down the aisles, checking through my chute, and then escaping through the exit hatch. But not everyone is so dependable. My research has revealed three distinct types of abnormal customer: the amnesiac, the super shopper, and the dawdler."
– "Shopping at the Pig"

This revised classification essay begins by painting a picture of an ordinary scenario: the grocery store. But when used as an opportunity to observe human nature, as this writer does, it turns from ordinary to fascinating.

Who is the amnesiac? Would I be classified as the dawdler by this cashier? The descriptive language and the analogy to rats in a maze add to the intrigue, and readers are left wanting more. For this reason, even though it's lengthy, this is an effective opening.

"In March 2006, I found myself, at 38, divorced, no kids, no home, and alone in a tiny rowing boat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. I hadn’t eaten a hot meal in two months. I’d had no human contact for weeks because my satellite phone had stopped working. All four of my oars were broken, patched up with duct tape and splints. I had tendinitis in my shoulders and saltwater sores on my backside.
"I couldn’t have been happier...."
– Roz Savage, " My Transoceanic Midlife Crisis ."  Newsweek , March 20, 2011

Here is an example of reversing expectations. The introductory paragraph is filled with doom and gloom. We feel sorry for the writer but are left wondering whether the article will be a classic sob story. It is in the second paragraph where we find out that it's quite the opposite.

Those first few words of the second paragraph—which we cannot help but skim—surprise us and thus draw us in. How can the narrator be happy after all that sorrow? This reversal compels us to find out what happened.

Most people have had streaks where nothing seems to go right. Yet, it is the possibility of a turn of fortunes that compels us to keep going. This writer appealed to our emotions and a sense of shared experience to craft an effective read.

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Introductions

What this handout is about.

This handout will explain the functions of introductions, offer strategies for creating effective introductions, and provide some examples of less effective introductions to avoid.

The role of introductions

Introductions and conclusions can be the most difficult parts of papers to write. Usually when you sit down to respond to an assignment, you have at least some sense of what you want to say in the body of your paper. You might have chosen a few examples you want to use or have an idea that will help you answer the main question of your assignment; these sections, therefore, may not be as hard to write. And it’s fine to write them first! But in your final draft, these middle parts of the paper can’t just come out of thin air; they need to be introduced and concluded in a way that makes sense to your reader.

Your introduction and conclusion act as bridges that transport your readers from their own lives into the “place” of your analysis. If your readers pick up your paper about education in the autobiography of Frederick Douglass, for example, they need a transition to help them leave behind the world of Chapel Hill, television, e-mail, and The Daily Tar Heel and to help them temporarily enter the world of nineteenth-century American slavery. By providing an introduction that helps your readers make a transition between their own world and the issues you will be writing about, you give your readers the tools they need to get into your topic and care about what you are saying. Similarly, once you’ve hooked your readers with the introduction and offered evidence to prove your thesis, your conclusion can provide a bridge to help your readers make the transition back to their daily lives. (See our handout on conclusions .)

Note that what constitutes a good introduction may vary widely based on the kind of paper you are writing and the academic discipline in which you are writing it. If you are uncertain what kind of introduction is expected, ask your instructor.

Why bother writing a good introduction?

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. The opening paragraph of your paper will provide your readers with their initial impressions of your argument, your writing style, and the overall quality of your work. A vague, disorganized, error-filled, off-the-wall, or boring introduction will probably create a negative impression. On the other hand, a concise, engaging, and well-written introduction will start your readers off thinking highly of you, your analytical skills, your writing, and your paper.

Your introduction is an important road map for the rest of your paper. Your introduction conveys a lot of information to your readers. You can let them know what your topic is, why it is important, and how you plan to proceed with your discussion. In many academic disciplines, your introduction should contain a thesis that will assert your main argument. Your introduction should also give the reader a sense of the kinds of information you will use to make that argument and the general organization of the paragraphs and pages that will follow. After reading your introduction, your readers should not have any major surprises in store when they read the main body of your paper.

Ideally, your introduction will make your readers want to read your paper. The introduction should capture your readers’ interest, making them want to read the rest of your paper. Opening with a compelling story, an interesting question, or a vivid example can get your readers to see why your topic matters and serve as an invitation for them to join you for an engaging intellectual conversation (remember, though, that these strategies may not be suitable for all papers and disciplines).

Strategies for writing an effective introduction

Start by thinking about the question (or questions) you are trying to answer. Your entire essay will be a response to this question, and your introduction is the first step toward that end. Your direct answer to the assigned question will be your thesis, and your thesis will likely be included in your introduction, so it is a good idea to use the question as a jumping off point. Imagine that you are assigned the following question:

Drawing on the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass , discuss the relationship between education and slavery in 19th-century America. Consider the following: How did white control of education reinforce slavery? How did Douglass and other enslaved African Americans view education while they endured slavery? And what role did education play in the acquisition of freedom? Most importantly, consider the degree to which education was or was not a major force for social change with regard to slavery.

You will probably refer back to your assignment extensively as you prepare your complete essay, and the prompt itself can also give you some clues about how to approach the introduction. Notice that it starts with a broad statement and then narrows to focus on specific questions from the book. One strategy might be to use a similar model in your own introduction—start off with a big picture sentence or two and then focus in on the details of your argument about Douglass. Of course, a different approach could also be very successful, but looking at the way the professor set up the question can sometimes give you some ideas for how you might answer it. (See our handout on understanding assignments for additional information on the hidden clues in assignments.)

Decide how general or broad your opening should be. Keep in mind that even a “big picture” opening needs to be clearly related to your topic; an opening sentence that said “Human beings, more than any other creatures on earth, are capable of learning” would be too broad for our sample assignment about slavery and education. If you have ever used Google Maps or similar programs, that experience can provide a helpful way of thinking about how broad your opening should be. Imagine that you’re researching Chapel Hill. If what you want to find out is whether Chapel Hill is at roughly the same latitude as Rome, it might make sense to hit that little “minus” sign on the online map until it has zoomed all the way out and you can see the whole globe. If you’re trying to figure out how to get from Chapel Hill to Wrightsville Beach, it might make more sense to zoom in to the level where you can see most of North Carolina (but not the rest of the world, or even the rest of the United States). And if you are looking for the intersection of Ridge Road and Manning Drive so that you can find the Writing Center’s main office, you may need to zoom all the way in. The question you are asking determines how “broad” your view should be. In the sample assignment above, the questions are probably at the “state” or “city” level of generality. When writing, you need to place your ideas in context—but that context doesn’t generally have to be as big as the whole galaxy!

Try writing your introduction last. You may think that you have to write your introduction first, but that isn’t necessarily true, and it isn’t always the most effective way to craft a good introduction. You may find that you don’t know precisely what you are going to argue at the beginning of the writing process. It is perfectly fine to start out thinking that you want to argue a particular point but wind up arguing something slightly or even dramatically different by the time you’ve written most of the paper. The writing process can be an important way to organize your ideas, think through complicated issues, refine your thoughts, and develop a sophisticated argument. However, an introduction written at the beginning of that discovery process will not necessarily reflect what you wind up with at the end. You will need to revise your paper to make sure that the introduction, all of the evidence, and the conclusion reflect the argument you intend. Sometimes it’s easiest to just write up all of your evidence first and then write the introduction last—that way you can be sure that the introduction will match the body of the paper.

Don’t be afraid to write a tentative introduction first and then change it later. Some people find that they need to write some kind of introduction in order to get the writing process started. That’s fine, but if you are one of those people, be sure to return to your initial introduction later and rewrite if necessary.

Open with something that will draw readers in. Consider these options (remembering that they may not be suitable for all kinds of papers):

  • an intriguing example —for example, Douglass writes about a mistress who initially teaches him but then ceases her instruction as she learns more about slavery.
  • a provocative quotation that is closely related to your argument —for example, Douglass writes that “education and slavery were incompatible with each other.” (Quotes from famous people, inspirational quotes, etc. may not work well for an academic paper; in this example, the quote is from the author himself.)
  • a puzzling scenario —for example, Frederick Douglass says of slaves that “[N]othing has been left undone to cripple their intellects, darken their minds, debase their moral nature, obliterate all traces of their relationship to mankind; and yet how wonderfully they have sustained the mighty load of a most frightful bondage, under which they have been groaning for centuries!” Douglass clearly asserts that slave owners went to great lengths to destroy the mental capacities of slaves, yet his own life story proves that these efforts could be unsuccessful.
  • a vivid and perhaps unexpected anecdote —for example, “Learning about slavery in the American history course at Frederick Douglass High School, students studied the work slaves did, the impact of slavery on their families, and the rules that governed their lives. We didn’t discuss education, however, until one student, Mary, raised her hand and asked, ‘But when did they go to school?’ That modern high school students could not conceive of an American childhood devoid of formal education speaks volumes about the centrality of education to American youth today and also suggests the significance of the deprivation of education in past generations.”
  • a thought-provoking question —for example, given all of the freedoms that were denied enslaved individuals in the American South, why does Frederick Douglass focus his attentions so squarely on education and literacy?

Pay special attention to your first sentence. Start off on the right foot with your readers by making sure that the first sentence actually says something useful and that it does so in an interesting and polished way.

How to evaluate your introduction draft

Ask a friend to read your introduction and then tell you what he or she expects the paper will discuss, what kinds of evidence the paper will use, and what the tone of the paper will be. If your friend is able to predict the rest of your paper accurately, you probably have a good introduction.

Five kinds of less effective introductions

1. The placeholder introduction. When you don’t have much to say on a given topic, it is easy to create this kind of introduction. Essentially, this kind of weaker introduction contains several sentences that are vague and don’t really say much. They exist just to take up the “introduction space” in your paper. If you had something more effective to say, you would probably say it, but in the meantime this paragraph is just a place holder.

Example: Slavery was one of the greatest tragedies in American history. There were many different aspects of slavery. Each created different kinds of problems for enslaved people.

2. The restated question introduction. Restating the question can sometimes be an effective strategy, but it can be easy to stop at JUST restating the question instead of offering a more specific, interesting introduction to your paper. The professor or teaching assistant wrote your question and will be reading many essays in response to it—he or she does not need to read a whole paragraph that simply restates the question.

Example: The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass discusses the relationship between education and slavery in 19th century America, showing how white control of education reinforced slavery and how Douglass and other enslaved African Americans viewed education while they endured. Moreover, the book discusses the role that education played in the acquisition of freedom. Education was a major force for social change with regard to slavery.

3. The Webster’s Dictionary introduction. This introduction begins by giving the dictionary definition of one or more of the words in the assigned question. Anyone can look a word up in the dictionary and copy down what Webster says. If you want to open with a discussion of an important term, it may be far more interesting for you (and your reader) if you develop your own definition of the term in the specific context of your class and assignment. You may also be able to use a definition from one of the sources you’ve been reading for class. Also recognize that the dictionary is also not a particularly authoritative work—it doesn’t take into account the context of your course and doesn’t offer particularly detailed information. If you feel that you must seek out an authority, try to find one that is very relevant and specific. Perhaps a quotation from a source reading might prove better? Dictionary introductions are also ineffective simply because they are so overused. Instructors may see a great many papers that begin in this way, greatly decreasing the dramatic impact that any one of those papers will have.

Example: Webster’s dictionary defines slavery as “the state of being a slave,” as “the practice of owning slaves,” and as “a condition of hard work and subjection.”

4. The “dawn of man” introduction. This kind of introduction generally makes broad, sweeping statements about the relevance of this topic since the beginning of time, throughout the world, etc. It is usually very general (similar to the placeholder introduction) and fails to connect to the thesis. It may employ cliches—the phrases “the dawn of man” and “throughout human history” are examples, and it’s hard to imagine a time when starting with one of these would work. Instructors often find them extremely annoying.

Example: Since the dawn of man, slavery has been a problem in human history.

5. The book report introduction. This introduction is what you had to do for your elementary school book reports. It gives the name and author of the book you are writing about, tells what the book is about, and offers other basic facts about the book. You might resort to this sort of introduction when you are trying to fill space because it’s a familiar, comfortable format. It is ineffective because it offers details that your reader probably already knows and that are irrelevant to the thesis.

Example: Frederick Douglass wrote his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave , in the 1840s. It was published in 1986 by Penguin Books. In it, he tells the story of his life.

And now for the conclusion…

Writing an effective introduction can be tough. Try playing around with several different options and choose the one that ends up sounding best to you!

Just as your introduction helps readers make the transition to your topic, your conclusion needs to help them return to their daily lives–but with a lasting sense of how what they have just read is useful or meaningful. Check out our handout on  conclusions for tips on ending your paper as effectively as you began it!

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Douglass, Frederick. 1995. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself . New York: Dover.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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How to Write a Great College Essay Introduction | Examples

Published on October 4, 2021 by Meredith Testa . Revised on August 14, 2023 by Kirsten Courault.

Admissions officers read thousands of essays each application season, and they may devote as little as five minutes to reviewing a student’s entire application. That means it’s critical to have a well-structured essay with a compelling introduction. As you write and revise your essay , look for opportunities to make your introduction more engaging.

There’s one golden rule for a great introduction: don’t give too much away . Your reader shouldn’t be able to guess the entire trajectory of the essay after reading the first sentence. A striking or unexpected opening captures the reader’s attention, raises questions, and makes them want to keep reading to the end .

Table of contents

Start with a surprise, start with a vivid, specific image, avoid clichés, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about college application essays.

A great introduction often has an element of mystery. Consider the following opening statement.

This opener is unexpected, even bizarre—what could this student be getting at? How can you be bad at breathing?

The student goes on to describe her experience with asthma and how it has affected her life. It’s not a strange topic, but the introduction is certainly intriguing. This sentence keeps the admissions officer reading, giving the student more of an opportunity to keep their attention and make her point.

In a sea of essays with standard openings such as “One life-changing experience for me was …” or “I overcame an obstacle when …,” this introduction stands out. The student could have used either of those more generic introductions, but neither would have been as successful.

This type of introduction is a true “hook”—it’s highly attention-grabbing, and the reader has to keep reading to understand.

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If your topic doesn’t lend itself to such a surprising opener, you can also start with a vivid, specific description.

Many essays focus on a particular experience, and describing one moment from that experience can draw the reader in. You could focus on small details of what you could see and feel, or drop the reader right into the middle of the story with dialogue or action.

Some students choose to write more broadly about themselves and use some sort of object or metaphor as the focus. If that’s the type of essay you’d like to write, you can describe that object in vivid detail, encouraging the reader to imagine it.

Cliché essay introductions express ideas that are stereotypical or generally thought of as conventional wisdom. Ideas like “My family made me who I am today” or “I accomplished my goals through hard work and determination” may genuinely reflect your life experience, but they aren’t unique or particularly insightful.

Unoriginal essay introductions are easily forgotten and don’t demonstrate a high level of creative thinking. A college essay is intended to give insight into the personality and background of an applicant, so a standard, one-size-fits-all introduction may lead admissions officers to think they are dealing with a standard, unremarkable applicant.

Quotes can often fall into the category of cliché essay openers. There are some circumstances in which using a quote might make sense—for example, you could quote an important piece of advice or insight from someone important in your life. But for most essays, quotes aren’t necessary, and they may make your essay seem uninspired.

If you want to know more about academic writing , effective communication , or parts of speech , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

Academic writing

  • Writing process
  • Transition words
  • Passive voice
  • Paraphrasing

 Communication

  • How to end an email
  • Ms, mrs, miss
  • How to start an email
  • I hope this email finds you well
  • Hope you are doing well

 Parts of speech

  • Personal pronouns
  • Conjunctions

The introduction of your college essay is the first thing admissions officers will read and therefore your most important opportunity to stand out. An excellent introduction will keep admissions officers reading, allowing you to tell them what you want them to know.

The key to a strong college essay introduction is not to give too much away. Try to start with a surprising statement or image that raises questions and compels the reader to find out more.

Cliché openers in a college essay introduction are usually general and applicable to many students and situations. Most successful introductions are specific: they only work for the unique essay that follows.

In most cases, quoting other people isn’t a good way to start your college essay . Admissions officers want to hear your thoughts about yourself, and quotes often don’t achieve that. Unless a quote truly adds something important to your essay that it otherwise wouldn’t have, you probably shouldn’t include it.

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How to Write an Introduction for Any Subject

Last Updated: January 2, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Tristen Bonacci . Tristen Bonacci is a Licensed English Teacher with more than 20 years of experience. Tristen has taught in both the United States and overseas. She specializes in teaching in a secondary education environment and sharing wisdom with others, no matter the environment. Tristen holds a BA in English Literature from The University of Colorado and an MEd from The University of Phoenix. There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 79,434 times.

When writing an introduction paragraph, you should always include a hook to capture the reader's attention, supporting information about the topic at hand, and a thesis statement. That said, there are still multiple introduction paragraphs you can use for your paper. This article will describe a few common ones, as well as some that you might not have seen.

Anecdotal Introduction

Step 1 Tell a small story.

  • Anecdotes can be true or fictional. They can also be personal or about someone else.
  • The story should be short enough to tell in a few sentences.

Step 2 Bridge into the topic.

  • You may end up introducing the main ideas of your essay during this portion of your introduction.

Step 3 State your thesis.

  • A thesis statement is a single sentence that defines a specific point or idea about a broader topic that your entire paper is built around.
  • The connection between your thesis statement and the anecdote you used should be obvious to the reader. If the thesis statement does not fit into the introduction as it currently stands, you may need to use more supporting evidence to lead into the thesis or change the anecdote you use.

Historical Review

Step 1 Determine if a historical review could be helpful.

  • These introductions are usually used for papers written about a historical time period or topic, a historical critique of a piece of literature, or a long-standing problem that people throughout the ages have tried to address.

Step 2 Provide factual and historical context about the the topic.

  • These pieces of information should not only provide context about the topic, but should also indirectly present the general topic itself. In doing this, you will demonstrate the the reader how your topic fits into the historical account you present in your introduction.

Step 3 Narrow your thoughts down to a thesis statement.

  • With this type of introduction, your thesis statement should cause the reader to view the historical facts you just presented in a specific light or through a specific lens. In effect, your thesis statement should tell the reader why the facts you presented before it are important to keep in mind.

Literary Summary

Step 1 Briefly summarize the literary work you are writing about.

  • In the case of a story, you do not need to focus on specific details or give away the ending. You simply need to introduce the basic, overall theme of the story and provide information about the conflict the main character faces.

Step 2 Draw out a general theme from the work.

  • Connect your summary to the theme in a naturally, sensible manner. For instance, if writing an essay about a coming-of-age story, you should introduce the coming-of-age theme with something like, “The broken friendships and family drama Jimmy has to go through serve as his passage into adulthood.”

Step 3 Hint at the main sections of your essay.

  • In a sense, you will be narrowing down your broad topic into a more focused, specific thought by slowly presenting ideas that narrow the reader's field of vision until all that reader sees about that literary work are the ideas presented in your paper.

Step 4 Come out with your thesis statement.

  • With this type of introduction, you need to choose a thesis that makes sense within the context of your summary and supporting evidence. If the thesis still seems out of place, go back and rewrite your supporting evidence until the connection your thesis has to the summary of the literary work makes sense.

Thought-Provoking Question

Step 1 Ask the reader a question they can relate to.

  • When choosing a question, you can ask something universal, surprising, or rhetorical.

Step 2 Consider backing up your initial question with two others.

  • The additional questions you ask should gradually narrow the topic down into something smaller and more specific.
  • For example, start with the question, “Why does the grass always seem greener on the other side?” After that, you can ask, “What is it about the human mind that perceives what one does not have as something more desirable than what one does have?” Your final question could then be, “Is this state of being a societal, psychological, or spiritual problem?”

Step 3 Hint at any answer and discuss how your essay will address the answer.

  • Doing this also clues the reader into the approach you intend to take on the question or questions at hand.

Step 4 State your thesis in a single sentence.

  • You do not need to give the reader a clear, definite answer to the question you ask, but if you narrowed your topic down using the three-question method, you should consider using terms or ideas from the final question in your thesis.

Words of Wisdom

Step 1 Offer a relevant quotation.

  • The quotation can be a famous saying, words from someone famous, a snippet from song lyrics, or a short poem.
  • Do not insert a hanging quote. A “hanging quote” refers to a quotation that has no introduction or no explanation after it. In other words, the sentence with your quotation in it must contain other content aside from the quotation itself.

Step 2 Provide context for the quotation while bridging into the topic.

  • Note that unless the quotation is anonymous, you must always state who is responsible for it.
  • This context will also introduce the topic of your paper and lead into supporting details that can introduce your thesis.

Step 3 State your thesis.

  • The thesis statement for this type of introduction will need to make sense in regards to the quotation you used. You should not use a general quotation that touches on the overall, broad topic but has nothing to do with the specifics of your thesis.

Corrective Introduction

Step 1 Mention something that people mistakenly believe.

  • When you state this mistaken belief, make sure to clarify that this belief is inaccurate.

Step 2 State your correction.

  • This sentence should introduce the general topic of the paper and open the path for your thesis statement.

Step 3 Elaborate slightly on the truth.

  • These pieces of supporting evidence usually correspond to the main ideas you will cover in the body paragraphs of your essay.

Step 4 Wrap things up with a relevant thesis statement.

  • In some ways, your thesis statement will be like a direct foil or mirror image of the misconception you are addressing. The two will be directly connected yet directly opposite one another.

Declarative Introduction

Step 1 Write about the general topic immediately.

  • Introduce the topic in your first sentence.
  • In the sentences that follow, elaborate on the topic by introducing facts or ideas that you intend to use as main points or major sections of your essay.

Step 2 Never state what your essay is about in direct terms.

  • “In this essay, I will write about...”
  • “This essay will discuss...”
  • “In this essay, you will learn about...”
  • Stating your topic in such precise terms creates a stiff, unnatural flow of words. You should strive to make the tone of your introduction professional yet conversational so that the reader can fall into your writing more naturally.

Step 3 State your thesis.

  • The portion of your introduction leading to the thesis will often narrow down the topic gradually until you can naturally introduce your specific thesis.

Step 4 Use this introduction with caution.

  • The only time that this type of introduction tends to work is when the writer is writing for an audience already interested in the topic. If the topic is strictly factual and not open to much subjective interpretation, then a declarative introduction might be proper.
  • When you write an essay, you should fact-check everything and know who your audience is.
  • It should not be boring. It should be relatable to people.
  • The introduction should appeal to the audience.

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Write an Essay Introduction

  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/introductions/
  • ↑ https://www.esu.edu/writing-studio/guides/hook.cfm
  • ↑ https://www.butte.edu/departments/cas/tipsheets/style_purpose_strategy/intro_conclusions.html
  • ↑ https://guides.lib.ua.edu/c.php?g=39963&p=253698
  • ↑ https://www.bucks.edu/media/bcccmedialibrary/pdf/HOWTOWRITEALITERARYANALYSISESSAY_10.15.07_001.pdf
  • ↑ https://germanna.edu/sites/default/files/2022-03/Literary%20Analysis.pdf
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/introductions/
  • ↑ https://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/introduction
  • ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/assignments/quoliterature/

About This Article

Tristen Bonacci

To write an introduction paragraph, start with an attention-grabbing “hook,” like a thought-provoking question, a relevant quotation, or a brief anecdote that relates to your topic. Once you’ve gotten the reader’s attention, use the next couple sentences to explain how the “hook” relates to the broader themes of your paper, and why the reader should care. Then, finish your intro paragraph with a thesis statement that relates directly to your first sentence, and that explains what the central argument of your paper should be. To learn some ways to tailor your introduction paragraph to the specific type of paper you’re writing, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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introductory paragraph to an essay

Awesome Guide on How to Write an Essay Introduction

introductory paragraph to an essay

'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.

Don'ts

  • 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 .

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Four Examples of Introductory Paragraph for Your Essay or Paper

Four Examples of Introductory Paragraph for Your Essay or Paper

3-minute read

  • 30th October 2023

Writing an academic paper comes with many challenges, not the least of which is fleshing out an introductory paragraph . Knowing where to start can often be tricky.

But fear not! In today’s post, we provide four examples of introductory paragraphs for different types of essays . We hope these examples will give you some inspiration to start writing.

1. Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay clearly defines the author’s stance on a topic or debate, often providing evidence and looking at both sides of an issue.

Example Introduction

Why the paragraph works.

It engages with current issues: By referencing the current interconnected nature of society, the introduction places the essay in a contemporary context and makes the topic relatable to the reader.

It clearly states the debate: The writer presents two opposing views on online privacy in a clear, simple, and succinct way.

It sets expectations: The essay makes the reader aware that it will explore both sides of the debate.

2. Descriptive Essay

In descriptive essays , you describe something, such as a place or an experience, in vivid detail. These essays often employ imagery and descriptive language.

It provides vivid imagery: The descriptions of the sunset and the waves instantly create a picture in the reader’s mind.

It evokes emotion: The mention of an escape from daily life elicits a sense of calm, peace, and longing.

It maintains concision: The introduction is short but powerful in setting the mood; it shows rather than telling .

3. Compare and Contrast Essay

In a compare and contrast essay , you discuss two subjects by looking at their similarities and differences.

It presents the subjects: The introduction clearly identifies the two works being compared.

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It highlights the main differences: The primary contrasts between the two works are introduced up front.

It sets the course: The reader knows that the essay will delve deeper into how each author conveys their message.

4. Personal Narrative Essay

A personal narrative essay tells a story about a personal experience you’ve had.

It provides a personal touch: The introduction gives a hint of personal significance and the transformative power of the experience.

It sets an intriguing scene: The opening line paints a picture, placing the reader at the scene and sparking curiosity about how it impacted the writer’s life.

It resonates emotionally: By mentioning self-discovery and life-changing moments, the introduction connects with readers on an emotional level.

Feeling inspired? We hope this post helped you to come up with some ideas for the introductory paragraph of your essay or paper. And once you have a first draft, make sure you send it our way for editing and a final proofread.

We’ll check your work for grammar, spelling, word choice, readability, formatting, consistency, referencing, and more! We’ll even proofread your first 500 words for free .

What makes an introductory paragraph effective?

An introductory paragraph should introduce the topic clearly, intrigue the reader, and set accurate expectations for what the rest of the essay will cover.

What are the different types of essays?

Some common types of student essays are narrative, descriptive, compare and contrast, persuasive, argumentative, expository, and process.

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Readers' Corner

How To Write An Essay Introduction: A Step-by-Step Guide

Table of contents, determine your essay statement:, hook the reader:, provide overview and preview:, crafting your outline:, edit and revise:, conclusion:.

Writing a strong introduction is one of the most important parts of crafting a polished essay. The opening paragraph sets the tone for your argument and piques the reader’s interest right from the start. This article will break down the step-by-step process for writing an effective essay introduction, including determining your essay statement, hooking the reader with an attention-grabbing opening, providing an overview of the essay, and revising your writing. Relevant examples will be provided for each step to illustrate how it can be implemented. By following these guidelines and examples to write essay introduction, you’ll be well on your way to starting your essay off strong.

The foundation of any solid academic paper or essay comes from having a clear, focused statement. Your statement should present the central argument you will explore and prove over the course of the essay. It conveys the perspective or conclusion you have reached regarding the topic at hand and contains the key points or ideas you will analyse in your body paragraphs.

For example, let’s say the topic is police brutality in America . A weak statement might be:

“This paper will discuss police brutality.”

This statement is too broad and does not take a clear stance. A stronger statement could be:

“This paper argues that systemic racism within American police departments has led to disproportionate violence against people of colour and proposes policy reforms such as mandatory de-escalation training, community oversight boards, and bans on chokeholds as ways to promote racial justice and restore trust in law enforcement.”

This statement is clearer, narrower, and takes a definitive position that can be supported over the course of the essay. It outlines the key points that will be analysed in the body paragraphs. Some tips for crafting a strong essay statement include:

  • Narrow your topic to a single, manageable claim rather than a broad topic area. Ask yourself what specific point you want to make or prove.
  • Keep your essay statement concise – usually one sentence that is between 10-15 words. Short, sweet, and right to the point is best.
  • Use definitive language that takes a stance rather than presenting both sides. State your perspective overtly rather than hinting at it.
  • Include elements that will structure your essay, such as key terms, concepts, individuals, events, or works that you will analyse in depth.
  • Place the statement at the end of your introductory paragraph so readers have context before your central argument.
  • Check that your statement gives a sense of direction for the essay by tying back to the prompt or guiding question if one was provided. Make sure any contents or claims mentioned in the statement are logically argued and proven over the body paragraphs.

With conscious effort focused on these strategies, you can craft a crystal clear statement that sets an achievable roadmap for your essay’s structure and analysis. It’s the linchpin that holds everything together.

Now that you have identified your central argument, the next important element is hooking the reader right away with an engaging opening sentence. Your essay introduction only has a few short lines to capture attention and establish a compelling tone – so make them count!

For example, in an essay analysing the themes of power and corruption in George Orwell’s Animal Farm , you may begin with:

“While on the surface a simple fable about barnyard insurrection, George Orwell’s Animal Farm contains deeper parallels to the corruption of the Russian Revolution that have cemented its status as a classic of political satire.”

This opening directly references the subject work and piques curiosity about its deeper significance. Another essay, on debates over police funding, may start with:

“In June of 2020, as national protests against police brutality erupted across America, the Minneapolis City Council made a bold claim – they would dismantle the police department entirely.”

This current events reference establishes relevance while surprising readers on where the introduction may lead. Some other attention-grabbing techniques may include:

  • Quotes, statistics or facts: Drop an interesting snippet of evidence right off the bat to surprise and intrigue readers.
  • Rhetorical questions: Pose an open-ended query to make readers think and get them invested in the topic.
  • Vivid scenarios: Paint a picture with descriptive details to transport readers visually into your world.
  • Counterintuitive claims: Challenge conventional wisdom in a thought-provoking manner from the start.
  • Relevant anecdotes: Share a brief personal story that builds empathy and relevance.
  • Current events: Reference a newsworthy development to show timeliness of discussion.
  • Humour: Start off on a lighter note if your tone allows for a bit of levity to capture smiles.
  • Definitions: Clarify how you are using important terms in an original way.

The goal is to pique natural human curiosity by teasing just enough context without giving everything away. Make readers want to lean in and keep reading to learn more. With practice, you’ll develop your own signature style for captivating opener sentences tailored to your voice and content area.

After generating initial intrigue, use the next couple lines of your introductory paragraph to offer readers direction about where you aim to lead them. Provide a brief overview of key facts and background necessary to establish context for the topic. You can state the main themes, schools of thought, influential figures, opposing viewpoints or any other defining characteristics that help orient readers. Moreover, it’s helpful to give a quick preview of how the remainder of your paper is structured by stating the main supporting points and ideas you will expand upon in subsequent paragraphs. This overview transitions the reader smoothly into the body while retaining suspense about which evidence or analyses might surprise them along the way. You can also state the main themes or ideas that will structure your paper by saying something like:

“This paper examines three prevailing schools of thought on the debate, analyses the flawed assumptions behind popular arguments, and ultimately argues that sustainable policy reforms are necessary to make progress.”

A quick preview helps transition the reader into the body of the essay while retaining suspense about how your unique analysis and evidence will unfold. It gives them direction without revealing all your cards.

For a humanities essay on morality in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, an overview may be:

“This essay explores how Steinbeck portrays the human need for dignity and companionship through the lens of 1930s migrant work. It analyses the complex relationships between George, Lennie, and other characters to ultimately argue Steinbeck uses their plight to comment on the dehumanizing realities of the Great Depression.”

Providing a lightly detailed synopsis serves as a useful roadmap and entices continued learning without “spoiling” your full analysis and argumentative strategies still to unfold. It gives structure without giving everything away too quickly. Try to keep this final sentence of your introductory paragraph under 2-3 concise sentences for optimal impact and flow.

As highlighted in the previous sections, it’s crucial your introduction tightly links back to your overall essay’s content and fulfils its signposting purpose. That’s why outlining both your introduction as well as the overall essay structure simultaneously is advised. Determine the flow of ideas for your body paragraphs first so the introduction can adequately mirror that intended progression and put forth clues about what’s to come without fully revealing your hand. Some tips for outlining:

  • Jot down your main points, analyses and support in note form in whatever sequential order makes the most logical sense based on how the evidence flows together.
  • Assign each chunk of information a corresponding letter or number to use as headings to structure the physical writing later.
  • Consider how long you want each body paragraph or section to be – aim for Uniformity but allow flexibility if needed.
  • Fill in any gaps where transitions between ideas may fall flat by inserting more research or brainstorming.
  • Note sources and direct quotations or examples you plan to incorporate with their corresponding place in the outline.
  • Leave space after each point to type out the full paragraphs once you begin physically writing up the essay.

For example, an outline analysing political themes in Shakespeare’s Macbeth may group as:

I. Introduction

Statement: Shakespeare uses…to critique early modern politics etc.

II. Royal Misconduct

A. Ambition

  • Quotes on Lady Macbeth’s speech
  • Examples of Macbeth’s soliloquies

B. Ethical Failures

  • Scene of murdering Duncan
  • Banquo’s ghost

III. Downfall of a Leader

A. Isolation of a Tyrant

  • Macbeth’s madness
  • Example of the witches’ final prophecies

B. Fall from Grace

  • Macduff’s return
  • Scene of final battle

A carefully mapped outline lays the essential roadmap for your essay and ensures each new section builds cohesively upon the last. Returning to review your essay introduction paragraph against this master plan before finalizing it is a great way to guarantee it delivers on signposting duties effectively.

Like any other part of the writing process, allow time for careful editing and revising your introduction. The advice of trusted writing consultants or professors can highlight areas where clarity or flow could be improved. When editing:

  • Evaluate the strength and focus of your statement. Revise as needed.
  • Check introductory paragraph follows a logical progression from start to finish.
  • Ensure any defined terms, names or background are clearly explained at first mention.
  • Evaluate your opening sentence – is it still an effective hook or could a stronger technique be swapped in?
  • Trim any excess wordiness that does not directly serve orienting the reader.
  • Proofread spelling, grammar punctuation to eliminate issues that break reading flow.
  • Consider reworking sentence structure for variances and eloquent phrasing.
  • Have your introduction mimic the organization and tone of the essay to follow.

Evaluate whether it successfully previews your paper’s substantive content and leave enough for the reader to discover on their own. Getting constructive outside eyes on your introduction is invaluable for perfecting its impact and quality prior to submission. Keep refining until you’re proud of each elegant, cohesive element!

In conclusion, crafting an introduction is as much an art as a strategic process. With practice and conscious attention to these elements, your opening paragraphs can set the stage for a strong essay that grabs reader attention from the very start and invites them into your perspective. Remember – determination of a focused statement that ties back to the essay’s key aims, hooking curiosity with an intriguing lead sentence, orienting with context and previews of what’s to come, and allowing time for revision will set your work up for success. Following these guidelines for writing an effective introduction lays the foundation for proficient academic and professional communications. Continue challenging yourself to develop your signature voice and writing excellence.

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Writing Resources

Writing successful introductory paragraphs.

In the most abstract sense, the function of an introductory paragraph is to move the reader from the world of daily life into the textual and analytical space of an essay.

In a more concrete sense, an introduction performs three essential functions:

  • It clearly and specifically states the topic or question that you will address in your essay.
  • It motivates topic or question that the essay will examine.
  • It states, clearly and directly, your position on this topic or question (i.e., your thesis).

Conceptual Components

While reading your introduction, your reader will begin to make assumptions about you as an author. Be sure to project yourself as a thoughtful, knowledgeable and nonbiased writer capable of dealing effectively with the complexities and nuances of your topic. Your introduction should set the tone that will remain consistent throughout your essay. In addition to emphasizing the uniqueness of your approach to your subject matter, you should seek to draw your reader into your essay with the gracefulness of your prose and the rational demeanor you project as a writer.

Contextualization

In addition to stating the topic and scope of your analysis, your introduction should provide your readers with any background or context necessary to understand how your argument fits into the larger discourse on the subject. The details you use to orient your reader with your topic should be woven throughout the structural components of your introduction listed below.

Structural Components

In addition to grabbing the reader’s attention, the opening sentence of an essay sets up the structure of the introductory paragraph. You want to create movement among your ideas, which is best done by moving either from the particular to the general or from the general to the particular. Essays that move from the particular to the general often begin with an anecdote, quotation, fact or detail from the text that can be used to introduce readers to the larger issues the essay will address. Introductions that move from the general to the particular — typically referred to as the funnel structure — often begin with a wider view of the topic that will be used to establish a context for the more localized argument that the author will present.

Shared Context

Claims about the topic that the author posits as common knowledge or uncontroversial, which the reader will readily accept as true without extensive evidence or argument. The shared context often entails a claim or claims that are obviously true, which the "motive" and "thesis" will then complicate or even oppose.

Topic or Purpose

The introductory paragraph must leave the reader with a clear understanding of the specific subject area that your essay will investigate. Defining your essay’s scope in this way often requires distinguishing your specific focus from the larger discourse on your topic. Though this is not always essential, many essays include a purpose statement that tells the reader directly: “this paper examines …” or “the aim of this essay is to …”

The motive is a specific sentence, usually near the middle of your introduction, that clarifies for the reader why your thesis is interesting, nonobvious and/or contestable. In essence, your motive answers the question “so what?” that a reader might ask of your thesis. Because they show that the truth about a subject is not as clear as it might seem, motive statements often employ terms of reversal — “yet,” “but,” “however,” etc. — that reflect a departure from the obvious.

Thesis Statement

The thesis statement is the central claim your essay will make about your chosen topic. Since the topic area must first be described and motivated, the thesis statement is usually placed near the end of the introduction.

Though this is often unnecessary in shorter papers, essays that are long (seven-plus pages) or especially complex are often easier for the reader to understand if the author offers some preview of the essay’s structure at the beginning of the paper. In especially long essays (20-plus pages), this outline of the essay’s structure may demand a paragraph of its own (usually the second paragraph).

Example Introductory Paragraph

Here is an example of an introductory paragraph that we will analyze sentence by sentence:

Dublin is such a small city: everyone knows everyone else's business. This is Doran's lament, one of many such laments in Dubliners, a book whose very title seems to presage a comprehensive portrait of Ireland's capital city. Joyce makes full use of the advantages Dublin offers as a setting. Both national capital and provincial town, the city was the ideal site for cutting — and often scathing — dissections of this land. It would be unfortunate, however, to see Dubliners merely as an ethnographic study, for Joyce's commentary has a broader scope. Dublin comes to serve as a locale for a drama which is played out all over the world, a drama about home. Joyce studies the nature of home, what it is and what it means to leave it. However different his characters may be, together they form a tableau which, while it does much to indict the idea of home, also shows a deep compassion for those who are bound to it. Although this theme may be examined in many stories — the failed attempt at leaving in "Eveline" is an obvious example — a look at two less obvious works, "The Boarding House" and "Little Cloud," may best suggest its subtlety and pervasiveness.

Example Introductory Paragraph: Structural Components

In this table, each structural component of the introduction is listed in the left column, and the corresponding sample text is on the right:

Example Introductory Paragraph: Analysis

Analysis of each structural component of the example paragraph.

Dublin is such a small city: everyone knows everyone else's business.

Explanation

This introduction proceeds from the particular to the general (it is also common to proceed from the general to the particular), beginning with a quotation before moving on to more large-scale issues. It is important to note that, while the opening quotation sets up this structure, it is reinforced by the author's movement from an initial discussion of Joyce's ethnographic rendering of Dublin itself to a broader discussion of Dublin's more universal significance as a site of home (the topic of this essay). Structuring your introduction in this way — "particular to general" or "general to particular" — ensures movement among your ideas and creates interest for the reader by suggesting a similar movement of ideas in the essay as a whole.

This is Doran’s lament, one of many such laments in Dubliners, a book whose very title seems to presage a comprehensive portrait of Ireland’s capital city. Joyce makes full use of the advantages Dublin offers as a setting. Both national capital and provincial town, the city was the ideal site for cutting — and often scathing — dissections of this land.

The author posits these claims as foundational, expecting that they will be readily accepted by her readers. Students of Joyce will recognize them as commonplaces. Others will accept them as authoritative precisely because the author presents them as informational, without substantial evidence. Having established a baseline of common wisdom, the author will proceed to complicate it with the word “however,” signaling the motivating move of the essay.

It would be unfortunate, however, to see Dubliners merely as an ethnographic study, for Joyce's commentary has a broader scope.

This essay is given its motive as a result of the author's claim that there is a lot more to Joyce's presentation of Dublin than is evident in an inital reading of Dubliners. Implicity, the author is telling her readers that they should continue reading her essay in order to be shown things about the novel's rendering of Dublin that they would not otherwise have seen. The goal of the essay then becomes to fulfill this promise made to the reader. Note how the motive's placement in the introduction is related directly to the paragraph's structure: after presenting a more narrow and obvious reading of Dubliner in the opening sentences, the author inserts the motive in order to describe how her essay broadens the scope of this reading in a less obvious way that she elaborates on in the rest of the introduction.

Dublin comes to serve as a locale for a drama which is played out all over the world, a drama about home. Joyce studies the nature of home, what it is and what it means to leave it.

The author very specifically states her topic — Joyce's Dublin as a "local for a drama ... about home" — in order to clarify the scope of the essay for her readers. The purpose of her essay will be to explore and arrive at some conclusions about this topic. Again, note that the author's placement of the novel's topic relates directly to the structure she has chosen for her introduction: immediately after the motive in which the author informs the reader that she will not pursue a more obvious ethnographic investigation of Joyce's Dublin, she tells the reader clearly and directly what topic her essay will explore. Because it is essential to clearly define an essay's topic before presenting a thesis about it, the topic statement also precedes the thesis statement.

However different his characters may be, together they form a tableau which, while it does much to indict the idea of home, also shows a deep compassion for those who are bound to it.

The author's thesis statement is particularly strong because it pursues a tension in the novel by examining the way in which Joyce's attitude toward home pushes in two directions. It has Joyce simultaneously indicting and showing compassion for different aspects of home in Dubliners. As in most college essays, the thesis statement comes toward the end of the introduction. Again, note the way in which the placement of the thesis statement fits into the overall structure of the introduction: the author motivates and clearly defines her topic before offering her thesis about it. Giving the reader a clear understanding of the the topic to be explored in an essay (as this author does) is essential for the formulation of a thesis statement with this sort of tension and double-edged complexity.

Although this theme may be examined in many stories — the failed attempt at leaving in "Eveline" is an obvious example — a look at two less obvious works, "The Boarding House" and "Little Cloud," may best suggest its subtlety and pervasiveness.

While this author's roadmap falls a bit short of the brief outline of an essay's structure that is often found in the introduction of longer college essays, she does give the reader an indication of the argumentative path the body of her essay will follow. In addition, indicating that she has limited herself to an examination of two of the novel's 15 stories further clarifies the essay's scope, and the reference to these works as "less obvious" enhances her motive.

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UMGC Effective Writing Center The Introductory Paragraph

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The paragraph that begins an essay causes students the most trouble, yet carries the most importance. Although its precise construction varies from genre to genre (and from essay to essay), good introductory paragraphs generally accomplish the same tasks and follow a few basic patterns. Some of them are listed below, but keep in mind that what follows are guidelines, not immutable templates.

Tasks:  The introductory paragraph to a short essay usually attempts to do three things:

  • Introduce the topic  with some indication of its inherent interest or importance, and a clear definition of the boundaries of the subject area
  • Indicate the structure and/or methodology of the essay , often with the major sections of the essay or its structural principle clearly stated
  • State the thesis of the essay , preferably in a single, arguable statement with a clear main clause

Not every essay does all three in the first paragraph, and the degree to which an essay declares its structure or methodology may vary widely, depending on how necessary that information will be to the readers. Sometimes, the entire first paragraph will serve no other purpose than to generate interest in the subject or raise a question, leaving the other tasks for the second paragraph. However, this kind of opening requires a lot of skill, and you can lose your readers in the second and third paragraphs if do not make your purpose clear.

Patterns:  The standard pattern for an introductory paragraph follows the order of the tasks outlined above. Below is an outline of that pattern, written as if it were the first section of a formal outline of the entire essay:

Introduction

  • Its boundaries
  • Why it is interesting
  • The essay’s main sections (structure)
  • Why they come in that order (structural principle)
  • How the author plans to draw the necessary conclusions from the information available (methodology)
  • Its premise (the general claim about the information available)
  • Its conclusion (the consequences of the first claim)

Not every essay contains every element in precisely this order, but most good essays cover all of them, either explicitly or implicitly. In longer and more scholarly essays, the structure/methodology section should be longer, or can even be its own paragraph. It should also include some mention of the essay’s position within the field as a whole.

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9.4 Writing Introductory and Concluding Paragraphs

Learning objectives.

  • Recognize the importance of strong introductory and concluding paragraphs.
  • Learn to engage the reader immediately with the introductory paragraph.
  • Practice concluding your essays in a more memorable way.

Picture your introduction as a storefront window: You have a certain amount of space to attract your customers (readers) to your goods (subject) and bring them inside your store (discussion). Once you have enticed them with something intriguing, you then point them in a specific direction and try to make the sale (convince them to accept your thesis).

Your introduction is an invitation to your readers to consider what you have to say and then to follow your train of thought as you expand upon your thesis statement.

An introduction serves the following purposes:

  • Establishes your voice and tone, or your attitude, toward the subject
  • Introduces the general topic of the essay
  • States the thesis that will be supported in the body paragraphs

First impressions are crucial and can leave lasting effects in your reader’s mind, which is why the introduction is so important to your essay. If your introductory paragraph is dull or disjointed, your reader probably will not have much interest in continuing with the essay.

Attracting Interest in Your Introductory Paragraph

Your introduction should begin with an engaging statement devised to provoke your readers’ interest. In the next few sentences, introduce them to your topic by stating general facts or ideas about the subject. As you move deeper into your introduction, you gradually narrow the focus, moving closer to your thesis. Moving smoothly and logically from your introductory remarks to your thesis statement can be achieved using a funnel technique , as illustrated in the diagram in Figure 9.1 “Funnel Technique” .

Figure 9.1 Funnel Technique

image

On a separate sheet of paper, jot down a few general remarks that you can make about the topic for which you formed a thesis in Section 9.1 “Developing a Strong, Clear Thesis Statement” .

Immediately capturing your readers’ interest increases the chances of having them read what you are about to discuss. You can garner curiosity for your essay in a number of ways. Try to get your readers personally involved by doing any of the following:

  • Appealing to their emotions
  • Using logic
  • Beginning with a provocative question or opinion
  • Opening with a startling statistic or surprising fact
  • Raising a question or series of questions
  • Presenting an explanation or rationalization for your essay
  • Opening with a relevant quotation or incident
  • Opening with a striking image
  • Including a personal anecdote

Remember that your diction, or word choice, while always important, is most crucial in your introductory paragraph. Boring diction could extinguish any desire a person might have to read through your discussion. Choose words that create images or express action. For more information on diction, see Chapter 4 “Working with Words: Which Word Is Right?” .

In Chapter 8 “The Writing Process: How Do I Begin?” , you followed Mariah as she moved through the writing process. In this chapter, Mariah writes her introduction and conclusion for the same essay. Mariah incorporates some of the introductory elements into her introductory paragraph, which she previously outlined in Chapter 8 “The Writing Process: How Do I Begin?” . Her thesis statement is underlined.

If you have trouble coming up with a provocative statement for your opening, it is a good idea to use a relevant, attention-grabbing quote about your topic. Use a search engine to find statements made by historical or significant figures about your subject.

Writing at Work

In your job field, you may be required to write a speech for an event, such as an awards banquet or a dedication ceremony. The introduction of a speech is similar to an essay because you have a limited amount of space to attract your audience’s attention. Using the same techniques, such as a provocative quote or an interesting statistic, is an effective way to engage your listeners. Using the funnel approach also introduces your audience to your topic and then presents your main idea in a logical manner.

Reread each sentence in Mariah’s introductory paragraph. Indicate which techniques she used and comment on how each sentence is designed to attract her readers’ interest.

Writing a Conclusion

It is not unusual to want to rush when you approach your conclusion, and even experienced writers may fade. But what good writers remember is that it is vital to put just as much attention into the conclusion as in the rest of the essay. After all, a hasty ending can undermine an otherwise strong essay.

A conclusion that does not correspond to the rest of your essay, has loose ends, or is unorganized can unsettle your readers and raise doubts about the entire essay. However, if you have worked hard to write the introduction and body, your conclusion can often be the most logical part to compose.

The Anatomy of a Strong Conclusion

Keep in mind that the ideas in your conclusion must conform to the rest of your essay. In order to tie these components together, restate your thesis at the beginning of your conclusion. This helps you assemble, in an orderly fashion, all the information you have explained in the body. Repeating your thesis reminds your readers of the major arguments you have been trying to prove and also indicates that your essay is drawing to a close. A strong conclusion also reviews your main points and emphasizes the importance of the topic.

The construction of the conclusion is similar to the introduction, in which you make general introductory statements and then present your thesis. The difference is that in the conclusion you first paraphrase , or state in different words, your thesis and then follow up with general concluding remarks. These sentences should progressively broaden the focus of your thesis and maneuver your readers out of the essay.

Many writers like to end their essays with a final emphatic statement. This strong closing statement will cause your readers to continue thinking about the implications of your essay; it will make your conclusion, and thus your essay, more memorable. Another powerful technique is to challenge your readers to make a change in either their thoughts or their actions. Challenging your readers to see the subject through new eyes is a powerful way to ease yourself and your readers out of the essay.

When closing your essay, do not expressly state that you are drawing to a close. Relying on statements such as in conclusion , it is clear that , as you can see , or in summation is unnecessary and can be considered trite.

It is wise to avoid doing any of the following in your conclusion:

  • Introducing new material
  • Contradicting your thesis
  • Changing your thesis
  • Using apologies or disclaimers

Introducing new material in your conclusion has an unsettling effect on your reader. When you raise new points, you make your reader want more information, which you could not possibly provide in the limited space of your final paragraph.

Contradicting or changing your thesis statement causes your readers to think that you do not actually have a conviction about your topic. After all, you have spent several paragraphs adhering to a singular point of view. When you change sides or open up your point of view in the conclusion, your reader becomes less inclined to believe your original argument.

By apologizing for your opinion or stating that you know it is tough to digest, you are in fact admitting that even you know what you have discussed is irrelevant or unconvincing. You do not want your readers to feel this way. Effective writers stand by their thesis statement and do not stray from it.

On a separate sheet of a paper, restate your thesis from Note 9.52 “Exercise 2” of this section and then make some general concluding remarks. Next, compose a final emphatic statement. Finally, incorporate what you have written into a strong conclusion paragraph for your essay.

Collaboration

Please share with a classmate and compare your answers

Mariah incorporates some of these pointers into her conclusion. She has paraphrased her thesis statement in the first sentence.

Make sure your essay is balanced by not having an excessively long or short introduction or conclusion. Check that they match each other in length as closely as possible, and try to mirror the formula you used in each. Parallelism strengthens the message of your essay.

On the job you will sometimes give oral presentations based on research you have conducted. A concluding statement to an oral report contains the same elements as a written conclusion. You should wrap up your presentation by restating the purpose of the presentation, reviewing its main points, and emphasizing the importance of the material you presented. A strong conclusion will leave a lasting impression on your audience.

Key Takeaways

  • A strong opening captures your readers’ interest and introduces them to your topic before you present your thesis statement.
  • An introduction should restate your thesis, review your main points, and emphasize the importance of the topic.
  • The funnel technique to writing the introduction begins with generalities and gradually narrows your focus until you present your thesis.
  • A good introduction engages people’s emotions or logic, questions or explains the subject, or provides a striking image or quotation.
  • Carefully chosen diction in both the introduction and conclusion prevents any confusing or boring ideas.
  • A conclusion that does not connect to the rest of the essay can diminish the effect of your paper.
  • The conclusion should remain true to your thesis statement. It is best to avoid changing your tone or your main idea and avoid introducing any new material.
  • Closing with a final emphatic statement provides closure for your readers and makes your essay more memorable.

Writing for Success Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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“A relevant and coherent beginning is perhaps your best single guarantee that the essay as a whole will achieve its object.” Gordon Taylor, A Student's Writing Guide

Your introduction is the first thing your marker will read and should be approximately 10% of your word count. Within the first minute they should know if your essay is going to be a good one or not. An introduction has several components but the most important of these are the last two we give here. You need to show the reader what your position is and how you are going to argue the case to get there so that the essay becomes your answer to the question rather than just an answer.

What an introduction should include:

  • A little basic background about the key subject area (just enough to put your essay into context, no more or you'll bore the reader).
  • Explanation of how you are defining any key terms . Confusion on this could be your undoing.
  • A road-map of how your essay will answer the question. What is your overall argument and how will you develop it?
  • A confirmation of your position .

Background information

It is good to start with a statement that fixes your essay topic and focus in a wider context so that the reader is sure of where they are within the field. This is a very small part of the introduction though - do not fall into the trap of writing a whole paragraph that is nothing but background information.

Beware though, this only has to be a little bit wider, not completely universal. That is, do not start with something like "In the whole field of nursing...." or "Since man could write, he has always...". Instead, simply situate the area that you are writing about within a slightly bigger area. For example, you could start with a general statement about a topic, outlining some key issues but explain that your essay will focus on only one. Here is an example:

The ability to communicate effectively and compassionately is a key skill within nursing. Communication is about more than being able to speak confidently and clearly, it is about effective listening (Singh, 2019), the use of gesture, body language and tone (Adebe et al., 2016) and the ability to tailor language and messaging to particular situations (Smith & Jones, 2015). This essay will explore the importance of non-verbal communication ...

The example introduction at the bottom of this page also starts with similar, short background information.

Prehistoric man with the caption "Since the dawn of man..."

Defining key terms

This does not mean quoting dictionary definitions - we all have access to dictionary.com with a click or two. There are many words we use in academic work that can have multiple or nuanced definitions. You have to write about how you are defining any potentially ambiguous terms in relation to  your  essay topic. This is really important for your reader, as it will inform them how you are using such words in the context of your essay and prevent confusion or misunderstanding.

Student deciding if 'superpower' relates to the USA and China or Superman and Spider-man

Stating your case (road mapping)

The main thing an introduction will do is...introduce your essay! That means you need to tell the reader what your conclusion is and how you will get there.

There is no need to worry about *SPOILER ALERTS* - this is not a detective novel you can give away the ending! Sorry, but building up suspense is just going to irritate the reader rather than eventually satisfy. Simply outline how your main arguments (give them in order) lead to your conclusion. In American essay guides you will see something described as the ‘thesis statement’ - although we don't use this terminology in the UK, it is still necessary to state in your introduction what the over-arching argument of your essay will be. Think of it as the mega-argument , to distinguish it from the mini-arguments you make in each paragraph. Look at the example introduction at the bottom of this page which includes both of these elements.

Car on a road to a place called 'Conclusion'

Confirming your position

To some extent, this is covered in your roadmap (above), but it is so important, it deserves some additional attention here. Setting out your position is an essential component of all essays. Brick et al. (2016:143) even suggest

"The purpose of an essay is to present a clear position and defend it"

It is, however, very difficult to defend a position if you have not made it clear in the first place. This is where your introduction comes in. In stating your position, you are ultimately outlining the answer to the question. You can then make the rest of your essay about providing the evidence that supports your answer. As such, if you make your position clear, you will find all subsequent paragraphs in your essay easier to write and join together. As you have already told your reader where the essay is going, you can be explicit in how each paragraph contributes to your mega-argument.

In establishing your position and defending it, you are ultimately engaging in scholarly debate. This is because your positions are supported by academic evidence and analysis. It is in your analysis of the academic evidence that should lead your reader to understand your position. Once again - this is only possible if your introduction has explained your position in the first place.

student standing on a cross holding a sign saying "my position"

An example introduction

(Essay title = Evaluate the role of stories as pedagogical tools in higher education)

Stories have been an essential communication technique for thousands of years and although teachers and parents still think they are important for educating younger children, they have been restricted to the role of entertainment for most of us since our teenage years. This essay will claim that stories make ideal pedagogical tools, whatever the age of the student, due to their unique position in cultural and cognitive development. To argue this, it will consider three main areas: firstly, the prevalence of stories across time and cultures and how the similarity of story structure suggests an inherent understanding of their form which could be of use to academics teaching multicultural cohorts when organising lecture material; secondly, the power of stories to enable listeners to personally relate to the content and how this increases the likelihood of changing thoughts, behaviours and decisions - a concept that has not gone unnoticed in some fields, both professional and academic; and finally, the way that different areas of the brain are activated when reading, listening to or watching a story unfold, which suggests that both understanding and ease of recall, two key components of learning, are both likely to be increased . Each of these alone could make a reasoned argument for including more stories within higher education teaching – taken together, this argument is even more compelling.

Key:   Background information (scene setting)   Stating the case (r oad map)    Confirming a position (in two places). Note in this introduction there was no need to define key terms.

Brick, J., Herke, M., and Wong, D., (2016) Academic Culture, A students guide to studying at university, 3rd edition. Victoria, Australia: Palgrave Macmillan.

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9 Examples of Eye-Catching Introduction Paragraphs [2023]

9 Examples of Eye-Catching Introduction Paragraphs [2023]

Table of contents

introductory paragraph to an essay

Christian Rigg

How well are you managing to hook your readers?

According to CNN , The average attention on a screen went down from 2.5 minutes (in 2004) to 47 seconds (in 2023). Studies show that for most cases, people don't even read past the headline.

As a writer, one of the best skills you can learn is to hook your readers with a compelling introduction. A good title gets people in the door, but it’s the introduction that decides if they stay or not. 

hooks for essays

The difference between a strong and a weak intro

A strong intro draws the reader in and evokes a sense of curiosity or interest, either by speaking to the reader’s pain points or by engaging them on an intellectual or emotional level.

A weak introduction paragraph, on the other hand, does the exact opposite. It fails to delight or intrigue, usually by being too generic. (This is one reason why introductions generated using text transformers like ChatGPT tend to “fall flat.”) Incidentally, failing to keep your readers on-page will result in higher bounce rates, which Google penalizes. 

Have I convinced you to stick around? If so, great. In the rest of the article, we’ll go over the most important dos and don’ts of intros and look at some outstanding introduction paragraph examples for inspiration. 

Write better introductions with this FREE AI writing tool > Free AI introduction generator >

AI generated hook

The Dos and Don’ts of Strong Introductions

Here are some quick and simple tips for writing a compelling introduction .

✅  Do be human and relatable

Talk about a personal experience. Mention emotions like frustration or excitement. Utilize Use plain, conversational language.

✅ Do capture the reader's attention with an interesting or meaningful quote or statistic. 

Just be sure to avoid clichés, keep it relevant to your topic, and don’t get too abstract.

✅ Do write concisely and clearly . 

If you struggle with this like many people, try writing your introduction in the Wordtune editor. The suggestions on flow and clarity will help you stick to the point without being hard to understand. 

✅ Do disarm, startle, or otherwise “shock” the reader into alertness. 

This doesn’t mean being crass or crude, it means upending assumptions. What surprised you most when researching or writing your article? Start there. 

✅ Do use descriptive , emotive, and sensory language, including vivid imagery and great storytelling . 

Start in the middle of the story, then segue into how it all started. Or start at the end and work your way back. 

✅ Do use humor and casual language. 

It helps put the reader at ease and makes them feel like part of the conversation.

And here are some things to avoid, including some not-so-great introductory paragraph examples. Don’t worry, we’ll get to examples of how to do it right in the next section. 

❌ Don’t rely on AI text generators like ChatGPT.

These tools “write” by adding the next most likely word, based on thousands of examples. As a result, the text lacks originality . It is, by definition, the most average way of saying something. If you want to make your content stand out from AI-generated content , start with an original introduction paragraph. 

❌ Don’t give it all away. 

Your introduction is not the place to plead your whole case. Introduce the reader to the topic, generate interest or empathy, and make a promise they want to see fulfilled. 

❌ Don’t make it too long.

Readers get bored fast. They want to get to the good stuff. 

❌ Don’t use gimmicks, clickbait, clichés, or obvious ploys.

“You won’t believe what…” “Here’s everything you need to know about…” “Are you ready to make your first million?” Unless the news really is shocking, you really do include everything the reader needs to know, or you have offer a long-term, validated strategy for earning a million, you’ll just come off looking like a hack. 

❌ Don’t use generic statements.

“All businesses need to track their financial performance.” “Running a marathon is no easy task.” “It takes hard work to become the best.” Openers like these waste precious seconds on stating the obvious. If you’re lucky, your reader will be kind and keep scanning for something worthwhile. But they probably already hit the Back button.

Here are nine excellent introduction paragraph examples:

1. The statistical introduction example

introductory paragraph to an essay

According to a report by Statista and eMarketer, online retail sales are projected to reach $6.51 trillion by 2023. That same report also says that ecommerce websites will claim around 22.3% of all retail sales.

So, if you weren’t planning on investing in your ecommerce strategy this year, you should.

The SEO experts at Semrush have included two interesting and impressive statistics here, sure to pique the reader’s interest. They make a bold statement, too: if you thought you could wait, you can’t . 

To help you replicate this kind of introduction, try using Wordtune’s Spices features to find and add interesting statistics and facts. 

2. The relatable introduction example

introductory paragraph to an essay

We’ve all seen that little white label that sits tucked away on the inside of our clothing: “Made in Australia”, “Made in Turkey”, “Made in Bangladesh”. But what do those labels really mean? In this article, we discuss whether locally made clothing is more ethical. Read on to find out before your next shop.

Nothing if not concise, this introduction catches the reader with a common human experience, asks an important question, and gives a quick bridge on what the article has to offer. It’s short and direct, and it speaks to readers who may well have just been looking at a “little white label” before popping the question into Google. 

3. The dialogue introduction example

introductory paragraph to an essay

After a moonwalk in April 1972, the Apollo 16 astronauts Charles Duke and John Young returned to their capsule. In the process of putting their suits and other things away, Duke commented to Ground Control:

Duke: Houston, the lunar dust smells like gunpowder. [Pause]

England: We copy that, Charlie.

Duke: Really, really a strong odor to it.

First of all, how’s that for a title?

This introduction tells a fascinating story in just 57 words. Admittedly, the unique topic of cosmic moon dust makes it easier to capture readers’ interest. But the author’s choice to include this short exchange between Charles Duke and the Houston Space Center also pulls us right into the scene.

4. The personal story introduction example

Wordtune blog: Take Smart Notes From a Textbook (Using AI + Templates)

Call me crazy, but I’ve spent $11,750 on note-taking tools.

Physical stationery in the form of highlighters, post-its, colored pens, subject notebooks, roller scales—you name it. My beautifully-written, detailed, color-coded notes gave me the feeling of being a productive high-achiever. 

But these notes rarely translated into results. I was consistently in the average tier of students, despite my organized study practices—till year two of highschool. It was then that I realized all I was doing was beautifying text and not understanding information. 

From then on, I set out on a journey to understand which notetaking methods worked for my subjects. I translated this into a 9.2/10 CGPA in my 10th-grade examination and a 1900 score on my SATs. In addition, I was able to achieve these results while reducing my study time by half.

Today, I’m going to show you how to do the same with my step-by-step playbook. This article covers advanced tips for students wanting to upgrade their note-taking skills.

This introduction has a great hook that draws us in immediately: Hold on. $11,000 dollars on pens and post-its?? Then it tells an emotionally engaging story of failure to success. Finally, it clearly prepares us for what’s to come. All these are hallmarks of a strong introduction. 

5. The common problem introduction example

Eleven Writing blog: 7 Reasons Your Business Should Invest In High-quality Blog Articles

Many businesses publish a new blog article, they wait, and then…

Nothing happens.

The anticipated flood of new traffic never materializes. The few visitors that arrive don’t click any links, sign up to your list, or share your article.

The marketing department starts to wonder if a blog is really worth the money and hassle compared to other available channels.

But what if better blog content could change all this?

This introduction was written by one of the SEO experts at Eleven Writing, the writing agency where I work as a writer, editor, and account manager. It features a short and punchy story with a relatable twist. “And then… Nothing happens.” Translation: 🤦

It finishes with an intriguing “What if?” scenario, which leads into an article of tips and practical takeaways. And it’s a reminder of another important point: make sure your article actually fulfills any promises you make in your introduction.

6. The alarming introduction example

European Commission: Consequences of climate change

Climate change affects all regions around the world. Polar ice shields are melting and the sea is rising. In some regions, extreme weather events and rainfall are becoming more common while others are experiencing more extreme heat waves and droughts. We need climate action now, or these impacts will only intensify.

Climate change is a very serious threat, and its consequences impact many different aspects of our lives. Below, you can find a list of climate change’s main consequences.

The above introduction comes from the European Commission and discusses the dangers of climate change. It starts with a bold and disarming statement: climate change affects everybody. 

It discusses just a few of the consequences of climate change, priming the reader for what’s to follow, and then provides a simple bridge into the rest of the article. 

It’s short and to the point, but uses descriptive, intense language to convey urgency and emotionally engage the reader.

7. The recap introduction example

Harvard Business Review: Rescuing ESG from the Culture Wars

In the past year, ESG investing has become caught up in America’s culture wars, as prominent GOP politicians claim that it is a mechanism investors are using to impose a “woke” ideology on companies. Former Vice President Mike Pence has railed against ESG in speeches and in an op-ed. A variety of Republican governors and red-state legislatures are considering executive action and legislation to boycott asset managers that use ESG as a screening tool for their investments. And in Washington, various Congressional committees have pledged to hold hearings in which the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and major asset managers will face public questioning about the legality of ESG investing.

This introductory paragraph from the Harvard Business Review dumps the reader into the throes of a heated political debate.  Whether readers agree or disagree, powerful verbs like “railed against” and politically charged language like “culture wars” and “woke” are sure to grab the attention of those on both sides of the political spectrum. 

8. The common problem intro example #2

KonMari blog: 5 Rituals to Build Self-Acceptance

Self-criticism is an all too common struggle. Even the most successful people in the world experience bouts of imposter syndrome and low self-esteem. But the person you’ll spend the most time with in your life is yourself. We owe it to ourselves to strengthen our self-compassion and embrace self-love.

One of the simplest ways to build self-acceptance is to make it a part of your self-care routine. The following rituals, sourced from mindfulness experts and one of our Master KonMari Consultants, can be completed in as little as five minutes daily. Try one for a month — you’ll be surprised how much better you treat yourself.

This intro comes from the queen of tidiness, Marie Kondo, and manages to both connect with the reader and gracefully plug an advertisement for KonMari’s consulting services. There’s a common idea in SEO that “linking away” in the introduction is bad practice, but in this case, it transforms an educational article into a commercial funnel. 

There’s another neat trick in this intro: it extends a challenge to the reader. Try one of the methods below and see how much better you feel after a month. With a promise like that, who wouldn’t keep scrolling?

9. The 'new angle' introduction example

Crippled CEO Blog: Resistance and Leadership Capital

So much has been written on how important it is to have the right people in your company. All a business is, really, is a collection of people. That’s it. So, it follows that getting the people right is practically the only thing that truly matters.

And while I have seen this repeated ad nauseam, I don’t see a lot of people saying what those right (or wrong) people look like – what attributes they possess.

So, I wanted to talk about one of those attributes, and in particular one that I think isn’t just overlooked, but the very concept itself isn’t known, making it impossible to look out for at all.

This attribute is resistance.

Eric Lupton blogs about his experiences and perspective as a business leader with cerebral palsy. This introduction uses incisive language that will no doubt appeal to business readers and high-powered execs. 

But it also comes from a very personal perspective, like much of Lupton’s writing, and so we feel like we’re about to sit down and speak one-on-one with someone who very clearly knows what they’re talking about. 

It has a conversational tone (“So, I wanted to talk about…”) and promises to reveal to us something that “isn’t just overlooked, but the very concept itself is unknown.” Intrigued? I was. 

Start writing!

A strong introduction paragraph bridges the gap between an intriguing title and an article’s real value. It pulls the reader in with boldness, intrigue, storytelling, or relatability.

It’s an art that takes practice, but these introduction paragraph examples show it can be done right. There are also some great tools out there to help you out. Wordtune’s Spices feature can offer ideas for analogies, examples, statistics, facts, and relevant quotes — all great sources of inspiration for a strong introduction paragraph. 

After that, it’s your turn. Add personality, connect with your readers, and write more introductions, and you’ll be on your way to keeping your audience on the page.  

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Guide to Writing Strong Introductions for Argumentative Essays

Adela B.

Table of contents

Have you ever stared at a blank document, the cursor blinking back at you, as your mind races to conjure the perfect starting line for your argumentative essay? If so, you're in good company.

Opening an essay is often the most daunting part for many students. They oscillate between typing out a line and hastily hitting the backspace, feeling the pressure of that first sentence. After all, first impressions matter, right? So, your introduction should be nothing short of spectacular.

But here's the good news - crafting a powerful introduction for your argumentative essay is not as elusive as it seems. In fact, we've got a few tricks up our sleeve to help you out, and trust us, they work!

This blog post is dedicated to anyone who has ever struggled with introducing their argumentative essay - so essentially, every student ever! We're going to break it down, step by step, showing you the do's and don'ts, the tips and tricks, and even providing you with some solid examples.

Hire Us To Write Your Argumentative Essay

And if you're worried about whether you can do it on your own, don't fret! Our expert argumentative essay writers at Writers Per Hour are always ready to help you.

So, let's dive into the art of crafting a compelling introduction for an argumentative essay, shall we?

Understanding the Purpose of an Introduction

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of writing a killer introduction, it's important to understand why it matters so much.

Your introduction, essentially, sets the stage for your argumentative essay. It is your reader's first glimpse into the argument you're about to unfold. An effective introduction grabs your reader's attention, piques their interest, and provides a clear road map for what's to come in the essay.

In simpler words, the purpose of an introduction in an argumentative essay is threefold:

Engage the reader : A well-crafted introduction acts as a hook, capturing the reader's attention and encouraging them to read further.

Provide background information : It sets the context of the argument by offering necessary background details about the topic.

Present the thesis statement : Arguably the most critical part of your introduction - the thesis statement clearly outlines your position on the argument.

REMEMBER : a great introduction is your ticket to a good grade. It is the first impression you make on your reader. So, if it isn't engaging, concise, and clear, you might lose your reader before they even get to the main argument.

The Anatomy of a Good Argumentative Essay Introduction

Now that you understand the purpose of an introduction, let's break down the structure.

An effective introduction to an argumentative essay will generally have three main sections: a hook, background information, and a thesis statement.

The Hook : This is the first sentence of your introduction, and it needs to grab your reader’s attention. An effective hook could be a surprising fact, a rhetorical question, or an intriguing statement that challenges common perceptions. This needs to be relevant to your topic and should provoke curiosity, pushing the reader to continue.

Background Information : Following the hook, provide some context to your argument. Explain the relevance of your topic or problem, its history or evolution, or the common debates surrounding it. This provides a basic understanding for your reader and sets the stage for your argument.

Thesis Statement : This is where you state your position clearly and concisely. The thesis statement is arguably the most important part of your introduction—it is the crux of your argument and should be compelling and thought-provoking. It needs to clearly indicate what your argument is and give a hint of how you plan to approach it.

IMPORTANT : your introduction is not a place to present all your evidence or explain every aspect of your argument—that's what the body of your essay is for. Instead, your introduction should hint at these things, creating a roadmap for the reader.

Dos and Don’ts of Writing an Introduction for an Argumentative Essay

Crafting a strong introduction for your argumentative essay is about adhering to some key dos and don’ts. Let's take a look at some of these:

1. Engage your reader : Your introduction's first job is to engage the reader. You can achieve this with a compelling hook that draws them into your essay. Remember, first impressions matter!

2. Provide relevant background information : Your reader may not be as knowledgeable about your topic as you are, so be sure to provide some context and background information to help them understand your argument.

3. State your thesis clearly : Your thesis statement should be clear, concise, and debatable. The reader should have no doubts about your stance on the issue.

4. Preview your argument : Give your reader a sense of what's to come by previewing your main points or arguments. This prepares them for the rest of your essay.

1. Don't make your introduction too long : Remember, the introduction is just a sneak peek into your essay, not the main event. Keep it concise and to the point.

2. Don't use clichés : Starting your essay with clichéd phrases or overused quotes can make your introduction feel unoriginal. Instead, aim for a fresh and unique opening line that will pique your reader's interest.

3. Don't be vague : Be clear and precise in your introduction. Vague statements can confuse your reader and make your argument seem weak.

4. Don't forget your audience : Always keep your audience in mind while writing. Your language, tone, and the context you provide should be appropriate for your audience.

REMEMBER : your introduction sets the tone for the rest of your essay, so take your time with it.

Step-by-Step Guide on Writing the Introduction

Crafting an engaging introduction for your argumentative essay is like setting the stage for a compelling drama. It should hook your audience, provide context, and present your stance on the issue. But how can you bring all these elements together effectively? Let's break it down step-by-step. Here's your comprehensive guide to writing a riveting introduction for your argumentative essay.

Step 1: Understanding Your Topic

Before you begin writing, ensure that you thoroughly understand the topic and the argument you wish to present. This means going beyond surface-level research and really digging deep into the subject matter.

Step 2: Define Your Stance

Clearly outline your stance on the argument. This will be the foundation of your thesis statement and guide the tone and direction of your essay.

Step 3: Craft a Compelling Hook 

Begin your introduction with a hook - an interesting fact, a question, a quote, or a compelling statement that grabs the reader's attention.

Step 4: Provide Background Information

Next, provide some context to your reader about the topic at hand. Remember not to delve too deep into the specifics - just enough information to guide the reader to understand the relevance of your argument.

Step 5: State Your Thesis

Lastly, present your thesis statement - a concise summary of your main argument. This should be clear, precise, and strongly worded. The thesis statement will guide the entirety of your essay, so make sure it's impactful.

Step 6: Preview Your Main Points 

Briefly preview the main points that you will elaborate on in the body of your essay. This helps your reader to understand what to expect from the rest of your argumentative essay.

Step 7: Revise and Edit

Always revise and edit your introduction after writing. Look for any grammar mistakes, unclear sentences or ideas, and ensure that your introduction smoothly transitions into the body of your essay.

REMEMBER : the introduction is the first impression your reader gets of your argumentative essay. Make it impactful, clear, and concise, and you'll have set a strong foundation for the rest of your essay. If you're ever in doubt, reach out to our legal essay writing service , and we'll help guide you on your journey to mastering argumentative essays.

Case Study: Good vs. Bad Introduction

Bad Introduction : "The topic I am writing about is the use of social media. It is very popular. People are always on their phones checking their social media accounts. I am going to talk about if it is good or bad."

Analysis : This introduction falls flat for several reasons. It doesn't grab the reader's attention, and the thesis statement is unclear and broad. It doesn't offer any specific viewpoint or direction for the argument to follow.

Good Introduction : "Every minute, approximately 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube, 347,222 stories are posted on Instagram, and 2.4 million snaps are created on Snapchat. The rise of social media platforms is more than a trend - it's a global phenomenon. But as these virtual communities continue to grow, a vital question arises: Is the widespread use of social media enhancing human connection or creating deeper isolation? This essay will delve into the multifaceted impacts of social media, arguing that despite its potential for fostering a global network, it often serves as a platform that promotes isolation and disconnection."

Analysis : This introduction starts with an attention-grabbing statistic, clearly showing the extent of social media usage. The background information provided is concise and relevant, offering enough context without overshadowing the argument. The thesis statement is clear, arguable, and offers a specific direction for the essay to take.

By comparing these two examples, you can see how a well-crafted introduction sets the tone for the entire essay, providing a clear, compelling roadmap for the argument to follow.

Final Thoughts

There you have it! Crafting an engaging introduction for an argumentative essay doesn't have to be an intimidating process. By understanding the crucial elements involved, practicing, and continuously refining your writing, you're well on your way to creating introductions that captivate your audience and set a strong precedent for your arguments.

  • Start with a powerful hook.
  • Provide necessary background information.
  • State your thesis clearly and concisely.
  • Set the stage for your main argument.
  • And most importantly, revise and refine your introduction.

And there's one more thing to bear in mind: you're not alone in this journey. Writing can be challenging, but help is always within reach.

Additional Resources

To further solidify your introduction writing skills and broaden your understanding of argumentative essays, here are some additional resources that are worth diving into:

Posts from Writers Per Hour Blog

  • How to Write Conclusion for an Argumentative Essay
  • How Significant Are Opposing Points of View in an Argument
  • Argumentative Essay Topics Ideas
  • Rebuttal in Argumentative Essay

External Resources

  • Purdue Online Writing Lab: Introduction to Argumentative Essays
  • University of North Carolina Writing Center: Introductions
  • Harvard College Writing Center: How to Write an Essay

Remember, becoming proficient in writing argumentative essays is a journey, not a destination. It takes time, practice, and patience. But don't forget - if you ever find yourself in need of help, our argumentative essay writing service is here for you. Our American essay writing service is adept at crafting essays and can support you in reaching your academic goals.

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Write an Essay Introduction

    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.

  2. How to Write an Introduction, With Examples

    An introduction for an essay or research paper is the first paragraph, which explains the topic and prepares the reader for the rest of the work. Because it's responsible for both the reader's first impression and setting the stage for the rest of the work, the introduction paragraph is arguably the most important paragraph in the work.

  3. How to Write an Introduction Paragraph in 3 Steps

    The 3 Main Parts of an Intro Paragraph. In general, an intro paragraph is going to have three main parts: a hook, context, and a thesis statement. Each of these pieces of the intro plays a key role in acquainting the reader with the topic and purpose of your essay. Below, we'll explain how to start an introduction paragraph by writing an ...

  4. Examples of Great Introductory Paragraphs

    An introductory paragraph, as the opening of a conventional essay, composition, or report, is designed to grab people's attention. It informs readers about the topic and why they should care about it but also adds enough intrigue to get them to continue to read.

  5. How to Start an Essay: 4 Introduction Paragraph Examples

    Essay introduction examples. To guide you in your essay writing journey, we've also provided a few good introductions for essays. Since different essay types have different types of introduction paragraphs, we've provided examples of how to start an essay for the four main essay types (narrative, descriptive, argumentative, and expository essay).

  6. How to Write an Introduction: 3 Tips for Writing an Introductory Paragraph

    How to Write an Introduction: 3 Tips for Writing an Introductory Paragraph. An introductory paragraph summarizes the main points of an academic paper or essay, preparing readers for what's to come. Read on for tips on how to write an introduction that hooks your readers. An introductory paragraph summarizes the main points of an academic ...

  7. Writing Successful Introductory Paragraphs

    Writing Successful Introductory Paragraphs. This handout is available for download in DOCX format and PDF format. In the most abstract sense, the function of an introductory paragraph is to move the reader from the world of daily life into the textual and analytical space of an essay.

  8. Introductions

    The opening paragraph of your paper will provide your readers with their initial impressions of your argument, your writing style, and the overall quality of your work. ... Your entire essay will be a response to this question, and your introduction is the first step toward that end. Your direct answer to the assigned question will be your ...

  9. How to Write an Essay Introduction

    1 Key points for writing a good essay introduction. 1.1 Relevance of the problem. 1.2 Goal and task. 1.3 Knowledge of the problem. 2 Approaches to writing an essay introduction. 3 How to use an outline while writing an introduction. 4 Tips for writing essay introductions.

  10. How to Write a Great College Essay Introduction

    Good example. I wiped the sweat from my head and tried to catch my breath. I was nearly there—just one more back tuck and a strong dismount and I'd have nailed a perfect routine. Some students choose to write more broadly about themselves and use some sort of object or metaphor as the focus.

  11. Introductions

    In general, your introductions should contain the following elements: Orienting Information. When you're writing an essay, it's helpful to think about what your reader needs to know in order to follow your argument. Your introduction should include enough information so that readers can understand the context for your thesis.

  12. How to Write an Introduction to an Essay: 7 Interesting Ways

    1. Ask the reader a question they can relate to. Address the reader directly by posing a question that is relevant to the topic of the paper. The question should also be something that will catch the attention of most people, thereby painting the topic in terms that a reader can relate to. [7]

  13. Awesome Guide on How to Write an Essay Introduction

    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.

  14. PDF Strategies for Essay Writing

    number of paragraphs in your essay should be determined by the number of steps you need to take to build your argument. To write strong paragraphs, try to focus each paragraph on one main point—and begin a new paragraph when you are moving to a new point or example. A strong paragraph in an academic essay will usually include these three ...

  15. How to Start an Essay: 7 Tips for a Knockout Essay Introduction

    Intriguing ways to start an essay. There are many different ways to write an essay introduction. Each has its benefits and potential drawbacks, and each is best suited for certain kinds of essays.Although these essay introductions use different rhetorical devices and prime the reader in different ways, they all achieve the same goal: hooking the reader and enticing them to keep reading.

  16. Four Examples of Introductory Paragraph for Your Essay or Paper

    In today's post, we provide four examples of introductory paragraphs for different types of essays. We hope these examples will give you some inspiration to start writing. 1. Argumentative Essay. An argumentative essay clearly defines the author's stance on a topic or debate, often providing evidence and looking at both sides of an issue.

  17. How To Write An Essay Introduction: A Step-by-Step Guide

    Determine Your Essay Statement: Hook the Reader: Provide Overview and Preview: Crafting Your Outline: Edit and Revise: Conclusion: Writing a strong introduction is one of the most important parts of crafting a polished essay. The opening paragraph sets the tone for your argument and piques the reader's interest right from the start.

  18. Writing Successful Introductory Paragraphs

    Writing Successful Introductory Paragraphs. In the most abstract sense, the function of an introductory paragraph is to move the reader from the world of daily life into the textual and analytical space of an essay. In a more concrete sense, an introduction performs three essential functions:

  19. Introduction Paragraph: How To Write An Introduction Paragraph (with

    A good introduction paragraph will entice the reader and get them engaged in what is being written about. There are three key elements to the introduction paragraph, as follows: An introduction to the point of the essay. A hook to engage the reader. A thesis statement.

  20. The Introductory Paragraph

    The Introductory Paragraph. The paragraph that begins an essay causes students the most trouble, yet carries the most importance. Although its precise construction varies from genre to genre (and from essay to essay), good introductory paragraphs generally accomplish the same tasks and follow a few basic patterns.

  21. 9.4 Writing Introductory and Concluding Paragraphs

    An introduction serves the following purposes: Establishes your voice and tone, or your attitude, toward the subject. Introduces the general topic of the essay. States the thesis that will be supported in the body paragraphs. First impressions are crucial and can leave lasting effects in your reader's mind, which is why the introduction is so ...

  22. Introductions

    Gordon Taylor, A Student's Writing Guide. Your introduction is the first thing your marker will read and should be approximately 10% of your word count. Within the first minute they should know if your essay is going to be a good one or not. An introduction has several components but the most important of these are the last two we give here.

  23. 9 Examples of Eye-Catching Introduction Paragraphs [2023]

    This introductory paragraph from the Harvard Business Review dumps the reader into the throes of a heated political debate. Whether readers agree or disagree, powerful verbs like "railed against" and politically charged language like "culture wars" and "woke" are sure to grab the attention of those on both sides of the political ...

  24. 4.2: Introductory Paragraphs

    No headers. A strong introductory paragraph is crucial to the development of an effective persuasive essay. Without an introductory paragraph that properly introduces both the topic and the writer's argument, persuasive essays fail to convince the reader of the validity of the argument. Since the introductory paragraph contains the thesis statement, or the core argument and purpose of the ...

  25. How to Write Introduction for Argumentative Essays [EXAMPLES]

    Keep it concise and to the point. 2. Don't use clichés: Starting your essay with clichéd phrases or overused quotes can make your introduction feel unoriginal. Instead, aim for a fresh and unique opening line that will pique your reader's interest. 3. Don't be vague: Be clear and precise in your introduction.

  26. Paragraph Starters for Essays

    A good sentence starter is one that easily indicates what the tone and layout of the paragraph is going to be. If the paragraph is going to be a compare and contrast style of content, then it ...

  27. 92 Essay Transition Words to Know, With Examples

    Abruptly switching topics in essays can be jarring; however, transition words can smooth the change for the convenience of the reader.Moreover, you can use essay transition words to start a paragraph, sentence, or clause more naturally.Additionally, essay transition words can connect new information to the previous statement so you don't have to say everything at once.

  28. How to master A Level Geography 20-mark essay questions

    Those who can link back to the question but also between their paragraphs will have the best chance of performing well in their essay questions. Conclusion. After completing the main body, you now need to finish your essay with a conclusion. Just like the introduction, this should be roughly 10% of the total essay length. The main aim of the ...