How to Write an Introduction Paragraph for an Essay

author By Mary Boies

The moment your instructor, professor, or teacher spends their first 2 minutes on your paper, they would have known the grade your essay will fetch.

For this reason, your introduction becomes the most critical paragraph in your entire paper.

how to write an essay introduction

And since it comes first, the introduction orients your readers to your grasp of language, organization, presentation, critical thinking, creativity, and skills to write professionally without or with just minimal errors. An introduction further signals to your readers how deep you know the topic, which alludes to the extent of your research and synthesis.

We call it the invitation paragraph or the pitching paragraph. Even renowned essayists will tell you outrightly that writing introductions freak them out. And it has probably been occupying your mind since you were assigned an essay. But, if you are like many people out there, who automatically develop writer’s block and worry about how to begin an essay, or you are just not sure how to craft a great introduction, we have you covered.

The moment you read this guide article on how to write an essay introduction, you would have mastered the art. We have generated synthesized information based on ideas from our trusted and reliable essay writers, facts gathered from over 40 online articles on how to start an essay, and comments from our editors and proofreaders. We want to make the process of writing an introduction easier.

Let’s dig right into it.

What is an essay introduction?

An essay introduction is the first paragraph of an essay. it is an equally important component of an essay as is the conclusion. Both serve to support your arguments in the body paragraphs by explaining the points to be made (as in the introduction) and summarizing the points that were made (as in the conclusion).

The introduction paragraph of an essay lets the readers or markers know what to expect from your paper. Although there is no single formula for writing a perfect introduction, it should grab the attention of the readers, state the focused topic, state the thesis statement, and sometimes offer the essay roadmap.

A great introduction sets up the rest of the essay and grabs the attention of your reader. Writing a stellar essay introduction, as is the preference of seasoned academic writers, ensures that you produce a compelling essay that can get you the top grades or marks.

5 Steps (with examples) on how to write an essay introduction

Every scholar would agree that a great introduction paragraph is critical for an academic essay. While the five steps we discuss here are essential, an introduction can stand out without one or two steps. Note that these steps are the components that make an excellent introduction for an essay. You can always tweak your introduction structure depending on the word count of your paper, the topic, and specific instructions from your instructor. Like an invention, we advise you to keep editing your introduction until it reaches a point that you are comfortable with it and confident that it will meet the needs of your readers.

1. Interest your readers

It would be best to open your essay by showing why the topic is critical to be explored or for ordinary human beings.

When researching how to write a perfect introduction, all the sources insisted that an introduction should have a “hook.” A hook is meant to grab the readers' attention by making your essay stand out, and there are various ways to introduce hooks into an essay.

In most cases, your marker is after understanding why your selected topic is interesting, allowing them to predict your likely position. So, if you get it right from the start, rest assured you will score the best grade.

The hook is also an opportunity to show how the topic is interesting to ordinary human beings. By doing this, you are making it relevant to your readers. Although this is true, avoid stating facts with which your readers are already conversant. Instead, show how your interpretation of the topic is worth their time.

The opening sentence should lead your reader into your essay, offer them a sense of your approach to the topic, and enlighten them on why it is interesting.

2. Expand the knowledge of your reader on the topic

After writing your attention grabber, you need to go ahead and give your readers the context of your topic and arguments. Then, in the second section of your paragraph, you must provide contextual or background information.

Here, you endeavour to show how deep you know the topic and how reasonable your arguments are. A well-written essay introduction will stand out as it shows how strong your understanding is about the background or history of the topic. In a sentence or two, you should write information that benefits the reader. It might include:

Although you have a few sentences (two or three) for the background information, ensure that it is in-depth, focused, and relevant to the main argument or your thesis statement. However, avoid overdoing it to the extent of providing too many details. Instead, only mention the points then save the evidence and translation or interpretation to the body paragraphs of the essay.

The background information section is where you confidently show off your knowledge and writing prowess without giving out so much but leaving it for the body paragraphs. In any case, the body of your essay expounds on your introduction. This means you can leave out the evidence, examples, and explanations for later.

3. Translate the topic or question

Although mostly a forgotten component of an essay introduction, almost all the website articles on how to write an introduction acknowledged the importance of translating the essay question or topic.

Your instructor will recommend that you restate the essay topic or the essay question on the prompt in your own words in the typical class context. It is meant to help the markers gauge your understanding of the topic and whether or not you are on course.

Even as you restate the topic or question, avoid padding. Padding refers to a phenomenon where you drop the essay question into your essay word for word. Instead, paraphrase and give an explanation that relates to your topic or question. Doing this is a guaranteed way of signaling your marker to award you good marks. It also shows that you are not just after grades; you have mastered the art of good academic essay writing.

4. Proclaim your position on the topic

With everything now aligned, it is time to report your position or argument about the topic. However, not all essays will require that you proclaim your position or take a stance, some like argumentative and persuasive essays. Therefore, when writing a persuasive or argumentative essay, ensure that you state your stand on the issue at hand.

And as you strive to achieve this, ensure that you leave no room for confusion. Make sure that your reader is oriented right from the beginning and that the points are flowing. Avoid surprises by giving your stance.

In most articles, proclaiming your stance is done through the thesis. The thesis statement shows what you want to say about the topic. It is the central aim of your entire essay – a sentence or two that sums up the essay's main argument.

It is the most critical part of your introduction because a good thesis statement is a claim that requires evidence, explanations, and elaborations. When you convey your position or stance in a debate or make your readers understand your main point about the topic, you organize their thought process.

5. Present the structure of the essay

If you have an extended essay, it is helpful to wrap up your introduction paragraph by highlighting what each part of the essay will cover. When done concisely and rightly, you will be able to win the heart of your instructor. And this is done by giving the readers a clear sense of the flow of your argument.

This is the last point of your essay. It won’t be necessary in most cases, but it is sometimes the missing link for those good grades you see with your peers. As we said before, when writing essays or other academic papers, do not surprise the readers.

When you signpost all the key concepts, facts, and theories, you guide your marker through your essay. Signposting ensures that your marker and readers are not confused. Ensure that you signpost the key points, theories, concepts, or facts that you cover in the body paragraphs for a good flow.

Suppose you have an essay plan better because you can compile the key points listed in the essay plan and signpost them. The outline for the essay structure is usually one or two concise, clear, and coherent sentences.

Some things to avoid when writing an essay introduction

In terms of introduction best practices, there are some things that you should avoid. Including these things will only invite you to trouble or poor grades. We already know that the introduction sets the scene for your writers. By all means necessary, you must make a good impression on your readers. It is the chance to pitch to your readers and interest them in your paper.

When writing a good introduction, make sure to leave the following out:

Specifically, having references in the introduction is absurd. Therefore, most of the instructors and professors advise against including them in introducing an essay. Unless it is required, avoid it altogether.

Parting Shot!

Although there is no perfect introduction formula, strive always to create an introduction that makes a solid first impression. Most markers, instructors, and professors will decide your grade when they read the introduction and sometimes the conclusion.

If you are wise enough, try writing the introduction last. Introductions that are written last signpost all the significant points and are grounded in the content of the body paragraphs. Such introductions flow well and are direct to the point. Besides, writing it last helps you have a definite stance or thesis that covers the main issue or topic of interest.

A good introduction interests the readers, notify the readers about the contextual and background information, translate the topic or question, report your central position or thesis statement, and outline the essay structure.

With the introduction complete, take some rest to gain an objective mind. Once you are settled, edit it with a keen and accurate eye. Ensure that the grammar, punctuation, word choice, and presentation make a good impression.

And with that behind us, you might want to know how to write a solid conclusion, for which we have a guide. Like the introduction, the conclusion ends your essay strongly.

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