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Learn how to write a good essay introduction

If you want to write a good introduction – think of it as a map which helps your reader to find a way to the heart of your article. Like all tourists consulting the map before starting on their interesting journey, our readers consulting the introduction before they start reading the body paragraphs. So, if you want to keep readers attention to your essay or other assignment work, you have to learn how to write a good essay introduction.

When you start your paper’s introduction, imagine that you answering on three questions: «what?», «why?» and «how?» Cover these questions in your introduction. «What» question asks you about the goal of your essay, you key idea and etcetera. Next question asks you about the reasons to write an essay; readers want to know the answer on this question not less than on previous one. Your answer on question «How» must give readers an idea of how you are going to achieve the goal of your assignment. If you want to narrow down your topic, explain why you are concentrating on some specific issues. A good explanation will be to show that you are worried about all issues, but for some reason you are going to highlight only some of them.

Three main introduction’s objectives

Surely, nowadays it is more freedom in everything than ever before; somehow this applies to the way how writers do an introduction too. However, there are still some very significant rules and requirements for essay introduction writing. Basically, every essay introduction has three main objectives. First objective of every essay’s introduction is to explain the context of the essay. Such components can help you to open the context of your essay:

  • Some background of the topic; here you can also show the subject matter
  • The topic scope. Does your topic touch a particular period or a territory? What is the audience of your topic and etcetera?
  • Some essential definitions. Without some terms reader can get lost in a new topic.

You should remember that your reader probably touches the topic of your essay for the very first time, so you have to help him understand some basics, background and etcetera. Don’t forget to show your motivation; if you will do it right readers will feel the same. The second objective of every essay is to give a thesis statement. Thesis statement is the overall focus of the essay; instead of it you can also give a strict answer if your topic is very narrow. Thesis statement is the most important part in every essay’s structure. Usually writers start introduction from a wide part - background and definitions and slowly narrow them down until they come to the thesis statement. However, the order in an essay introduction can be different – it can start from description of essay’s structure and organization. Anyway, the last objective of every introduction is to describe the structure and organization of essay. Essay structure is actually some kind of a map that helps to understand the organization of body paragraphs. This map doesn’t necessary need to be too detailed. It should just give some basic landmarks to the reader:

  • What is the chronology of the body paragraphs? Are they giving answers from the earliest to the most recent question on the introduction? Or they organized differently?
  • Maybe essay answers some related question (one after another). Or it is necessary to read all the body paragraphs to understand the logic of the essay?
  • Do they grouped by border themes?
  • Have writer used contrasting in his body paragraphs? Do paragraphs describe two or more elements and then compare them?

It is a very fair step to show the structure of the essay in its introduction. Reader can decide than what he or she needs to read and what can be missed without any harm for logic. However, don’t spend too much time describing the body paragraphs and their contents.

Anecdote and dialog in the introduction

Some writers will say, that you should use anecdote if you want to learn how to write a good essay introduction. Anecdote in the essay’s introduction is a story that illustrates a point. Anecdote should be short, because you don’t want to overload your introduction with some unnecessary information. At the same time it should be enough size to illustrate a point. Anecdote should be also relevant to your topic and be really to the point. Sometimes it is also a good idea to give a dialog in the introduction. The goal of such dialog is to make the writer’s point. Use two or three exchanges to make your point – you don’t want to overload your introduction.

Some useful tips to write a good introduction

The above written will give you some basic information about introduction structure, subjects and form. However, there are some other tips about how to write a good essay introduction that may help you:

  • Write your introduction last. For a set of reasons, you probably will not have all the information required for a good introduction before you will write the body paragraphs (same as with conclusion)
  • Start your introduction with a hook. It is a good idea to grab your readers’ attention right from the first sentence. What it will be – nobody knows. So you are free to use whatever you want to get readers interest to your topic. You can give some actual opened questions, your personal story, some staggering statistic or something else
  • Address background information and background problems to some processes in the real life, to some group of people, society and etcetera

First impression of your essay is very important (like the first impression of anything else). All responsibility for the first impression lies on introduction, and also on its first sentence. Try to make it as powerful as you can. It is a good idea to use quotations of some very famous people in it. Surely, to do this, you have to find a quotation that is really related to the theme. Same if you want to use staggering statistic or other surprising facts in your introduction. It makes no sense to use unrelated to you topic facts, because even if they will grab readers’ attention, this will be not for a long time. Sometimes it is a good idea to use humor to grab reader’s attention. Humor is something international and can help to bring your ideas to the people’s mind.

How to avoid common errors in introduction

There are several tips that will help you to avoid the most common mistakes that writers do in introduction. Use them if you see that it can be important for you:

  • Don’t be afraid to change the introduction after you will make a conclusion. As it was already written, it is better to write introduction in the end – after the body paragraphs and along with conclusion. However, if you decided to write your introduction first – it is not a big problem. Importantly, do not let your introduction block some of your ideas in the body paragraphs. Don’t be afraid to change the structure, the content or even the point of view in your introduction if it makes it more powerful
  • Avoid unnecessary details in your introduction. The fluff will never give your essay anything good, so throw all unnecessary words out and leave only important for your idea. Keep your introduction short and simple
  • Avoid the sweeping generalizations. Surely, it is easy to start introduction from general arguments, but they won’t help you to show your point of view. Vice versa, sometimes sweeping generalizations can distract you from your point
  • Avoid to announce your purpose directly – you have the thesis statement for this

Thereby, introduction is one of the most important parts of every paper. The goal of every introduction is to grab reader’s attention, to give some description of body paragraphs structure and also to give a thesis statement. Use whatever you want to make it effective – staggering facts, interesting quotations, your personal experience or something else. Professional writers suggest writing the introduction after the body paragraphs to make it the most powerful. Avoid unnecessary details in your intro and clearly set the thesis statement; do all that you can to attract readers - and you will succeed.

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