An introduction is the first paragraph of your essay. A map that outlines what the reader should expect in the rest of your essay. It captures your main argument and prepares your audience for what is ahead. Most introductions begin with general statements as they lead the reader into the topic of discussion. These statements create a link between the topic and bigger issues in the real world or in the field.
While drafting an introduction may appear easy, it requires a lot of effort to make it an effective part of your essay. In this handout, you will discover all the tips of how to write an introduction for an essay. Read on and make your essays captivating.
There can never be an essay without an introduction. Every complete essay has an intro, body and the conclusion. However, an introduction plays a major role in creating an impression about your work and self. It may attract or repel a potential reader. An introduction creates a difference between veteran writers and amateur scribes.
Quickly, let us look at what a good introduction should do to your essay:
Identify your topic – Your topic serves as the head of your write-up. Thus, a good introduction should tell the reader what you are discussing in the coming sections of your essay. By doing this, you are helping the reader to prepare for the flesh of the issue.
Give the context of your essay –As you think about how to write an introduction for an essay, remember that essay intros are meant for an intelligent but uninformed audience. Therefore, start your essay by giving a background of your topic, scope and important definitions to help the reader understand your ideas.
Background information in form of opening statements help to establish the subject matter. Do not make your introduction too broad but ensure that you capture relevant topics and subtopics to cover.
The scope determines the depth and breadth of your essay. It may depend on the essay instructions, where your tutor outlines the boundaries of your coverage. For example: Write an essay on the impact of the internet in the last five years. This essay prompt limits your coverage to the past five years, which forms part of the scope.
Ask yourself the following questions to help you establish the scope of your essay:
Who? What? When? Where? How? Why? Are you targeting a specific region or audience?
Define terms in your introduction. You will need to define terms if at all the terms are essential and add value to the readers’ understanding. It is common when writing specialized essay targeting a specific audience. Definitions eliminate cases of ambiguity and confusion.
Gives focus to your paper. An integral part of your introduction is your thesis statement, which should capture your main idea and argument. Articulating your argument forms the basis of how to write an introduction for an essay. A good thesis should be specific and clear.
Your thesis statement should come at the end of your introductory paragraph. In other words, begin with general statements and narrow down to your thesis, which should be more refined and provocative.
Essay structure – A good introduction tells the structure of your essay. Tell your audience about the organization of body paragraphs. How have you arranged your ideas? It is a way of outlining your major points. However, do not get into details. Just give signals of what to expect in the coming chapters of your essay.
Have a writing style like chronological, thematic, sequential or contrast. This is important in guiding your readers throughout the paper.
Do you want to become a good writer? Then work on having excellent and interesting introductions for your essay. A good introduction will give your target audience a reason to read on and get the gist of your essay.
Apply the following strategies and turnaround your essay writing
STEP 1: Start with something startling – Pique the readers’ attention by beginning your essay with surprising statistics about the issue. This will further help you to illustrate the weight of the matter.
STEP 2: The second secret of how to write an introduction for an essay is using a quote from an expert. While this is a good approach to make your first paragraph more captivating, remember to introduce the personality you are quoting. Here, you are contextualizing the quote. Also, ensure that the quote is relevant to your topic.
STEP 3: Mention public misconception – In case your essay argues against a misconception in the public domain, capture this in your first paragraph.
STEP 4: Use of a brief narrative or anecdote – It is an effective method especially for veteran writers with a great mastery of the skill. Anecdotes help to affirm your reasons behind choosing the topic.
STEP 5: Explain major concepts – For scientific essays, give details on relevant concepts and link them to your literature.
As you go through these stages, always remember that your intro should only wet the reader’s appetite. Do not give details that belong to your body paragraphs.
With these steps, let us consider general tips on how to write an introduction for an essay.
Beware of the risk of sinking into your intro. Some students find it hard to proceed with writing the essay before they have a flawless introduction. Do not spend all your time here. You may channel that energy into prewriting stages and in drafting your paper. Have in mind that you can always come back to your first intro and refine it.
Compress your introduction later. Writing an intro of any topic helps you to explore your understanding of the issue. This is a good approach. However, remember to revisit your essay and compress it to harmonize with the rest of the paper.
Write your introduction last. In case you are finding challenges in crafting an appealing introduction, get on to the body of your paper. Some writers work on the intro first but change it significantly at a later stage. Writing your introduction last may be easier because you know the depth of your argument, supporting evidence, and counterarguments.
No standard length of your introduction – The length of your introduction may depend on the overall length of your essay. However, most short essays, say below 1000 words have a one-paragraph introduction. A 20-page essay may call for a two-page introduction.
Go to the point as soon as possible. As you think about how to write an introduction for an essay, avoid sweeping generalizations. Start with general statements that are not too far from your topic. You do not want to lose your readers at the onset of your essay.
Locate your thesis. Your thesis statement should appear at the end of your introductory paragraph. This is not a hard-and-fast rule but it works well for most essays. Try it and see how it gives direction to the rest of your paper.
Common less effective introductions you should avoid when writing your essays
Are you wondering why your tutor hates on you every time you hand in an essay? It could be because of your ineffective introductions. Here are some wrong ways of introducing your essay:
Placeholder introduction– An empty paragraph serves no purpose. You are likely to be a victim of this intro anytime you are working on a topic with insufficient information. This introduction also has vague statements that add no value to your essay.
Restated question introduction. As you figure out how to write an introduction for an essay, remember that your professor already has the question. It makes no sense to spend your time and space restating the same. Again, your tutor has more than enough to go through. Spare him or her agony or repeating the question.
Webster’s Dictionary introduction – This is a dull way of opening your essay. Everyone can find time and check the meaning of terms from dictionaries and handbooks. It is however, a good approach when writing technical papers.
Dawn of man” introduction – It is too broad to connect with your thesis. It makes too broad and sweeping generalizations on your topic. Do not try this.
Book report introduction – Students in elementary schools use this. You do not want to tell the reader what they already know. Go to the subject matter.
With this guide, you have unrivaled toolkit for your essay writing. All the best…
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