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How to Write a Good Introduction

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❶I am horrible at writing essays.

Introduction:




Context and background most likely belong in your introduction. The majority of the time, your thesis, or main argument, should occur somewhere towards the end of your introduction. It is a typical convention to put your thesis as the last sentence of your first paragraph. Provide only helpful, relevant information. Anecdotes can be an interesting opener to your essay, but only if the anecdote in question is truly relevant to your topic. Are you writing an essay about Maya Angelou?

An anecdote about her childhood might be relevant, and even charming. Are you writing an essay about safety regulations in roller coasters? Go ahead and add an anecdote about a person who was injured while riding a roller coaster. Are you writing an essay about Moby Dick? Perhaps an anecdote about that time your friend read Moby Dick and hated it is not the best way to go. The same is true for statistics, quotes, and other types of information about your topic.

Starting your essay with a definition is a good example of one of these conventions. At this point, starting with a definition is a bit boring, and will cause your reader to tune out. If you are having trouble with your intro, feel free to write some, or all, of your body paragraphs, and then come back to it. Convince the reader that your essay is worth reading.

Your reader should finish the introduction thinking that the essay is interesting or has some sort of relevance to their lives. A good introduction is engaging; it gets the audience thinking about the topic at hand and wondering how you will be proving your argument.

Good ways to convince your reader that your essay is worthwhile is to provide information that the reader might question or disagree with. Your story should be a small episode, not a full blown story with characters and plot and setting.

Read some of the anecdotes in the Reader's Digest special sections such as "Life in These United States" to learn how to tell small but potent stories. If you do it right, your story will capture the reader's interest so that he or she will continue to read your paper. Remember, it is an introduction, not the paper. A surprising statement is a favorite introductory technique of professional writers.

There are many ways a statement can surprise a reader. Sometimes the statement is surprising because it is disgusting. Sometimes it is joyful. Sometimes it is shocking. Sometimes it is surprising because of who said it.

Sometimes it is surprising because it includes profanity. Professional writers have honed this technique to a fine edge. It is not used as much as the first two patterns, but it is used. People like to know what celebrities say and do. Dropping the name of a famous person at the beginning of a paper usually gets the reader's attention. It may be something that person said or something he or she did that can be presented as an interest grabber.

You may just mention the famous person's name to get the reader's interest. The famous person may be dead or alive. The famous person may be a good person like the Pope, or he or she may be a bad person like John Wilkes Booth. Of course, bringing up this person's name must be relevant to the topic.

Even though the statement or action may not be readily relevant, a clever writer can convince the reader that it is relevant. This technique is quite commonly used, but it must be carefully used or the writer defeats his whole purpose of using one of these patterns, to get the reader's interest.

In this pattern, the writer simply states straight out what the topic of his paper is going to be about. It is the technique that most student writers use with only modest success most of the time, but good professional writers use it too.

These patterns can give a "lift" to your writing. Try using two or three different patterns for your introductory paragraph and see which introductory paragraph is best; it's often a delicate matter of tone and of knowing who your audience is.

Do not forget, though, that your introductory paragraph should also include a thesis statement to let your reader know what your topic is and what you are going to say about that topic.

Things NOT to do in an introductory paragraph: Never suggest that you don't know what you're talking about or that you're not enough of an expert in this matter that your opinion would matter. Much like a watch has components that, when put together, make it work properly, an introductory paragraph must have its own individual components for it to work. The first step needed is to create a topic sentence. Your topic sentence should foreshadow the rest of the essay by telling the reader the main idea of your paper.

The topic sentence should also capture the reader's attention or "hook" them into your essay. You want to give them a reason to continue reading. You can accomplish this by starting off with a quote, questions, or breaking a social stigma with an interesting fact. If for example, you are writing an essay about coffee, then you may start it off like this: For example, "Coffee is an addictive drug because it stimulates the nervous system, causes increased alertness, and can be addictive. Leading off the topic sentence, you should now tell the reader a little more about the essay.

This is a fine line, as you don't want to give too much away. Briefly describe your topic without going into any details that will be discussed in your body paragraphs.


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If you are having trouble with your intro, feel free to write some, or all, of your body paragraphs, and then come back to it. You might find it a bit easier to write your introduction once you’re more comfortable with the essay as a whole. Convince the reader that your essay is worth reading.

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Writing an introductory paragraph is easier than it may seem. The key to a successful intro is knowing the components that go into it. Much like a watch has components that, when put together, make it work properly, an introductory paragraph must have its own individual components for it to work.

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The introductory paragraph should also include the thesis statement, a kind of mini-outline for the paper: it tells the reader what the essay is about. The last sentence of this paragraph must also contain a transitional "hook" which moves the reader to the first paragraph of the body of the paper. A good introduction in an argumentative essay acts like a good opening statement in a trial. Just like a lawyer, a writer must present the issue at hand, give background, and put forth the main argument -- all in a logical, intellectual and persuasive way.

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To learn how to write an essay introduction in 3 easy steps, keep reading! Think about how narrow or how broad your introduction should be and what you’ll include in your opening paragraph to help readers understand what you’re writing about. If you’re writing an evaluation essay about Michael Keaton’s portrayal of Batman. 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.