Before we come down to how to start the introduction and what to include, you have to understand why this part is so important for the success of the whole paper. The intro and conclusion are not the additional parts, they are the frame that holds the essay structure together and lets readers dive deeper into the topic and take something out of it.

Read on to write catchy, laconic, and engaging introductions suitable for your essay type that will make teachers’ eyes light up when they start reading them.

What is the Purpose of the Introduction

An introduction has an important mission of giving background information on the topic and demonstrating the core idea of your text, your stance on the discussed issue, or your answer to the prompt. Remember, an academic essay is not the place for suspense and readers should not be left guessing where you are heading!

Another purpose of an effective introduction and thesis statement is to demonstrate your study skills. Thus, while reputable scholars may violate some rules to make their introductions more engaging and persuasive, you should better not experiment too much here.

3 Elements of a Great Introduction Paragraph

There are three main things that make a successful introduction. These are responsible for how much attention your paper will get and how well the topic and your argument will be introduced.

Attention hook

The attention grabber should be the first part of your intro. This is the part that has to make people want to read the paper further. It can be either an interesting question on the topic, a piece of staggering statistics on the topic, or a metaphor.

If you are writing a college essay, start it with a narrative story that will let the reader see and hear what was going around at the moment that was meaningful to you.  

Lead to the topic

This is a section with some background information on the topic of your essay. To write a good introduction, be sure not to make this part too long; mind that the whole introduction should make around 10% of your essay. Only include relevant, interesting, basic information. The purpose is to make readers even more interested and cater to people unfamiliar with the topic. 

Thesis statement

A thesis statement is the most powerful part of the introductory section and is the essence of your paper. Here’s what a strong statement should include:

  • The direction of the paper (whether you agree or disagree with the topic, questions, etc., for example);
  • Your answer to the question;
  • The proof you’re right/ supporting arguments stated as concisely as possible (for argumentative essays).

Keep it short; preferably, express your thesis statement in one sentence. Avoid vague words – be clear and consistent. See this guide for useful thesis statement examples and formulas that will help you find the right wording.

Essay Introduction Examples

While knowing the general rules, tips, and tricks of a killer introduction is great, every essay type requires a different approach. A narrative essay is completely different from an argumentative one. Choosing a proper model for your intro will set the right tone for the whole paper.

Narrative Essay Introduction

A narrative essay is the most interesting type for many students because their experience is usually the topic. The main characteristics of this type are:

  • Non-fictional nature;
  • Description of an experience of a person, an event in their life, etc.;
  • Chronological order (usually);
  • Informal language;
  • 1st person;
  • Informational purpose.

A personal statement or a TOEFL writing assignment is a great example of a narrative essay. Here is a short example: 

I completely agree with the people who say that you have to see the world to become open-minded. For years now, I’ve been traveling as an exchange student for the purposes of learning and discovery. After every journey, a new side of humanity and interpersonal relationships showed itself to be.

Descriptive Essay Introduction

A descriptive essay is all about painting pictures with your words. The key features are:

  • Lots of vivid details;
  • Depiction of all 5 senses;
  • Description of feelings;
  • Lots of metaphors (where applicable);
  • Strong nouns, verbs, and adjectives;
  • Fine organization.

Here is an example of the introduction to the descriptive patriotism essay:

The 4th of July is the day when all Americans feel a combination of pride, happiness, and grief. Our Independence Day is filled with feelings of sheer bliss and freedom, as well as loss and sadness for the lost in the fight for this freedom. Back in 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was signed, candles were lit bright, and bells rang loudly as a sign of celebration. For me, as a young American, the beginning of the new history of the US is painted in bright colors of fireworks and gratitude. 

Expository or Analytical Essay Introduction

Expository writing is about presenting a balanced analysis and encompasses compare and contrast, cause and effect, how-to, and process essay types. Unlike argumentative writing, analytical essays need to devote equal attention to the opposing views on the topic. Such essays are:

  • Unbiased;
  • Well-organized;
  • Highly informative;
  • Impartial (not demonstrating author’s preference or stance on the topic)

Check out the example of the essay introduction on the topic of free will and the debates surrounding it:

The term ‘free will’ has been a topic of discussion from both religious and scientific points of view for ages. With the advances of neuroscience, the new studies found an inconsistency in what people mean by free will. According to the results, the human brain begins to act before generating the independent, conscious decision people think they’re making. The debates are still going on, but one thing is clear: these studies call for a change in the notion of free will that we know of.

The difference between expository and analytical essays is more pronounced when it comes to literature studies. Namely, an expository essay will dwell on the meaning of the text or a poem, while a literary analysis paper would focus on its form (the literary and persuasive techniques used). Although such essays will have different thesis statements and body, introductions to both essays will have to name the work that is analyzed, its author, and the key facts about it.

Argumentative or Persuasive Essay Introduction

An argumentative or persuasive essay has the following features:

  • A personal opinion given by building the case for it;
  • A clear structure;
  • Use of facts and logical reasoning to support a definite claim;
  • Counterarguments are either not mentioned or refuted.

Here is a good introduction leading to the argument for an opt-out donor system (you can find plenty of information on the topic of organ transplantation and the black market of organs here):

Organ transplantation is a frequently practiced treatment for people with cirrhosis of the liver, heart, and respiratory diseases, as well as renal failure. Although the current state of health care allows using organ transplantation to save lives, people continue to suffer from chronic diseases and die due to the shortage of organs for transplantation. As of February 2021, over 100,000 people are on the official US transplant waiting list, with a new patient added every 9 minutes. One donor can save 8 lives with their: heart, two healthy lungs, 2 healthy kidneys, liver, pancreas, and intestines, but the number of people signing up as do not is relatively low. Considering the marked shortage of organs for transplantation and the lack of alternative solutions, an opt-out donor system should be adopted in the United States.

Now, take your topic and try to draft an introduction following all the recommendations given in this article. You should get an amazing intro that will make anyone want to read your paper!

About the Author: Nataly
Hi, I am Nataly and love engaging, fit for purpose, and edited to perfection writing. Feel free to reach out to work with me, suggest topic ideas, or give feedback on Make a Stand - the project I passionately grow for more than 3 years now.
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