As you are planning an essay, you should never underestimate the importance of the opening paragraph. You must find a way to capture the attention of the reader from the very beginning and give them a reason to continue reading the essay. This article will provide you with hints on writing an effective introduction that hooks the reader. Whether you want to know how to start an essay with a quoted example or would like to understand how to start your essay depending on the type of writing task, we have answers. For example, as you are thinking about how to start an essay about yourself for a college admissions committee, the tone and style would obviously be different from how you would write an introduction paragraph for a research paper. Read on to learn more about how to write an introduction depending on the type of essay.

How to Write an Introduction

In order to capture the attention of the reader, your introduction should be thought-provoking and interesting. If the subject matter is humorous, warming the reader up with a little anecdote might just do the trick, although this should only be used for certain essays meant to entertain and provide a lesson, such as a narrative essay. Offering a clever quote that is directly tied to the topic is another useful strategy. There are plenty of online resources including quote databases that can help you find the perfect quote. The most important to keep in mind is that the various types of essays have different expectations for their introductions. Consider these types:

How to Start an Argumentative Essay Introduction

  • In these types of essay, the best strategy is to provide a summary of your arguments right at the beginning. Getting straight to the point is important when you are arguing for or against a position because it provides you with a sense of legitimacy in the mind of the reader.

How to Start an Analysis Essay

  • In this type of essay, you might be expected to analyze a novel, film, type of music or even an art piece. Since the reader might not know much about the subject under study, the introduction should provide some context. In particular, the paragraph should include some background information such as the main theme of the novel or film and then provide an argument about the intent of the author or filmmaker.

How to Start an Expository Essay or Informative Essay

  • This type of essay is not intended to express an opinion. You want to provide information to the reader in a factual, straightforward manner. Thus, you would want to avoid adding your two cents as would otherwise be the case in most other essays. As you introduce and discuss the topic, you should cite relevant news articles or historical events.

How to Start an Application Essay

  • Of all the essays, the introduction in the application essay might just be the most important. The admissions committee has to go through a lot of applications, which means they are unlikely to want to spend more than a couple of minutes on your essay. This is why it is essential that you grab their attention. Consider two strategies. First, unlikely other essays, you should not provide a summary in your introduction. After all, you want to provide an incentive for the committee to continue reading your essay. Second, start by asking a question, quoting somebody famous, or making an interesting observation, but do not reveal the subject matter right away. You want to arouse the curiosity of the committee and appeal to their emotions. Ultimately, if you can make yourself relatable to the committee, you stand a better chance of getting into the college of your choice.

Introduction Paragraph Example

Now that we have provided some hints on how to write an introduction, let us consider an introduction paragraph example. This one is on the topic of generational divides:

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When looking back on my time as a teenager, it is impossible to not feel a sense of nostalgia. I was the choice demographics that advertisers craved. Whether it was grunge or alternative rock, Tommy Hilfiger or FUBU, MTV or the USA Network, the popular music and TV shows as well as the latest fashion trends were geared almost exclusively towards my generation. Of course, as I fast forward 20 years and look at the current generation of teenagers and their pop culture tastes, there is a tendency to want to feel contempt. The music isn’t as good today, I tell myself. These reality shows that they watch are pure nonsense. Modern fashion trends? How ridiculous! But the truth is, as I will argue in this paper, these attitudes that I hold actually reflect less on the actual state of things and more on my refusal to accept that my generation no longer gets to call the shots.

As you read the introduction, here are some takeaways:

  • This introduction begins by bringing up an observation that almost everybody can relate to a longing for youth.
  • By being able to relate to how the writer feels, the reader is drawn in.
  • The paragraph goes on to highlight a couple of reasons for why the author thinks fondly about those days, providing a vivid picture that the reader can reflect on.
  • The introduction then provides a stark contrast between how he/she feels about their teenage years versus the negative perception held towards today’s teenagers.
  • The paragraph concludes with the thesis statement in which the writer argues that these negative feelings are more about jealousy and not about the existence of something inherently wrong about today’s younger generations.
  • Having ended with this thesis statement, the following paragraphs will proceed to lay out the arguments to support my contention.

Now that you have a better understanding of how to write an introduction, not only are now prepared to tackle your essay assignments, you will be able to provide the reader with motivation to read it!