Learn How to Start an Essay Effectively
Did you get assigned an essay as an assignment for school?
Are you staring at the blank screen, not knowing where to start?
Essay writing could be tough, and it is highly important to know how to start an essay effectively.
You must be familiar with the phrase “the first impression is the last impression?”
Similarly, with any piece of writing, the impression you make on the reader with your introduction sets the one for the rest of the text. This makes them decide whether or not they want to invest their time reading it further. Thus, making the introduction a highly critical part of any paper or essay.
If you are stuck at this stage, unsure how to begin writing, then this is just the right place for you.
When writing an essay, you must know that there is no hard and fast rule for starting it. There are four main types of essays: argumentative essay, persuasive essay, descriptive essay, and expository essay.
Similar to the different types of essays, there are several different ways to start an essay. However, the most commonly followed way is the hamburger essay method.
This method is also known as the introduction, body, and conclusion. Where the hamburger buns are the introduction and the conclusion, and the main ingredient – the meat is the body of the essay.
When you start writing an essay, follow this method, and you will be good to go.
How to Start an Essay Introduction
The introductory paragraphs of any piece of writing hold the most importance, as they help grab the reader’s attention and make them decide whether or not they should invest their time. Similarly, in an essay, the introduction acts as a roadmap and sets the tone for the content of the rest of the essay.
As we pointed out earlier, there isn’t a set way to start an essay. But the one thing you need to be mindful of is that your introduction is catchy as well as informative.
To make your work interesting and attract the reader’s attention with the opening line, you must use a hook sentence.
1. Hook and Engage your Readers
An essay hook is the opening sentence used as an attention grabber and as a motivator for the reader to make them read further.
However, a hook sentence doesn’t substitute for the introduction. Instead, it opens your essay in an interesting manner. There are different types of hooks that you can use. For instance, you can begin your essay with a quote or by asking some rhetorical questions.
Depending upon the nature and topic of your essay, you can use any of the following hooks:
- Personal story
- Common misconceptions
For example, if you are writing a literary essay on Anna Karenina, you start by posing a question like, “Do you think Anna would still be in love with Alexei if she wouldn’t have committed suicide”? And then answer it in your essay.
To learn more about writing engaging opening lines for your essay, here are some interesting hook examples to give you an idea.
2. Provide some Background Information
After you have hooked the reader, the next step is to introduce the topic to your reader. Inform them about the main idea of your essay and present background information to make it easier for them to understand what is being talked about in the essay.
However, make sure not to bombard the reader with extra information at this stage. You don’t want them to get overwhelmed with excess information and stop reading further.
Just give enough information to familiarise them with the whole idea of making it easier to understand. When you look for information on your topic, only use credible and authentic sources. Performing exhaustive research before beginning writing is an inevitable part of the essay writing process.
3. Add a Thesis Statement
The last component of an essay introduction is a thesis statement. The thesis statement summarizes the entire concept and states the main objective of the essay.
The purpose of the thesis statement is to make a claim about the topic and to engage the reader, making them want to read till the end.
A thesis statement should be arguable and not based on facts that the reader already believes in. Your teacher wants to read something interesting and engaging, and the only way to do that is to provide them with some new and arguable information.
A good thesis statement is arguable, defendable, as well as informative. You can learn more about writing a thesis statement along with examples.
Once you have successfully started your essay introduction, the next section is the body.
4. Structure your Essay
Ending the introduction by signposting what will be covered in each part can give your reader a clear sense of where they are headed.
It is helpful to keep it concise and not too wordy with unnecessary information that would take away from this goal.
Example: The first part of this essay discusses the life and works of Louis Braille, who created a system for blind students to read using their fingers. It then describes how he struggled with his invention at first but was able to gain acceptance within schools around Europe by 1850.
Finally, it explores some effects that were brought about after its widespread use, such as increased independence among blind people and improved literacy rates in general populations across countries where they live today.
5. Check & Revise your Essay
A good way to write your introduction paragraph is by waiting until the end of the writing process.
You learn more as you research, and this can change how you want to make an argument for your paper. So it’s best not to start right away with the first thing that comes out because it may be wrong later on.
After writing the essay body and conclusion, you should return to your introduction. You want it to match what actually occurs in your paper, so make sure that is true before moving on.
It's especially important to make sure that the thesis statement matches everything else you said.
If things went down differently than planned, tweak the thesis statement accordingly until it aligns exactly the intended.
How to Start an Argumentative Essay?
An argumentative essay is different from other kinds of essays as the writer uses it to prove his point and convince the readers of his point of view.
It clearly outlines a point, reasoning behind it, and evidence for the reader to understand your position.
Good argumentative essays should have these key elements:
- A thesis statement that reflects what you are trying to argue or convey.
- Reasonable supporting points with examples/logic backing them up.
- Evidence from experts who can prove your claims.
Below are the steps to start an argumentative essay.
1. Create an Outline
Creating an outline is the very first step of beginning with your essay, be it an argumentative or any other essay. It will help you in maintaining a clear focus and staying close to the main theme and topic of the essay.
2. Decide the Information You will Add in the Introduction
Your first paragraph should introduce the topic of your essay, provide background information relevant to understanding it and outline what evidence you will present.
In addition, this part of your paper needs a thesis statement that clearly states why readers should care about the issue at hand.
3. Formulate the Thesis Statement
This is part of your first paragraph. It summarizes the main point and claims in a concise manner, without repeating any information from the input directly.
4. Outline the Main Section of the Essay
Decide about the information that you will add and explain in the main section of the essay. Instead of having everything in your mind only, it is important that you write down everything and stick to the plan.
5. Outline the Conclusion
Make a complete and workable outline for your essay’s conclusion. Make points of the things that you will discuss in your essay’s conclusion and stay close to them.
In simple terms, make an outline of each section and make sure that you follow it completely and properly.
How to Start an Application Essay?
The college essay is not the same kind of essay that you write for your high school English teacher, so it doesn't have to include a typical intro with a thesis statement.
Many students are unaware of this fact. Just as you want to prepare answers for your college interview, here are some ways to start your essay on an engaging and interesting note.
- Start with a question.
- Begin your essay with a bold and striking statement.
- Use an engaging and relevant quote.
- Begin from the middle of the events.
- Speak with the reader directly.
Using these ways will help you write an essay that stands out from the competition.
Different Ways To Start an Essay
Now you know the essential elements to consider when starting to write your essay. Following are some of the different ways that you can consider starting your academic essay.
How to Start an Essay With a Question?
Starting an essay with an intriguing question is one of the easiest and most effective ways to get the attention of your readers.
In this way, the reader will think about the essay subject and will want to find out how the author has answered the question.
How to Start An Essay With a Quote?
The internet has made it easy for us to access quotes from writers, historical figures, and scientists. Starting an essay with a quote will help in building the readers’ interest, and you can have their attention immediately.
Make sure to quote someone with credibility, and the quote is also important to have some association with your topic.
How to Start an Essay With a Fun/Interesting Fact?
The start of an essay is a great opportunity for you to start with an interesting fact or statistics. Everybody loves to read interesting and fun facts as they provide some relevant background information about the topic.
For serious essays, you can start with some shocking statistics to immediately grab your reader’s attention.
How to Start an Essay Body?
The body paragraphs of the essay hold the main content of the essay. Here you explain your point of view and present the main ideas.
The body is typically made up of three paragraphs; however, they can vary depending on the complexity of the topic and your teacher’s instructions.
The one thing that stays constant regardless of the different essay topics is that each paragraph starts with a topic sentence. The topic sentence explains the main idea of a particular paragraph, followed by the explanation and supporting evidence.
You can use factual evidence to prove your claim or different examples, statistics, and details from the text itself. All these paragraphs should work together to link back to your thesis and to prove it.
How to Start an Essay Conclusion?
The last section of an essay is the conclusion, and this is where most students go wrong. They start it abruptly and leave the reader confused without providing sufficient information.
When writing the conclusion for your essay, remember that this will be the last thing you leave your reader with. So, don’t make it vague. Use this opportunity to restate the thesis and summarize the main points.
Remind the reader why your stand on the particular topic was correct. Avoid introducing any new information at this stage.
While we have covered everything about starting your essay and its different sections, to learn more about the content, here is a complete essay format.
Mistakes To Avoid When Starting an Essay
How to begin an essay in the wrong way?
The outline is an important task to start with. So what is next?
Following are some of the things that you should avoid if you want to start an essay in the best possible way.
- Never start with a definition from a dictionary
The definitions taken from dictionaries or even websites are quite obvious and boring. Other than that, teachers do not recommend using such open-source encyclopedias.
- Avoid writing broad and generalized introduction
Set a timer and watch whether your introduction is more than 25-30 seconds long. If it is, then make it short.
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