How to Write an Essay Introduction

“This is a story I want to tell you about the time I almost set myself on fire in my car while going 200 miles per hour and trying to get away from the cops.” – Fortunately, I don’t have such a story to tell, but I bet that I grabbed your attention. “How did I do that?” – you may wonder. Well, that’s what we call an effective hook. Basically, it is a catchy opening line that grabs a reader’s attention and makes them want to read further. A powerful hook and an engaging introduction are two key elements for success when writing an essay. If you may also be wondering how to write an introduction for an essay, continue to read on! This is the ultimate guide for writing a perfect essay introduction to get your readers engaged.

Introduction Definition

In a nutshell, the introduction paragraph of an essay is the first paragraph of the paper. Therefore, it is also the first thing your reader will see in your essay.

What is the purpose of an introduction paragraph? A good introduction performs two functions. Firstly, it tells the reader what you are going to be talking about in your paper; simply put, it should identify the essay topic and give some insight about the essay’s main point. Secondly, it has to evoke interest and motivate the audience to read the rest of your paper.

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How Long Should an Introduction Be?

Generally, there are no strict rules about how long an introductory paragraph should be. Experienced essay writers will usually shape the lengths of their introductions with the overall length of the paper in mind. For example, if you are writing a paper following the standard five-paragraph essay structure, you would want to keep your opening clause concise and have it fit into a single paragraph. However, when writing longer papers, let’s say a 30-page paper, your introduction can take up multiple paragraphs, and even several pages.

Although no strict rules apply, experienced writers recommend that your introductory paragraph(s) be between 8% and 9% of your essay’s total word count.

What Makes a Good Introduction

A powerful introductory paragraph should meet all of these requirements:

What Are the 3 Parts of an Introduction Paragraph?

What should an introduction include? It usually consists of 3 parts: a hook, connections, and a thesis statement. Let’s look at each element in detail.

Part 1: Essay Hook

A hook is one of the most effective introduction starters for an essay. A hook has the purpose of catching the reader’s attention (always in a single sentence). In other words, it is an attention grabber.

Now, let’s answer the question “how to make an interesting hook?” There are several different strategies you can use to create a powerful hook:

And here is what to avoid when using a hook:

After pitching an effective hook, you should provide a broad overview of your main topic and state some background information for the subject matter of your paper. If you are wondering how to start an essay introduction, the best way to do so is by providing a broad explanation of your theme and then leading your readers into specific points. Simply put, you should first give some general information and then gradually narrow it down into your specific points.

The 5 Types of Hooks for Writing

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

  1. A Common Misconception — a good trick is to begin with is to claim that something that  your readers believe in is not true

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

  1. Statistics — statistical data can be a perfect hook for persuasive essays and serious topics that require delving into numbers.

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.”

  1. Personal Story — sometimes personal stories can be an appropriate hook, but only if they can 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.”

  1. 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.”

  1. Thesis Statement — some essay writers start directly with their thesis statement. The main trick here is that there is actually no trick.

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

Part 2: Connections

After you have provided a hook and some background information regarding your essay topic, move on to giving readers a better understanding of what you are going to talk about throughout your paper. In this part of your introduction, you should briefly mention your key ideas in the same order in which you will go on to discuss them, and gradually lead your reader(s) to your thesis statement.

Some of the key questions to answer in this part of your introduction are:

Answering these questions in 2-3 sentences each will help you ensure that you provide your readers with complete information about the topic of your essay. However, be sure to keep these sentences concise and straight to the point.

Your main goal is to gradually move from general information about your subject matter to something more specific (i.e. your thesis statement). To make this process more simple, think of your introduction as of an upside-down triangle. In this triangle, the attention grabber (read hook) is at the top, followed by a broader explanation of the topic, and ending with a very specific claim. Here is a simple tip for how to write an essay introduction following this “upside-down triangle” strategy:

Part 3: The Thesis Statement

If you are wondering how to write an introduction in the best possible way, you should pay special attention to formulating your core statement.

Without a doubt, your paper’s thesis is the most important part. It has to be included in the introductory clause of your paper—as your entire essay revolves around this statement. In a nutshell, a thesis statement provides your audience with a brief summary of the paper’s key claim. Your key claim is what you are going to be revealing or arguing about in the body section of your paper. As a rule, a good thesis statement is very concise (disclosed in one sentence), accurate, specific, clear, and focused. Your thesis should typically appear at the end of your introductory paragraph/section.

To give you an even better idea of what a good thesis should look like, here is a sample statement for an essay about the importance of an adequate work-life balance:

Thesis Statement Example: “To boost the overall productivity of employees, large corporations should create comfortable and flexible working schedules for their workers, therefore, helping them have better work-life balance.”

Catchy Introductions for Different Essay Types

Although introductory paragraphs usually follow the same set structure, the content placed within its text may differ. The differences in context are defined by the type of essay you will work on, as well as its overall purpose.

When it comes to writing an academic essay, students face four key types of papers most often. These include narrative, analytical, persuasive, and personal essays. Since the purpose of each essay type is different, it is implied that different content should appear within these introductory paragraphs. Here is a complete guide for different paper types with good essay introduction examples:

Narrative Introduction

Narrative introduction example: “ONCE there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Lucy, and Edmund. This story is about something that happened to them when they were sent away from London during the war because of the air-raids. They were sent to the house of an old Professor who lived in the country, far, far away from everything. He had no wife and he lived in a very large house. He was a very old man with thick white hair. The children liked him at once.” The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, C. S. Lewis

Analytical Introduction

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 are indeed bringing 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? 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

Persuasive introduction example: “Most people know that Abraham Lincoln lived in a log cabin, wore a stovepipe hat, wrote the Gettysburg Address, and led America through a terrible war. But did you know that our sixteenth president loved to tell silly stories, read funny books, collect jokes and puns, and laugh, laugh, laugh? This unusual biography reveals many reasons why Lincoln was a towering president. It wasn’t just his speeches, his wisdom, or his height. It was his rich sense of humor, too. What better way to thrive in tough times (and to lead others through) than to laugh, loudly and long?” Lincoln Tells a Joke: How Laughter Saved the President (and the Country), Kathleen Krull

Personal Introduction

Personal introduction example: “That felicity, when I reflected on it, has induced me sometimes to say, that were it offered to my choice, I should have no objection to a repetition of the same life from its beginning, only asking the advantages authors have in a second edition to correct some faults of the first. So I might, besides correcting the faults, change some sinister accidents and events of it for others more favorable. But though this was denied, I should still accept the offer. Since such a repetition is not to be expected, the next thing most like living one’s life over again seems to be a recollection of that life, and to make that recollection as durable as possible by putting it down in writing.” The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Franklin

Tips for Writing a Winning Introduction Paragraph

As you now know how to start a good introduction and have some clear introduction examples to get you started, let’s quickly go through the key takeaways of what you should and shouldn’t do when writing your introduction.

Dos

Don’ts

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?”, “How to conduct research?”, etc. Yet, one of the biggest questions is “How do you write a good introduction?” Hopefully, our guide helped you grasp the key takeaways for how to create a flawless introduction paragraph for an essay. But if you are still struggling with that, keep in mind that you can always send us your “do my homework” request to get professional assistance from our essay writing service. Here , we employ only the best essay writers who are committed to students’ success.

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