As a student, knowing how to write an essay introduction is very important because every essay must start with an introduction and essays are some of the most common high school, college and university assignments. An introduction is the opening or first paragraph of an essay. This paragraph is very important because it serves the purpose of stimulating the interest of the reader while providing relevant background information that is necessary in understanding the entire essay. It also acts like a map that guides the reader while presenting the thesis statement of the essay. To be effective, an essay introduction should address the “why,” “what,” and “how” of the essay topic.
To ensure that the essay that you write accomplishes its purpose, ask yourself the following questions:
At first, answering these questions through the introduction can seem intimidating. However, when you prepare yourself properly and work a little bit harder, the task of writing an excellent introduction becomes easy. While writing the introduction of your essay, try to give readers a summary of the problem that you will be addressing, provide contextual information, discuss the previous studies on your essay topic and tell readers the approach that you will take in discussing the topic. Apart from motivating your readers to continue reading the essay, the introduction should enable readers to judge the importance or relevance of your essay.
1. Consider the angle to take on your essay topic
By the time you start writing the introduction, you already know the topic of your essay. You also have an idea of what you intend to tell readers about the topic. For your essay to be good, it must have an angle or a specific way of presenting information or argument to the readers. Therefore, think about the question that you will be addressing in the essay and what makes it important.
2. Know the target audience
Perhaps, your target audience includes your professor or teacher but it is important that you consider a general audience too. Determine the most appropriate information to convey to the audience or what will make your discussion helpful to them. For instance, is providing certain background information important to your target audience? Do you need to define certain terms? Your answers to these questions will enable you to determine the best information to include in the introduction.
3. Determine the most appropriate hook to use
The first sentence that pulls readers in is the hook. It should make readers interested in reading the rest of the essay by making them intrigued, outranged or fascinated. You can open your essay introduction with a provocative statistic or a catchy saying. However, make the opening sentence related to the overall purpose and topic of your essay. There are different hooks that you should consider for your introduction. They include an interesting statistic or fact, an anecdote, a question or a quotation. You can also start with a definition but avoid a dictionary definition because this will have nothing to add to your essay.
4. Create an outline for your introduction
Outlining the introduction might be helpful especially if you want to present comprehensive information through it. By creating an outline, you will know where to put different information pieces that you want to convey through the introduction. For instance, after the hook, you can provide background information and information about your essay topic that will make understanding your argument easier. This can be followed by a thesis statement which will end your introduction.
This is the second but most important step of a guide on how to write an essay introduction.
To structure your introduction:
1. Start with a hook
After deciding which hook to use in your introduction in step 1, use it as the opening sentence of your introduction. Maybe your hook is a self-explanatory quote or it needs an explanation. For instance, a question or a quotation might need an explanation. Remember that how you will explain the hook will determine the effectiveness of your thesis statement as well as whether it will make sense.
2. Follow the hook with relevant background information
After hooking the readers, add information that you consider relevant to your topic. Remember that the opening sentence or the hook of your introduction should prepare readers for a thesis statement. Therefore, choose the contextual or background information to include in your introduction carefully.
3. Present a thesis statement
Usually, a thesis statement comes at the end of an introduction. It is advisable that you stick to this approach unless you are advised otherwise by your professor or teacher. However, before including a thesis statement, you might want to provide a roadmap or to outline your argument briefly. Although this is not a must, you can give brief information of the essay or ideas of the key points that will be covered in the essay.
Note that writing the introduction first does not mean that you must stick to what it says. You can always change the introduction of your essay as you develop your argument in the essay. It is therefore important that you re-read your essay or go back to it to ensure that it reflects what you say in the essay. It is normal for an introduction to evolve as you develop your essay. Therefore, check your introduction to ensure that it introduces what you write and that it does not have fluffs.
To master the steps of this guide on how to write an essay introduction, you should review an example of a well-written essay introduction.
Here is such an essay introduction sample:
“Although Christopher Nolan, the Batman, has received critical acclamation, the fact is that the version of Tim Burton of Batman, Michael Keaton, is still the most successful version of Batman ever.
Since making his debut in 1939 in the comic book of Batman, this star has been featured in the hit show on the television in the 1960s and in several feature-long movies that have A-list actors including George Clooney, Christian Bale and Michael Keaton. In these movies, Batman has played a lead role. However, all actors had their unique styles but Michael Keaton portrayed the best performance. The on-screen presence, delivering flawless lines and comic timing makes Batman’s version by Keaton the most effective.”
This is an effective essay introduction because it starts with a catchy line that hooks the readers. It also introduces the topic briefly while including a focused and strong thesis that tell readers what makes the Batman version by Keaton the best and most effective which is what the essay is all about.
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