How to write an engaging introduction for an essay

Even after all the research and taking notes, after mastering the subject for that important essay that you need to write, you can stumble at its very beginning. The introduction is like a showcase where the most attractive features of your essay must stand out. Despite its importance, it still remains one of the most problematic and upsetting part of writing a paper. That is mainly because it creates a state of confusion, especially among students who find it difficult to restrain the words flow. Yet, creating an appealing and expository introduction is not as hard as it seems. Words should come easy if you follow some simple tricks to help you out. You should have your introduction quicker than seems.

Decide which type of introduction works for your essay

Depending on your essay, you can choose between multiple types of introductions. A literary essay, for instance, will have a slightly different introduction than an analytical one. Crafting the perfect first paragraphs highly depends on the body of the text. Here you have a few types of introductions you can get inspired from:

  • Replicated speech – a type of phrasing that has been used before, that readers can relate to. For instance, an essay about dieting and its effects on long term can begin with the famous Shakespearean phrase “to be or not to be (…)”, turned into “to eat or not to eat healthily, that is the question.” Your audience will have a familiar feeling reading these well-known lines which can also work as a creative thesis statement.
  • Famous quote. A useful topic-related quote from a famous person or an expert can build up great credibility of your theme outlook. Finding the proper quote can also offer good information about the point in question, so you’ll create a gentle transition into the subject. Another great reason to use quotation as an introduction, is that you can clearly state your personal opinion on the topic, so your audience will build a picture of your point of view.
  • Anecdote. The introduction of an essay can wear many “clothes”. You can dress it up as an intriguing statistic, for instance, but you can also use an anecdote or a short question to make it look appealing. If you’re writing a colloquial essay, then you can play a little with the first paragraphs. Creativity is key. An anecdote works best for a literary paper, as long as it is related to the essay’s theme. Your readers will be fascinated and they’ll want to read more.
  • A rhetorical question is another way to begin your text. You’ll launch a question mark that will most probably intrigue your audience. This is a fantastical attention grabber. Just make sure to wrap everything up with a short description of your argument; this way your readers will have a clear picture of what they’re about to read. In other words, try to go a little deeper into the subject. Elaborate just enough so you can state the point you wish to make.
  • “Paper map”. For a scientifical essay, for instance, it is preferable to create a “paper map” – a mini tour of your essay. Such an essay needs a concise introduction, otherwise your readers could build up false expectations. So maybe you can start by writing an outline and then seed the hook.
  • Persuasive. If your paper’s ultimate goal is to convince your audience to accomplish something, then you most probably need a persuasive introduction. “Call-to-action” is a term used mostly by marketers, but it does the trick on essays too. A paper about the natural world affected by human activity, for instance, can invite the readers to take action, to each make a contribution on the environmental wealth.
  • Definition. When you’re writing an essay about an unfamiliar phenomenon, a good way to introduce it to the public, is by defining it right from the beginning. This definition works as an introduction to the thesis.

Save the introduction for the last

Contrary to the popular practice, we advise you write the introduction for an essay after finishing the text. It makes sense if you predict constant changes throughout the writing process. This happens more than often, since there are so many ideas that need to be put together. And since the first paragraph has to give an overall review of your essay, it only comes natural that you save the introduction for the last.

You will often notice that, no matter how well you’ve planned the structure, your writing might go in a slightly different direction than predicted.

Make the first sentence count

Your readers’ first contact with your paper must be one of great impact. So make sure you don’t waste it on irrelevant facts, for it is the one which catches the eye. It must be short, yet engaging. It must be surprising, yet expectation-giver.

The first sentence is a fantastical opportunity to hook your audience by using surprising facts and description of your text. Your readers should be able to understand what’s the essay about, while still keeping the element of surprise.

Remember that you don’t have to deliver all from the first phrase; otherwise, the audience will lose interest. If, for instance, you’re writing an essay about the contemporary English literature, don’t tell your audience how many books you’ve read to be able to reach a personal conclusion. Instead, go for a surprising fact. Here is an example: “did you know that almost 4 billion of Shakespeare’s books have been sold until today? Now imagine if any other contemporary author could ever reach his fame. But is it all about fame, after all?”, and continue by arguing how we can measure a book’s quality and how this essay helps to prove and suppor the idea. You have seeded the intrigue right from the first paragraph, which lets your readers wanting to read more.

Make your position clear

Either you’re arguing for or against an idea, you should state this in the introduction. This is how you let your audience know what your approach is. Making a clear statement of your point of view is great especially if you’re creating an argumentative text. The readers will be able to stand against or for your argument, and this creates engagement, this leads to feedback from your audience. Is exactly what you’re looking for.

Keep the same phrasing

Being constant with the “voice” you’ve been giving to your essay is important for a qualitative outcome. For example, if you’ve used a friendly tone throughout the entire article, don’t choose a rigid word thesaurus for the introduction. The later shouldn’t be a foreign part of your essay, on the contrary. They should blend together beautifully.

A discrepancy is usually noticeable when the introduction is written a short time after finishing the essay. There is also no connection on a vocabulary level between the two parts, when students prefer to “impress” the audience by writing the introduction in a much more elevated way. Avoid this approach by having a clear image on your audience in mind. Are you writing for a general public or is it a scientific essay, designed to be read by people with an academic background? The answer should give you a perfect hint on how to sketch your introduction.

Keep it short

There is a reason why the introduction has such a definition: “a thing preliminary to something else, especially an explanatory section at the beginning of a book, report or speech/ The action of introducing something.” In this case, you’re introducing your essay to the readers. It’s just a glimpse, a briefly get-to-know-you. Think about it as a chance encounter, as if you’re meeting somebody for the first time. Keep your introduction short and concise, informative, yet subtle. An ideal length should have two or maybe three paragraphs – enough to sum up the most important issues.

Build a summary at the beginning

Put down a few sentences to illustrate your thesis right at the beginning of it. You don’t have to sell your subject, a few words about it should be enough.

You can start with a general introduction, gradually becoming more specific throughout the sentences, until you’ve reached the focus of your paper. You can briefly describe each chapter’s main idea, while still preserving the general significance.

Regardless of the type of introduction you choose as being right for the paper you’re working at, remember that is has to be short and precise. It has to engage your audience and still remaining informative.

Need more help with your intro?

Still confused about the intro? No worries, Elite Essay Writers can craft a perfect introduction – or even an entire paper for you. As a team of qualified academic writing pros, we are always here to offer you a hand!