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Learning How to Write an Essay Introduction

Starting your essay introduction with three questions

You should think of your introduction as a map to your essay. This is something the reader will inspect before actually diving in. In order to show you know how to write an essay introduction, there are three main questions you will have to answer: what, why, and how. Explain what the essay is about, what is the question you are trying to find an answer to. Then move on to why is this particular question important. Make sure you put the question in perspective and identify the issues raised by it. In the end move on to methodology: how are you planning to answer the question. The reader must know that the essay will have a conclusion.

Regardless whether you’re writing a critical essay or a personal statement, you will have to answer these questions to make sure the readers are engaged. If you happen to be handling an open-ended question, you should let the reader know that you will narrow it down. Bring some of the aspects into focus and also justify your decision.

  • Grab the reader’s attention: Answering all these questions may result in an informative, yet possibly boring essay. This is why when it comes to how to write an essay introduction you also have to think about how to keep the readers engaged. The way you do this greatly depends on the topic at hand. However, you could start with sharing some startling information. Make sure that the readers can verify this and you don’t have to strive for absolute novelty. If you do decide to use this method, make sure it is followed by some sort of explanation. 

    When writing a personal essay, you can also start with an anecdote pertinent to the question at hand. Keep it short and concise and make sure that it brings extra information to the readers. A dialogue can also be an effective way to grab the reader’s attention. It should focus on the point of view you are trying to convey and there shouldn’t be more than 2-3 exchanges between the participants. 

    If you have absolutely no other idea about how to write an essay introduction, you can use this to deliver a short summary of your thesis. Make sure to keep it short. Regardless of the path you choose, don’t forget to end this paragraph with your thesis statement.

  • Thesis statement: As it has been mentioned before, it is common for the intro to end with the thesis statement. Naturally, you shouldn’t just throw it in there at the end. In order to introduce the reader to the topic, you might want to start with a broad statement and then narrow it down all the way to the thesis statement. Nonetheless, there is no guideline to say that you must to things in a particular order. You should play around with the elements until they fit perfectly.t
  • Don’t forget about the context: If you are wondering how to write an introduction to an essay, you have to remember your audience. How much do they know about the matter at hand? In the majority of the cases writers have an intelligent, but mostly uninformed audience, so it might be a good idea to start by putting the question into context. Briefly present the background of your topic, the scope of it, and the most important definitions. 

    We already mentioned broad opening statements regarding how to write the introduction of an essay, but you have to make sure you don’t make it too broad. For instance, you shouldn’t start with “Since the beginning of time…”. People aren’t interested in the beginning of time; they are interested in your topic. The scope of the topic is defined by the three questions we discussed earlier. Definitions can also be included in the introduction, but you should make sure they are essential for the understanding of the topic.

  • Make it all practical: People appreciate the essays that are easy to understand and practical. This is why you might be wondering what is a capstone project. If you are thinking about writing an essay with a practical outcome that can be implemented in the real world, you will have a capstone project at your hands. For this you will have to choose a case study methodto prove your point and why your idea would be useful for those who are thinking about implementing it. 

    Such an approach will require you to put those three introductory questions in a different light: how would your essay benefit the readers? How are your ideas different from all the others? You have to make sure that your work won’t just be a waste of time for those reading it.

The structure of the essay

When thinking about how to write an essay introduction, you should consider it a roadmap to the essay. This will guide the reader. Include in it a description of how the essay is organized. All you have to do is to outline the major points that will lead the reader to the conclusion. This is not the time to get into the details. When thinking about the structure, you should ask yourself whether the different aspects are organized chronologically, are they grouped by themes, are there several questions answered at once or only one at a time, and whether or not there is any contrasting between the different elements.


  • Put things in reverse: As strange as this might seem, there are a lot of people who start working on the body of the essay and only think about the introduction after the body is done. Although this might not be the proper answer to how to write an essay introduction, you should know that it is very efficient. By the time you get to the introduction you will know exactly how the essay is structured, the main points it covers, and the methodology of reaching a conclusion. This way it will be a lot easier for you to guide the reader through the process. 

    One of the best ways to get an idea about how to write an introduction is to look for a how to write an essay introduction sample. The only aspect you should be mindful of is the kind of essay you are writing as the tone of the introduction cannot differ from the tone of the body.

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