How to Write an Essay Introduction: 4 Steps and Examples

How to Write an Essay Introduction: 4 Steps and Examples

Step 1: Choose a Captivating Hook

There are many ways to create a captivating hook. You can start with a thought-provoking question, an interesting fact or statistic, a powerful quote, or even a compelling anecdote. The key is to choose a hook that is relevant to your topic and establishes a connection with your audience.

For example, if you are writing an essay about the importance of recycling, you could start with a question like, “Did you know that recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to power a TV for three hours?” This not only grabs the reader’s attention, but it also sets the tone for the rest of the essay.

Another effective approach is to use a vivid image or description that creates a strong visual impression in the reader’s mind. For instance, if you are writing an essay about a character in a novel, you could start with a descriptive scene that depicts the character in action.

Step 2: Provide Background Information

One useful technique for providing background information is to use an example. For instance, let’s imagine you are writing an essay about the existence of time travel in the novel “The Time Machine” by H.G. Wells. In this case, you can start by giving a brief summary of the plot and mentioning the main themes explored in the book.

In addition to setting the scene and giving the reader an overview of what to expect, background information should also address any necessary definitions or concepts that the reader may need in order to fully understand the topic. This is especially important in essays that tackle complex or technical subjects.

To provide a well-rounded background, it can be helpful to include information that is both general and specific. The general information will give the reader a broader understanding of the topic, while the specific details will show that you have done research and have a deep understanding of the subject matter.

For example, let’s say you are writing an essay on climate change and the question posed in the prompt is “How can individuals help mitigate the effects of climate change?” You can begin the background information by stating the importance of addressing climate change and the consequences of inaction. Then, you can transition into discussing individual actions that can be taken to combat climate change.

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Step 3: State Your Thesis Statement

When writing your thesis statement, consider the following:

  1. Be clear: Make sure your thesis statement is clearly stated and easy to understand. Avoid using language that is too technical or complex, as it may confuse the reader.
  2. Be specific: State your main argument in a specific and precise manner. Avoid vague or broad statements that lack focus.
  3. Be bold: Your thesis statement should make a strong claim or argument. Avoid stating the obvious or making statements that are already widely known.
  4. Be engaging: Pose a thought-provoking question or use an anecdote or example to intrigue the reader and make them want to continue reading.
  5. Highlight the main points: The thesis statement should summarize the main points or arguments that will be discussed in the essay.

Here’s an example of a thesis statement:

Original:Fast food is unhealthy for our bodies.
Rephrased:The consumption of fast food can have negative effects on our overall health due to its high fat and sugar content.

This thesis statement is clear, specific, and bold. It highlights the main points that will be discussed in the essay and sets up the reader’s expectations for what is to come.

Step 4: Preview the Main Points

Previewing the main points can be done in several ways:

1. Use Signpost Words

Signpost words such as “firstly,” “secondly,” “next,” and “finally” can be used to clearly indicate the organization and structure of the essay. These words help the reader to follow the flow of the arguments and understand how the different paragraphs are connected.

2. Create a List or Bullet Points

Another effective way to preview the main points is by creating a list or bullet points. This creates a visual representation of the main ideas that will be discussed, making it easier for the reader to understand and remember them.

For example:

  • The importance of studying the background and context of the topic
  • The ways in which an effective hook can be used to grab the reader’s attention
  • The role of a strong thesis statement in guiding the essay
  • The use of signpost words to structure paragraphs and connect ideas

3. Use Contrast or Comparison

Contrasting or comparing the main points can also be a helpful technique to preview them. By presenting two opposing or related ideas, the reader can get a better understanding of what will be discussed in the body paragraphs.

For example:

In contrast to the gradual formatting process that many writers follow, professional editors often recommend a different approach. They suggest rephrasing the thesis statement and the main ideas into short and concise sentences. This not only prevents repetitive language but also makes the main points more memorable for the reader.

By previewing the main points, the author provides an opportunity for the reader to get an overview of the content that will be explored in the essay. This helps the reader to stay focused and engaged, while also allowing them to check whether the essay will be useful and relevant to them.

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“Step 1: Attention-Grabbing Hook” has been done by using the story of Ratsmith and bacon.

“Step 3: Introduce the Thesis Statement” has been achieved by stating that the thesis statement will be explained and how it can be improved.

“Step 4: Preview the Main Points” is the step we are currently discussing.

About the Author

The author’s ultimate goal is to help students improve their essay writing skills and communicate their thoughts and ideas effectively. They understand the difficulties students face when it comes to writing essays, such as rephrasing information and presenting a strong argumentative statement. Therefore, they provide useful tips and techniques to make the writing process easier and more enjoyable.

Before starting to write an essay, the author suggests creating an outline or a mind map to organize thoughts and ideas. This not only helps in structuring the essay but also ensures that all relevant information is included. The author also emphasizes the importance of checking the essay for plagiarism and using a checklist to ensure that all necessary aspects are covered.


Why is it important to start an essay introduction with an anecdote?

Starting an essay introduction with an anecdote can help grab the reader’s attention and make the essay more engaging. It adds a personal touch to the introduction and can make the topic more relatable to the reader.

Can I use any type of anecdote in my essay introduction?

Yes, you can use any type of anecdote in your essay introduction as long as it is relevant to the topic and helps introduce your main idea or thesis statement. It can be a personal story, a historical event, or a fictional scenario.

Should I include the purpose of my essay in the introduction?

Yes, it is important to include the purpose or main idea of your essay in the introduction. This helps set the tone for the rest of the essay and gives the reader a clear understanding of what to expect.

How long should an anecdote be in an essay introduction?

An anecdote in an essay introduction can vary in length, depending on the topic and overall length of the essay. It can be a few short sentences or a longer paragraph. The key is to keep it concise and relevant to the main idea of your essay.

Can I use multiple anecdotes in my essay introduction?

While it is possible to use multiple anecdotes in your essay introduction, it is generally recommended to focus on one strong anecdote that effectively introduces your main idea. Using too many anecdotes can make the introduction confusing or overwhelming for the reader.

Why is it important to start an essay introduction with an anecdote?

Starting an essay introduction with an anecdote is important because it helps to grab the reader’s attention. Anecdotes are engaging and can create an emotional connection with the reader, making them more likely to continue reading the essay. Anecdotes also provide a relatable and concrete example that can help to introduce and illustrate the main topic of the essay.

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Alex Koliada, PhD

By Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for studying aging, genetics, and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics. His scientific research has been published in the most reputable international magazines. Alex holds a BA in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California, and a TEFL certification from The Boston Language Institute.