How to Write an English Essay Introduction

How to Write an English Essay Introduction

Knowing how to write an English essay introduction is very important because the introductory paragraph acts as the map that outlines your essay to the reader while pointing out the main argument that will be developed in the essay. An English essay is a form of argumentative writing that includes several paragraphs and it is written on a specific topic on the basis of the reading of the author. The purpose or aim of any English essay ought to be deduced from the question or title wording and it should be defined from the introduction. The introduction can be defined as the first paragraph of the essay.

While writing an English essay, you should say something using your ideas of a given subject. You should also present your ideas the way you understand them. You ought to put more emphasis on working with the ideas of other people instead of simply reproducing their work or words. Focus on showing your voice clearly. When you refer to other people’s work and ideas, make it explicit through a referencing system.

Why you should know how to write an English essay introduction

The introduction of an English essay gives readers first impression of that essay. It is therefore an important part of the essay. In most cases, English essays start with a brief orientation which is usually in form of a simple, general statement which leads readers to the topic. It does this while showing readers how the narrow, specific topic is related to the bigger discipline or issues of the field. This is usually followed by a thesis statement or a concise response to the question of the essay.

In some cases, the introduction outlines the argument that will be presented in the essay. It might be useful to perceive the introduction of an essay as a form of writing that assumes a funnel shape because it moves from general to specific. However, drafting such an introduction is not easy and that is precisely why you should take time to master the art of writing a good introduction for an English essay.

How to write an English Essay introduction step by step

  1. Introduce the topic or restate the essay question

You need to introduce the topic of your essay or restate the question to make your readers know what the essay will be about and want to continue reading. Introducing the topic or restating the question is very important because it shows the readers or the examiner that you clearly understand what the question requires you to do. It also keeps you focused while writing the essay. Additionally, it enables you to demonstrate the ability to use different vocabularies while manipulating sentence constructions


Essay question:

What benefits do big city dwellers enjoy that people in the rural areas do not enjoy? What problems do people in the rural areas face and how can these problems be solved?

Sample introduction construction:

“There are many benefits that are enjoyed by big city dwellers including… Some of the problems that people in the rural areas face include… These problems can be solved by…”

  1. Provide background or contextual information

The introduction should include background information to establish a context for the essay. You can use quotations, definitions of key terms or interesting facts to provide background information. Including background information enables readers to understand the reason for writing your essay better. It also shows that you have conducted extensive research on the topic or issue that you are writing your English essay on.

  1. Outline the essay

Your introduction can have a sentence that outlines how you will develop your essay. You can outline your essay in the introduction by including a statement that specifies how you will subdivide the essay into sections in order to tackle the topic better or to address the question in details. Such a sentence can use wording like, “I will try to look at/discuss/compare, consider/examine…”

  1. Present a thesis statement

A thesis statement refers to one or two sentences that present the main idea of the essay. This statement limits the essay to your topic as introduced in the introduction. It can also answer the essay question in a brief manner or give your stance on the topic of the essay.

  1. Discuss the assumptions

If you will make assumptions in the essay, you can state them in the introduction. This will enable you to carry readers along as you make your argument.

English essay introduction samples

You will know how to write an English Essay introduction with ease when you read samples that experienced writers have written.

Here are examples of introductions that you can use as your writing guide:

Example 1:

Despite being a writing genre, the history of English essays dates back to many years yet they remain common assessment assignments for most academic courses. The modern world essays differ from ancient essays, though they share vital characteristics. They are all short prose pieces that present the perspective of the writer on a specified topic while supporting the perspective with a logical argument and sound evidence. In the academic parameters, writing an essay requires time, intellectual engagement and effort, but there are high learning dividends. Essay remains a valuable assessment and a learning medium.


This introduction starts with four sentences that introduce the topic while preparing readers for a thesis statement which is stated in the fifth sentence, “Essay remains a valuable assessment and learning medium.” In the first and the second sentences, the introduction presents contextual and background information while the third sentence outlines the characteristics of an essay. The second sentence also acts as a hook because it presents stunning facts about essays. In the fourth sentence, the author highlights the challenges of writing an essay, after which a thesis statement is presented in the fifth sentence.

Example 2:

Writing an essay is a frustrating and difficult task to many students. Although many students know what they intend to say, expressing themselves in an essay becomes a problem. Apart from the need for addressing topic complexities, they are required to adhere to the set conventions of writing a formal essay. This task appears daunting. However, when the task of writing an academic essay is broken down, it becomes easy. Actually, addressing the three major elements of essay writing makes it possible for every student to come up with an effective academic essay. These key elements are clarity, organization and focus.


This introduction starts by hooking and preparing the reader in the first sentences before presenting the thesis statement that, “These key elements are clarity, organization and focus.” The first sentence presents general, contextual information which is also expanded by the second and third sentences. In the fourth sentence, the idea of writing an essay being difficult is reinforced. In the fifth sentence, the author provides answers to the essay problem by stating that, “when the task of writing an academic essay is broken down, it becomes easy.”In the sixth sentence, the author suggests the three components that will make writing an essay easier. This prepares readers for a thesis statement. This is an effective introduction because it draws readers from the general statements to narrow specifics.

Additional tips on how to write an English essay introduction

  • After writing the introduction, read it carefully to ensure that it serves its purposes

The introduction of an English essay should perform its main purposes which include sparking readers’ interest, moving readers to a narrow thesis in a graceful manner and presenting the main idea or thesis statement of an essay.

  • Write your introduction last

When you write the introduction of your English essay first, you introduce something that you do not know properly. It is therefore important to leave the introduction and write it after the body of the English essay. Writing the introduction after you have written the body makes the task much easier because you know what exactly you want to introduce to your readers.

  • Avoid a long introduction

Generally, a good introduction should be shorter than a body paragraph. Do not start developing your ideas in this section because you should do that in the body paragraphs. Therefore, make sure that your introduction serves its main purpose of simply introducing the essay.

  • Use sample introductions

Using sample introductions is one of the most effective ways that will enable you to know how to write an English essay introduction. Read as many sample introductions as possible before you write your English essay introduction especially if you are writing this essay for the first time. Try to master how writers present different elements of their introductions such as background information and thesis statement.

How to Write an English Essay Introduction: References

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