How to write a great introduction for an essay?

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Writing an essay is such an everyday task of a college grad that it’s sometimes taken for granted. You know you must write it, but writer’s block is always waiting to get you. Nothing helps you get over this obstacle better than getting the introduction of your essay right. This may be just the key to let the rest of your essay flow.

The main goal of the introduction is to let your reader know what they gain from reading your essay. It’s important to catch the attention of the reader, give a background review of the topic, and present the thesis in the right light in your introduction. It should answer your essay’s question and also brief the topics that are going to be discussed in your essay. 

Things to do before you start writing the introduction for an essay: 

∙ Know and understand the topic of the essay clearly 

∙ Research thoroughly before you start writing 

∙ Prepare an essay question with a thesis statement 

∙ Preview the topics that you are going to discuss in the essay. 

Different ways of starting your essay

  • Presenting the thesis statement: The thesis statement is where you answer the essay question as well as present the author’s position. The word ‘thesis’ denotes argument. So, a thesis statement states where the argument of the essay lies or what point the writer is going to present to the reader.  
  • Providing a preview of the essay: The introductory part should provide a glimpse of every mandatory point that your essay will discuss. It should help to provide evidence supporting the statement of the thesis.
  • Providing the 5Ws and H of the essay: Present a story that conveys the what, when, where, who, why, and how of the essay.
  • Delivering background information: If you want to give a clear view of the topic, you should start from its origin, from where everything began. Giving more relevant information can make the reader learn additional information about the topic.
  • Revealing a misconception: Every reader has some knowledge about every topic, including some misinformation. Revealing the truth and clearing this misinformation help to deliver facts about the given topic.
  • Starting with a rhetorical question: The Helpful Professor warns against using a rhetorical question in any type of academic writing, but if you think it’s clever and pertinent to the subject at hand it’s best to use it at the start of your college essay – the introduction. 

Starting with a rhetorical question may help your reader to wonder and think about the answer. It grabs your reader’s attention.

Mapping the essay’s structure 

Starting the essay right is just the first step. Ending the introductory part by signposting what will be covered in each part of the essay can help you set the right note for the rest of the essay. The ending to your introduction should be concise and give your readers a clear sense of the direction your essay will take. 

Checking and revising 

As you go deeper into your research, you may sometimes notice that your argument has changed its focus and direction. So, after you complete your essay, always make sure to return to the introduction and check whether your essay and argument match what you’ve mentioned in the introduction.