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By Bhalachandra Sahaj

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An introductory paragraph is often underestimated as a part of an essay. People assume it is seemingly less important than other sections of an essay. This understanding is incorrect, since an introduction performs at least three crucial functions: helps persuade a reader to read the paper, provides the context in which the paper is written, and contains a thesis statement, which is the main point around which the whole paper should revolve. To write a decent introduction, you must complete the following steps.

1. Figure out what exactly you want to say.

Depending on the type of paper, the introductory paragraph may contain references to other research and authors; the general context in which the topic of your essay is included; historical and/or other background information which helps readers to understand your topic better, and so on.

2. Figure out how you want to say it.

The most common way to write an introductory paragraph is to move from general to specific information; this means you should first start from introducing some general information, and then narrowing down to the thesis statement. Or, you can be specific from the beginning.

3. Compose your thesis statement.

This is the main part of the introduction, so it should be specific and accurate in its formulation. It should be an expression of your detailed opinion on the subject, not a general statement regarding it.

4. Think of the “anchor” that would make your readers want to read on.

It is not enough to provide context, background, and a thesis statement; a reader might find your topic (or your approach to it) boring, and thus will not want to read your paper. Your task is to use attention grabbers. Among such attention grabbers, there are intriguing examples, rhetorical or provocative questions, controversial or absurd statements, intended generalizations, and so on—anything that can make a reader surprised.

5. Reread what you have written and edit the introductory paragraph where needed.

Your introduction should not contain phrases like, “In this essay, I would like to discuss,” or “This essay seeks to prove that,” and so on. If there are pieces of supporting evidence, or other information directly referring to the subject of your paper (not to its context and background, though), delete or rewrite these parts.

It is acceptable to rewrite the entire introduction, some of its parts, or a thesis statement after you finish the essay. Sometimes, you can start your essay having only a thesis statement (which should still be a concise and clear expression of your opinion), and write the introduction at the end, after composing the list of references. However, keep in mind that an introduction is not something one can treat halfheartedly.


What is an essay introduction?

An essay introduction is the initial part of your essay that sets the stage for the arguments to be presented. It serves to engage your reader, provide background information on the topic, and clearly state your thesis or main argument. This section of your essay essentially serves as a roadmap to guide your reader through your line of thinking.

Why is the essay introduction important?

The importance of the essay introduction cannot be overstated. It sets the tone for the rest of your essay, introduces the topic to the reader, and provides the context needed to understand your argument. Furthermore, the essay introduction is the reader’s first impression of your writing. A strong introduction will capture the reader’s interest and compel them to continue reading your essay.

How do I write an effective essay introduction?

To write an effective essay introduction, start with an engaging hook to catch your reader’s attention. Next, provide some background information on the topic to give context to your argument. Finally, clearly state your thesis statement, the main argument or claim that will be explored and supported in your essay. The key is to be clear, concise, and ensure that every sentence serves a purpose.

What should be included in an essay introduction?

An essay introduction should include three primary elements: a hook to engage the reader, some background information on the topic to provide context, and a clear thesis statement that outlines your main argument or claim. The introduction should provide a glimpse of what the rest of the essay will discuss and how it will be structured.

Can you provide examples of good essay introductions?

Here’s an example of an effective essay introduction: “Despite the ubiquity of mobile devices in our daily lives, many remain unaware of the security risks they pose. As we increasingly depend on smartphones for tasks like banking, shopping, and data storage, protecting these devices from cyber threats has become critical. This essay will delve into the various mobile security risks and propose potential solutions to mitigate them.”

How long should an essay introduction be?

The length of an essay introduction typically depends on the overall length of the essay. However, a general rule of thumb is that your introduction should be about 10% of your total word count. For instance, for a 2000 word essay, your introduction would ideally be around 200 words. It should be long enough to provide context and introduce your thesis, but not so long that it becomes repetitive or overly detailed.

Should the thesis statement be included in the introduction?

Yes, the thesis statement should typically be included in the introduction of your essay. It serves as a summary of your main argument or claim and sets the direction for your essay. Including the thesis statement in your introduction helps provide clarity for your reader and guides the structure of your essay.

Essay Introduction Examples:

    • Persuasive essay: “Despite growing evidence of climate change, many policymakers continue to deny its severity. This essay argues for the urgent need to address climate change and explores the potential repercussions of political inaction.”
    • Narrative essay: “As the sun set over the picturesque village, my life was about to change forever. This is the story of my journey to understanding the complexities of cultural identity.”

Tips for Writing a Compelling Essay Introduction:

    • Start with a strong hook to pique your reader’s interest.
    • Provide background information to give context to your topic.
    • Clearly articulate your thesis statement.
    • Ensure the introduction sets the tone for the rest of the essay.

How to Grab the Reader’s Attention in an Essay Introduction:

    • Use a startling statistic or fact.
    • Pose a thought-provoking question.
    • Begin with a relevant quote or anecdote.
    • Make a controversial or unexpected statement.

What Makes a Strong Hook for an Essay Introduction?

    • It immediately engages the reader’s curiosity.
    • It’s relevant to the topic.
    • It introduces the topic or argument in an interesting way.

How to Structure an Essay Introduction:

    • Begin with a hook.
    • Follow with background information on the topic.
    • End with your thesis statement, which outlines your argument or main point.

Difference Between an Essay Introduction and a Thesis Statement:

    • The introduction sets the stage for the entire essay, providing context and engaging the reader.
    • The thesis statement, which is typically included in the introduction, is a one- or two-sentence statement that explicitly outlines the main point or argument of your essay.

How to Make an Essay Introduction Concise but Informative:

    • Only include the most relevant background information.
    • Avoid overly complex sentences or jargon.
    • Be direct and to the point, but make sure to adequately set up your argument.

Essay Introduction Techniques and Strategies:

    • Use a “funnel” approach, starting broad and then narrowing down to your thesis statement.
    • Employ storytelling techniques if appropriate for the essay type.
    • Use rhetorical questions to engage the reader’s thought process.
    • Use vivid and compelling language to draw the reader in.
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