Every written essay or assignment must start with an introduction. An introductory paragraph, such as the opening of a normal essay, composition, or report, is designed to attract the attention of the reader. It keeps the reader informed about the topic and reason they should care about it, but adds enough intrigue to keep them reading. In a nutshell, the opening paragraph is your first opportunity to make a good impression.
It does not matter what you are writing; a strong introduction is important to set a tone for your essay. Whether blog posts, high school essays, the right introduction can get readers interested and get them reading. You can take a look at the examples below to inspire you to write a good introduction to your next essay. You can examine the various examples below to find inspiration to craft a good introduction when writing an essay.
Important elements in essay introduction
Before diving into the various example that can help you while writing your next essay, there is a need for us to consider how to write a good essay. What are those important elements that are needed to appear in an essay before we can deem it as being acceptable and good?
Set a Hook to grab the reader’s attention
The first sentence will determine or introduce the tone of your essay; therefore, it would be best to spend ample time to make it effective. Do not use long, mindless sentences; make sure it is concise, clear, and interesting, and also ensure it is relevant to the following sentences. In addition, the Hook should attract the attention of the readers and present the general topic. Here are some strategies you can use to write a hook:
- Begin with an exciting fact or stat concerning the topic
- Ask a question, ensure to make it rhetorical.
- A quotation; should be well known or highly educative.
- Share a story (funny story) that accompanies your topic.
- An extended summary
- Stay away from cliches and generalizations.
- Write about a popular misconception regarding your topic.
- Definitions from the dictionary
- Set a scenario for your story: why, where, who, when, what, how?
If you are writing academic essays, you should not worry too much about thinking of a very creative or inspiring hook – it’s more important than the first sentence engages the reader in your essay and gives a good understanding of what it entails.
Establish the context of the topic
After writing the hook, you should also write a sentence or specifying the focus of your essay. What your paper is about and the importance of your topic should be a part of the introduction. This section may contain basic information regarding your topic in order to establish the essay context. It can include the following:
- The context either historically, geographically, or socially.
- Defining terms that are not familiar
- A summary of the latest academic debates and theories
- The information provided should be comprehensive; however, it must also be focused and relevant.
- The details here should not be too much – you can cite points that you will later go back to, but save the evidence and interpretation for the main part of the essay.
Make the purpose of the essay known (Thesis statement)
This is the section where you trim down your focus and emphasize on the purpose of your essay. This is called a Thesis statement – a sentence or two that summarizes your focus and general argument. This section of the introductory paragraph is important for setting the boundaries of your essay and for letting the reader know exactly what aspect of the topic you will be dealing with.
Usually, the thesis statement assumes the form of a strong argument in favor of a certain position. However, it is more like a map of the key points that the essay will illustrate and analyze in Expository or analytical essays. The thesis statement should include:
- The topic (it must be specific)
- Your basic point concerning the topic
- The discussion point that will be included in the essay
- Lastly, always ensure that your thesis is clear, obvious to the reader. Most of the time, it will be the last sentence in the introductory section.
Always do your revision
This is not likely to be part of an introduction; however, it might turn out to be the most important part. Sometimes, it might be good to delay your introduction until you are through with the writing or somewhere in between. This is very important as it is possible that you divert the direction or focus of your argument while researching and writing. Although, depending on how versatile you are with writing, the introduction can come first. However, in all you do, whether you write it later or before the main part of the essay, always go back and check whether it is still correlating with the essay content.
Examples of an essay introduction
“Looking back on a childhood filled with events and memories, I find it rather difficult to pick one that leaves me with the fabled “warm and fuzzy feelings.” As the daughter of an Air Force major, I had the pleasure of traveling across America in many moving trips. I have visited the monstrous trees of the Sequoia National Forest, stood on the edge of the Grand Canyon, and have jumped on the beds at Caesar’s Palace in Lake Tahoe.”
This example rather starts with a short story, it might not sound funny, but it is written in a way for the reader to easily connect with the story. When trying to include a short story at the beginning of an introduction, ensure it is at the emotional level and always make it clear enough to give the reader the right understanding that will make them connect effortlessly.
“The afternoon grew so glowering that in the sixth inning, the arc lights were turned on–always a wan sight in the daytime, like the burning headlights of a funeral procession. Aided by the gloom, Fisher was slicing through the Sox rookies, and Williams did not come to bat in the seventh. He was second up in the eighth. This was almost certainly his last time to come to the plate in Fenway Park, and instead of merely cheering, as we had at his three previous appearances, we stood, all of us, and applauded.” – John Updike, Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu.
This is also similar to the first example; it starts with a short anecdote; however, John Updike wrote it in a more descriptive way.
“Throughout history and through a cross-section of cultures, women have transformed their appearance to conform to a beauty ideal. Ancient Chinese aristocrats bound their feet as a show of femininity; American and European women in the 1800s cinched in their waists so tightly, some suffered internal damage; in some African cultures, women continue to wear plates in their lower lips, continually stretching the skin to receive plates of larger size. The North American ideal of beauty has continually focused on women’s bodies: the tiny waist of the Victorian period, the boyish figure in vogue during the flapper era, and the voluptuous curves that were the measure of beauty between the 1930s and 1950s. Current standards emphasize a toned, slender look, one that exudes fitness, youth, and health. According to psychologist Eva Szekely, “Having to be attractive at this time… means unequivocally having to be thin. In North America today, thinness is a precondition for being perceived by others and oneself as healthy.” However, this relentless pursuit of thinness is not just an example of women trying to look their best; it is also a struggle for control, acceptance, and success.” – Susan Chisholm for English 115 at the University of Victoria.
This is one of those “Hook” I have fallen in love with while writing an essay. It starts from a historical perspective. It takes you back in time and gradually takes you closer to the present-day reality (which is likely to the Essay Topic). Susan was able to find a historical hook that perfectly relates to her topic. And this is also very important, do not get too excited to choose a historical “Hook” that you veer away from the context of the topic. It must relate to it, and in fact, must explain it more.
“They covered the precious mahogany coffin with a brown amalgam of rocks, decomposed organisms, and weeds. It was my turn to take the shovel, but I felt too ashamed to dutifully send her off when I had not properly said goodbye. I refused to throw dirt on her. I refused to let go of my grandmother, to accept a death I had not seen coming, to believe that an illness could not only interrupt but steal a beloved life.” – BURYING GRANDMA, College Essay
An introductory section like this directly talks about the context of the essay, although, in an emotional way. It is also a story, but it explains reality, the readers might not be present in the story. Yet, the writer created some emotional hook to carry them along.
“Did you know that 7 out of 10 students have cheated at least once in the past year? Did you know that 50 percent of those students have cheated more than twice? These shocking statistics are from a survey of 9,000 U.S. high school students.” – Cheating in America, Thoughtful Learning
Using statistics regarding the topic has always been a successful way to carry the reader along in an essay. The statistic springs up curiosity and makes the reader wants to know more about the essay topic. However, while trying o employ a method like this in your introduction, ensure it is exciting, and it is not generic. Always go out of your way to find a statistic that will be uncommon to the readers.
“Throw out the bottles and boxes of drugs in your house. A new theory suggests that medicine could be bad for your health, which should at least come as good news to people who cannot afford to buy expensive medicine. However, it is a blow to the medicine industry and an even bigger blow to our confidence in the progress of science. This new theory argues that healing is at our fingertips: we can be healthy by doing Reiki on a regular basis.” – An argumentative essay from Bogazici University
This introduction makes use of an exciting fact; it started with a hook that will successfully spark interest towards the essay in the reader.
The rate at which unemployment is growing makes everyone wonder about the future of the youths and the younger generations. From hunger, homelessness, and hopelessness, unemployment has a way of affecting whoever is experiencing it. The question now is, what is the government doing to curb this widespread problem?
Asking a question (most times rhetorical) is one of the best ways to start an essay. This method has been found useful for a persuasive essay or other types of essay that requires you to compel your reader into believing an opinion.
Writing an essay might not be simple as it seems, and most especially the introductory section. The section might look smaller, but it is a point that determines whether your reader will continue to read further. It is a place where the body of the essay will be introduced; therefore, any mistake here will work against all the effort you have put into writing the whole essay. And that’s why we have carefully selected successfully written essays to guide you while writing an introduction, so you don’t end up making common mistakes that most people make.