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How to Start an Essay


While writing an essay may not be the toughest academic task, it can still be challenging and frustrating. What kind of things should you consider to avoid mistakes and make your essay engaging and interesting to read? Below, we have put together several tips you might want to implement when it’s time to start your next essay.

Grab the reader’s attention

Some students may assume that an introduction is nothing more than a self-containing paragraph, which they have to write simply to move on to the main body of the essay. Unfortunately, this assumption could not be further from the truth. When it comes to essays, the introduction, just like any other part, is equally important. The purpose of the introduction is to inform the reader about the topic of your interest. But remember that what is interesting to you is not always interesting to your reader. To make sure the selected topic catches the readers’ attention, you might want to begin your essay with a ‘grabbing hook’ sentence. For example, you could provide a little-known fact about your topic, a rhetorical question, or a starting statistics. Another option here would be to save your opening line for last, if it better fits your essay.

Provide background information

So, your reader is now hooked, thanks to an interesting, fun and engaging sentence, so now what? Well, it’s time to tell them why this topic is interesting and important. You can do this easily, by following your introducing sentence with a background sentence or two that explain the urgency of the problem. If constructed in the right way, background sentences tease what will eventually be revealed and pull the readers in to the rest of your essay. It is important to remember that all the background information you provide should create a logical link between all elements of your introduction and act as a bridge between the initial sentence and a thesis statement.

State your thesis

Background sentences should then be followed by stating the main idea of your essay. It is better to use a debatable thesis statement since in this case you would not have to persuade the reader in the first place. To make a good thesis statement, you should analyse available resources for ambiguity, tension and controversy regarding your essay topic.

Outline the essay structure

Don’t forget to let your readers know what you are going to discuss throughout the essay to keep them on track.


Writing a strong introduction can be difficult, but if you get it right, it can be the perfect way to get stuck into writing the rest of the essay. Even if you come back to the introduction and change it later, following these steps in your draft version can help to get you started in the first place!