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Essay Introduction

by tutlance

An introduction is typically the opening paragraph of your essay. It presents an idea to the readers. Basically, it answers the questions, what is this essay about? 

As the selling point of your essay, an introduction should invoke curiosity and invite the reader to keep reading through your essay. Therefore, it is necessary to use the right wording in your introduction.

What is the purpose of an introduction in essay writing? 

The intro paragraph is the best opportunity to convince your audience that you have something worthwhile to say. 

Its roles include:

  • Get the reader’s attention – From it that readers understand what your essay is all about and decide whether to continue reading or not. Your role is to ensure you retain their attention. Make them want to find out more. 
  • Introduce the topic – Make your audience get a grasp of what you intend to discuss. But you don’t want to give it all out – just a tidbit of what’s to come. In essence, an intro is a highlight of what’s in the main content. So, the reader has to go through the other sections to find out more about the topic.
  • It tells the relevance of the article to the audience – It states why you wrote the essay and what you aim to achieve. So, give your goal and snip your essay in this segment. 
  • It hosts the thesis statement – A thesis statement describes the purpose and the plan of the whole essay. When the writing prompt is a question, your thesis is typically the answer to the question.
  • Outlines the main points – List three points or arguments that support your thesis in order of importance. 

Parts on an introduction

There are three parts to an introduction, namely:

  • An opening statement – Begin a question or a hook that attracts the reader’s attention. This can be the inspiration you had to start writing.
  • Topic statement – Follow the opening statement by introducing your topic and giving supporting sentences that connect the hook to the thesis. They make the reader aware or prepared to read the next part.
  • Thesis statement that states the purpose and plan of the whole essay.Whereas the topic sentence introduces the main idea, the thesis statement in the introductory paragraph introduces the topic and the main points of a whole essay.

A thesis statement takes the last position in the introductory section. It precisely summarises the introduction in one sentence, and may be reiterated elsewhere in the essay. It serves the following purposes;

  • Tells the reader the topic of the essay.
  • Lists the points the writer is going to make in the essay.
  • Sets the tone of the essay.

How to write an essay introduction in 5 simple steps

The process of starting writing an essay or writing an essay introduction can be broken down into 5 steps namely:

  1. Hook your reader.
  2. Give background information.
  3. Present your thesis statement.
  4. Map your essay’s structure.
  5. Check and revise.

These steps will help you learn not only how to write a good essay introduction, but also how to start an essay introduction which is critical to writing effective college essays.

Step 1: Hook your reader.

This involves making the reader interested in the topic at hand and what you want them to know about it. You can accomplish this through an essay hook – by using strong and vibrant language that catches the reader’s attention and makes them want to read further. Focus on showing off your best work in the hook and make sure it is relevant and interesting.

Types of essay hooks include:

  • An anecdote, which is a short personal story that can be funny or interesting.
  • An interesting fact, which is important to what you are writing about and can give the reader a new perspective on it.
  • A question that your readers will be curious about the answer to.
  • Facts and statistics.
  • Quotes – whether from known or unknown sources.

For more information on how to start an essay introduction using a good hookessay hook examples.

Step 2: Give background information

Providing background information is important because the reader needs to know if they are familiar with your topic or not. You can tell them whether you are going to provide further information about it, link your ideas to theirs, or simply act as an introduction to your essay topic.

Step 3: Present your thesis statement.

This is the most important part of the entire paper and should guide you in all future steps. As such, make sure that it is clear and precise – do not confuse it with background information nor make it too vague; once written, stick with this original idea throughout. Furthermore, you will need to support this thesis claim in each paragraph argument by providing evidence for why it is true after introducing what you want people to take away from reading your work.

Step 4: Map your essay’s structure.

This is very important to ensure that you know what your paper will look like in the end. You can map out each paragraph, write an outline for how each paragraph should be structured, or even write down the introduction and conclusion. Make sure you check over your map afterwards to make sure all of it makes sense because this stage really helps you stay on track throughout writing your essay.

Remember that most academic essays requires you to follow a specific essay structure.

Step 5: Check and revise.

Once everything is written, review your work thoroughly by checking for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Remember to also go back to your thesis statement before beginning any revisions – evaluate whether or not it still holds true at the end of writing your paper.

Here is a guide on: how to revise an essay.

Tips when writing a good essay introduction paragraph

You can start with an outline and then get to the entire essay writing. The best approach is to write a good essay introduction and the conclusion paragraphs. Here are a few simple tips any student can apply to his writing;

  • Keep your first sentence short –Short sentences are easy and encouraging to read. 
  • Don’t repeat the title – The reader already read the title. Don’t make them read it over and over again. 
  • Keep the introduction brief – A long introduction makes the reader lose interest in your essay. Thus, a short one will suffice.
  • Use the word “you” at least once – Using the word you create an impression that you are addressing the reader directly. It puts them invites them to your space making them comfortable. 
  • Dedicate 1-2 sentences to articulating what the article covers – This would otherwise be referred to as a thesis. Make the reader understand what the article is about. 
  • Refer to a concern or problem your readers might have – Every field has its problems. Use this part to point out the problem that your article will be addressing. 
  • Use a statistics or fact to convey importance – Make your essay believable by stating statistics or facts. It will draw your reader in and show them why your topic is really important.

What Styles should I Use in Writing an Introduction?

Below are a few styles that could come in handy in writing the introduction.

  • Use an anecdote – An intriguing narrative that gives a hint as to what the article is about excites your readers.
  • Share something personal – Sharing something personal in an introduction can pique a visitor’s curiosity. 
  • Ask a question – Sometimes a compelling question is a hook your piece needs.

You shouldn’t have to spend much time writing an introduction. I would say it is the easiest part of your essay but I know that not everyone agrees. However, I hope that after reading this, writing your introduction becomes even easier.

Related: Self introduction essay for college example, who am I essay example, and essay about myself examples.

Let us now review some essay introduction examples.

Essay Introduction Examples 

What is an example of a good essay introduction?

Here are some essay introduction paragraph examples that you can use to learn how to write good academic essays. 

Argumentative essay introduction example

Below is an example of an argumentative essay introduction paragraph:

An argumentative essay introduction paragraph example 1: Preventing chronic diseases without changing our lifestyle

Is it possible to prevent chronic diseases without changing our lifestyle? The answer seems to be no. Even though the primary reason for this is that people are simply not aware of how dangerous smoking or obesity can be, there is another factor that plays a crucial role in the situation as well – human nature. People are quite reluctant when it comes to making changes; they would rather stick with what they know.

  • 1st sentence sets up your argument (in this case, “The answer seems to be no”) and introduces your thesis statement (in this case “people are simply not aware of how dangerous smoking or obesity can be”).
  • 2nd sentence gives an example (“Even though…”) in order to support your position. Here you could add another example, such as the rising number of obesity cases.
  • 3rd sentence begins to transition into your argumentative essay structure by introducing a counterargument (in this case “there is another factor that plays a crucial role in the situation”). This part of the paragraph can conclude with a thesis statement which refutes your initial position (in this case, “…people are quite reluctant when it comes to making changes; they would rather stick with what they know.”

Read more: Argumentative essay introduction examples

A argumentative essay introduction paragraph example (pdf)

Argumentative essay introduction example

Persuasive essay introduction example

Below is an example of a persuasive essay introduction paragraph:

Many people are aware of the importance of eating healthy, but they often disregard this knowledge when it comes to their everyday dietary decisions. While most adults recognize that wholesome foods provide the body with vital nutrients, many will still choose fast food over a home-cooked meal. This is not an uncommon scenario in today’s world.

This persuasive essay introduction example sets up the paper by clearly explaining the topic and providing some insight into what will be discussed in more detail later on. The author also includes general information about her subject matter before moving into specific examples that she will cover later on in the essay.

The author uses rhetorical devices such as parallel structure, transitional words and phrases such as “while,” and “but,” and appeals to ethos by addressing the reader directly.

Read more persuasive essay introduction examples

Expository essay introduction examples

Below is an example of an expository essay introduction paragraph:

A close reading of “The Odyssey” reveals that Odysseus’s character undergoes significant changes throughout this epic poem. After the blinding of his fellow warrior, Palamedes, for allegedly taking credit for Odysseus clever ploy to end the Trojan war; he becomes cold and callous to those around him. We first see him as a compassionate friend in Book 4 when he risks his life to save his crew members from the sea god, Poseidon. However, after Palamedes’ murder by Odysseus’ hand (which many scholars believe was done without Zeus’ consent), the hero becomes ruthless and power hungry. This change is evident when he refuses to speak with his father, Laertes, who is on his deathbed.

This expository essay introduction example sets up the paper by giving general information about its subject matter. The author introduces the topic of her paper and provides some insight into what will be discussed in more detail later on. The author also includes specific examples that she will cover later on in the essay.

The author uses transitional words and phrases such as “first,” “however,” and “this change” along with rhetorical devices such as parallel structure to help set up for her thesis statement which appears toward of the end of this introductory paragraph.

See more: expository essay introduction examples

Narrative essay introduction example

Here is an example of a narrative essay introduction paragraph:

“One of my most memorable experiences with sports happened just after I joined the soccer team in middle school. My first game ever was one that I wouldn’t soon forget.”

This short narrative essay introduction paragraph sample sets up the paper by clearly explaining the topic, providing some insight into what will be discussed in more detail later on, and gives specific examples to help illustrate this topic. The author also includes her own personal experience to set up for her thesis statement which appears toward the end of this introductory paragraph.

The author uses transitional words and phrases such as “one of my most memorable experiences,” rhetorical devices such as parallel structure, and appeals to ethos by giving specific narrative essay introduction examples about herself to try to gain credibility.

Compare and contrast essay introduction examples

Here is a compare and contrast essay introduction example that starts off by presenting the two broad areas of concern that will be discussed in this paper.

Two arguments have been going on for centuries, and both have a lot to do with government – one being if we need a universal health care plan in the United States and the other being whether or not certain information should be censored from public knowledge. In 2008 President Barack Obama said he wanted to have a “universal” health care system put into place within his first term as president. He is currently working towards achieving this goal through democratic efforts in Congress. Putting together a nationalized health care system hasn’t been an easy task because it has faced much opposition from Republicans who say too many Americans would end up getting medical coverage taken away or that taxes would need to be raised. President Obama has worked on his plan with physicians and healthcare professionals, but he has come up against some very strong opposition from the GOP.

On the other side of this health care issue, there are people who feel that certain information in fiction should not be available in public libraries or schools for children to read when they get older. There is a lot of controversy surrounding this argument because it does seem like censorship to ban Harry Potter books from school curriculums and public libraries these days since Harry Potter is such a huge phenomenon. Having thousands of children dressed up as wizards go around saying “Expecto Patronum” seems almost harmless at this point given all of the advancements in technology over recent years, but for parents of young children it might seem far more sinister.

Learn: compare and contrast essay introduction examples

Informative essay introduction examples

Here is an example of an informative essay introduction:

Coffee caffeine content has been debated for many years, and it seems that a consensus on the truth of this matter still eludes us. Many people firmly believe that coffee does not have any caffeine in it at all while others swear by its existence. However, some scientific studies have shown that there is caffeine in most if not all types of coffee. This means that whether or not you can feel the stimulating effects of your cup of coffee depends solely on how much caffeine it contains.

In this particular informative essay introduction example , we are introduced to a debatable topic, given an overview about what it is all about, and presented with a subjective claim. This first paragraph of the essay gives us an idea of what to expect in the rest of it.

Learn: informative essay introduction examples

Personal essay introduction examples

Here is an example of a personal essay introduction.

When I was a child, I thought my voice had magical powers. Being a Gemini, I firmly believed that the first time I opened my mouth to speak as Taurus would be nothing short of transformative. In those days, people paid special attention to me when they heard me rambling on about things no eight year-old should have been worried about at all. The world was full of infinite possibilities and potential for wonderment; the world was mine for the taking if only I wanted it badly enough, but I never did.  

Learn: personal essay introduction examples

Reflective essay introduction example

Below is a reflective essay introduction paragraph example:

“The night of the accident, I was driving home from my family’s house. It was late and I thought that I would beat the rush-hour traffic. Unfortunately, when I turned onto the street where I lived there was a car stopped in front of me.”

Reflective essay writing is meant to help you explore an idea or concept, usually something you have experienced. A reflective essay introduction should be engaging but should not provide too much detail about what will come later in your paper. There are several things that should be mentioned in your introductory paragraph, though they are fairly brief. For example, you could mention who you are, where you are coming from (i.e., what other experiences you have had with this topic), and why you are interested in this topic.

Learn: How to write a reflective essay introduction paragraph.

Analytical essay introduction example

Below is an example of an analytical essay introduction:

Rousseau’s purpose in writing his book “Emile or On Education” was to introduce a new system of education that he believed would yield a harmonious, productive society if children were allowed to develop naturally and freely. Rousseau (1999) states: Under such conditions, they will make up their own games; they will sing without quavers; they will run without falls; there will be no need for teachers. Will these children grow up savage like those raised by animals? No, but like those raised by men (p.185).

Learnanalytical essay introduction examples

Synthesis essay introduction example

Below is a sample synthesis essay introduction paragraph:

Today, one in eight American adults struggles with a serious mental illness. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than thirteen percent of all American adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year. In fact, there are over forty million Americans living today who have been diagnosed with a psychiatric condition. These numbers reveal that millions of people will face challenges associated with their illnesses at some point in their lives and may need additional care beyond what they can provide themselves. Though researchers work tirelessly to discover new drugs and treatment methods for patients struggling with a wide variety of conditions, many who could benefit from these therapies never seek help due to stigma. People who struggle with psychiatric disorders often find themselves increasingly isolated as the severity of symptoms erodes any desire they may have to socialize and engage with the world around them.

Learnsynthesis essay examples

Comparative essay introduction examples

Below is a sample comparative essay introduction paragraph:

“At the time of the invention of automobiles, trains were among the main modes of transport. Trains had a number of advantages over automobiles such as being able to travel long distances without stopping and reaching their destination faster. However, cars have now become a dominant form of transport because they are often seen as ‘personal’ transportation while trains are for transporting groups or goods.”

In this opening paragraph, there is no introduction to any particular argument from either side. Instead it includes facts about both forms of transit in order to frame the debate between them. It defines what each mode is and briefly mentions their various advantages and disadvantages. In essence, it provides context for which the argument will be based upon.

Learn: comparative essay introduction paragraph examples

Research essay introduction example

Below is a sample research essay introduction paragraph:

“More than 20 million Americans, most of them under the age of 65, do not have any health insurance.”

This sentence is part of the introductory paragraph to an article about the lack of affordable health care in America. This specific topic sentence introduces information that will be discussed further in later paragraphs.

The sentence provides readers with background information on one problem involving the issue of American healthcare. The authors also use this sentences to convey their own opinion on how they feel about this issue. Introductory sentences can vary in function and purpose depending on what type of text is being read. However, all introductions should clearly state what you are discussing or present important information that will be developed upon later in your writing piece.

Cause and effect essay introduction example

Below is a sample cause-and-effect essay introduction paragraph:

Whether it’s the impact of climate change or the spread of a virus, when one thing affects another negatively, that’s known as cause and effect.

This is an example of a cause and effect essay introduction. An example cause and effect essay introduction should be introspective and tell the reader what he/she will learn from reading your article.

You can use this structure to create your own cause and effect essay introduction:

“In this article, you will learn about _____.” Using this quick intro you can get straight to the point and capture your audience’s attention right away.

Learn: Cause and effect essay introduction examples 

Cause and Effect Essay Introduction Paragraph Example 2

Here is another sample introducing paragraph for a cause and effect essay:

Everyone has experienced an effect of something, whether it was positive or negative. There are two types of effects: a cause and an effect. A cause is something that initiates or starts a chain reaction that can lead to a certain end. An effect is what the result is, after a cause has been set in motion.

History essay introduction example

Below is a sample history essay introduction paragraph:

“In the mid-1500s, a new trend developed in France called salons. These gatherings were used by women to discuss their similar views and opinions on art, music, literature and other influential discourses. One such salon was held at the home of Catherine de Medici.”

To learn how to write an essay in history, use the following sources:


  1. Writing an essay introduction – Research & Learning Online
  2. Essay Introductions | UMGC
  3. Introductions & Conclusions | UAGC Writing Center
  4. Introductions – UNC Writing Center
  5. Writing an Effective Introduction
  6. Essay Structure | – Harvard College Writing Center
  7. Resources for Writers: Introduction Strategies – MIT …
  8. Writing Effective Introductions – Valencia College

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