The opening paragraph of an essay is the first thing a reader will see and will help set the mood for the rest of the paper. It signals what the paper is about and provides relevant background information, but most importantly it needs to capture the reader’s interest quickly so that he or she feels compelled to keep reading. The following is a simple guide for writing an essay introduction:
When students first start to write essays, they tend to want to start with the introduction and move into the body paragraphs. As you progress through the years, you may want to try writing the essay core (body paragraphs first). The technique allows your essay to take shape, which you can then use to develop a start and finish to frame your arguments and bring the entire assignment together.
The first sentence of the essay should grab the reader’s attention. This is known as the hook and there are many techniques you can use to successfully fascinate, entice, and shock the reader so that he or she feels compelled to continue. Consider using a quotation, a question, a fact, an anecdote, or a joke to capture the reader and lead him or her to your main argument (thesis statement).
The next few sentences should put your hook into context by relating it to the topic and giving the reader the appropriate background information he or she needs to know. Professional writers will often draw the reader closer to the topic in much the same way one would increase the magnifying power of a telescope or microscope. Start broad and provide context until the topic comes into a narrow focus.
After putting your work into context, you need to briefly summarize the questions you will be answering as well as the sub-topics you will be covering. In a five-paragraph essay, you would likely have three sub-topics making up your body paragraphs. Each one should be dedicated to a single point that you are making; you can use each topic sentence from these paragraphs as a starting point to rewrite a summary following the background context.
Finally, you need to end the introduction with a thesis statement that tells the reader precisely what you are going to be arguing for or against. A good thesis statement should be clear and concise and make a straightforward point. This is the focal point of the entire assignment and every subsequent paragraph and sentence must refer back to this single statement.
If you feel you still need more help writing an introduction, ask your teacher or tutor for an example so that you know exactly what is expected of you. There are also numerous academic writing services that offer free resources and examples you can use to develop your skills. You can also hire an academic writing service to review, edit, proofread or write your essay so that you have more time to focus on other responsibilities.