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How to Write an Essay Introduction | 4 Steps & Examples
Published on February 4, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on September 14, 2022.
A good introduction paragraph is an essential part of any academic essay . It sets up your argument and tells the reader what to expect.
The main goals of an introduction are to:
- Catch your reader’s attention.
- Give background on your topic.
- Present your thesis statement —the central point of your essay.
This introduction example is taken from our interactive essay example on the history of Braille.
The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.
Table of contents
Step 1: hook your reader, step 2: give background information, step 3: present your thesis statement, step 4: map your essay’s structure, step 5: check and revise, more examples of essay introductions, frequently asked questions about the essay introduction.
Your first sentence sets the tone for the whole essay, so spend some time on writing an effective hook.
Avoid long, dense sentences—start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.
The hook should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of the topic you’re writing about and why it’s interesting. Avoid overly broad claims or plain statements of fact.
Examples: Writing a good hook
Take a look at these examples of weak hooks and learn how to improve them.
- Braille was an extremely important invention.
- The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability.
The first sentence is a dry fact; the second sentence is more interesting, making a bold claim about exactly why the topic is important.
- The internet is defined as “a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities.”
- The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education.
Avoid using a dictionary definition as your hook, especially if it’s an obvious term that everyone knows. The improved example here is still broad, but it gives us a much clearer sense of what the essay will be about.
- Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a famous book from the nineteenth century.
- Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement.
Instead of just stating a fact that the reader already knows, the improved hook here tells us about the mainstream interpretation of the book, implying that this essay will offer a different interpretation.
Next, give your reader the context they need to understand your topic and argument. Depending on the subject of your essay, this might include:
- Historical, geographical, or social context
- An outline of the debate you’re addressing
- A summary of relevant theories or research about the topic
- Definitions of key terms
The information here should be broad but clearly focused and relevant to your argument. Don’t give too much detail—you can mention points that you will return to later, but save your evidence and interpretation for the main body of the essay.
How much space you need for background depends on your topic and the scope of your essay. In our Braille example, we take a few sentences to introduce the topic and sketch the social context that the essay will address:
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Now it’s time to narrow your focus and show exactly what you want to say about the topic. This is your thesis statement —a sentence or two that sums up your overall argument.
This is the most important part of your introduction. A good thesis isn’t just a statement of fact, but a claim that requires evidence and explanation.
The goal is to clearly convey your own position in a debate or your central point about a topic.
Particularly in longer essays, it’s helpful to end the introduction by signposting what will be covered in each part. Keep it concise and give your reader a clear sense of the direction your argument will take.
As you research and write, your argument might change focus or direction as you learn more.
For this reason, it’s often a good idea to wait until later in the writing process before you write the introduction paragraph—it can even be the very last thing you write.
When you’ve finished writing the essay body and conclusion , you should return to the introduction and check that it matches the content of the essay.
It’s especially important to make sure your thesis statement accurately represents what you do in the essay. If your argument has gone in a different direction than planned, tweak your thesis statement to match what you actually say.
You can use the checklist below to make sure your introduction does everything it’s supposed to.
Checklist: Essay introduction
My first sentence is engaging and relevant.
I have introduced the topic with necessary background information.
I have defined any important terms.
My thesis statement clearly presents my main point or argument.
Everything in the introduction is relevant to the main body of the essay.
You have a strong introduction - now make sure the rest of your essay is just as good.
- Literary analysis
This introduction to an argumentative essay sets up the debate about the internet and education, and then clearly states the position the essay will argue for.
The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts is on the rise, and its role in learning is hotly debated. For many teachers who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its critical benefits for students and educators—as a uniquely comprehensive and accessible information source; a means of exposure to and engagement with different perspectives; and a highly flexible learning environment.
This introduction to a short expository essay leads into the topic (the invention of the printing press) and states the main point the essay will explain (the effect of this invention on European society).
In many ways, the invention of the printing press marked the end of the Middle Ages. The medieval period in Europe is often remembered as a time of intellectual and political stagnation. Prior to the Renaissance, the average person had very limited access to books and was unlikely to be literate. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century allowed for much less restricted circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.
This introduction to a literary analysis essay , about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein , starts by describing a simplistic popular view of the story, and then states how the author will give a more complex analysis of the text’s literary devices.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale. Arguably the first science fiction novel, its plot can be read as a warning about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, and in popular culture representations of the character as a “mad scientist”, Victor Frankenstein represents the callous, arrogant ambition of modern science. However, far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to gradually transform our impression of Frankenstein, portraying him in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as.
Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:
- An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
- Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
- A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.
The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .
The “hook” is the first sentence of your essay introduction . It should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of why it’s interesting.
To write a good hook, avoid overly broad statements or long, dense sentences. Try to start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.
A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.
The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:
- It gives your writing direction and focus.
- It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.
Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.
The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.
The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.
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What this handout is about.
This handout will explain the functions of introductions, offer strategies for creating effective introductions, and provide some examples of less effective introductions to avoid.
The role of introductions
Introductions and conclusions can be the most difficult parts of papers to write. Usually when you sit down to respond to an assignment, you have at least some sense of what you want to say in the body of your paper. You might have chosen a few examples you want to use or have an idea that will help you answer the main question of your assignment; these sections, therefore, may not be as hard to write. And it’s fine to write them first! But in your final draft, these middle parts of the paper can’t just come out of thin air; they need to be introduced and concluded in a way that makes sense to your reader.
Your introduction and conclusion act as bridges that transport your readers from their own lives into the “place” of your analysis. If your readers pick up your paper about education in the autobiography of Frederick Douglass, for example, they need a transition to help them leave behind the world of Chapel Hill, television, e-mail, and The Daily Tar Heel and to help them temporarily enter the world of nineteenth-century American slavery. By providing an introduction that helps your readers make a transition between their own world and the issues you will be writing about, you give your readers the tools they need to get into your topic and care about what you are saying. Similarly, once you’ve hooked your readers with the introduction and offered evidence to prove your thesis, your conclusion can provide a bridge to help your readers make the transition back to their daily lives. (See our handout on conclusions .)
Note that what constitutes a good introduction may vary widely based on the kind of paper you are writing and the academic discipline in which you are writing it. If you are uncertain what kind of introduction is expected, ask your instructor.
Why bother writing a good introduction?
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. The opening paragraph of your paper will provide your readers with their initial impressions of your argument, your writing style, and the overall quality of your work. A vague, disorganized, error-filled, off-the-wall, or boring introduction will probably create a negative impression. On the other hand, a concise, engaging, and well-written introduction will start your readers off thinking highly of you, your analytical skills, your writing, and your paper.
Your introduction is an important road map for the rest of your paper. Your introduction conveys a lot of information to your readers. You can let them know what your topic is, why it is important, and how you plan to proceed with your discussion. In many academic disciplines, your introduction should contain a thesis that will assert your main argument. Your introduction should also give the reader a sense of the kinds of information you will use to make that argument and the general organization of the paragraphs and pages that will follow. After reading your introduction, your readers should not have any major surprises in store when they read the main body of your paper.
Ideally, your introduction will make your readers want to read your paper. The introduction should capture your readers’ interest, making them want to read the rest of your paper. Opening with a compelling story, an interesting question, or a vivid example can get your readers to see why your topic matters and serve as an invitation for them to join you for an engaging intellectual conversation (remember, though, that these strategies may not be suitable for all papers and disciplines).
Strategies for writing an effective introduction
Start by thinking about the question (or questions) you are trying to answer. Your entire essay will be a response to this question, and your introduction is the first step toward that end. Your direct answer to the assigned question will be your thesis, and your thesis will likely be included in your introduction, so it is a good idea to use the question as a jumping off point. Imagine that you are assigned the following question:
Drawing on the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass , discuss the relationship between education and slavery in 19th-century America. Consider the following: How did white control of education reinforce slavery? How did Douglass and other enslaved African Americans view education while they endured slavery? And what role did education play in the acquisition of freedom? Most importantly, consider the degree to which education was or was not a major force for social change with regard to slavery.
You will probably refer back to your assignment extensively as you prepare your complete essay, and the prompt itself can also give you some clues about how to approach the introduction. Notice that it starts with a broad statement and then narrows to focus on specific questions from the book. One strategy might be to use a similar model in your own introduction—start off with a big picture sentence or two and then focus in on the details of your argument about Douglass. Of course, a different approach could also be very successful, but looking at the way the professor set up the question can sometimes give you some ideas for how you might answer it. (See our handout on understanding assignments for additional information on the hidden clues in assignments.)
Decide how general or broad your opening should be. Keep in mind that even a “big picture” opening needs to be clearly related to your topic; an opening sentence that said “Human beings, more than any other creatures on earth, are capable of learning” would be too broad for our sample assignment about slavery and education. If you have ever used Google Maps or similar programs, that experience can provide a helpful way of thinking about how broad your opening should be. Imagine that you’re researching Chapel Hill. If what you want to find out is whether Chapel Hill is at roughly the same latitude as Rome, it might make sense to hit that little “minus” sign on the online map until it has zoomed all the way out and you can see the whole globe. If you’re trying to figure out how to get from Chapel Hill to Wrightsville Beach, it might make more sense to zoom in to the level where you can see most of North Carolina (but not the rest of the world, or even the rest of the United States). And if you are looking for the intersection of Ridge Road and Manning Drive so that you can find the Writing Center’s main office, you may need to zoom all the way in. The question you are asking determines how “broad” your view should be. In the sample assignment above, the questions are probably at the “state” or “city” level of generality. When writing, you need to place your ideas in context—but that context doesn’t generally have to be as big as the whole galaxy!
Try writing your introduction last. You may think that you have to write your introduction first, but that isn’t necessarily true, and it isn’t always the most effective way to craft a good introduction. You may find that you don’t know precisely what you are going to argue at the beginning of the writing process. It is perfectly fine to start out thinking that you want to argue a particular point but wind up arguing something slightly or even dramatically different by the time you’ve written most of the paper. The writing process can be an important way to organize your ideas, think through complicated issues, refine your thoughts, and develop a sophisticated argument. However, an introduction written at the beginning of that discovery process will not necessarily reflect what you wind up with at the end. You will need to revise your paper to make sure that the introduction, all of the evidence, and the conclusion reflect the argument you intend. Sometimes it’s easiest to just write up all of your evidence first and then write the introduction last—that way you can be sure that the introduction will match the body of the paper.
Don’t be afraid to write a tentative introduction first and then change it later. Some people find that they need to write some kind of introduction in order to get the writing process started. That’s fine, but if you are one of those people, be sure to return to your initial introduction later and rewrite if necessary.
Open with something that will draw readers in. Consider these options (remembering that they may not be suitable for all kinds of papers):
- an intriguing example —for example, Douglass writes about a mistress who initially teaches him but then ceases her instruction as she learns more about slavery.
- a provocative quotation that is closely related to your argument —for example, Douglass writes that “education and slavery were incompatible with each other.” (Quotes from famous people, inspirational quotes, etc. may not work well for an academic paper; in this example, the quote is from the author himself.)
- a puzzling scenario —for example, Frederick Douglass says of slaves that “[N]othing has been left undone to cripple their intellects, darken their minds, debase their moral nature, obliterate all traces of their relationship to mankind; and yet how wonderfully they have sustained the mighty load of a most frightful bondage, under which they have been groaning for centuries!” Douglass clearly asserts that slave owners went to great lengths to destroy the mental capacities of slaves, yet his own life story proves that these efforts could be unsuccessful.
- a vivid and perhaps unexpected anecdote —for example, “Learning about slavery in the American history course at Frederick Douglass High School, students studied the work slaves did, the impact of slavery on their families, and the rules that governed their lives. We didn’t discuss education, however, until one student, Mary, raised her hand and asked, ‘But when did they go to school?’ That modern high school students could not conceive of an American childhood devoid of formal education speaks volumes about the centrality of education to American youth today and also suggests the significance of the deprivation of education in past generations.”
- a thought-provoking question —for example, given all of the freedoms that were denied enslaved individuals in the American South, why does Frederick Douglass focus his attentions so squarely on education and literacy?
Pay special attention to your first sentence. Start off on the right foot with your readers by making sure that the first sentence actually says something useful and that it does so in an interesting and polished way.
How to evaluate your introduction draft
Ask a friend to read your introduction and then tell you what he or she expects the paper will discuss, what kinds of evidence the paper will use, and what the tone of the paper will be. If your friend is able to predict the rest of your paper accurately, you probably have a good introduction.
Five kinds of less effective introductions
1. The placeholder introduction. When you don’t have much to say on a given topic, it is easy to create this kind of introduction. Essentially, this kind of weaker introduction contains several sentences that are vague and don’t really say much. They exist just to take up the “introduction space” in your paper. If you had something more effective to say, you would probably say it, but in the meantime this paragraph is just a place holder.
Example: Slavery was one of the greatest tragedies in American history. There were many different aspects of slavery. Each created different kinds of problems for enslaved people.
2. The restated question introduction. Restating the question can sometimes be an effective strategy, but it can be easy to stop at JUST restating the question instead of offering a more specific, interesting introduction to your paper. The professor or teaching assistant wrote your question and will be reading many essays in response to it—he or she does not need to read a whole paragraph that simply restates the question.
Example: The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass discusses the relationship between education and slavery in 19th century America, showing how white control of education reinforced slavery and how Douglass and other enslaved African Americans viewed education while they endured. Moreover, the book discusses the role that education played in the acquisition of freedom. Education was a major force for social change with regard to slavery.
3. The Webster’s Dictionary introduction. This introduction begins by giving the dictionary definition of one or more of the words in the assigned question. Anyone can look a word up in the dictionary and copy down what Webster says. If you want to open with a discussion of an important term, it may be far more interesting for you (and your reader) if you develop your own definition of the term in the specific context of your class and assignment. You may also be able to use a definition from one of the sources you’ve been reading for class. Also recognize that the dictionary is also not a particularly authoritative work—it doesn’t take into account the context of your course and doesn’t offer particularly detailed information. If you feel that you must seek out an authority, try to find one that is very relevant and specific. Perhaps a quotation from a source reading might prove better? Dictionary introductions are also ineffective simply because they are so overused. Instructors may see a great many papers that begin in this way, greatly decreasing the dramatic impact that any one of those papers will have.
Example: Webster’s dictionary defines slavery as “the state of being a slave,” as “the practice of owning slaves,” and as “a condition of hard work and subjection.”
4. The “dawn of man” introduction. This kind of introduction generally makes broad, sweeping statements about the relevance of this topic since the beginning of time, throughout the world, etc. It is usually very general (similar to the placeholder introduction) and fails to connect to the thesis. It may employ cliches—the phrases “the dawn of man” and “throughout human history” are examples, and it’s hard to imagine a time when starting with one of these would work. Instructors often find them extremely annoying.
Example: Since the dawn of man, slavery has been a problem in human history.
5. The book report introduction. This introduction is what you had to do for your elementary school book reports. It gives the name and author of the book you are writing about, tells what the book is about, and offers other basic facts about the book. You might resort to this sort of introduction when you are trying to fill space because it’s a familiar, comfortable format. It is ineffective because it offers details that your reader probably already knows and that are irrelevant to the thesis.
Example: Frederick Douglass wrote his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave , in the 1840s. It was published in 1986 by Penguin Books. In it, he tells the story of his life.
And now for the conclusion…
Writing an effective introduction can be tough. Try playing around with several different options and choose the one that ends up sounding best to you!
Just as your introduction helps readers make the transition to your topic, your conclusion needs to help them return to their daily lives–but with a lasting sense of how what they have just read is useful or meaningful. Check out our handout on conclusions for tips on ending your paper as effectively as you began it!
We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.
Douglass, Frederick. 1995. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself . New York: Dover.
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10 Simple Ways to Write Stronger Introductions
Updated: September 20, 2022
Published: July 30, 2019
There's a lot of material out there about writing great headlines . Hey, g etting someone to click on your article is a critical part of your blogging strategy. But what about writing introductions?
C ompelling readers to actually read the article is an art form in and of itself -- and if you don't do it well, then you're denying yourself potential promoters, subscribers, leads, and even paying customers.
Take a look at the following graph from Schwartz to see what I mean. It shows where people stopped scrolling in an experiment covering many articles across the web.
Every time someone landed on an article, Chartbeat analyzed that visitor's behavior on a second-by-second basis, including which portion of the page the person was currently viewing. E ach bar represents the share of readers who got to a particular depth in the article.
Image Credit: Slate
Of everyone who landed on an article, 10% never scroll down.
So how do you get more people to scroll? One way is by writing a powerful, compelling introduction.
So, let’s see about making it better now, shall we? In this post, I'll share with you how to write powerful introductions that turn casual browsers into readers. Article introductions matter, and here’s how to make them count.
How to Write a Good Introduction
- Keep your first sentence short.
- Don’t repeat the title.
- Keep the introduction brief.
- Use the word “you” at least once.
- Dedicate 1-2 sentences to articulating what the article covers.
- Dedicate 1-2 sentences to explaining why the article is important.
- Refer to a concern or problem your readers might have.
- But ... be careful telling stories.
- Use a stat or fact to convey importance.
1. Keep your first sentence short.
I’m a big fan of short sentences. I love them because people can understand them easily. There's an insane amount of value in short sentences that are readable, digestible, and punchy.
But often, writers get so caught up in the stress of their introduction that they come out with long, garbled sentences. The problem with long, garbled sentences is that it makes readers work hard. Readers don't want to work hard to understand your article -- especially at the beginning. Lead off your introduction with a bite-sized sentence or two.
2. Say something unusual.
You've probably heard advice like "create a hook" and "grab the reader's attention." But what kind of stuff actually grabs someone's attention? I can think of a lot of things, actually, but they probably wouldn’t be appropriate for an introduction.
What these oft-repeated phrases boil down to is this: say something unusual. Something unexpected, even. If your very first sentence is odd enough to make people want to read the next one, then you've done a good job. If you start off with something boring or expected, you might lose potential readers.
3. Don’t repeat the title.
Assume that the reader already read the title. You don’t need to write it over again. Instead, take advantage of your chance to reinforce that title and to set the stage for the remainder of the article.
4. Keep the introduction brief.
There is no definitive answer for how long an introduction should be. But, like the Slate study told us, readers have short attention spans. They're impatient to get to the meat of the article. Your readers are looking for information, so don't bury it deep in your article. Cut to the chase.
5. Use the word “you” at least once.
The word “you” is a powerful word. It tells the reader that you, the author, are writing the article with them in mind. You empathize with them, you care about them, and you want your piece to resonate with them. It's a simple trick that establishes a crucial connection with your reader.
Here's a great example from CloudPeeps' Shannon Byrne:
6. Dedicate 1-2 sentences to articulating what the article covers.
Your English teacher would call this the "thesis." This is where you tell the reader what the article is about. What will you be discussing, in order? What will the reader learn? Lay it out to help set the reader's expectations and help her decide whether she wants to read the article in full, scroll to different parts, or not read it at all.
Don't be afraid of writing, literally, "This article is about X " or "In this article, I'll talk about Y ." Here are some variations on this theme to get you started:
- “You’re about to find out why sea turtles always lay their eggs on the beach.”
- “And, if you’ve ever wondered why sea turtles lay their eggs on the beach, here's everything you need to know.”
- “This article explains the 17 reasons why these amazing creatures lay their eggs on beaches.”
- “Fascinating, funny, and shocking, these are the reasons why sea creatures lay their eggs on the beach.”
7. Dedicate 1-2 sentences to explaining why the article is important.
It may be obvious to you why the content of your article is important to your readers, but it may not be obvious to them. Let them know loud and clear why it's important for them to know the information you cover in your article. You might compel readers who would otherwise have bounced to keep on reading.
In the introduction to this particular article, you'll recall the following sentence:
I f you don't [write introductions] well, then you're denying yourself potential promoters, subscribers, leads, and even paying customers.
My goal here was to connect the topic of blog post introductions to the broader issues of readers, customers, and revenue.
8. Refer to a concern or problem your readers might have.
If you can pull a pain point into the introduction, even better. Everyone in every field has their set of problems. You should have some listed already from when you created your buyer personas . Communicate your awareness of those problems in your introduction and you're more likely to gain a sympathetic reader.
Here's a great example from Buffer's Alex Turnbull, whose intro here is a story format with a problem twist:
People want to solve their problems, and articles that explain how to do this will help you earn readership.
9. But ... be careful telling stories.
A lot of people will tell you that you need to write a story in the introduction. Stories can work , as in the example above, but there are good and bad ways to tell stories in your intro.
Do use storytelling to spark the reader's curiosity and empathize with her. But don't get carried away and write a long-winded story that loses readers along the way. Remember the tip about keeping introductions short? That still applies when you're telling a story.
Here's an example from one of my own QuickSprout blog posts:
Notice that I highlighted the "empathy" section -- the first sentence. Here, I helped form a connection with my readers. Then, I told a short story about my own experience. After that, I finished the introduction with "what's next."
If you do begin your article with a story, here's a tip: Don't reveal the conclusion until the reader is deeper into the article, or even until the very end.
10. Use a stat or a fact to convey importance.
When journalists begin a news story, they often give readers an eye catching stat or fact about what's going on. As a blogger or any other type of writer, a really interesting stat or fact will draw your reader in and show them why your topic is really important.
For example, say you're a plumber writing a blog post on pipe replacement. You might pull in more readers if you start a post by explaining how frequently old pipes burst in the winter. If readers see that this is a common annoyance that others face, they might keep reading to learn how they can avoid it.
The next time you write an article introduction, think about what kind of introduction would make you want to read the article.
Would a long, wordy first sentence make you want to read more? No. You might find yourself thinking, Yikes, is this what the rest of the article's going to be like? and bounce from the page. What about a story or question that doesn't really apply to you? No, probably not.
To compel you to read past the introduction of an article, you want to read something unique, fresh, and engaging. You want to hear about yourself and your problems. You want to be put in a position where the remainder of the article is a must-read experience that will help you solve those problems and change your life.
Introductions are hard, and writing effective ones take time and practice. Sometimes, you might find yourself having to re-write them several times before you're satisfied. Remember, it's all worth it if it means keeping the attention of a few more of your readers.
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How to Write an Introduction
An introduction for an essay or research paper is the first paragraph, which explains the topic and prepares the reader for the rest of the work. Because it’s responsible for both the reader’s first impression and setting the stage for the rest of the work, the introduction paragraph is arguably the most important paragraph in the work.
Knowing how to write an introduction paragraph is a great skill, not just for writers, but for students and researchers as well. Here, we explain everything you need to know to write the best introduction, such as what to include and a step-by-step process, with some introduction paragraph examples.
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What is an introduction?
Your introduction is a way of preparing your reader for your paper. As the first paragraph of your writing , it makes the first impression and sets the reader’s expectations for tone, voice, and writing style. More importantly, your introduction provides the necessary background for your reader to understand your paper’s purpose and key points.
The introduction is also a way to engage and captivate your reader. An interesting, thought-provoking, or generally entertaining introduction makes your reader excited to keep reading—and an eager reader is an attentive reader.
What to include in an introduction
Introductions generally follow the writing style of the author and the format for the type of paper—for example, opening with a joke is appropriate for some essays, but not research papers . However, no matter what your writing style is or what kind of paper you’re writing, a good introduction includes at least three parts:
- A hook to capture the reader’s attention
- Background for context
- A clearly defined thesis statement or main point of your paper
How to write a hook
The hook refers to anything that grabs (or “hooks”) your reader’s attention and makes them interested. This could be a mystery, such as posing a question and only answering it at the end of your paper. Or it could be a shocking statistic, something that makes your reader rethink what they thought they knew and become curious for more information.
Hooks can be even more creative. Some papers start with an analogy or parable to present complicated topics in a way that someone with little experience can understand. Likewise, many writers opt to use personal anecdotes to show a more human side and spark an emotional connection with the reader.
When all else fails, you can use a poignant quote. If you’re having trouble putting your thoughts into words, maybe one of the great minds from history has already said it well.
You can read all about how to write a hook here, including more detailed instructions and examples.
How to add background information
Not every paper requires background knowledge, but sometimes your reader needs to catch up or understand the context before you make your original points.
If you’re writing about something factual, such as a scientific or historical paper, you may need to provide a small lesson on the basics. For example, if you’re writing about the conflict between ancient Egypt and Nubia, you might want to establish the time period and where each party was located geographically.
Just don’t give too much away in the introduction. In general, introductions should be short. If your topic requires extensive background to understand, it’s best to dedicate a few paragraphs to this after the introduction.
How to write a thesis statement
Every good introduction needs a thesis statement , a sentence that plainly and concisely explains the main topic. Thesis statements are often just a brief summary of your entire paper, including your argument or point of view for personal essays. For example, if your paper is about whether viewing violent cartoons impacts real-life violence, your thesis statement could be:
Despite the rhetoric and finger-pointing, no evidence has connected live-action role-play violence with real-world violence, but there is plenty of evidence for exoneration, as I explain here.
Learning to write a good thesis statement is an essential writing skill, both in college and the world of work, so it’s worth taking the time to learn. The rule of thumb for thesis statements is not to give everything away all at once. Thesis statements, and more broadly introductions, should be short and to the point, so save the details for the rest of the paper.
How to write an introduction paragraph in 6 steps
1 decide on the overall tone and formality of your paper.
Often what you’re writing determines the style: The guidelines for how to write an introduction for a report are different from those for how to write an English essay introduction. Even the different types of essays have their own limitations; for example, slang might be acceptable for a personal essay, but not a serious argumentative essay.
Don’t force yourself to write in a style that’s uncomfortable to you. If you’re not good at making jokes, you don’t need to. As long as your writing is interesting and your points are clear, your readers won’t mind.
2 Write your thesis statement
At the beginning of writing a paper, even before writing the research paper outline , you should know what your thesis is. If you haven’t already, now is the time to put that thesis into words by writing your thesis statement.
Thesis statements are just one sentence, but they are usually the most important sentence in your entire work. When your thesis is clearly defined, your readers will often use it as an anchor to understand the rest of the writing.
The key to writing a good thesis statement is knowing what to ignore. Your thesis statement should be an overview, not an outline. Save the details, evidence, and personal opinions for the body of the paper.
If you’re still having trouble, ask yourself how you’d explain this topic to a child. When you’re forced to use small words and simplify complex ideas, your writing comes across more clearly and is easier to understand. This technique also helps you know which details are necessary up front and which can wait until later .
3 Consider what background information your reader needs
Don’t take your own experience for granted. By this point in the writing process , you’ve probably already finished your research, which means you’re somewhat of an expert on the topic. Think back to what it was like before you learned: What did you wish you had known then?
Even if your topic is abstract, such as an ethical debate, consider including some context on the debate itself. How long has the ethical debate been happening? Was there a specific event that started it? Information like this can help set the scene so your reader doesn’t feel like they’re missing something.
4 Think of a good hook
Writing a hook can be the most difficult part of writing an introduction because it calls for some creativity. While the rest of your paper might be presenting fact after fact, the hook in your introduction often requires creating something from nothing.
Luckily, there are already plenty of tried-and-true strategies for how to start an essay . If you’re not feeling very creative, you can use a method that’s already been proven effective.
Just remember that the best hooks create an emotional connection—which emotion is up to you and your topic.
5 Write a rough draft of your introduction without pressure
It’s normal to clam up when writing a rough draft of your introduction. After all, the introduction always comes first, so it’s the first thing you write when you finally begin.
As explained in our guide to writing a rough draft , the best advice is not to pressure yourself. It’s OK to write something that’s messy—that’s what makes this draft rough . The idea here is to get words on paper that make your point. They don’t have to be the perfect words; that’s what revisions are for.
At the beginning, just worry about saying what needs to be said. Get down your hook and thesis statement, and background information if necessary, without worrying about how it sounds. You’ll be able to fix the problems later.
6 Revise your introduction after you’ve written your whole paper.
We recommend finishing the first draft of your entire paper before revising the introduction. You may make some changes in your paper’s structure when writing the first draft, and those changes should be reflected in the introduction.
After the first draft, it’s easier to focus on minutiae like word choice and sentence structure, not to mention finding spelling and grammar mistakes.
Introduction for an essay example
While other kids’ memories of circuses are happy and fun, what I recall most from my first time at a circus was feeling sorry for the animals—I can still remember the sadness in their eyes. [HOOK] Although animal rights in the circus have come a long way, their treatment of animals even under the new laws is still cruelty plain and simple. [BACKGROUND] The way circuses abuse animals needs to be abolished immediately, and we need to entirely rethink the way we use animals for entertainment. [THESIS STATEMENT]
Introduction for a research paper example
What would happen to humanity if everyone just stopped having babies? [HOOK] Although more endemic in some places than others, the global decline in birth rates has become a major issue since the end of the pandemic. [BACKGROUND] My research here shows not only that birth rates are declining all over the world, but also that unless the threats are addressed, these drastic declines will only get worse. [THESIS STATEMENT]
An introduction is the first paragraph in an essay or research paper. It prepares the reader for what follows.
What’s the purpose of an introduction?
The goal of the introduction is to both provide the necessary context for the topic so the reader can follow along and also create an emotional connection so the reader wants to keep reading.
What should an introduction include?
An introduction should include three things: a hook to interest the reader, some background on the topic so the reader can understand it, and a thesis statement that clearly and quickly summarizes your main point.
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Introductions and Conclusions
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Introductions and conclusions play a special role in the academic essay, and they frequently demand much of your attention as a writer. A good introduction should identify your topic, provide essential context, and indicate your particular focus in the essay. It also needs to engage your readers’ interest. A strong conclusion will provide a sense of closure to the essay while again placing your concepts in a somewhat wider context. It will also, in some instances, add a stimulus to further thought. Since no two essays are the same, no single formula will automatically generate an introduction and conclusion for you. But the following guidelines will help you to construct a suitable beginning and end for your essay.
Some general advice about introductions
- Some students cannot begin writing the body of the essay until they feel they have the perfect introduction. Be aware of the dangers of sinking too much time into the introduction. Some of that time can be more usefully channeled into planning and writing.
- You may be the kind of writer who writes an introduction first in order to explore your own thinking on the topic. If so, remember that you may at a later stage need to compress your introduction.
- It can be fine to leave the writing of the introduction for a later stage in the essay-writing process. Some people write their introduction only after they have completed the rest of the essay. Others write the introduction first but rewrite it significantly in light of what they end up saying in the body of their paper.
- The introductions for most papers can be effectively written in one paragraph occupying half to three-quarters of the first page. Your introduction may be longer than that, and it may take more than one paragraph, but be sure you know why. The size of your introduction should bear some relationship to the length and complexity of your paper. A twenty page paper may call for a two-page introduction, but a five-page paper will not.
- Get to the point as soon as possible. Generally, you want to raise your topic in your very first sentences. A common error is to begin too broadly or too far off topic. Avoid sweeping generalizations.
- If your essay has a thesis, your thesis statement will typically appear at the end of your introduction, even though that is not a hard-and-fast rule. You may, for example, follow your thesis with a brief road map to your essay that sketches the basic structure of your argument. The longer the paper, the more useful a road map becomes.
How do I write an interesting, effective introduction?
Consider these strategies for capturing your readers’ attention and for fleshing out your introduction:
- Find a startling statistic that illustrates the seriousness of the problem you will address.
- Quote an expert (but be sure to introduce him or her first).
- Mention a common misperception that your thesis will argue against .
- Give some background information necessary for understanding the essay.
- Use a brief narrative or anecdote that exemplifies your reason for choosing the topic. In an assignment that encourages personal reflection, you may draw on your own experiences; in a research essay, the narrative may illustrate a common real-world scenario.
- In a science paper, explain key scientific concepts and refer to relevant literature. Lead up to your own contribution or intervention.
- In a more technical paper, define a term that is possibly unfamiliar to your audience but is central to understanding the essay.
In fleshing out your introduction, you will want to avoid some common pitfalls:
- Don’t provide dictionary definitions, especially of words your audience already knows.
- Don’t repeat the assignment specifications using the professor’s wording.
- Don’t give details and in-depth explanations that really belong in your body paragraphs. You can usually postpone background material to the body of the essay.
Some general advice about conclusions
- A conclusion is not merely a summary of your points or a re-statement of your thesis. If you wish to summarize—and often you must—do so in fresh language. Remind the reader of how the evidence you’ve presented has contributed to your thesis.
- The conclusion, like much of the rest of the paper, involves critical thinking. Reflect upon the significance of what you’ve written. Try to convey some closing thoughts about the larger implications of your argument.
- Broaden your focus a bit at the end of the essay. A good last sentence leaves your reader with something to think about, a concept in some way illuminated by what you’ve written in the paper.
- For most essays, one well-developed paragraph is sufficient for a conclusion. In some cases, a two-or-three paragraph conclusion may be appropriate. As with introductions, the length of the conclusion should reflect the length of the essay.
How do I write an interesting, effective conclusion?
The following strategies may help you move beyond merely summarizing the key points of your essay:
- If your essay deals with a contemporary problem, warn readers of the possible consequences of not attending to the problem.
- Recommend a specific course of action.
- Use an apt quotation or expert opinion to lend authority to the conclusion you have reached.
- Give a startling statistic, fact, or visual image to drive home the ultimate point of your paper.
- If your discipline encourages personal reflection, illustrate your concluding point with a relevant narrative drawn from your own life experiences.
- Return to an anecdote, example, or quotation that you introduced in your introduction, but add further insight that derives from the body of your essay.
- In a science or social science paper, mention worthwhile avenues for future research on your topic.
How does genre affect my introduction or conclusion?
Most of the advice in this handout pertains to argumentative or exploratory academic essays. Be aware, however, that different genres have their own special expectations about beginnings and endings. Some academic genres may not even require an introduction or conclusion. An annotated bibliography, for example, typically provides neither. A book review may begin with a summary of the book and conclude with an overall assessment of it. A policy briefing usually includes an introduction but may conclude with a series of recommendations. Check your assignment carefully for any directions about what to include in your introduction or conclusion.
5 Easy Ways to Write an Irresistible Introduction
“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”
So begins J.D. Salinger’s iconic novel, Catcher in the Rye , arguably one of the finest opening sentences of any American novel ever written.
I’m not here to talk Salinger or the writing life or the greats of 20th century American literature. This is a marketing blog, not a book club.
I am, however, going to talk about introductions, and how to write them well.
We hear a great deal of talk about the importance of headlines , but much less is said about the value of a great introduction. Sure, you need a tempting headline to catch your reader’s eye, but without a strong, compelling introduction, the best headline ever written won’t save you.
In this post, we’ll take a look at five of the many different ways you can open a blog post, article, interview, white paper – pretty much anything with words. This is by no means a comprehensive or definitive list; there are almost as many ways to introduce your writing as there are ways to write. There are, however, some general techniques that lend themselves well to marketing copy that can be extraordinarily effective.
Introduction #1: The Quote
I chose to open this post with a quote not because I’m a fan of Catcher in the Rye . Truth be told, I’m not the biggest Catcher fan (despite my personal appreciation for Salinger’s immense literary talent and commitment to being a hardcore recluse ).
True dat. Image via XXY Magazine .
The real reason I chose to open with that quote is because introductory quotes are a lazy but highly effective way of grabbing your reader’s attention without doing any real work – especially when the quote in question has a negative or otherwise memorable tone, as Salinger’s (or rather, his protagonist Holden Caulfield’s) does.
Before you’ve even read the quote in its entirety, you’re already wondering what was so lousy about the quoted individual’s life, or what “all that David Copperfield crap” really means and why the person being quoted doesn’t really feel like going into it.
Why Is This Type of Introduction So Effective?
Before we get into why this technique is so effective, it’s worth mentioning that opening with a quote only works well if the quote itself is interesting. There’s no point using a quote as your introduction if it’s something boring or predictable.
Aside from the quote itself, which should ideally be as attention-grabbing as possible, the fact that quotation marks are used indicates – obviously – that a specific individual said those words. It may not sound like it, but this can be very enticing to the reader, encouraging them to read on to see who said it. This is especially true if the quote is controversial or contrarian .
Let’s say you’re writing a piece about the potential impact of artificial intelligence on human society. Sure, you could open with a bland, generic introduction about how AI and technology have revolutionized the world as we know it, but you could also let someone else do the talking for you.
“With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon. In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like – yeah, he’s sure he can control the demon. Doesn’t work out.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk in conversation at MIT’s AeroAstro Centennial Symposium in 2014. Image via MIT .
The quote above is one of many such memorable insights offered by technologist Elon Musk about the potentially existential threat posed by AI . Yes, it’s a little sensationalist – Musk certainly knows how to leverage provocative language to great effect – but it’s also a lot more interesting than most of the introductions I’ve read in articles on the topic. (Note that this particular quote was not used as an introduction in any piece I’ve found or read on the topic, and is used solely for illustrative purposes.)
It’s worth noting that this technique can be a little tricky or unorthodox within the context of established journalistic conventions. As anyone who’s ever worked with me as an editor could tell you, I’m a stickler for the correct attribution of quotes, which demands that, in most cases, the person being quoted should be identified after the first complete sentence. If we follow this convention (which we should, unless we have a very good reason not to), our example quote from Musk (with additions italicized) would read:
“With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon,” Elon Musk said during an interview at MIT’s AeroAstro Centennial Symposium in 2014 . “In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like – yeah, he’s sure he can control the demon. Doesn’t work out.”
Don’t mess around with artificial intelligence or arcane demonic rituals. Image via Threadless .
Unfortunately, if we (correctly) identify Elon Musk as the quoted individual after the first complete sentence, this introductory technique loses most, if not all, of its impact.
Notice how Salinger’s opening quote from Catcher in the Rye is a single sentence? This allowed me to include it without worrying about correctly attributing the quote as I would have if I’d used Musk’s quote as my intro. If in doubt, talk to your editor – they’ll thank you for it later.
Introduction #2: The Statistic or Fun Fact
Did you know that the first American movie to show a toilet being flushed on-screen was Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 psychological horror classic, Psycho ?
TFW the water’s too hot
Everybody loves trivia, and even if you’re a hardcore Hitchcock fan, you might not have known the fun fact above.
This technique is another powerfully effective way to grab your reader’s attention from the outset. It’s also one of the most commonly used introductions in a lot of marketing writing. This makes sense; it establishes the general topic of the piece in a fun way and offers the reader something snappy and memorable.
However, the real reason using facts or statistics as an introduction works is because it pushes our emotional buttons .
When it comes to content, whether a 500-word blog post or a 4,000-word long-form journalistic feature , some emotional triggers are more effective than others. In particular, there’s a scientific principle known as the von Restorff effect (named for the German pediatrician Hedwig von Restorff who first wrote of the phenomena in the early 1930s) which states that people tend to remember unusual things much more effectively than routine, expected things.
How it feels reading bad articles
This is an extension of our natural survival instincts; our brains are wired to perceive strange or unusual things as potential threats, making them much more memorable as whatever strange thing we’re fixated on might kill us. It’s also why, if you don’t take much else away from this post, I can practically guarantee that you’ll remember the Psycho toilet-flushing fact, which you can and should use to impress your friends at your next get-together at the pub.
Here at WordStream, we use this technique a great deal, and not only in introductions. To this day, I still remember that you’re 475 times more likely to survive a plane crash than you are to click on a banner ad – a fact I first included in a post for the WordStream blog back in 2014 . Admittedly, I had to look up the publication date of that post, but I didn’t need to double-check the statistic itself because it’s just that memorable.
Something to consider next time you despair about your display conversion rates. Image via NBC Los Angeles .
Take care, however, to select your facts and statistics carefully. In the banner ad example above, this stat isn’t just memorable because of the staggering odds against you clicking on a banner ad, but because it’s framed within the context of surviving a plane crash – a particularly striking hypothetical scenario, and one that aligns closely with the survival instincts I mentioned earlier. Merely tossing in a statistic about how many daily active users Facebook has, for example, will not have the same effect. Just as you should think carefully about the quotes you use in your introductions, choose your statistics with similar care.
Introduction #3: The Classical Narrative
In May of 1940, as war raged across Europe, a squad of infantrymen belonging to the famous Manchester Regiment encroached upon the village of l’Epinette in northern France.
Both German and Allied forces sought to capture the strategically located village, and the Manchester Regiment came under heavy fire from the Nazi soldiers. The squadron eventually managed to pin down the Nazis with suppressing fire, and as the German soldiers took cover behind the low wall of a farmhouse, one of the Germans cried out. His commanding officer glanced over at the dying soldier, believing him to be shot, only to see a long, feathered arrow protruding from the man’s chest.
The man, the legend, Captain “Mad Jack” Churchill. Image via Dirk de Klein/History of Sorts .
The Nazi soldier had been killed by the improbably yet fantastically named John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill, also known as “Mad Captain Jack” Churchill, the only soldier known to have carried a longbow – and an authentic claymore sword – into battle during World War II. Churchill held a deep appreciation of his Scottish heritage, and when asked why he carried such a large, antiquated weapon into battle, Churchill respectfully replied that, in his opinion, “any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed.”
As much as I’d love to tell you more about Mad Jack Churchill – and unbelievably, there’s plenty more to tell – I used this tale as an example of how employing a classical narrative in your introductions can be extraordinarily powerful. Granted, this particular example as I’ve presented it isn’t technically a true narrative; it has a beginning (the approach of the Manchester Regiment upon l’Epinette) and rising action (Churchill killing a Nazi soldier with a bow and arrow), but it lacks a real ending. Still, hopefully you see what I’m getting at with this example.
Simply put, traditional stories work so well as introductions because, as human beings, we’re hardwired to respond to stories. Far from mere entertainment, stories served humanity for millennia as cautionary tales and a means of survival, and even today, with all our technology and knowledge, a good story told well is still one of the most gripping forms of entertainment we know.
Original artwork by Elena Stebakova
Just as a good novel draws you in from the outset and keeps you reading, using a traditional narrative as an introduction offers all of the same benefits to your piece. This technique allows you to introduce one or more characters – in our example, Mad Jack Churchill – before moving on to the dramatic rise that every good story has. This grabs the reader’s attention immediately, and if done well, can serve as an almost irresistible hook for the rest of the piece.
Introduction #4: The Question
If you had to, would you rather fight a single, horse-sized duck, or 100 duck-sized horses?
Image via Flipline Studios
Asking questions can be a powerfully effective technique in introductions. It poses a hypothetical scenario to the reader and invites them to imagine their response and relate their own lived experience to the material that follows. From the outset of your piece, you’re engaging the reader by asking them to apply their own judgment or opinion to the topic at hand – in our example, preferential combat with an improbably large duck or a small army of improbably tiny horses.
Posing questions to your readers in your introduction is an effective technique precisely because you’re inviting your reader to think about a highly specific scenario. This technique is similar to the use of statistics or facts in introductions; by asking questions of your audience, you’re providing them with a potentially memorable situation and inviting them to consider their perspective on the issue. For example, I’d personally rather fight 100 duck-sized horses than a single, menacing horse-sized duck.
I don’t know, maybe? Image via TED/Ganesh Pai .
However, this technique is not without its pitfalls. Firstly, this method has been thoroughly exploited by thousands of clickbait publishers as a lazy way to entice people to click through from a question-based headline to an inevitably disappointing article. Whether the question is posed in the headline or the introduction, many people are understandably fatigued by and wary of questions in content .
Secondly, there’s the problem of structure. In my waterfowl combat example above, there’s no “correct” answer. This means the question is virtually impossible to conclusively answer, which can lead to disappointment in your reader, especially if you pose a question that they expect the rest of the piece to answer. This blog post about conversion rates is a great example. Larry asks a question of the reader in the headline, and the rest of the article answers and supports that question with data and logical, scientific reasoning. Now imagine if he had asked the question yet failed to answer. How would this make you feel as a reader?
Introduction #5: Setting the Scene
By 2017, the world economy has collapsed. Food, natural resources, and oil are in short supply. A police state, divided into paramilitary zones, rules with an iron hand.
Although this introduction could aptly describe our current geopolitical nightmare, it’s actually the introductory text from Paul Michael Glaser’s 1987 cinematic adaptation of Stephen King’s disturbingly prescient short story, The Running Man (which King wrote under his Richard Bachman pseudonym, before you hardcore King fans yell at me).
This technique is known as setting the scene, and it can be a highly effective way of drawing your reader into your piece. (If you’re interested, David Hogan’s 1996 action movie Barb Wire also came surprisingly close with its speculative take on what a dystopian 2017 might look like.)
This introductory technique is similar to the narrative example, in that the writer sets the stage for not only what is happening at the outset of the piece, but for what the reader can expect to follow. This method can be incredibly powerful when dealing with emerging topics or subjects with strong newsworthy elements.
Editorially, this technique offers many benefits to the writer. It allows you to choose and establish a clearly defined position on an issue, and enables you to quickly assume a contrarian stance on contentious topics. It also allows you to manipulate the emotions of your readers by summarizing and highlighting the positive or negative aspects of a story how you see fit, or to support the points you want to make.
Stylistically, this introduction can be structured similarly to narrative introductions – by telling a self-contained story at the outset of the piece before transitioning into the rest of the content – or by helping the reader get up to speed quickly on a developing topic they may not be aware of, as many in-depth news reports from Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey did. Many reports framed the catastrophic damage caused by Harvey within the wider political contexts of disaster relief funding, contentious proposed cuts to scientific research, and the volatile political climate that surrounds emergency management in crisis-prone regions such as the southern and southeastern United States.
A well-written introduction setting the scene can help your readers quickly understand why what you’re about to say is important, as well as giving them a solid grounding in the often highly nuanced background information essential to understanding complex, multifaceted issues.
Hopefully you’re spending plenty of time coming up with catchy headlines for your content. I hope that you now have a greater appreciation for the value and importance of a solid introduction, too.
Next time you sit down to write, spare a thought for the daring bravery of Mad Jack Churchill charging into battle with his longbow and claymore like a Viking warrior – then ask whether your intro would make Mad Jack proud.
5 Ways to Write an Introduction [Summary]
- Start with a quotation
- Open with a relevant stat or fun fact
- Start with a fascinating story
- Ask your readers an intriguing question
- Set the scene
Meet The Author
Originally from the U.K., Dan Shewan is a journalist and web content specialist who now lives and writes in New England. Dan’s work has appeared in a wide range of publications in print and online, including The Guardian, The Daily Beast, Pacific Standard magazine, The Independent, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and many other outlets.
See other posts by Dan Shewan
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Step 1: Hook your reader · Step 2: Give background information · Step 3: Present your thesis statement · Step 4: Map your essay's structure · Step 5
It should begin by providing your reader a general understanding of the overall topic. The middle of the introduction should narrow down the topic so your
In many academic disciplines, your introduction should contain a thesis that will assert your main argument. Your introduction should also give the reader a
How to Write a Good Introduction · 1. Keep your first sentence short. · 2. Say something unusual. · 3. Don't repeat the title. · 4. Keep the
Every good introduction needs a thesis statement, a sentence that plainly and concisely explains the main topic. Thesis statements are often
Great writers know that effective and impacting essays begin with an interesting and engaging introduction that reveals their thesis and purpose, while
An introduction is the first paragraph/section of an essay, and it plays an important role in writing an effective paper. The introduction allows the writer to
A good introduction should identify your topic, provide essential context, and indicate your particular focus in the essay. It also needs to engage your readers
Asking questions can be a powerfully effective technique in introductions. It poses a hypothetical scenario to the reader and invites them to
This video offers a quick guide to writing stand out introduction paragraphs! -- Created using PowToon -- Free sign up at