Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. The opening of an essay is very important, as you need to grab the reader’s attention. Additionally, you need to set up the rest of the essay in terms of tone and content. There’s no “right” way to begin an essay, but good openings share qualities you can use in your own writing.
To begin your essay, start by creating a roadmap for what you want to say, then tailor your introduction to fit your essay. To improve your work, use popular essay writing strategies. Write a 1-sentence attention-grabbing hook to open your essay. While your essay may be interesting to you, it’s not necessarily interesting to the reader. Readers, by and large, are somewhat picky about what they read and what they don’t. If a piece of writing doesn’t immediately catch their attention in the first paragraph, there’s a good chance they won’t bother to read the rest of it. Great hooks might include a fascinating little-known fact about your topic, a startling statistic, a quote, a rhetorical question, or an insightful personal question.
On the other hand, if it fits into your essay more logically, you may want to start with a particularly gripping image or description. For an essay on your summer vacation, you might start with this: “When I felt the Costa Rican sun filtering through the jungle canopy and heard the sound of howler monkeys far off in the distance, I knew that I had found someplace very special. Draw your reader into the “meat” of your essay. A great first sentence can get the reader’s attention, but if you don’t keep pulling the reader into your essay, she or he can still easily lose interest.
Follow your very first sentence with a sentence or two that logically link the attention-grabbing “hook” in the first sentence to the rest of the essay as a whole. For your vacation essay, you might follow your first sentence with something like this: “I was deep in the jungles of Tortuguero National Park, and I was lost in more ways than one. This sentence tells the reader where the imagery in the first sentence comes from and pulls the reader into the rest of the essay by teasing that it will eventually be revealed how the narrator is “lost. Tell the reader what your essay is about.
After reading your introduction, your reader needs to know the topic of your essay, as well as your purpose for writing it. You might be writing to inform, persuade, or entertain, and this should be apparent in your introduction. Additionally, you should tell your reader why your topic is important, as well as what they’ll get from your essay. For your vacation essay, you might try something like this: “This is the story of my summer in Costa Rica, a summer that neither spider bites, nor rotten plantains, nor Giardia could keep from being life-changing.
This tells the reader that they’ll be reading an account of one person’s journey to a foreign country while teasing specific details about what’s in store in the body of the essay. Outline the structure of your essay. Let the reader know how you will present your argument or perspective, providing the basic structure of your essay. You’ll likely provide this information in your thesis statement.