How To Start An Essay (With 20 Great Examples)

Facing a blank page and unsure how to start your essay? Crafting a compelling essay isn’t innate for everyone. While it’s about presenting clear ideas, even top students can struggle. For many, meeting deadlines or ensuring quality becomes daunting, leading them to consult professionals like do my essay cheap . These experts whip up top-tier essays swiftly. A standout essay can elevate your academic status, with the introduction being the pivotal hook. Many opt to hire essay writers for that impeccable start. But crafting an engaging intro is doable. Want to captivate your readers immediately? Or impress academic panels? If the task still feels daunting, there’s always the option to buy assignments online for guaranteed quality. But let’s explore ways to start an essay on your own.

How to start your essay? – The most straightforward advice

How to begin your essay – the lengthier and more appropriate advice.

The aim of an academic essay is usually to persuade readers to change their minds about something. It can also be a descriptive, expository, argumentative, or narrative essay .

But regardless of the  format of the essay , the introduction should still have these basic ingredients:

How long should an essay introduction be.

It all depends on the overall length of your essay. If it’s a standard, five-paragraph  college essay , the introduction should only take one paragraph or 60-80 words. But if you’re writing something longer, for example, a five-page interpretation of a literary work, the introduction could take two to three paragraphs or 120-150 words. You can measure the length using a simple word counter but don’t obsess too much about the number. The crucial thing is to say what you need to say and impact the reader.

The aim of the introductory paragraph

The first paragraph is always tricky because it serves a double purpose. It has to state what the essay will be about, but it needs to hook the readers and motivate them to read on. That’s why you need a perfect balance between clinical precision and artistic flair.

If you truly want to learn how to begin an essay, there are three best ways to do it:

20 great examples and tips on how to start an essay:, 1. describe a setting and start with an emotional punch, 2. start with a deeply personal story from your childhood.

“One Sunday morning when I was a boy, my father came out of his office and handed me a poem. It was about a honeybee counseling a flea to flee a doggy and see the sea. The barbiturates my father took to regulate his emotions made him insomniac, and I understood that he’d been awake most of the night, laboring over these lines, listing all the words he could think of ending in a long “e.” – Charles D’Ambrosio – Documents

3. Create a mysterious atmosphere

“Moths that fly by day are not properly to be called moths; they do not excite that pleasant sense of dark autumn nights and ivy-blossom which the commonest yellow-underwing asleep in the shadow of the curtain never fails to rouse in us.” – Virginia Woolf – Death of the Moth

4. Throw the reader straight into the middle of the events

“Earlier this summer I was walking down West End Avenue in Manhattan and remembered, with a sadness that nearly knocked me off my feet, just why I came to New York seven years ago and just why I am now about to leave.” – Meghan Daum – My Misspent Youth

5. Start with universal questions of life and death

6. start with a question and then answer it.

“What is the charm of necklaces? Why would anyone put something extra around their neck and then invest it with special significance? A necklace doesn’t afford warmth in cold weather, like a scarf, or protection in combat, like chain mail; it only decorates. We might say, it borrows meaning from what it surrounds and sets off, the head with its supremely important material contents, and the face, that register of the soul.” – Emily R. Grosholz – On Necklaces

7. Start with irony

“In Moulmein, in Lower Burma, I was hated by large numbers of people – the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me.” – George Orwell – Shooting an Elephant

8. Begin by creating great expectations of what’s to come (use the introduction as bait)

9. start with a puzzle (notice how you start to wonder who is she talking about in this introduction), 10. start with dark humor.

“When I was young, I thought Life: A User’s Manual would teach me how to live and Suicide: A User’s Manual how to die.” – Édouard Levé – When I Look at a Strawberry, I Think of a Tongue

11. Start with an unusual question that will pull the readers in

12. commence by taking the reader into the world of mystery and awe, 13. state your thesis at the very beginning – be clear about it.

“Science has beauty, power, and majesty that can provide spiritual as well as practical fulfillment. But superstition and pseudoscience keep getting in the way providing easy answers, casually pressing our awe buttons, and cheapening the experience.” – Carl Sagan – Does Truth Matter – Science, Pseudoscience, and Civilization

14. Start with the obvious that’s not so obvious after all

“To do something well you have to like it. That idea is not exactly novel. We’ve got it down to four words: “Do what you love.” But it’s not enough just to tell people that. Doing what you love is complicated.” – Paul Graham – How To Do What You Love

15. Be unpredictable and highly intellectual

“Once, in a dry season, I wrote in large letters across two pages of a notebook that innocence ends when one is stripped of the delusion that one likes oneself. Although now, some years later, I marvel that a mind on the outs with itself should have nonetheless made painstaking record of its every tremor, I recall with embarrassing clarity the flavor of those particular ashes. It was a matter of misplaced self-respect.” – Joan Didion – On Self Respect

16. Get straight to the point

17. start in a deeply emotional, poetic manner, 18. begin by describing the place and circumstances in great detail.

“Two blocks away from the Mississippi State Capitol, and on the same street with it, where our house was when I was a child growing up in Jackson, it was possible to have a little pasture behind your backyard where you could keep a Jersey cow, which we did. My mother herself milked her. A thrifty homemaker, wife, and mother of three, she also did all her cooking. And as far as I can recall, she never set foot inside a grocery store. It wasn’t necessary.” – Eudora Welty – The Little Store

19. Start by presenting an original idea (frame it in a way that the reader never considered before)

“Saints should always be judged guilty until they are proved innocent, but the tests that have to be applied to them are not, of course, the same in all cases. In Gandhi’s case the questions one feels inclined to ask are: to what extent was Gandhi moved by vanity — by the consciousness of himself as a humble, naked old man, sitting on a praying mat and shaking empires by sheer spiritual power — and to what extent did he compromise his principles by entering politics, which of their nature are inseparable from coercion and fraud?” – George Orwell – Reflections on Gandhi

20. Be clear-headed and approach the subject as objectively as possible

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  • If you are writing in a new discipline, you should always make sure to ask about conventions and expectations for introductions, just as you would for any other aspect of the essay. For example, while it may be acceptable to write a two-paragraph (or longer) introduction for your papers in some courses, instructors in other disciplines, such as those in some Government courses, may expect a shorter introduction that includes a preview of the argument that will follow.  
  • In some disciplines (Government, Economics, and others), it’s common to offer an overview in the introduction of what points you will make in your essay. In other disciplines, you will not be expected to provide this overview in your introduction.  
  • Avoid writing a very general opening sentence. While it may be true that “Since the dawn of time, people have been telling love stories,” it won’t help you explain what’s interesting about your topic.  
  • Avoid writing a “funnel” introduction in which you begin with a very broad statement about a topic and move to a narrow statement about that topic. Broad generalizations about a topic will not add to your readers’ understanding of your specific essay topic.  
  • Avoid beginning with a dictionary definition of a term or concept you will be writing about. If the concept is complicated or unfamiliar to your readers, you will need to define it in detail later in your essay. If it’s not complicated, you can assume your readers already know the definition.  
  • Avoid offering too much detail in your introduction that a reader could better understand later in the paper.
  • picture_as_pdf Introductions

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a question to start an essay

How to Start a College Essay to Hook Your Reader

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What’s Covered:

What is the purpose of the college essay introduction, tips for getting started on your essay, 6 effective techniques for starting your college essay.

  • Cliche College Essay Introduction to Avoid

Where to Get Your Essay Edited for Free

Have you sat down to write your essay and just hit a wall of writer’s block? Do you have too many ideas running around your head, or maybe no ideas at all?

Starting a college essay is potentially the hardest part of the application process. Once you start, it’s easy to keep writing, but that initial hurdle is just so difficult to overcome. We’ve put together a list of tips to help you jump that wall and make your essay the best it can be.

The introduction to a college essay should immediately hook the reader. You want to give admissions officers a reason to stay interested in your story and encourage them to continue reading your essay with an open mind. Remember that admissions officers are only able to spend a couple minutes per essay, so if you bore them or turn them off from the start, they may clock out for the rest of the essay.

As a whole, the college essay should aim to portray a part of your personality that hasn’t been covered by your GPA, extracurriculars, and test scores. This makes the introduction a crucial part of the essay. Think of it as the first glimpse, an intriguing lead on, into the read rest of your essay which also showcases your voice and personality. 

Brainstorm Topics

Take the time to sit down and brainstorm some good topic ideas for your essay. You want your topic to be meaningful to you, while also displaying a part of you that isn’t apparent in other aspects of your application. The essay is an opportunity to show admissions officers the “real you.” If you have a topic in mind, do not feel pressured to start with the introduction. Sometimes the best essay openings are developed last, once you fully grasp the flow of your story.

Do a Freewrite

Give yourself permission to write without judgment for an allotted period of time. For each topic you generated in your brainstorm session, do a free-write session. Set a time for one minute and write down whatever comes to mind for that specific topic. This will help get the juices flowing and push you over that initial bit of writer’s block that’s so common when it comes time to write a college essay. Repeat this exercise if you’re feeling stuck at any point during the essay writing process. Freewriting is a great way to warm up your creative writing brain whilst seeing which topics are flowing more naturally onto the page.

Create an Outline

Once you’ve chosen your topic, write an outline for your whole essay. It’s easier to organize all your thoughts, write the body, and then go back to write the introduction. That way, you already know the direction you want your essay to go because you’ve actually written it out, and you can ensure that your introduction leads directly into the rest of the essay. Admissions officers are looking for the quality of your writing alongside the content of your essay. To be prepared for college-level writing, students should understand how to logically structure an essay. By creating an outline, you are setting yourself up to be judged favorably on the quality of your writing skills.

1. The Scriptwriter

“No! Make it stop! Get me out!” My 5-year-old self waved my arms frantically in front of my face in the darkened movie theater.

Starting your essay with dialogue instantly transports the reader into the story, while also introducing your personal voice. In the rest of the essay, the author proposes a class that introduces people to insects as a type of food. Typically, one would begin directly with the course proposal. However, the author’s inclusion of this flashback weaves in a personal narrative, further displaying her true self.

Read the full essay.

2. The Shocker

A chaotic sense of sickness and filth unfolds in an overcrowded border station in McAllen, Texas. Through soundproof windows, migrants motion that they have not showered in weeks, and children wear clothes caked in mucus and tears. The humanitarian crisis at the southern border exists not only in photographs published by mainstream media, but miles from my home in South Texas.

This essay opener is also a good example of “The Vivid Imaginer.” In this case, the detailed imagery only serves to heighten the shock factor. While people may be aware of the “humanitarian crisis at the southern border,” reading about it in such stark terms is bound to capture the reader’s attention. Through this hook, the reader learns a bit about the author’s home life; an aspect of the student that may not be detailed elsewhere in their application. The rest of the essay goes on to talk about the author’s passion for aiding refugees, and this initial paragraph immediately establishes the author’s personal connection to the refugee crisis.

3. The Vivid Imaginer

The air is crisp and cool, nipping at my ears as I walk under a curtain of darkness that drapes over the sky, starless. It is a Friday night in downtown Corpus Christi, a rare moment of peace in my home city filled with the laughter of strangers and colorful lights of street vendors. But I cannot focus. 

Starting off with a bit of well-written imagery transports the reader to wherever you want to take them. By putting them in this context with you, you allow the reader to closely understand your thoughts and emotions in this situation. Additionally, this method showcases the author’s individual way of looking at the world, a personal touch that is the baseline of all college essays.

a question to start an essay

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4. The Instant Plunger

The flickering LED lights began to form into a face of a man when I focused my eyes. The man spoke of a ruthless serial killer of the decade who had been arrested in 2004, and my parents shivered at his reaccounting of the case. I curiously tuned in, wondering who he was to speak of such crimes with concrete composure and knowledge. Later, he introduced himself as a profiler named Pyo Chang Won, and I watched the rest of the program by myself without realizing that my parents had left the couch.

Plunging readers into the middle of a story (also known as in medias res ) is an effective hook because it captures attention by placing the reader directly into the action. The descriptive imagery in the first sentence also helps to immerse the reader, creating a satisfying hook while also showing (instead of telling) how the author became interested in criminology. With this technique, it is important to “zoom out,” so to speak, in such a way that the essay remains personal to you.

5. The Philosopher 

Saved in the Notes app on my phone are three questions: What can I know? What must I do? What may I hope for? First asked by Immanuel Kant, these questions guide my pursuit of knowledge and organization of critical thought, both skills that are necessary to move our country and society forward in the right direction.

Posing philosophical questions helps present you as someone with deep ideas while also guiding the focus of your essay. In a way, it presents the reader with a roadmap; they know that these questions provide the theme for the rest of the essay. The more controversial the questions, the more gripping a hook you can create. 

Providing an answer to these questions is not necessarily as important as making sure that the discussions they provoke really showcase you and your own values and beliefs.

6. The Storyteller

One Christmas morning, when I was nine, I opened a snap circuit set from my grandmother. Although I had always loved math and science, I didn’t realize my passion for engineering until I spent the rest of winter break creating different circuits to power various lights, alarms, and sensors. Even after I outgrew the toy, I kept the set in my bedroom at home and knew I wanted to study engineering.

Beginning with an anecdote is a strong way to establish a meaningful connection with the content itself. It also shows that the topic you write about has been a part of your life for a significant amount of time, and something that college admissions officers look for in activities is follow-through; they want to make sure that you are truly interested in something. A personal story such as the one above shows off just that.

Cliche College Essay Introductions to Avoid

Ambiguous introduction.

It’s best to avoid introductory sentences that don’t seem to really say anything at all, such as “Science plays a large role in today’s society,” or “X has existed since the beginning of time.” Statements like these, in addition to being extremely common, don’t demonstrate anything about you, the author. Without a personal connection to you right away, it’s easy for the admissions officer to write off the essay before getting past the first sentence.

Quoting Someone Famous

While having a quotation by a famous author, celebrity, or someone else you admire may seem like a good way to allow the reader to get to know you, these kinds of introductions are actually incredibly overused. You also risk making your essay all about the quotation and the famous person who said it; admissions officers want to get to know you, your beliefs, and your values, not someone who isn’t applying to their school. There are some cases where you may actually be asked to write about a quotation, and that’s fine, but you should avoid starting your essay with someone else’s words outside of this case. It is fine, however, to start with dialogue to plunge your readers into a specific moment.

Talking About Writing an Essay

This method is also very commonplace and is thus best avoided. It’s better to show, not tell, and all this method allows you to do is tell the reader how you were feeling at the time of writing the essay. If you do feel compelled to go this way, make sure to include vivid imagery and focus on grounding the essay in the five senses, which can help elevate your introduction and separate it from the many other meta essays.

Childhood Memories

Phrases like “Ever since I was young…” or “I’ve always wanted…” also lend more to telling rather than showing. If you want to talk about your childhood or past feelings in your essay, try using one of the techniques listed earlier (such as the Instant Plunger or the Vivid Imaginer) to elevate your writing.

CollegeVine has a peer essay review page where peers can tell you if your introduction was enough to hook them. Getting feedback from someone who hasn’t read your essay before, and thus doesn’t have any context which may bias them to be more forgiving to your introduction, is helpful because it mimics the same environment in which an admissions officer will be reading your essay. 

Writing a college essay is hard, but with these tips hopefully starting it will be a little easier!

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How to Start an Essay with Strong Hooks and Leads

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ALWAYS START AN ESSAY WITH AN ENGAGING INTRODUCTION

Getting started is often the most challenging part of writing an essay, and it’s one of the main reasons our students are prone to leaving their writing tasks to the last minute.

But what if we could give our students some tried and tested tips and strategies to show them how to start an essay?

What if we could give them various strategies they could pull out of their writer’s toolbox and kickstart their essays at any time?

In this article, we’ll look at tried and tested methods and how to start essay examples to get your students’ writing rolling with momentum to take them to their essays’ conclusion.

Once you have worked past the start of your essay, please explore our complete guide to polishing an essay before submitting it and our top 5 tips for essay writing.

Visual Writing

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF AN ESSAY’S INTRODUCTION?

 Essentially, the purpose of the introduction is to achieve two things:

 1. To orientate the reader

2. To motivate the reader to keep reading.

 An effective introduction will give the reader a clear idea of what the essay will be about. To do this, it may need to provide some necessary background information or exposition.

Once this is achieved, the writer will then make a thesis statement that informs the reader of the main ‘thrust’ of the essay’s position, the supporting arguments of which will be explored throughout the body paragraphs of the remainder of the essay.

When considering how to start an essay, ensure you have a strong thesis statement and support it through well-crafted arguments in the body paragraphs . These are complex skills in their own right and beyond the scope of this guide, but you can find more detail on these aspects of essay writing in other articles on this site that go beyond how to start an essay.

 For now, our primary focus is on how to grab the reader’s attention right from the get-go.

 After all, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step or, in this case, a single opening sentence.

A COMPLETE UNIT ON WRITING HOOKS, LEADS & INTRODUCTIONS

how to start an essay, hook, lead | Introductions Hooks Leads 2022 | How to Start an Essay with Strong Hooks and Leads | literacyideas.com

Teach your students to write  STRONG LEADS, ENGAGING HOOKS  and  MAGNETIC INTRODUCTIONS  for  ALL TEXT TYPES  with this engaging  PARAGRAPH WRITING UNIT  designed to take students from zero to hero over  FIVE STRATEGIC LESSONS.

WHAT IS A “HOOK” IN ESSAY WRITING?

how to start an essay, hook, lead | how to use hook sentences to write a good essay | How to Start an Essay with Strong Hooks and Leads | literacyideas.com

A hook is a sentence or phrase that begins your essay, grabbing the reader’s attention and making them want to keep reading. It is the first thing the reader will see, and it should be interesting and engaging enough to make them want to read more.

As you will learn from the how to start an essay examples below, a hook can be a quote, a question, a surprising fact, a personal story, or a bold statement. It should be relevant to the topic of your essay and should be able to create a sense of curiosity or intrigue in the reader. The goal of a hook is to make the reader want to read on and to draw them into the central argument or point of your essay.

Some famous examples of hooks in literature you may have encountered are as follows.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” Charles Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities
“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen” George Orwell in 1984
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife” – Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice

how to start an essay, hook, lead | essay introduction guide | How to Start an Essay with Strong Hooks and Leads | literacyideas.com

HOW TO HOOK THE READER WITH ATTENTION-GRABBING OPENING SENTENCES

We all know that every essay has a beginning, a middle , and an end . But, if our students don’t learn to grab the reader’s attention from the opening sentence, they’ll struggle to keep their readers engaged long enough to make it through the middle to the final full stop. Take a look at these five attention-grabbing sentence examples.

  • “The secret to success is hidden in a single, elusive word: persistence.”
  • “Imagine a world without electricity, where the only source of light is the flame of a candle.”
  • “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, but most importantly, it was the time that changed everything.”
  • “They said it couldn’t be done, but she proved them wrong with her grit and determination.”
  • “He stood at the edge of the cliff, staring down at the tumultuous ocean below, knowing that one misstep could mean certain death.”

Regardless of what happens next, those sentences would make any reader stop whatever else they might focus on and read with more intent than before. They have provided the audience with a “hook” intended to lure us further into their work.

To become effective essay writers, your students need to build the skill of writing attention-grabbing opening sentences. The best way of achieving this is to use ‘hooks’.

There are several kinds of hooks that students can choose from. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most effective of these:

 1. The Attention-Grabbing Anecdote

2. The Bold Pronouncement!

3. The Engaging Fact

4. Using an Interesting Quote

5. Posing a Rhetorical Question

6. Presenting a Contrast

 How appropriate each of these hooks is will depend on the essay’s nature. Students must consider the topic, purpose, tone, and audience of the essay they’re writing before deciding how best to open it.

 Let’s look at each of these essay hooks, along with a practice activity students can undertake to put their knowledge of each hook into action.

1: HOW TO START AN ESSAY WITH “THE ATTENTION-GRABBING ANECDOTE”

 Anecdotes are an effective way for the student to engage the reader’s attention right from the start.

When the anecdote is based on the writer’s personal life, they are a great way to create intimacy between the writer and the reader from the outset.

Anecdotes are an especially useful starting point when the essay explores more abstract themes as they climb down the ladder of abstraction and fit the broader theme of the essay to the shape of the writer’s life.

Anecdotes work because they are personal, and because they’re personal, they infuse the underlying theme of the essay with emotion.

This expression of emotion helps the writer form a bond with the reader. And it is this bond that helps encourage the reader to continue reading.

Readers find this an engaging approach, mainly when the topic is complex and challenging.

Anecdotes provide an ‘in’ to the writing’s broader theme and encourage the reader to read on.

Examples of Attention-grabbing anecdotes

  • “It was my first day of high school, and I was a bundle of nerves. I had always been a shy kid, and the thought of walking into a new school, surrounded by strangers was overwhelming. But as I walked through the front doors, something unexpected happened. A senior, who I had never met before, came up to me and said ‘Welcome to high school; it’s going to be an amazing four years.’ That one small act of kindness from a complete stranger made all the difference, and from that day on, I knew that I would be okay.”
  • “I was in my math class and having a tough day. I had a test coming up, and I was struggling to understand the material. My teacher, who I had always thought was strict and unapproachable, noticed that I was struggling and asked if I needed help. I was surprised, but I took her up on her offer, and she spent extra time with me after class, helping me to understand the material. That experience taught me that sometimes, the people we think we know the least about are the ones who can help us the most.”
  • “It was the last day of 8th grade, and we were all sitting in the auditorium, waiting for the ceremony to begin. Suddenly, the principal got on stage and announced that there was a surprise guest speaker. I was confused and curious, but when the guest walked out on stage, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was my favorite rapper who had come to speak to us about the importance of education. That moment was a turning point for me, it showed me that if you work hard and believe in yourself, anything is possible.”

Attention-Grabbing Anecdote Teaching Strategies

One way to help students access their personal stories is through sentence starters, writing prompts, or well-known stories and their themes.

First, instruct students to choose a theme to write about. For example, if we look at the theme of The Boy Who Cried Wolf, something like: we shouldn’t tell lies, or people may not believe us when we tell the truth.

Fairytales and fables are great places for students to find simple themes or moral lessons to explore for this activity.

Once they’ve chosen a theme, encourage the students to recall a time when this theme was at play in their own lives. In the case above, a time when they paid the cost, whether seriously or humorously, for not telling the truth.

This memory will form the basis for a personal anecdote that will form a ‘hook’. Students can practice replicating this process for various essay topics.

It’s essential when writing anecdotes that students attempt to capture their personal voice.

One way to help them achieve this is to instruct them to write as if they were orally telling their story to a friend.

This ‘vocal’ style of writing helps to create intimacy between writer and reader, which is the hallmark of this type of opening.

2: HOW TO START AN ESSAY WITH “THE BOLD PRONOUNCEMENT”

 As the old cliché “Go big or go home!” would have it, making a bold pronouncement at the start of an essay is one surefire way to catch the reader’s attention.

Bold statements exude confidence and assure the reader that this writer has something to say that’s worth hearing. A bold statement placed right at the beginning suggests the writer isn’t going to hedge their bets or perch passively on a fence throughout their essay.

The bold pronouncement technique isn’t only useful for writing a compelling opening sentence, the formula can be used to generate a dramatic title for the essay.

For example, the recent New York Times bestseller ‘Everybody Lies’ by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz is an excellent example of the bold pronouncement in action.

Examples of Bold Pronouncements

  • “I will not be just a statistic, I will be the exception. I will not let my age or my background define my future, I will define it myself.”
  • “I will not be afraid to speak up and make my voice heard. I will not let anyone silence me or make me feel small. I will stand up for what I believe in and I will make a difference.”
  • “I will not be satisfied with just getting by. I will strive for greatness and I will not be content with mediocrity. I will push myself to be the best version of me, and I will not settle for anything less.”

Strategies for Teaching how to write a Bold Pronouncement

Give the students a list of familiar tales; again, Aesop’s Fables make for a good resource.

In groups, have them identify some tales’ underlying themes or morals. For this activity, these can take the place of an essay’s thesis statement.

Then, ask the students to discuss in their groups and collaborate to write a bold pronouncement based on the story. Their pronouncement should be short, pithy, and, most importantly, as bold as bold can be.

3: HOW TO START AN ESSAY WITH “THE ENGAGING FACT”

how to start an essay, hook, lead | essay 1 | How to Start an Essay with Strong Hooks and Leads | literacyideas.com

In our cynical age of ‘ fake news ’, opening an essay with a fact or statistic is a great way for students to give authority to their writing from the very beginning.

Students should choose the statistic or fact carefully, it should be related to their general thesis, and it needs to be noteworthy enough to spark the reader’s curiosity.

This is best accomplished by selecting an unusual or surprising fact or statistic to begin the essay with.

Examples of the Engaging Fact

  •  “Did you know that the average teenager spends around 9 hours a day consuming media? That’s more than the time they spend sleeping or in school!”
  • “The brain continues to develop until the age of 25, which means that as a teenager, my brain is still going through major changes and growth. This means I have a lot of potential to learn and grow.”
  • “The average attention span of a teenager is shorter than that of an adult, meaning that it’s harder for me to focus on one task for an extended time. This is why it is important for me to balance different activities and take regular breaks to keep my mind fresh.”

Strategies for teaching how to write engaging facts

This technique can work well as an extension of the bold pronouncement activity above.

When students have identified each of the fables’ underlying themes, have them do some internet research to identify related facts and statistics.

Students highlight the most interesting of these and consider how they would use them as a hook in writing an essay on the topic.

4: HOW TO START AN ESSAY USING “AN INTERESTING QUOTATION”

This strategy is as straightforward as it sounds. The student begins their essay by quoting an authority or a well-known figure on the essay’s topic or related topic.

This quote provides a springboard into the essay’s subject while ensuring the reader is engaged.

The quotation selected doesn’t have to align with the student’s thesis statement.

In fact, opening with a quotation the student disagrees with can be a great way to generate a debate that grasps the reader’s attention from the outset.

Examples of starting an essay with an interesting quotation.

  • “As Albert Einstein once said, ‘Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.’ As a 16-year-old student, I know how it feels to be judged by my ability to climb the “academic tree” and how it feels to be labeled as “stupid”. But just like the fish in Einstein’s quote, I know that my true potential lies in my unique abilities and talents, not in how well I can climb a tree.”
  • “Mark Twain once said, ‘Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.’ This quote resonates with me because as a teenager, I often feel pressure to conform to the expectations and opinions of my peers. But this quote reminds me to take a step back and think for myself, rather than blindly following the crowd.”
  • “As J.K. Rowling famously said, ‘It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.’ As a 16-year-old student, I often find myself getting lost in my dreams for the future and forgetting to live in the present. But this quote serves as a reminder to me to strive for my goals while also cherishing and living in the here and now.”

Teaching Strategies for starting an essay with an interesting quotation.

To gain practice in this strategy, organize the students into groups and have them generate a list of possible thesis statements for their essays.

Once they have a list of statements, they now need to generate a list of possible quotations related to their hypothetical essay’s central argument .

Several websites are dedicated to curating pertinent quotations from figures of note on an apparently inexhaustible array of topics. These sites are invaluable resources for tracking down interesting quotations for any essay.

5: HOW TO START AN ESSAY BY “POSING A RHETORICAL QUESTION”

What better way to get a reader thinking than to open with a question?

See what I did there?

Beginning an essay with a question not only indicates to the reader the direction the essay is headed in but also challenges them to respond personally to the topic.

Rhetorical questions are asked to make a point and to get the reader thinking rather than to elicit an answer.

One effective way to use a rhetorical question in an introduction is to craft a rhetorical question from the thesis statement and use it as the opening sentence.

The student can then end the opening paragraph with the thesis statement itself.

In this way, the student has presented their thesis statement as the answer to the rhetorical question asked at the outset.

Rhetorical questions also make for valuable transitions between paragraphs.

Examples of starting an essay with a rhetorical question

  • “What if instead of judging someone based on their appearance, we judged them based on their character? As a 16-year-old, I see the damage caused by judging someone based on their physical appearance, and it’s time to move away from that and focus on character.”
  • “How can we expect to solve the world’s problems if we don’t start with ourselves? As a 16-year-old student, I am starting to see the issues in the world, and I believe that before we can make any progress, we need to start with ourselves.”
  • “What would happen if we stopped labelling people by race, religion, or sexual orientation? As a teenager growing up in a diverse world, I see the harm caused by labelling and stereotyping people; it’s time for us to stop and see people for who they truly are.”

Teaching Students how to start an essay with a rhetorical question

To get some experience posing rhetorical questions, organize your students into small groups, and give each group a list of essay thesis statements suited to their age and abilities.

Task the students to rephrase each of the statements as questions.

For example, if we start with the thesis statement “Health is more important than wealth”, we might reverse engineer a rhetorical question such as “What use is a million dollars to a dying man?”

Mastering how to start an essay with a question is a technique that will become more common as you progress in confidence as a writer.

6: HOW TO START AN ESSAY BY “PRESENTING A CONTRAST”

In this opening, the writer presents a contrast between the image of the subject and its reality. Often, this strategy is an effective opener when widespread misconceptions on the subject are widespread.

For example, if the thesis statement is something like “Wealth doesn’t bring happiness”, the writer might open with a scene describing a lonely, unhappy person surrounded by wealth and opulence.

This scene contrasts a luxurious setting with an impoverished emotional state, insinuating the thrust of the essay’s central thesis.

Examples of Starting an essay by presenting a contrast

  • “On one hand, technology has made it easier to stay connected with friends and family than ever before. On the other hand, it has also created a sense of disconnection and loneliness in many people, including myself as a 16-year-old. “
  • “While social media has allowed us to express ourselves freely, it has also led to a culture of cyberbullying and online harassment. As a teenager, I have seen social media’s positive and negative effects.”
  • “On one hand, the internet has given us access to a wealth of information. On the other hand, it has also made it harder to separate fact from fiction and to distinguish credible sources from fake news. This is becoming increasingly important for me as a 16-year-old student in today’s society.”

Teaching Strategies for presenting a contrast when starting an essay.

For this activity, you can use the same list of thesis statements as in the activity above. In their groups, challenge students to set up a contrasting scene to evoke the essay’s central contention, as in the example above.

The scene of contrast can be a factual one in a documentary or anecdotal style, or a fictionalized account.

Whether the students are using a factual or fictional scene for their contrast, dramatizing it can make it much more persuasive and impactful.

THE END OF THE BEGINNING

These aren’t the only options available for opening essays, but they represent some of the best options available to students struggling to get started with the concept of how to create an essay.

With practice, students will soon be able to select the best strategies for their needs in various contexts.

To reinforce their understanding of different strategies for starting an introduction for an essay, encourage them to pay attention to the different choices writers make each time they begin reading a new nonfiction text.

Just like getting good at essay writing itself, getting good at writing openings requires trial and error and lots and lots of practice.

USEFUL VIDEO TUTORIALS ON WRITING AN ESSAY INTRODUCTION

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It’s the roadmap to your essay, it’s the forecast for your argument, it’s...your introduction paragraph, and writing one can feel pretty intimidating. The introduction paragraph is a part of just about every kind of academic writing , from persuasive essays to research papers. But that doesn’t mean writing one is easy!

If trying to write an intro paragraph makes you feel like a Muggle trying to do magic, trust us: you aren’t alone. But there are some tips and tricks that can make the process easier—and that’s where we come in.

In this article, we’re going to explain how to write a captivating intro paragraph by covering the following info:  

  • A discussion of what an introduction paragraph is and its purpose in an essay
  • An overview of the most effective introduction paragraph format, with explanations of the three main parts of an intro paragraph
  • An analysis of real intro paragraph examples, with a discussion of what works and what doesn’t
  • A list of four top tips on how to write an introduction paragraph

Are you ready? Let’s begin!

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What Is an Introduction Paragraph? 

An introduction paragraph is the first paragraph of an essay , paper, or other type of academic writing. Argumentative essays , book reports, research papers, and even personal  essays are common types of writing that require an introduction paragraph. Whether you’re writing a research paper for a science course or an argumentative essay for English class , you’re going to have to write an intro paragraph. 

So what’s the purpose of an intro paragraph? As a reader’s first impression of your essay, the intro paragraph should introduce the topic of your paper. 

Your introduction will also state any claims, questions, or issues that your paper will focus on. This is commonly known as your paper’s thesis . This condenses the overall point of your paper into one or two short sentences that your reader can come back and reference later.

But intro paragraphs need to do a bit more than just introduce your topic. An intro paragraph is also supposed to grab your reader’s attention. The intro paragraph is your chance to provide just enough info and intrigue to make your reader say, “Hey, this topic sounds interesting. I think I’ll keep reading this essay!” That can help your essay stand out from the crowd.

In most cases, an intro paragraph will be relatively short. A good intro will be clear, brief, purposeful, and focused. While there are some exceptions to this rule, it’s common for intro paragraphs to consist of three to five sentences . 

Effectively introducing your essay’s topic, purpose, and getting your reader invested in your essay sounds like a lot to ask from one little paragraph, huh? In the next section, we’ll demystify the intro paragraph format by breaking it down into its core parts . When you learn how to approach each part of an intro, writing one won’t seem so scary!

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Once you figure out the three parts of an intro paragraph, writing one will be a piece of cake!

The 3 Main Parts of an Intro Paragraph

In general, an intro paragraph is going to have three main parts: a hook, context, and a thesis statement . Each of these pieces of the intro plays a key role in acquainting the reader with the topic and purpose of your essay. 

Below, we’ll explain how to start an introduction paragraph by writing an effective hook, providing context, and crafting a thesis statement. When you put these elements together, you’ll have an intro paragraph that does a great job of making a great first impression on your audience!

Intro Paragraph Part 1: The Hook

When it comes to how to start an introduction paragraph, o ne of the most common approaches is to start with something called a hook. 

What does hook mean here, though? Think of it this way: it’s like when you start a new Netflix series: you look up a few hours (and a few episodes) later and you say, “Whoa. I guess I must be hooked on this show!” 

That’s how the hook is supposed to work in an intro paragrap h: it should get your reader interested enough that they don’t want to press the proverbial “pause” button while they’re reading it . In other words, a hook is designed to grab your reader’s attention and keep them reading your essay! 

This means that the hook comes first in the intro paragraph format—it’ll be the opening sentence of your intro. 

It’s important to realize  that there are many different ways to write a good hook. But generally speaking, hooks must include these two things: what your topic is, and the angle you’re taking on that topic in your essay. 

One approach to writing a hook that works is starting with a general, but interesting, statement on your topic. In this type of hook, you’re trying to provide a broad introduction to your topic and your angle on the topic in an engaging way . 

For example, if you’re writing an essay about the role of the government in the American healthcare system, your hook might look something like this: 

There's a growing movement to require that the federal government provide affordable, effective healthcare for all Americans. 

This hook introduces the essay topic in a broad way (government and healthcare) by presenting a general statement on the topic. But the assumption presented in the hook can also be seen as controversial, which gets readers interested in learning more about what the writer—and the essay—has to say.

In other words, the statement above fulfills the goals of a good hook: it’s intriguing and provides a general introduction to the essay topic.

Intro Paragraph Part 2: Context

Once you’ve provided an attention-grabbing hook, you’ll want to give more context about your essay topic. Context refers to additional details that reveal the specific focus of your paper. So, whereas the hook provides a general introduction to your topic, context starts helping readers understand what exactly you’re going to be writing about

You can include anywhere from one to several sentences of context in your intro, depending on your teacher’s expectations, the length of your paper, and complexity of your topic. In these context-providing sentences, you want to begin narrowing the focus of your intro. You can do this by describing a specific issue or question about your topic that you’ll address in your essay. It also helps readers start to understand why the topic you’re writing about matters and why they should read about it. 

So, what counts as context for an intro paragraph? Context can be any important details or descriptions that provide background on existing perspectives, common cultural attitudes, or a specific situation or controversy relating to your essay topic. The context you include should acquaint your reader with the issues, questions, or events that motivated you to write an essay on your topic...and that your reader should know in order to understand your thesis. 

For instance, if you’re writing an essay analyzing the consequences of sexism in Hollywood, the context you include after your hook might make reference to the #metoo and #timesup movements that have generated public support for victims of sexual harassment. 

The key takeaway here is that context establishes why you’re addressing your topic and what makes it important. It also sets you up for success on the final piece of an intro paragraph: the thesis statement.

Elle Woods' statement offers a specific point of view on the topic of murder...which means it could serve as a pretty decent thesis statement!

Intro Paragraph Part 3: The Thesis

The final key part of how to write an intro paragraph is the thesis statement. The thesis statement is the backbone of your introduction: it conveys your argument or point of view on your topic in a clear, concise, and compelling way . The thesis is usually the last sentence of your intro paragraph. 

Whether it’s making a claim, outlining key points, or stating a hypothesis, your thesis statement will tell your reader exactly what idea(s) are going to be addressed in your essay. A good thesis statement will be clear, straightforward, and highlight the overall point you’re trying to make.

Some instructors also ask students to include an essay map as part of their thesis. An essay map is a section that outlines the major topics a paper will address. So for instance, say you’re writing a paper that argues for the importance of public transport in rural communities. Your thesis and essay map might look like this: 

Having public transport in rural communities helps people improve their economic situation by giving them reliable transportation to their job, reducing the amount of money they spend on gas, and providing new and unionized work .

The underlined section is the essay map because it touches on the three big things the writer will talk about later. It literally maps out the rest of the essay!

So let’s review: Your thesis takes the idea you’ve introduced in your hook and context and wraps it up. Think of it like a television episode: the hook sets the scene by presenting a general statement and/or interesting idea that sucks you in. The context advances the plot by describing the topic in more detail and helping readers understand why the topic is important. And finally, the thesis statement provides the climax by telling the reader what you have to say about the topic. 

The thesis statement is the most important part of the intro. Without it, your reader won’t know what the purpose of your essay is! And for a piece of writing to be effective, it needs to have a clear purpose. Your thesis statement conveys that purpose , so it’s important to put careful thought into writing a clear and compelling thesis statement. 

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How To Write an Introduction Paragraph: Example and Analysis

Now that we’ve provided an intro paragraph outline and have explained the three key parts of an intro paragraph, let’s take a look at an intro paragraph in action.

To show you how an intro paragraph works, we’ve included a sample introduction paragraph below, followed by an analysis of its strengths and weaknesses.

Example of Introduction Paragraph

While college students in the U.S. are struggling with how to pay for college, there is another surprising demographic that’s affected by the pressure to pay for college: families and parents. In the face of tuition price tags that total more than $100,000 (as a low estimate), families must make difficult decisions about how to save for their children’s college education. Charting a feasible path to saving for college is further complicated by the FAFSA’s estimates for an “Expected Family Contribution”—an amount of money that is rarely feasible for most American families. Due to these challenging financial circumstances and cultural pressure to give one’s children the best possible chance of success in adulthood, many families are going into serious debt to pay for their children’s college education. The U.S. government should move toward bearing more of the financial burden of college education. 

Example of Introduction Paragraph: Analysis

Before we dive into analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of this example intro paragraph, let’s establish the essay topic. The sample intro indicates that t he essay topic will focus on one specific issue: who should cover the cost of college education in the U.S., and why. Both the hook and the context help us identify the topic, while the thesis in the last sentence tells us why this topic matters to the writer—they think the U.S. Government needs to help finance college education. This is also the writer’s argument, which they’ll cover in the body of their essay. 

Now that we’ve identified the essay topic presented in the sample intro, let’s dig into some analysis. To pin down its strengths and weaknesses, we’re going to use the following three questions to guide our example of introduction paragraph analysis: 

  • Does this intro provide an attention-grabbing opening sentence that conveys the essay topic? 
  • Does this intro provide relevant, engaging context about the essay topic? 
  • Does this intro provide a thesis statement that establishes the writer’s point of view on the topic and what specific aspects of the issue the essay will address? 

Now, let’s use the questions above to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of this sample intro paragraph. 

Does the Intro Have a Good Hook? 

First, the intro starts out with an attention-grabbing hook . The writer starts by presenting  an assumption (that the U.S. federal government bears most of the financial burden of college education), which makes the topic relatable to a wide audience of readers. Also note that the hook relates to the general topic of the essay, which is the high cost of college education. 

The hook then takes a surprising turn by presenting a counterclaim : that American families, rather than students, feel the true burden of paying for college. Some readers will have a strong emotional reaction to this provocative counterclaim, which will make them want to keep reading! As such, this intro provides an effective opening sentence that conveys the essay topic. 

Does the Intro Give Context?

T he second, third, and fourth sentences of the intro provide contextual details that reveal the specific focus of the writer’s paper . Remember: the context helps readers start to zoom in on what the paper will focus on, and what aspect of the general topic (college costs) will be discussed later on. 

The context in this intro reveals the intent and direction of the paper by explaining why the issue of families financing college is important. In other words, the context helps readers understand why this issue matters , and what aspects of this issue will be addressed in the paper.  

To provide effective context, the writer refers to issues (the exorbitant cost of college and high levels of family debt) that have received a lot of recent scholarly and media attention. These sentences of context also elaborate on the interesting perspective included in the hook: that American families are most affected by college costs.

Does the Intro Have a Thesis? 

Finally, this intro provides a thesis statement that conveys the writer’s point of view on the issue of financing college education. This writer believes that the U.S. government should do more to pay for students’ college educations. 

However, the thesis statement doesn’t give us any details about why the writer has made this claim or why this will help American families . There isn’t an essay map that helps readers understand what points the writer will make in the essay.

To revise this thesis statement so that it establishes the specific aspects of the topic that the essay will address, the writer could add the following to the beginning of the thesis statement:

The U.S. government should take on more of the financial burden of college education because other countries have shown this can improve education rates while reducing levels of familial poverty.

Check out the new section in bold. Not only does it clarify that the writer is talking about the pressure put on families, it touches on the big topics the writer will address in the paper: improving education rates and reduction of poverty. So not only do we have a clearer argumentative statement in this thesis, we also have an essay map!  

So, let’s recap our analysis. This sample intro paragraph does an effective job of providing an engaging hook and relatable, interesting context, but the thesis statement needs some work ! As you write your own intro paragraphs, you might consider using the questions above to evaluate and revise your work. Doing this will help ensure you’ve covered all of your bases and written an intro that your readers will find interesting!

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4 Tips for How To Write an Introduction Paragraph

Now that we’ve gone over an example of introduction paragraph analysis, let’s talk about how to write an introduction paragraph of your own. Keep reading for four tips for writing a successful intro paragraph for any essay. 

Tip 1: Analyze Your Essay Prompt

If you’re having trouble with how to start an introduction paragraph, analyze your essay prompt! Most teachers give you some kind of assignment sheet, formal instructions, or prompt to set the expectations for an essay they’ve assigned, right? Those instructions can help guide you as you write your intro paragraph!

Because they’ll be reading and responding to your essay, you want to make sure you meet your teacher’s expectations for an intro paragraph . For instance, if they’ve provided specific instructions about how long the intro should be or where the thesis statement should be located, be sure to follow them!

The type of paper you’re writing can give you clues as to how to approach your intro as well. If you’re writing a research paper, your professor might expect you to provide a research question or state a hypothesis in your intro. If you’re writing an argumentative essay, you’ll need to make sure your intro overviews the context surrounding your argument and your thesis statement includes a clear, defensible claim. 

Using the parameters set out by your instructor and assignment sheet can put some easy-to-follow boundaries in place for things like your intro’s length, structure, and content. Following these guidelines can free you up to focus on other aspects of your intro... like coming up with an exciting hook and conveying your point of view on your topic!

Tip 2: Narrow Your Topic

You can’t write an intro paragraph without first identifying your topic. To make your intro as effective as possible, you need to define the parameters of your topic clearly—and you need to be specific. 

For example, let’s say you want to write about college football. “NCAA football” is too broad of a topic for a paper. There is a lot to talk about in terms of college football! It would be tough to write an intro paragraph that’s focused, purposeful, and engaging on this topic. In fact, if you did try to address this whole topic, you’d probably end up writing a book!

Instead, you should narrow broad topics to  identify a specific question, claim, or issue pertaining to some aspect of NCAA football for your intro to be effective. So, for instance, you could frame your topic as, “How can college professors better support NCAA football players in academics?” This focused topic pertaining to NCAA football would give you a more manageable angle to discuss in your paper.

So before you think about writing your intro, ask yourself: Is my essay topic specific, focused, and logical? Does it convey an issue or question that I can explore over the course of several pages? Once you’ve established a good topic, you’ll have the foundation you need to write an effective intro paragraph . 

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Once you've figured out your topic, it's time to hit the books!

Tip 3: Do Your Research

This tip is tightly intertwined with the one above, and it’s crucial to writing a good intro: do your research! And, guess what? This tip applies to all papers—even ones that aren’t technically research papers. 

Here’s why you need to do some research: getting the lay of the land on what others have said about your topic—whether that’s scholars and researchers or the mass media— will help you narrow your topic, write an engaging hook, and provide relatable context. 

You don't want to sit down to write your intro without a solid understanding of the different perspectives on your topic. Whether those are the perspectives of experts or the general public, these points of view will help you write your intro in a way that is intriguing and compelling for your audience of readers. 

Tip 4: Write Multiple Drafts

Some say to write your intro first; others say write it last. The truth is, there isn’t a right or wrong time to write your intro—but you do need to have enough time to write multiple drafts . 

Oftentimes, your professor will ask you to write multiple drafts of your paper, which gives you a built-in way to make sure you revise your intro. Another approach you could take is to write out a rough draft of your intro before you begin writing your essay, then revise it multiple times as you draft out your paper. 

Here’s why this approach can work: as you write your paper, you’ll probably come up with new insights on your topic that you didn’t have right from the start. You can use these “light bulb” moments to reevaluate your intro and make revisions that keep it in line with your developing essay draft. 

Once you’ve written your entire essay, consider going back and revising your intro again . You can ask yourself these questions as you evaluate your intro: 

  • Is my hook still relevant to the way I’ve approached the topic in my essay?
  • Do I provide enough appropriate context to introduce my essay? 
  • Now that my essay is written, does my thesis statement still accurately reflect the point of view that I present in my essay?

Using these questions as a guide and putting your intro through multiple revisions will help ensure that you’ve written the best intro for the final draft of your essay. Also, revising your writing is always a good thing to do—and this applies to your intro, too!

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What's Next?

Your college essays also need great intro paragraphs. Here’s a guide that focuses on how to write the perfect intro for your admissions essays. 

Of course, the intro is just one part of your college essay . This article will teach you how to write a college essay that makes admissions counselors sit up and take notice.

Are you trying to write an analytical essay? Our step-by-step guide can help you knock it out of the park.

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Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.

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How To Start An Essay

How To Start An Essay -The Only Guide You'll Need

a question to start an essay

How To Start An Essay

To begin an essay effectively, use a captivating hook, provide context, present a clear thesis statement, outline the essay's structure, transition smoothly to the body, be concise, and revise for alignment with the content. A strong introduction engages readers and sets the tone for your essay.

This guide will help you if you’re stuck, so read on. Starting an essay can be difficult, and we’ve all had major writer’s block occasionally. But we will demystify it and give you all the practical help and guidance you’ll need to power through.

To commence your essay effectively, consider adopting these approaches:

  • Engage Your Audience : Start with an engaging element to capture your audience's interest. This could be an unexpected fact, a provocative query, an impactful quote, or a vivid brief story.
  • Set the Scene : Quickly provide the necessary background to frame your topic, highlighting its significance or intrigue.
  • State Your Central Argument : Articulate your central thesis or primary argument clearly. This will guide the direction of your essay and clarify your purpose to the reader.
  • Preview Your Essay's Structure : Briefly outline the organization of your essay, indicating the key points or arguments you intend to explore.
  • Smooth Transition : Seamlessly lead into the body of your essay with transitional phrases, preparing the reader for the forthcoming content.
  • Keep it Brief and Focused : Maintain brevity and focus in your introduction. Steer clear of extensive details or protracted background exposition.
  • Refine and Enhance : Once your essay is complete, reassess your introduction to ensure it is aligned with the overall content and effectively sets up your topic.

‍ Understanding The Craft: How To Start An Essay

The introduction paragraph can set the ENTIRE tone for your essay, so it’s more than important. By the end of this guide, you’ll be able to master it (hopefully).

The level of engagement your audience will feel throughout the essay and if they understand the message you’re conveying can be determined just by reading your introduction.

Remember how crucial an essay introduction is, as first impressions can be lasting. 

Sharp Eye: Analyzing The Prompt 

Before you go your ways to start an essay, you should fully grasp the prompt of the essay. By fully understanding the prompt, you won’t be led astray. Here’s a few simple things to remember: 

Breaking down the question

Deconstruct your prompt to understand it fully. Highlight key terms and consider what each word truly means.

Interpret instructions carefully

Depending on the instructions, you should be aware of the differences in what they’re asking you for.

For example, a prompt that instructs you to “describe” will want different results from a prompt that asks you to “analyze.”

Research first

To help you understand your prompt better, you can do some research. Collect information like background information and the current relevance of the prompt.

This will add context to your understanding of it. This will give you a better and fuller perspective as well. 

Creating A Hook That Hooks

A crucial part of your essay introduction and starting an essay is writing a good hook. Your hook is your attention-grabber, so it needs to literally hook your readers. Be mindful of these tips:

  • Use startling facts to shock readers.
  • Use provocative questions.
  • Use anecdotes or intriguing quotes.
  • Don’t forget to tailor your hook to your audience and your topic.

Writing A Great Thesis Statement 

You don’t know how to start an essay correctly if you don’t know how to write a great thesis statement. 

Need help? Writers at Studyfy will guide you with essay writing if you send a “ write an essay for me ” request, and they’ll do it instantly. Moving along, here’s what you need to keep in mind with your thesis statement:

Thesis concept

A thesis statement is a very clear and concise sentence.

It could be two sentences, too. It sums up and represents the core argument of your essay and serves as a guide for your writing and developing your arguments.

Do initial research to back up your thesis

By collecting evidence, examples, and facts, you can refine your essay and make it more accurate, compelling, and sophisticated. 

Positioning your thesis

Ideally, you’d want to position your thesis statement at the end of your introduction.

It allows for a smooth reading flow, and it introduces the main argument and purpose of the essay before the reader moves on to the body paragraph.

Are you struggling with essay writing?

Get your assignments done by real pros. Save your precious time and boost your marks with ease.

How To Begin An Essay: Outlining Your Main Points

An outline is like a roadmap. It can guide you and help you remember and set clear expectations for your essay's development. Here are a few things to consider: 

  • Outline your main points in the introduction.
  • Make an outline that helps you write in intriguing detail and keeps your essay introduction concise.
  • Ensure that all points in your introduction paragraph directly back up or relate to your thesis statement.

Techniques For Creating A Dynamic Essay Introduction Paragraph

If you want more techniques on how to start a paper effectively, here are some valuable techniques you can employ in your essay writing. 

As we’ve stated, your essay introduction is a crucial pillar you’ll need to develop, so let’s take a look at more writing tips you can apply to it:

  • Use the ACTIVE Voice : Write in the active voice, where the subject performs the action. Active voice makes your writing clearer, direct, dynamic, and engaging.
  • Avoid Common Mistakes : Steer clear of cliches, generalizations, and irrelevant information. Stay on-topic in your introduction.
  • Set the Proper Tone : Match the tone of your essay introduction with the rest of your essay. If your essay is formal, keep the introduction formal; if it's persuasive, make the introduction persuasive.
  • Smooth Transitions : Ensure a smooth transition from the essay introduction to the body to maintain the flow of your writing

And don’t forget, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all this information, you can buy custom essay services on Studyfy right now and get expert help.

So, what exactly can we do to employ smooth transitions? Here are a few helpful pointers: 

  • Employ Transitional Phrases : Use phrases like "this leads us to" or "with that in mind" to facilitate seamless transitions from the introduction to the body.
  • Re-use a Key Term : Consider re-using a key term introduced in the first sentence of your introduction in the last sentence. This creates continuity and maintains smoothness in your writing.
  • Leverage Logical Progression : Organize your points logically to ensure a coherent and clear progression in your essay.

‍ Mastering The Essay’s Introduction

Now you know all that you NEED to know about starting an essay. Let’s go over a brief recap of the key takeaways:

  • Analyze your prompt thoroughly.
  • Create a captivating hook.
  • Use effective transitional phrases.
  • Use logical flow for coherence.
  • Introduce key points and make sure they align with your thesis statement.

We hope this guide has helped you. Don’t forget to seek feedback from professors and peers. They might give you additional tips and insights that can be valuable. 

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Which strategies can I use to start an essay?

The best way to start an essay is to analyze the prompt thoroughly. This will give you an idea of your essay's general purpose. If you need help, you can pay for an essay right now and get expert help.

The prompt is essential background information for your narrative essay or your persuasive essay introductions, as well as other types of academic writing.

How can I craft a strong thesis statement?

A key component of how to start an essay is a strong thesis statement. You can create a strong one by identifying the key theme/question and then narrowing it down to your main argument.

What's a good way to hook a reader in my introduction? What are good essay introduction examples?

A good way to start an essay is by making a compelling hook in your introduction paragraph. You can start your introduction by providing a shocking fact, a provoking question, an intriguing quote, or a personal anecdote.

To maintain the reader's attention, center your essay writing process, both how the essay begins and the entire essay, around the reader's curiosity. The reader's attention should lead your essay introductions, how you incorporate relevant background information, and write other academic essays.

What are common mistakes I should avoid when writing my introduction?

The best way to start an essay is by avoiding common pitfalls in the introduction. Don't use broad statements or cliches. Don't make your intro too long. Have a clear thesis statement ready. 

When it comes to the intro, whether an argumentative essay introduction or expository essay introduction, what matters is igniting the mentioned reader's attention.

A big mistake is to dull down the reader's curiosity right at the beginning. Instead, open with passion. A few examples might be interesting facts, shocking statistics, or other intriguing ways to get a strong introduction.

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Essay Writing Guide

How To Start An Essay

Nova A.

How to Start an Essay- A Step-by-Step Guide

20 min read

how to start an essay

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Starting an essay can be quite a challenge. It's a hurdle many writers stumble over, yet it's a crucial one. 

Crafting an introduction that's not only attention-grabbing but also compelling is the cornerstone of successful essay writing . 

In this blog, we will explain everything about starting an essay. We will discuss how to begin different types of essays and what are some common ways to start an essay. Additionally, we'll highlight some common mistakes to avoid in your essay's introduction.

So let's get started!

Arrow Down

  • 1. How to Start an Essay Introduction?
  • 2. How to Start an Essay With a Quote?
  • 3. How to Start an Essay With a Question?
  • 4. How to Start an Essay With a Fact?
  • 5. How to Start an Essay With an Anecdote?
  • 6. Words To Start An Essay Introduction
  • 7. Sentences To Start An Essay
  • 8. How to Start an Essay - Examples
  • 9. Other Common Ways of Starting an Essay
  • 10. Mistakes to Avoid When Starting an Essay

How to Start an Essay Introduction?

In academic writing, the only chance to make readers stick to your paper is to start off with an interesting and engaging introductory paragraph.

The introduction typically starts by setting the stage and presenting vital background information about your specific topic.

Make your introduction catchy and interesting to both inform and motivate your readers. In this way, you can make your opening of the essay as compelling as possible.

Here are the steps that you need to follow to create an engaging essay introduction: 

  • Start With an Interesting Hook
  • Provide Background Information 
  • Write Your Thesis Statement 
  • Map the Structure of Your Essay 
  • Edit and Revise at the End 

Let’s explain these steps in detail below.

Step 1: Start With an Interesting Hook 

An essay hook is an opening statement that strives to grab people’s interest and attention. Always start an essay introduction with a hook to make your essay appealing.    Here are different types of hooks that can be used in your introduction paragraph:

  • Rhetorical Questions
  • Or a random funny statement

The kind of hook that should be used in the essay depends on the topic and type of your essay. If addressing a serious and sad issue, do not use a casual or funny statement. It would be better to use quotations or anecdotes for such essays. 

Likewise, if your topic is casual and humorous, try to open your essay lightly and casually.  You can ask a funny question or start with a random funny statement. 

You can also go through an interesting hook example and learn how to start a paragraph with interesting hooks. 

Step 2: Provide Background Information

After starting the introduction with a compelling hook, you need to provide background information about your topic. 

The background information is provided to familiarize your audience with the topic and the main argument. 


Providing background knowledge in the introduction is not as easy as it seems. You have to stop yourself from sharing excess information in the introductory paragraph. This will bore your audience, and they will stop reading for sure.    Just slightly give an idea about your topic and move on. You should not spoil the surprise coming for readers in the body paragraphs. 

Step 3: Write Your Thesis Statement

The last component of an introduction is the thesis statement. It is a 1-2 line sentence statement that sums up the main concept and the argument of your essay.    A thesis statement is considered a road map for your essay and provides your reader with an idea about the essay. It sets the tone of the essay, and the reader gets a slight hint about what they are going to read further. 


 

The rest of the paragraphs that come before the conclusion are the body of your essay. They contain all the reasons and shreds of evidence that support and back your thesis statement. 

Quick Tip: Always firmly present your argument in the thesis statement. Do not fill it with excessive information. The thesis statement is meant to convey your stance!

Step 4: Map the Structure of Your Essay

This is especially helpful for longer essays as it informs the readers about what is to come in each section of the essay. Keep this part concise and to the point, and give your readers a clear direction of your essay.

“This essay begins by discussing how difficult life was for blind people during the nineteenth-century European period when there wasn't any braille technology yet. It then describes "braille" - an alphabet made up entirely of small dots on paper so that one can read when touching them without sight. In the end, it discusses how groundbreaking the invention was and the way it helped in alleviating the status of the blind and deaf in society.”

If your essay is short or discusses fewer ideas, this step may not be necessary. But, in the case of a longer essay, the mapping will inform the readers about the things being further discussed in the essay.

Step 5: Edit and Revise at the End

Once done with the writing, edit and revise the introduction. Make sure that you have added a compelling hook, adequate background information, and a thesis statement.

Furthermore, keep in mind that your introduction should be according to the type of essay that you are writing. 

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How to Start an Essay With a Quote?

Here is how to start your essay with a quote:

  • Begin with a relevant quote that ties directly to your essay's topic.
  • Provide context for the quote to help readers understand its significance.
  • Properly cite the author, source, and publication date of the quote.
  • Transition smoothly from the quote to your thesis statement.
  • Analyze the quote's meaning and how it supports your argument.
  • Ensure the content of your essay's body aligns with the quote and analysis.

"Q: What did Eve say to Adam on being expelled from the Garden of Eden? A: 'I think we're in a time of transition.' 

The irony of this joke is not lost as we begin a new century, and the anxieties about social change seem rife. The implication of this message, covering the first of many periods of transition, is that change is normal; there is, in fact, no era or society in which change is not a permanent feature of the social landscape...." 
(Betty G. Farrell, Family: )

Here are some expert tips for putting a quote at the start of an essay:

  • Avoid adding frequently used quotes that are familiar to everyone.
  • Explain how the quote relates to your main point.
  • Select a quote that your target audience can easily understand and relate to.

How to Start an Essay With a Question?

The easiest way to start an introduction is to ask a question to your readers to engage them immediately. Asking questions gives an image of a one-on-one conversation, which is super effective.    Seeing a question first will make your audience look for the answer in the content. 

A rhetorical question is a good kickstart to your essay, as such a type of beginning is attractive to readers. 

 "What is the charm of necklaces? Why would anyone put something extra around their neck and then invest in it with special significance? A necklace doesn't afford warmth in cold weather, like a scarf, or protection in combat, like chain mail; it only decorates. We might say it borrows meaning from what it surrounds and sets off, the head with its supremely important material contents, and the face that registers the soul. The face is the jewel in the crown of the body, and so we give it a setting." 

(Emily R. Grosholz, "On Necklaces." Prairie Schooner, Summer 2007)

If you start with an intriguing question, the answer of which is not clear, then you should provide the answer within the text. Keep in mind that the rhetorical question does not require any specific reply. 

How to Start an Essay With a Fact?

Including interesting facts or statistics in your introduction helps you to take hold of your readers. Facts and stats are good attention grabbers for any piece of writing. Everyone gets entertained by the interesting and fun facts as they provide the context and background information of the topic. 

For serious issues that are global, you can present shocking statistics or news to instantly grab your reader’s attention. 

"The peregrine falcon was brought back from the brink of extinction by a ban on DDT, but also by a peregrine falcon mating hat invented by an ornithologist at Cornell University. If you cannot buy this, Google it. Female falcons had grown dangerously scarce. A few wistful males nevertheless maintained a sort of sexual loitering ground. The hat was imagined, constructed, and then forthrightly worn by the ornithologist as he patrolled this loitering ground, singing, Chee-up! Chee-up! and bowing like an overpolite Japanese Buddhist trying to tell somebody goodbye...." 

(David James Duncan, "Cherish This Ecstasy." , July 2008)

Choose facts and figures from credible and trustworthy sources. Your facts should support or prove your point of view or argument being presented later on in the essay. 

Starting an essay with a shocking fact from a credible source is an effective way to start an essay, followed by explanations to convince the readers.

How to Start an Essay With an Anecdote?

Another interesting way to start an essay is with a brief anecdote. It is about setting a short story at the start to show how it reveals the important features of your theme. 

This hook is appropriate to use if you are writing descriptive or narrative essays. The anecdote should be short, simple, and to the point. Make sure it relates to the central idea of your essay. 

“I once had a border collie. She was so smart! Every morning, I'd open up the front door, and she'd run out, pick up the newspaper, and deliver it to my husband at the breakfast table.”

Words To Start An Essay Introduction

Here are some effective words and phrases to begin an essay introduction:

  • Intriguingly: Intriguingly, the concept of...
  • Unquestionably: Unquestionably, the most critical issue is...
  • Surprisingly: Surprisingly, the data reveals...
  • Notably: Notably, this phenomenon has far-reaching implications.
  • Evidently: Evidently, the evidence suggests...
  • Arguably: Arguably, one of the most contentious topics is...
  • It is imperative to: It is imperative to address the issue of...
  • Historically: Historically, this problem has persisted for centuries.
  • In today's context: In today's context the relevance of this cannot be overstated.
  • To illustrate: To illustrate, consider the following example….
  • In contemporary society: In contemporary society, the issue of...
  • Remarkably: Remarkably, few have explored the implications of...
  • Undoubtedly: Undoubtedly, this problem warrants immediate attention.
  • Consequently: Consequently, this leads us to question...
  • In light of this: In light of this, it becomes evident that...
  • Fundamentally: Fundamentally, the core issue revolves around...
  • In recent years: In recent years, there has been a growing interest in...
  • In an ever-changing world: In an ever-changing world, it is crucial to consider...
  • To shed light on: To shed light on this matter, we will delve into...
  • As a result: As a result, we are compelled to explore the implications of…

Sentences To Start An Essay

Here are some interesting sentences to start an essay: 

  • Have you ever wondered about the impact of climate change on our planet?
  • In a remote village nestled among the mountains, a young girl's journey began.
  • "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself," said Franklin D. Roosevelt.
  • Shockingly, 70% of marine life is threatened by plastic pollution.
  • While some embrace technology, others yearn for a simpler, analog life.
  • Democracy, the cornerstone of modern societies, is often misunderstood.
  • A tranquil dawn, with the sun's first rays painting the sky in hues of gold.
  • Did you know that octopuses have three hearts and blue blood?
  • As a child, I often marveled at the stars, wondering about the cosmos.
  • Society teeters on the brink of a digital revolution that will redefine human existence.

How to Start an Essay - Examples

Examining various essay introduction examples provides valuable insights into captivating your reader's interest right from the start. 

Check out these examples for guidance on crafting powerful opening lines.

How to Start an Informative Essay?

How to Start an Analysis Essay?

How to Start an Application Essay?

How to Start an Expository Essay?

How to Start an Analytical Essay?

How to Start an Essay About a Book?

How to start an Opinion Essay?

How to Start an Autobiography Essay?

How to Start an Essay on Climate Change?

How to Start an Essay on Covid-19?

How to Start an Essay About Women’s Rights?

How to Start a Paragraph in an Essay?

The best way to start a paragraph in an essay is to write the topic sentence. The topic sentence tells the reader what the paragraph is going to be about. After the topic sentence, the supporting details are further provided.

Read this example to know how to start a paragraph. 

How to Start a Conclusion in an Essay?

To start a conclusion in an essay, you should write a rephrased thesis statement first. As it is the crux of your whole essay. Further on, the points discussed in the essay can be summarized one by one in the concluding paragraph. 

Here is an example of how to write a conclusion to help you understand this better. 

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Other Common Ways of Starting an Essay

Besides the ones given above, here are some common ways of beginning your essay on a strong and engaging footing.

Stating the Thesis Statement Briefly

Instead of adding your thesis statement plainly, make the tone engaging and keep it brief.

“It is time, at last, to speak the truth about Thanksgiving, and the truth is this. Thanksgiving is really not such a terrific holiday...." (Michael J. Arlen, "Ode to Thanksgiving." The Camera Age: Essays on Television. Penguin, 1982)

Beginning with an Interesting Discovery

Discoveries and little-known details always interest the readers. They are curious and they want to know more. This makes this kind of essay very interesting and irresistible for your readers.

"I've finally figured out the difference between neat people and sloppy people. The distinction is, as always, moral. Neat people are lazier and meaner than sloppy people." (Suzanne Britt Jordan, "Neat People vs. Sloppy People." Show and Tell. Morning Owl Press, 1983)

Describe the Setting of Your Essay

Presenting the setting of your essay to set the mood of your audience. This helps them know where your essay is heading.

"It was in Burma, a sodden morning of the rains. A sickly light, like yellow tinfoil, was slanting over the high walls into the jail yard. We were waiting outside the condemned cells, a row of sheds fronted with double bars, like small animal cages. Each cell measured about ten feet by ten and was quite bare within except for a plank bed and a pot of drinking water. In some of them, brown silent men were squatting at the inner bars, with their blankets draped around them. These were the condemned men, due to be hanged within the next week or two." (George Orwell, "A Hanging," 1931)

Recount an Event

Recount an event to add drama to your essay. This also helps the readers to connect with you on a deeper level.

"One October afternoon three years ago while I was visiting my parents, my mother made a request I dreaded and longed to fulfill. She had just poured me a cup of Earl Grey from her Japanese iron teapot, shaped like a little pumpkin; outside, two cardinals splashed in the birdbath in the weak Connecticut sunlight. Her white hair was gathered at the nape of her neck, and her voice was low. “Please help me get Jeff’s pacemaker turned off,” she said, using my father’s first name. I nodded, and my heart knocked." (Katy Butler, "What Broke My Father's Heart." The New York Times Magazine, June 18, 2010)

Use the Narrative Delay Technique

This technique works best in piquing your audience’s interest and keeping them on the edge of their seats. However, do not linger on it too much and use this technique carefully.

"They woof. Though I have photographed them before, I have never heard them speak, for they are mostly silent birds. Lacking a syrinx, the avian equivalent of the human larynx, they are incapable of song. According to field guides the only sounds they make are grunts and hisses, though the Hawk Conservancy in the United Kingdom reports that adults may utter a croaking coo and that young black vultures, when annoyed, emit a kind of immature snarl...." (Lee Zacharias, "Buzzards." Southern Humanities Review, 2007)

Present a Historical Event in the Present Tense

Use historical present tense to add weightage to your narrative. It makes the readers feel as if the event is taking place at the present moment.

"Ben and I are sitting side by side in the very back of his mother’s station wagon. We face the glowing white headlights of cars following us, our sneakers pressed against the back hatch door. This is our joy—his and mine—to sit turned away from our moms and dads in this place that feels like a secret, as though they are not even in the car with us. They have just taken us out to dinner, and now we are driving home. Years from this evening, I won’t actually be sure that this boy sitting beside me is named Ben. But that doesn’t matter tonight. What I know for certain right now is that I love him, and I need to tell him this fact before we return to our separate houses, next door to each other. We are both five." (Ryan Van Meter, "First." The Gettysburg Review, Winter 2008)

Describe a Process Briefly

Describe a process briefly that leads to your main essay topic.

"I like to take my time when I pronounce someone dead. The bare minimum requirement is one minute with a stethoscope pressed to someone’s chest, listening for a sound that is not there; with my fingers bearing down on the side of someone’s neck, feeling for an absent pulse; with a flashlight beamed into someone’s’s fixed and dilated pupils, waiting for the constriction that will not come. If I’m in a hurry, I can do all of these in sixty seconds, but when I have the time, I like to take a minute with each task." (Jane Churchon, "The Dead Book." The Sun, February 2009)

Reveal a Secret

“How to start an essay about yourself for college?”

People are always interested in knowing secrets. This is what makes this technique so good. Use it to reveal some secrets about yourself, if you are writing an essay about yourself.

"I spy on my patients. Ought not a doctor to observe his patients by any means and from any stance, that he might more fully assemble evidence? So I stand in the doorways of hospital rooms and gaze. Oh, it is not all that furtive an act. Those in bed need only look up to discover me. But they never do." (Richard Selzer, "The Discus Thrower." Confessions of a Knife. Simon & Schuster, 1979)

Present a Comparison between the Past and Present

It is a very effective technique as it helps the readers see the comparison between past and present situations.

"As a child, I was made to look out the window of a moving car and appreciate the beautiful scenery, with the result that now I don't care much for nature. I prefer parks, ones with radios going chuckawaka chuckawaka and the delicious whiff of bratwurst and cigarette smoke." (Garrison Keillor, "Walking Down The Canyon." Time, July 31, 2000)

Give a Contrast between Virtual & Actual Reality

There are many things that we believe to be true, a.k.a. Virtual reality. This technique helps you in presenting what a myth is and what reality is. Breaking the myths is an effective technique to grab someone’s attention.

"They aren’t what most people think they are. Human eyes, touted as ethereal objects by poets and novelists throughout history, are nothing more than white spheres, somewhat larger than your average marble, covered by a leather-like tissue known as sclera and filled with nature’s facsimile of Jell-O. Your beloved’s eyes may pierce your heart, but in all likelihood, they closely resemble the eyes of every other person on the planet. At least I hope they do, for otherwise he or she suffers from severe myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness), or worse...." (John Gamel, "The Elegant Eye." Alaska Quarterly Review, 2009)

Mistakes to Avoid When Starting an Essay

Here are a few mistakes that should be avoided for writing a great essay introduction. 

  • Starting Without a Plan: Launching into your essay without a clear outline is a recipe for confusion.
  • Weak, Generic Hooks: Using clichés or dull openings that fail to grab your reader's attention.
  • Excessive Formality: Overloading your intro with formal language can bore your audience.
  • Info Overload: Bombarding readers with too much background information can overwhelm them.
  • Unclear Thesis: Failing to state your essay's purpose upfront leaves readers puzzled.
  • Irrelevant Quotes: Using quotes that don't connect directly to your topic is a misstep.
  • Ignoring Your Audience: Neglecting your audience's interests can lead to disengagement.
  • Procrastinating Intro: Leaving the intro for last often results in rushed, ineffective beginnings.
  • Repetitive Content: Repeating what's in the body of your essay makes the intro redundant.
  • Skipping Proofreading: Overlooking errors in grammar and punctuation undermines your intro's credibility.

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Professional assistance is all you need for your writing worries. Our online essay writer is available 24/7 to provide you with custom essays so you can score perfect grades. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a good introduction sentence for an essay.

FAQ Icon

A good instruction sentence for an essay is one that captures the reader's attention with an interesting hook. After writing the hook, give them some context by providing background information that will help set up what is to come in later paragraphs or sections of the paper/essay.

Finally, conclude your introduction with a thesis statement that states both concisely and specifically what main point(s) are being made about this topic along with why it matters.

What are 3 ways of starting your essay?

The three most recommended ways to start off an essay are: 

  • Quotation: By a famous person that fits the context of your essay. 
  • Question: That engages the reader to find the answer in your essay. 
  • Facts or Statistics: That is startling so that the reader’s attention can be grabbed. 

What words can you use to start an essay?

Some words that can be used to start an essay are once, next, then, in fact, similarly, or a time word like first, second, third. You can also use sequential transitions to merge your hook to the rest of the introduction paragraph. These transition words include, for example, consequently, for this reason, or another addition transition.

What is a good paragraph starter?

A good paragraph starter is a brief yet complete topic sentence. The topic sentence should adequately give the reader an idea about what is going to be discussed in the rest of the paragraph. The topic sentence should also prove your thesis statement.

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Nova A.

Nova Allison is a Digital Content Strategist with over eight years of experience. Nova has also worked as a technical and scientific writer. She is majorly involved in developing and reviewing online content plans that engage and resonate with audiences. Nova has a passion for writing that engages and informs her readers.

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  • Focus and Precision: How to Write Essays that Answer the Question

a question to start an essay

About the Author Stephanie Allen read Classics and English at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, and is currently researching a PhD in Early Modern Academic Drama at the University of Fribourg.

We’ve all been there. You’ve handed in an essay and you think it’s pretty great: it shows off all your best ideas, and contains points you’re sure no one else will have thought of.

You’re not totally convinced that what you’ve written is relevant to the title you were given – but it’s inventive, original and good. In fact, it might be better than anything that would have responded to the question. But your essay isn’t met with the lavish praise you expected. When it’s tossed back onto your desk, there are huge chunks scored through with red pen, crawling with annotations like little red fire ants: ‘IRRELEVANT’; ‘A bit of a tangent!’; ‘???’; and, right next to your best, most impressive killer point: ‘Right… so?’. The grade your teacher has scrawled at the end is nowhere near what your essay deserves. In fact, it’s pretty average. And the comment at the bottom reads something like, ‘Some good ideas, but you didn’t answer the question!’.

a question to start an essay

If this has ever happened to you (and it has happened to me, a lot), you’ll know how deeply frustrating it is – and how unfair it can seem. This might just be me, but the exhausting process of researching, having ideas, planning, writing and re-reading makes me steadily more attached to the ideas I have, and the things I’ve managed to put on the page. Each time I scroll back through what I’ve written, or planned, so far, I become steadily more convinced of its brilliance. What started off as a scribbled note in the margin, something extra to think about or to pop in if it could be made to fit the argument, sometimes comes to be backbone of a whole essay – so, when a tutor tells me my inspired paragraph about Ted Hughes’s interpretation of mythology isn’t relevant to my essay on Keats, I fail to see why. Or even if I can see why, the thought of taking it out is wrenching. Who cares if it’s a bit off-topic? It should make my essay stand out, if anything! And an examiner would probably be happy not to read yet another answer that makes exactly the same points. If you recognise yourself in the above, there are two crucial things to realise. The first is that something has to change: because doing well in high school exam or coursework essays is almost totally dependent on being able to pin down and organise lots of ideas so that an examiner can see that they convincingly answer a question. And it’s a real shame to work hard on something, have good ideas, and not get the marks you deserve. Writing a top essay is a very particular and actually quite simple challenge. It’s not actually that important how original you are, how compelling your writing is, how many ideas you get down, or how beautifully you can express yourself (though of course, all these things do have their rightful place). What you’re doing, essentially, is using a limited amount of time and knowledge to really answer a question. It sounds obvious, but a good essay should have the title or question as its focus the whole way through . It should answer it ten times over – in every single paragraph, with every fact or figure. Treat your reader (whether it’s your class teacher or an external examiner) like a child who can’t do any interpretive work of their own; imagine yourself leading them through your essay by the hand, pointing out that you’ve answered the question here , and here , and here. Now, this is all very well, I imagine you objecting, and much easier said than done. But never fear! Structuring an essay that knocks a question on the head is something you can learn to do in a couple of easy steps. In the next few hundred words, I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned through endless, mindless crossings-out, rewordings, rewritings and rethinkings.

Top tips and golden rules

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been told to ‘write the question at the top of every new page’- but for some reason, that trick simply doesn’t work for me. If it doesn’t work for you either, use this three-part process to allow the question to structure your essay:

1)     Work out exactly what you’re being asked

It sounds really obvious, but lots of students have trouble answering questions because they don’t take time to figure out exactly what they’re expected to do – instead, they skim-read and then write the essay they want to write. Sussing out a question is a two-part process, and the first part is easy. It means looking at the directions the question provides as to what sort of essay you’re going to write. I call these ‘command phrases’ and will go into more detail about what they mean below. The second part involves identifying key words and phrases.

2)     Be as explicit as possible

Use forceful, persuasive language to show how the points you’ve made do answer the question. My main focus so far has been on tangential or irrelevant material – but many students lose marks even though they make great points, because they don’t quite impress how relevant those points are. Again, I’ll talk about how you can do this below.

3)     Be brutally honest with yourself about whether a point is relevant before you write it.

It doesn’t matter how impressive, original or interesting it is. It doesn’t matter if you’re panicking, and you can’t think of any points that do answer the question. If a point isn’t relevant, don’t bother with it. It’s a waste of time, and might actually work against you- if you put tangential material in an essay, your reader will struggle to follow the thread of your argument, and lose focus on your really good points.

Put it into action: Step One

a question to start an essay

Let’s imagine you’re writing an English essay about the role and importance of the three witches in Macbeth . You’re thinking about the different ways in which Shakespeare imagines and presents the witches, how they influence the action of the tragedy, and perhaps the extent to which we’re supposed to believe in them (stay with me – you don’t have to know a single thing about Shakespeare or Macbeth to understand this bit!). Now, you’ll probably have a few good ideas on this topic – and whatever essay you write, you’ll most likely use much of the same material. However, the detail of the phrasing of the question will significantly affect the way you write your essay. You would draw on similar material to address the following questions: Discuss Shakespeare’s representation of the three witches in Macbeth . How does Shakespeare figure the supernatural in Macbeth ?   To what extent are the three witches responsible for Macbeth’s tragic downfall? Evaluate the importance of the three witches in bringing about Macbeth’s ruin. Are we supposed to believe in the three witches in Macbeth ? “Within Macbeth ’s representation of the witches, there is profound ambiguity about the actual significance and power of their malevolent intervention” (Stephen Greenblatt). Discuss.   I’ve organised the examples into three groups, exemplifying the different types of questions you might have to answer in an exam. The first group are pretty open-ended: ‘discuss’- and ‘how’-questions leave you room to set the scope of the essay. You can decide what the focus should be. Beware, though – this doesn’t mean you don’t need a sturdy structure, or a clear argument, both of which should always be present in an essay. The second group are asking you to evaluate, constructing an argument that decides whether, and how far something is true. Good examples of hypotheses (which your essay would set out to prove) for these questions are:

  • The witches are the most important cause of tragic action in Macbeth.
  • The witches are partially, but not entirely responsible for Macbeth’s downfall, alongside Macbeth’s unbridled ambition, and that of his wife.
  • We are not supposed to believe the witches: they are a product of Macbeth’s psyche, and his downfall is his own doing.
  • The witches’ role in Macbeth’s downfall is deliberately unclear. Their claim to reality is shaky – finally, their ambiguity is part of an uncertain tragic universe and the great illusion of the theatre. (N.B. It’s fine to conclude that a question can’t be answered in black and white, certain terms – as long as you have a firm structure, and keep referring back to it throughout the essay).

The final question asks you to respond to a quotation. Students tend to find these sorts of questions the most difficult to answer, but once you’ve got the hang of them I think the title does most of the work for you – often implicitly providing you with a structure for your essay. The first step is breaking down the quotation into its constituent parts- the different things it says. I use brackets: ( Within Macbeth ’s representation of the witches, ) ( there is profound ambiguity ) about the ( actual significance ) ( and power ) of ( their malevolent intervention ) Examiners have a nasty habit of picking the most bewildering and terrifying-sounding quotations: but once you break them down, they’re often asking for something very simple. This quotation, for example, is asking exactly the same thing as the other questions. The trick here is making sure you respond to all the different parts. You want to make sure you discuss the following:

  • Do you agree that the status of the witches’ ‘malevolent intervention’ is ambiguous?
  • What is its significance?
  • How powerful is it?

Step Two: Plan

a question to start an essay

Having worked out exactly what the question is asking, write out a plan (which should be very detailed in a coursework essay, but doesn’t have to be more than a few lines long in an exam context) of the material you’ll use in each paragraph. Make sure your plan contains a sentence at the end of each point about how that point will answer the question. A point from my plan for one of the topics above might look something like this:

To what extent are we supposed to believe in the three witches in Macbeth ?  Hypothesis: The witches’ role in Macbeth’s downfall is deliberately unclear. Their claim to reality is uncertain – finally, they’re part of an uncertain tragic universe and the great illusion of the theatre. Para.1: Context At the time Shakespeare wrote Macbeth , there were many examples of people being burned or drowned as witches There were also people who claimed to be able to exorcise evil demons from people who were ‘possessed’. Catholic Christianity leaves much room for the supernatural to exist This suggests that Shakespeare’s contemporary audience might, more readily than a modern one, have believed that witches were a real phenomenon and did exist.

My final sentence (highlighted in red) shows how the material discussed in the paragraph answers the question. Writing this out at the planning stage, in addition to clarifying your ideas, is a great test of whether a point is relevant: if you struggle to write the sentence, and make the connection to the question and larger argument, you might have gone off-topic.

Step Three: Paragraph beginnings and endings

a question to start an essay

The final step to making sure you pick up all the possible marks for ‘answering the question’ in an essay is ensuring that you make it explicit how your material does so. This bit relies upon getting the beginnings and endings of paragraphs just right. To reiterate what I said above, treat your reader like a child: tell them what you’re going to say; tell them how it answers the question; say it, and then tell them how you’ve answered the question. This need not feel clumsy, awkward or repetitive. The first sentence of each new paragraph or point should, without giving too much of your conclusion away, establish what you’re going to discuss, and how it answers the question. The opening sentence from the paragraph I planned above might go something like this:

Early modern political and religious contexts suggest that Shakespeare’s contemporary audience might more readily have believed in witches than his modern readers.

The sentence establishes that I’m going to discuss Jacobean religion and witch-burnings, and also what I’m going to use those contexts to show. I’d then slot in all my facts and examples in the middle of the paragraph. The final sentence (or few sentences) should be strong and decisive, making a clear connection to the question you’ve been asked:

  Contemporary suspicion that witches did exist, testified to by witch-hunts and exorcisms, is crucial to our understanding of the witches in Macbeth.  To the early modern consciousness, witches were a distinctly real and dangerous possibility – and the witches in the play would have seemed all-the-more potent and terrifying as a result.

Step Four: Practice makes perfect

The best way to get really good at making sure you always ‘answer the question’ is to write essay plans rather than whole pieces. Set aside a few hours, choose a couple of essay questions from past papers, and for each:

  • Write a hypothesis
  • Write a rough plan of what each paragraph will contain
  • Write out the first and last sentence of each paragraph

You can get your teacher, or a friend, to look through your plans and give you feedback. If you follow this advice, fingers crossed, next time you hand in an essay, it’ll be free from red-inked comments about irrelevance, and instead showered with praise for the precision with which you handled the topic, and how intently you focused on answering the question. It can seem depressing when your perfect question is just a minor tangent from the question you were actually asked, but trust me – high praise and good marks are all found in answering the question in front of you, not the one you would have liked to see. Teachers do choose the questions they set you with some care, after all; chances are the question you were set is the more illuminating and rewarding one as well.

Image credits: banner ; Keats ; Macbeth ; James I ; witches .

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Essay Writing Guide

Hook Examples

Last updated on: Nov 20, 2023

Hook Examples: How to Start Your Essay Effectively

By: Nova A.

15 min read

Reviewed By: Jacklyn H.

Published on: Feb 19, 2019

Hook Examples

Tired of getting poor grades on your high school or college essays? Feeling lost when it comes to captivating your professor's attention?

Whether you're a high school or college student, the constant stream of essays, assignments, and projects can be overwhelming. But fear not!

There's a secret weapon at your disposal: hooks. 

These attention-grabbing phrases are the key to keeping your reader hooked and eager for more. In this blog, we'll explore powerful essay hook examples that will solve all your essay writing concerns.

So let’s get started!

Hook Examples

On this Page

What is an Essay Hook?

An essay hook is the opening sentence or a few sentences in an essay that grab the reader's attention and engage them from the very beginning. It is called a " hook " because it is designed to reel in the reader and make them interested in reading the rest of the essay.

The purpose of an essay hook is to:

  • Grab the reader's attention from the very beginning
  • Create curiosity and intrigue
  • Engage the reader emotionally
  • Establish the tone and direction of the essay
  • Make the reader want to continue reading
  • Provide a seamless transition into the rest of the essay
  • Set the stage for the main argument or narrative
  • Make the essay memorable and stand out
  • Demonstrate the writer's skill in captivating an audience

Check out our complete guide on how to start an essay here!

How to Write a Hook?

The opening lines of your essay serve as the hook, capturing your reader's attention right from the start. Remember, the hook is a part of your essay introduction and shouldn't replace it.

A well-crafted introduction consists of a hook followed by a thesis statement . While the hook attracts the reader, the thesis statement explains the main points of your essay.

To write an effective hook, consider the following aspects:

  • Understand the nature of the literary work you're addressing.
  • Familiarize yourself with your audience's preferences and interests.
  • Clearly define the purpose behind your essay writing.

Keep in mind that the hook should be directly related to the main topic or idea of your writing piece. When it comes to essays or other academic papers, you can employ various types of hooks that align with your specific requirements. 

Learn more about Hook Statements in this informative Video!

Hook Sentence Examples

To give you a better understanding of the different types of essay hooks, we will be discussing essay hook examples.

Question Hook

Starting your essay by asking a thought-provoking question can be a good way to engage the reader. Ask your reader a question that they can visualize. However, make sure to keep your questions relevant to the reader's interest. Avoid generalized, and yes or no questions.

Rhetorical questions make up good hooks.

  • “How are successful college students different from unsuccessful college students?”
  • “What is the purpose of our existence?”
  • “Have you ever wondered whether Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters would have been still together if he didn’t die of cancer?”
  • "Ever wondered what lies beneath the ocean's depths? Dive into an underwater adventure and uncover the wonders of the deep sea."
  • "Have you ever pondered the true meaning of happiness? Join us on a quest to unravel the secrets of lasting joy."
  • Ready to challenge your limits? How far would you go to achieve your dreams and become the best version of yourself?"
  • "Curious about the future of technology? Can you envision a world where robots and humans coexist harmoniously?"
  • "Are you tired of the same old recipes? Spice up your culinary repertoire with exotic flavors and innovative cooking techniques."
  • "Are you ready to take control of your finances? Imagine a life of financial freedom and the possibilities it brings."
  • "Ever wondered what it takes to create a masterpiece? Discover the untold stories behind the world's most celebrated works of art."

Quotation Hook

A quotation from a famous person is used to open an essay to attract the reader's attention. However, the quote needs to be relevant to your topic and must come from a credible source. To remove any confusion that the reader might have it is best to explain the meaning of the quote later.

Here are the quotes you can use to start your essay:

  • “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”
  • If your topic is related to hard work and making your own destiny, you can start by quoting Michael Jordan.
  • “Some people want it to happen; some wish it would happen; others make it happen.”
  • The only way to do great work is to love what you do." - Steve Jobs
  • "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." - Albert Einstein
  • "Don't watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going." - Sam Levenson
  • "Believe you can and you're halfway there." - Theodore Roosevelt
  • "The best way to predict the future is to create it." - Peter Drucker
  • "The harder I work, the luckier I get." - Samuel Goldwyn
  • "Don't let yesterday take up too much of today." - Will Rogers

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Statistic Hook

Here you use statistical data such as numbers and figures, percentages, etc. to hook the reader. This is mostly used in informative writing to provide the reader with new and interesting facts. It is important to mention the source.

  • “Reports have shown that almost two-thirds of adults in the United States of America have lived in a place with at least one gun, at some point of their life.”
  • Another persuasive essay hook example about people’s psychology and lying is mentioned below:
  • “It is noted by Allison Komet from the Psychology Today magazine that people lie in every one out of five conversations that last for at least 10 minutes.”
  • "Did you know that 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs fail within their first year? Discover the secrets of the successful 20% and defy the odds."
  • "According to recent studies, people spend an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes on social media every day. Is it time to reevaluate our digital habits?"
  • "Did you know that over 75% of communication is non-verbal? Explore the power of body language and unlock the secrets of effective communication."
  • "Research shows that 1 in 4 adults suffer from mental health issues. It's time to break the stigma and prioritize our well-being."
  • "Did you know that nearly 70% of consumers rely on online reviews before making a purchase? Build trust and boost your business with positive feedback."
  • "According to recent data, the global e-commerce industry is projected to reach $6.38 trillion by 2024. Don't miss out on the digital revolution."
  • "Did you know that 80% of car accidents are caused by distracted driving? Let's put an end to this dangerous epidemic."

Anecdotal Hook

An anecdote is a short story relevant to the essay topic, illustrated to gain the reader’s attention. This story can be derived from a personal experience or your imagination. Mostly, an anecdote is humorous; it makes the reader laugh and leaves them wanting to read more.

It is mostly used when writing narrative or descriptive essays.

If you are a non-English speaker and call the support department or the helpline and hear:

  • “If you want instructions in English, press 1. If you don't understand English, press 2.”
  • “ An elderly person came to buy a TV, asked the shopkeeper if they had colored TVs. When told that they are available, he asked to purchase a purple one.” 

Here are some more anecdotal hook examples:

  • "Picture this: It was a cold winter's night, the snowflakes gently falling from the sky, as I embarked on a journey that would change my life forever..."
  • "I still remember the day vividly, sitting in my grandmother's kitchen, the aroma of freshly baked cookies filling the air. Little did I know, that day would teach me a valuable lesson about the power of kindness..."
  • "It was a crowded subway ride during rush hour, everyone lost in their own world. But then, a stranger's act of generosity restored my faith in humanity..."
  • "As I stepped onto the stage, the spotlight shining down, my heart pounding with a mix of excitement and nerves. It was in that moment, I realized the transformative power of facing your fears..."
  • "In the heart of the bustling city, amidst the noise and chaos, I stumbled upon a hidden park, an oasis of serenity that reminded me of the importance of finding peace within ourselves..."
  • "The dusty attic held countless treasures, but it was the tattered journal that caught my eye. As I flipped through its pages, I discovered the untold story of my ancestors, and a connection to my roots I never knew I had..."
  • "Lost in the maze of a foreign city, unable to speak the language, I relied on the kindness of strangers who became my unexpected guides and lifelong friends..."
  • "As the final notes of the symphony resonated through the concert hall, the audience erupted in a thunderous applause. It was in that moment, I witnessed the pure magic that music can evoke..."

Personal Story

Starting with a personal story is the right way to go when writing a personal narrative or admissions essay for College.

There is no such rule that the story has to be yours. You can share your friends' story or someone you know of.

Remember that such hooks aren't suitable when writing a more formal or argumentative piece of writing.

  • “My father was in the Navy; I basically grew up on a cruise. As a young boy, I saw things beyond anyone's imagination. On April 15, 2001…”
  • "Growing up, I was the shyest kid in the classroom. But one day, a simple act of courage changed the course of my life forever..."
  • "I'll never forget the exhilarating rush I felt as I crossed the finish line of my first marathon, defying all odds and proving to myself that anything is possible..."
  • "At the age of 18, I packed my bags, bid farewell to familiarity, and embarked on a solo adventure across the globe. Little did I know, it would become the journey of self-discovery I had always longed for..."
  • "As a single parent, juggling multiple jobs and responsibilities, I faced countless obstacles. But my unwavering determination and the support of my loved ones propelled me towards success..."
  • "It was a rainy day when I stumbled upon an old, forgotten journal in my grandmother's attic. Its pages held untold stories and secrets that would unearth the hidden truths of our family history..."
  • "The sound of applause echoed through the auditorium as I stepped onto the stage, my heart pounding with a mix of nerves and excitement. Little did I know, that performance would be a turning point in my artistic journey..."
  • "After years of battling self-doubt, I finally found the courage to pursue my passion for writing. The moment I held my published book in my hands, I knew I had conquered my fears and embraced my true calling..."
  • "As a volunteer in a remote village, I witnessed the resilience and strength of the human spirit. The people I met and the stories they shared forever changed my perspective on life..."
  • "In the midst of a turbulent relationship, I made the difficult decision to walk away and embark on a journey of self-love and rediscovery. It was through that process that I found my own worth and reclaimed my happiness..."

In the next section we will be discussing hook examples for different kinds of essays.

Surprising Statement Hook

A surprising statement hook is a bold and unexpected statement that grabs the reader's attention and piques their curiosity. It challenges their assumptions and compels them to delve deeper into the topic. Example:

  • "Contrary to popular belief, spiders are our unsung heroes, silently protecting our homes from pesky insects and maintaining delicate ecological balance."
  • "Forget what you know about time management. The key to productivity lies in working less, not more."
  • "In a world where technology dominates, studies show that the old-fashioned pen and paper can boost memory and learning."
  • "You'll be shocked to discover that the average person spends more time scrolling through social media than sleeping."
  • "Contrary to popular belief, introverts possess hidden powers that can make them exceptional leaders."
  • "Prepare to be amazed: chocolate can actually be beneficial for your health when consumed in moderation."
  • "Buckle up, because recent research reveals that multitasking can actually make you less productive, not more."
  • "Did you know that learning a new language can slow down the aging process and keep your brain sharp?"
  • "Hold onto your hats: studies suggest that taking regular naps can enhance your overall productivity and creativity."
  • "You won't believe it, but playing video games in moderation can enhance problem-solving skills and boost cognitive function."

Argumentative Essay Hook Examples

The opening paragraph of an argumentative essay should be similar to the opening statement of a trial. Just as a lawyer presents his point with a logical system, you must do the same in your essay.

For example, you are writing about the adverse effects of smoking, and arguing that all public places should be turned into no smoking zones. For such essays, good hook examples will be statistical such as:

“According to the World Health Organization consumption of tobacco kills about five million people every year, which makes it more than the death rate from HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria altogether.”

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Persuasive Essay Hook Examples

The main idea or aim for writing a persuasive essay is to convince and persuade the reader to do something. It is also written to change their beliefs and agree with your point of view.

Hook sentences for such essays are a shocking revelation that the reader is curious to learn more about.

“On average each year, humans release 38.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide approximately. Due to this, the level of carbon dioxide has increased significantly, more than it has been in centuries. If you think climate change is nothing to worry about then you are highly mistaken.”

Narrative Essay Hook Examples

Simply put, a narrative essay is just like a story. In other types of essays you need to pick a side, argue and prove your point with the help of evidence. A narrative essay gives you a freehand to tell your story however you may please.

It can be a story inspired by your life, something you may have experienced. If you feel like it isn’t exciting enough you can always transform it using your imagination.

Examples of a hook sentence for a narrative essay can be something like:

“I was riding the bus to school; the other kids were making fun of me thinking I couldn’t understand them. “Why are his eyes like that?” “His face is funny.” A Chinese kid in America is probably like a zoo animal.”

Subject-wise Hook Examples

Here are 20+ interesting hook examples across various subjects:

  • Technology: "Imagine a world where machines can read our thoughts. Welcome to the future of mind-reading technology."
  • Health and Wellness: "Did you know that a simple 10-minute meditation can change your entire day? Unlock the transformative power of mindfulness."
  • Environment: "The clock is ticking. Discover the urgent and astonishing truth behind the disappearing rainforests."
  • Travel: "Pack your bags and leave your comfort zone behind. Uncover the hidden gems of off-the-beaten-path destinations."
  • History: "Step into the shoes of a time traveler as we unravel the untold secrets of ancient civilizations."
  • Science: "Prepare to be amazed as we dive into the mind-bending world of quantum physics and its implications for our understanding of reality."
  • Education: "Traditional classrooms are a thing of the past. Explore the innovative and disruptive trends shaping the future of education."
  • Food and Cooking: "Savor the tantalizing flavors of a culinary revolution, where unexpected ingredient pairings redefine the boundaries of taste."
  • Psychology: "Unmask the hidden forces that drive our decision-making and explore the fascinating world of subconscious influences."
  • Art and Creativity: "Witness the collision of colors and ideas in a mesmerizing display of artistic expression. Unlock your inner creativity."
  • Finance: "Escape the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle and discover the path to financial freedom. It's time to take control of your wealth."
  • Sports: "Feel the adrenaline surge as we uncover the captivating stories behind the world's most legendary sports moments."
  • Relationships: "Love in the digital age: How technology has transformed the way we connect, flirt, and navigate modern relationships."
  • Self-Improvement: "Embark on a journey of self-discovery and learn the life-changing habits that lead to personal growth and fulfillment."
  • Business and Entrepreneurship: "From startup to success story: Explore the rollercoaster ride of building and scaling a thriving business."
  • Fashion: "Step into the fashion revolution as we decode the latest trends and unveil the stories behind iconic designer collections."
  • Music: "Unleash the power of music: How melodies, rhythms, and lyrics can touch our souls and evoke powerful emotions."
  • Politics: "Behind closed doors: Delve into the intriguing world of political maneuvering and the impact on global affairs."
  • Nature and Wildlife: "Journey to the untouched corners of our planet, where awe-inspiring creatures and breathtaking landscapes await."
  • Literature: "Enter the realm of literary magic as we explore the profound symbolism and hidden meanings within beloved classics."

In conclusion, these were some catchy hook examples just to give you an idea. You can make use of any one of these types according to your paper and its requirements. Generate free essays through our AI essay writer , to see how it's done!

The key to making your essay stand out from the rest is to have a strong introduction. While it is the major part, there’s more that goes into writing a good essay.

If you are still unable to come up with an exciting hook, and searching “ who can write my essay ?”. The expert essay writers at 5StarEssays.com are just a click away.  Reach out to our essay writer today and have an engaging opening for your essay.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a visual hook.

The visual hook is a scene that captures the audience's interest by encapsulating something about the movie. It usually occurs around 15 minutes into it, and can be found in marketing or reviews of movies.

Nova A.

As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova Allison has eight years of experience in writing both technical and scientific content. With a focus on developing online content plans that engage audiences, Nova strives to write pieces that are not only informative but captivating as well.

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How to Structure an Essay

essay structure

Essay writing is a fundamental skill, a basic task, that is expected of those who choose to pursue their undergraduate and master’s degrees. It constitutes a key requirement for students to complete a given course credit. However, many students and early career researchers find themselves struggling with the challenge of organizing their thoughts into a coherent, engaging structure. This article is especially for those who see essay writing as a daunting task and face problems in presenting their work in an impactful way.  

Table of Contents

  • Writing an essay: basic elements and some key principles  
  • Essay structure template 
  • Chronological structure 
  • Problem-methods-solutions structure 
  • Compare and contrast structures 
  • Frequently asked questions on essay structure 

Read on as we delve into the basic elements of essay writing, outline key principles for organizing information, and cover some foundational features of writing essays.  

Writing an essay: basic elements and some key principles

Essays are written in a flowing and continuous pattern but with a structure of its own. An introduction, body and conclusion are integral to it. The key is to balance the amount and kind of information to be presented in each part. Various disciplines may have their own conventions or guidelines on the information to be provided in the introduction.  

A clear articulation of the context and background of the study is important, as is the definition of key terms and an outline of specific models or theories used. Readers also need to know the significance of the study and its implications for further research. Most importantly, the thesis or the main proposition should be clearly presented.  

The body of the essay is therefore organized into paragraphs that hold the main ideas and arguments and is presented and analyzed in a logical manner. Ideally, each paragraph of the body focuses on one main point or a distinct topic and must be supported by evidence and analysis. The concluding paragraph should bring back to the reader the key arguments, its significance and food for thought. It is best not to re-state all the points of the essay or introduce a new concept here. 

In other words, certain general guidelines help structure the information in the essay. The information must flow logically with the context or the background information presented in the introductory part of the essay. The arguments are built organically where each paragraph in the body of the essay deals with a different point, yet closely linked to the para preceding and following it. Importantly, when writing essays, early career researchers must be careful in ensuring that each piece of information relates to the main thesis and is a building block to the arguments. 

Essay structure template

  • Introduction 
  • Provide the context and share significance of the study 
  • Clearly articulate the thesis statement 
  • Body  
  • Paragraph 1 consisting of the first main point, followed by supporting evidence and an analysis of the findings. Transitional words and phrases can be used to move to the next main point. 
  • There can be as many paragraphs with the above-mentioned elements as there are points and arguments to support your thesis. 
  • Conclusion  
  • Bring in key ideas and discuss their significance and relevance 
  • Call for action 
  • References 

Essay structures

The structure of an essay can be determined by the kind of essay that is required.  

Chronological structure

Also known as the cause-and-effect approach, this is a straightforward way to structure an essay. In such essays, events are discussed sequentially, as they occurred from the earliest to the latest. A chronological structure is useful for discussing a series of events or processes such as historical analyses or narratives of events. The introduction should have the topic sentence. The body of the essay should follow a chorological progression with each para discussing a major aspect of that event with supporting evidence. It ends with a summarizing of the results of the events.  

Problem-methods-solutions structure

Where the essay focuses on a specific problem, the problem-methods-solutions structure can be used to organize the essay. This structure is ideal for essays that address complex issues. It starts with presenting the problem, the context, and thesis statement as introduction to the essay. The major part of the discussion which forms the body of the essay focuses on stating the problem and its significance, the author’s approach or methods adopted to address the problem along with its relevance, and accordingly proposing solution(s) to the identified problem. The concluding part offers a recap of the research problem, methods, and proposed solutions, emphasizing their significance and potential impact. 

Compare and contrast structures

This structure of essay writing is ideally used when two or more key subjects require a comparison of ideas, theories, or phenomena. The three crucial elements, introduction, body, and conclusion, remain the same. The introduction presents the context and the thesis statement. The body of the essay seeks to focus on and highlight differences between the subjects, supported by evidence and analysis. The conclusion is used to summarize the key points of comparison and contrast, offering insights into the significance of the analysis.  

Depending on how the subjects will be discussed, the body of the essay can be organized according to the block method or the alternating method. In the block method, one para discusses one subject and the next para the other subject. In the alternative method, both subjects are discussed in one para based on a particular topic or issue followed by the next para on another issue and so on.  

Frequently asked questions on essay structure

An essay structure serves as a framework for presenting ideas coherently and logically. It comprises three crucial elements: an introduction that communicates the context, topic, and thesis statement; the body focusing on the main points and arguments supported with appropriate evidence followed by its analysis; and a conclusion that ties together the main points and its importance .  

An essay structure well-defined essay structure enhances clarity, coherence, and readability, and is crucial for organizing ideas and arguments to effectively communicate key aspects of a chosen topic. It allows readers to better understand arguments presented and demonstrates the author’s ability to organize and present information systematically. 

Yes, while expert recommend following an essay structure, early career researchers may choose how best to adapt standard essay structures to communicate and share their research in an impactful and engaging way. However, do keep in mind that deviating too far from established structures can hinder comprehension and weaken the overall effectiveness of the essay,  By understanding the basic elements of essay writing and employing appropriate structures such as chronological, problem-methods-solutions, or compare and contrast, researchers can effectively organize their ideas and communicate their findings with clarity and precision. 

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How to Write a Good Answer to Exam Essay Questions

Last Updated: March 17, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Tristen Bonacci . Tristen Bonacci is a Licensed English Teacher with more than 20 years of experience. Tristen has taught in both the United States and overseas. She specializes in teaching in a secondary education environment and sharing wisdom with others, no matter the environment. Tristen holds a BA in English Literature from The University of Colorado and an MEd from The University of Phoenix. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 647,518 times.

Answering essay questions on an exam can be difficult and stressful, which can make it hard to provide a good answer. However, you can improve your ability to answer essay questions by learning how to understand the questions, form an answer, and stay focused. Developing your ability to give excellent answers on essay exams will take time and effort, but you can learn some good essay question practices and start improving your answers.

Understanding the Question

Step 1 Read the question carefully.

  • Analyze: Explain the what, where, who, when, why, and how. Include pros and cons, strengths and weaknesses, etc.
  • Compare: Discuss the similarities and differences between two or more things. Don't forget to explain why the comparison is useful.
  • Contrast: Discuss how two or more things are different or distinguish between them. Don't forget to explain why the contrast is useful.
  • Define: State what something means, does, achieves, etc.
  • Describe: List characteristics or traits of something. You may also need to summarize something, such as an essay prompt that asks "Describe the major events that led to the American Revolution."
  • Discuss: This is more analytical. You usually begin by describing something and then present arguments for or against it. You may need to analyze the advantages or disadvantages of your subject.
  • Evaluate: Offer the pros and cons, positives and negatives for a subject. You may be asked to evaluate a statement for logical support, or evaluate an argument for weaknesses.
  • Explain: Explain why or how something happened, or justify your position on something.
  • Prove: Usually reserved for more scientific or objective essays. You may be asked to include evidence and research to build a case for a specific position or set of hypotheses.
  • Summarize: Usually, this means to list the major ideas or themes of a subject. It could also ask you to present the main ideas in order to then fully discuss them. Most essay questions will not ask for pure summary without anything else.

Step 3 Ask questions if anything is unclear.

  • Raise your hand and wait for your teacher to come over to you or approach your teacher’s desk to ask your question. This way you will be less likely to disrupt other test takers.

Forming Your Response

Step 1 Follow the instructions.

  • Take a moment to consider your organization before you start writing your answer. What information should come first, second, third, etc.?
  • In many cases, the traditional 5-paragraph essay structure works well. Start with an introductory paragraph, use 3 paragraphs in the body of the article to explain different points, and finish with a concluding paragraph.
  • It can also be really helpful to draft a quick outline of your essay before you start writing.

Step 3 Choose relevant facts and figures to include.

  • You may want to make a list of facts and figures that you want to include in your essay answer. That way you can refer to this list as you write your answer.
  • It's best to write down all the important key topics or ideas before you get started composing your answer. That way, you can check back to make sure you haven't missed anything.

Step 4 Begin your answer by rephrasing the essay question as a statement.

  • For example, imagine that your essay question asks: "Should the FIFA World Cup be awarded to countries with human rights violations? Explain and support your answer."
  • You might restate this as "Countries with human rights violations should not be awarded the FIFA World Cup because this rewards a nation's poor treatment of its citizens." This will be the thesis that you support with examples and explanation.

Step 5 Make sure that your answer has a clear point.

  • For example, whether you argue that the FIFA World Cup should or should not be awarded to countries with human rights violations, you will want to address the opposing side's argument. However, it needs to be clear where your essay stands about the matter.
  • Often, essay questions end up saying things along the lines of "There are many similarities and differences between X and Y." This does not offer a clear position and can result in a bad grade.

Step 6 Pay attention to your grammar and punctuation.

  • If you are required to write your answer by hand, then take care to make your writing legible and neat. Some professors may deduct points if they cannot read what you have written.

Staying Calm and Focused

Step 1 Stop and take a deep breath if you get too anxious.

  • If you get to a point during the exam where you feel too anxious to focus, put down your pencil (or take your hands off of the keyboard), close your eyes, and take a deep breath. Stretch your arms and imagine that you are somewhere pleasant for a few moments. When you have completed this brief exercise, open up your eyes and resume the exam.

Step 2 Use your time wisely.

  • For example, if the exam period is one hour long and you have to answer three questions in that time frame, then you should plan to spend no more than 20 minutes on each question.
  • Look at the weight of the questions, if applicable. For example, if there are five 10-point short-answers and a 50-point essay, plan to spend more time on the essay because it is worth significantly more. Don't get stuck spending so much time on the short-answers that you don't have time to develop a complex essay.

Step 3 Write as quickly as you can.

  • This strategy is even more important if the exam has multiple essay questions. If you take too much time on the first question, then you may not have enough time to answer the other questions on the exam.

Step 4 Stay on topic.

  • If you feel like you are straying away from the question, reread the question and review any notes that you made to help guide you. After you get refocused, then continue writing your answer.
  • Try to allow yourself enough time to go back and tighten up connections between your points. A few well-placed transitions can really bump up your grade.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • If you are worried about running out of time, put your watch in front of you where you can see it. Just try not to focus on it too much. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • If you need more practice, make up your own questions or even look at some practice questions online! Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

Tips from our Readers

  • Look up relevant quotes if your exam is open notes. Use references from books or class to back up your answers.
  • Make sure your sentences flow together and that you don't repeat the same thing twice!

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  • ↑ https://www.linnbenton.edu/student-services/library-tutoring-testing/learning-center/academic-coaching/documents/Strategies%20For%20Answering%20Essay%20Questions.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.ius.edu/writing-center/files/answering-essay-questions.pdf
  • ↑ https://success.uark.edu/get-help/student-resources/short-answer-essays.php

About This Article

Tristen Bonacci

To write a good answer to an exam essay question, read the question carefully to find what it's asking, and follow the instructions for the essay closely. Begin your essay by rephrasing the question into a statement with your answer in the statement. Include supplemental facts and figures if necessary, or do textual analysis from a provided piece to support your argument. Make sure your writing is clear and to the point, and don't include extra information unless it supports your argument. For tips from our academic reviewer on understanding essay questions and dealing with testing nerves, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to Structure an Essay | Tips & Templates

Published on September 18, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

The basic structure of an essay always consists of an introduction , a body , and a conclusion . But for many students, the most difficult part of structuring an essay is deciding how to organize information within the body.

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Table of contents

The basics of essay structure, chronological structure, compare-and-contrast structure, problems-methods-solutions structure, signposting to clarify your structure, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about essay structure.

There are two main things to keep in mind when working on your essay structure: making sure to include the right information in each part, and deciding how you’ll organize the information within the body.

Parts of an essay

The three parts that make up all essays are described in the table below.

Part Content

Order of information

You’ll also have to consider how to present information within the body. There are a few general principles that can guide you here.

The first is that your argument should move from the simplest claim to the most complex . The body of a good argumentative essay often begins with simple and widely accepted claims, and then moves towards more complex and contentious ones.

For example, you might begin by describing a generally accepted philosophical concept, and then apply it to a new topic. The grounding in the general concept will allow the reader to understand your unique application of it.

The second principle is that background information should appear towards the beginning of your essay . General background is presented in the introduction. If you have additional background to present, this information will usually come at the start of the body.

The third principle is that everything in your essay should be relevant to the thesis . Ask yourself whether each piece of information advances your argument or provides necessary background. And make sure that the text clearly expresses each piece of information’s relevance.

The sections below present several organizational templates for essays: the chronological approach, the compare-and-contrast approach, and the problems-methods-solutions approach.

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The chronological approach (sometimes called the cause-and-effect approach) is probably the simplest way to structure an essay. It just means discussing events in the order in which they occurred, discussing how they are related (i.e. the cause and effect involved) as you go.

A chronological approach can be useful when your essay is about a series of events. Don’t rule out other approaches, though—even when the chronological approach is the obvious one, you might be able to bring out more with a different structure.

Explore the tabs below to see a general template and a specific example outline from an essay on the invention of the printing press.

  • Thesis statement
  • Discussion of event/period
  • Consequences
  • Importance of topic
  • Strong closing statement
  • Claim that the printing press marks the end of the Middle Ages
  • Background on the low levels of literacy before the printing press
  • Thesis statement: The invention of the printing press increased circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation
  • High levels of illiteracy in medieval Europe
  • Literacy and thus knowledge and education were mainly the domain of religious and political elites
  • Consequence: this discouraged political and religious change
  • Invention of the printing press in 1440 by Johannes Gutenberg
  • Implications of the new technology for book production
  • Consequence: Rapid spread of the technology and the printing of the Gutenberg Bible
  • Trend for translating the Bible into vernacular languages during the years following the printing press’s invention
  • Luther’s own translation of the Bible during the Reformation
  • Consequence: The large-scale effects the Reformation would have on religion and politics
  • Summarize the history described
  • Stress the significance of the printing press to the events of this period

Essays with two or more main subjects are often structured around comparing and contrasting . For example, a literary analysis essay might compare two different texts, and an argumentative essay might compare the strengths of different arguments.

There are two main ways of structuring a compare-and-contrast essay: the alternating method, and the block method.

Alternating

In the alternating method, each paragraph compares your subjects in terms of a specific point of comparison. These points of comparison are therefore what defines each paragraph.

The tabs below show a general template for this structure, and a specific example for an essay comparing and contrasting distance learning with traditional classroom learning.

  • Synthesis of arguments
  • Topical relevance of distance learning in lockdown
  • Increasing prevalence of distance learning over the last decade
  • Thesis statement: While distance learning has certain advantages, it introduces multiple new accessibility issues that must be addressed for it to be as effective as classroom learning
  • Classroom learning: Ease of identifying difficulties and privately discussing them
  • Distance learning: Difficulty of noticing and unobtrusively helping
  • Classroom learning: Difficulties accessing the classroom (disability, distance travelled from home)
  • Distance learning: Difficulties with online work (lack of tech literacy, unreliable connection, distractions)
  • Classroom learning: Tends to encourage personal engagement among students and with teacher, more relaxed social environment
  • Distance learning: Greater ability to reach out to teacher privately
  • Sum up, emphasize that distance learning introduces more difficulties than it solves
  • Stress the importance of addressing issues with distance learning as it becomes increasingly common
  • Distance learning may prove to be the future, but it still has a long way to go

In the block method, each subject is covered all in one go, potentially across multiple paragraphs. For example, you might write two paragraphs about your first subject and then two about your second subject, making comparisons back to the first.

The tabs again show a general template, followed by another essay on distance learning, this time with the body structured in blocks.

  • Point 1 (compare)
  • Point 2 (compare)
  • Point 3 (compare)
  • Point 4 (compare)
  • Advantages: Flexibility, accessibility
  • Disadvantages: Discomfort, challenges for those with poor internet or tech literacy
  • Advantages: Potential for teacher to discuss issues with a student in a separate private call
  • Disadvantages: Difficulty of identifying struggling students and aiding them unobtrusively, lack of personal interaction among students
  • Advantages: More accessible to those with low tech literacy, equality of all sharing one learning environment
  • Disadvantages: Students must live close enough to attend, commutes may vary, classrooms not always accessible for disabled students
  • Advantages: Ease of picking up on signs a student is struggling, more personal interaction among students
  • Disadvantages: May be harder for students to approach teacher privately in person to raise issues

An essay that concerns a specific problem (practical or theoretical) may be structured according to the problems-methods-solutions approach.

This is just what it sounds like: You define the problem, characterize a method or theory that may solve it, and finally analyze the problem, using this method or theory to arrive at a solution. If the problem is theoretical, the solution might be the analysis you present in the essay itself; otherwise, you might just present a proposed solution.

The tabs below show a template for this structure and an example outline for an essay about the problem of fake news.

  • Introduce the problem
  • Provide background
  • Describe your approach to solving it
  • Define the problem precisely
  • Describe why it’s important
  • Indicate previous approaches to the problem
  • Present your new approach, and why it’s better
  • Apply the new method or theory to the problem
  • Indicate the solution you arrive at by doing so
  • Assess (potential or actual) effectiveness of solution
  • Describe the implications
  • Problem: The growth of “fake news” online
  • Prevalence of polarized/conspiracy-focused news sources online
  • Thesis statement: Rather than attempting to stamp out online fake news through social media moderation, an effective approach to combating it must work with educational institutions to improve media literacy
  • Definition: Deliberate disinformation designed to spread virally online
  • Popularization of the term, growth of the phenomenon
  • Previous approaches: Labeling and moderation on social media platforms
  • Critique: This approach feeds conspiracies; the real solution is to improve media literacy so users can better identify fake news
  • Greater emphasis should be placed on media literacy education in schools
  • This allows people to assess news sources independently, rather than just being told which ones to trust
  • This is a long-term solution but could be highly effective
  • It would require significant organization and investment, but would equip people to judge news sources more effectively
  • Rather than trying to contain the spread of fake news, we must teach the next generation not to fall for it

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Signposting means guiding the reader through your essay with language that describes or hints at the structure of what follows.  It can help you clarify your structure for yourself as well as helping your reader follow your ideas.

The essay overview

In longer essays whose body is split into multiple named sections, the introduction often ends with an overview of the rest of the essay. This gives a brief description of the main idea or argument of each section.

The overview allows the reader to immediately understand what will be covered in the essay and in what order. Though it describes what  comes later in the text, it is generally written in the present tense . The following example is from a literary analysis essay on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein .

Transitions

Transition words and phrases are used throughout all good essays to link together different ideas. They help guide the reader through your text, and an essay that uses them effectively will be much easier to follow.

Various different relationships can be expressed by transition words, as shown in this example.

Because Hitler failed to respond to the British ultimatum, France and the UK declared war on Germany. Although it was an outcome the Allies had hoped to avoid, they were prepared to back up their ultimatum in order to combat the existential threat posed by the Third Reich.

Transition sentences may be included to transition between different paragraphs or sections of an essay. A good transition sentence moves the reader on to the next topic while indicating how it relates to the previous one.

… Distance learning, then, seems to improve accessibility in some ways while representing a step backwards in others.

However , considering the issue of personal interaction among students presents a different picture.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

  • Ad hominem fallacy
  • Post hoc fallacy
  • Appeal to authority fallacy
  • False cause fallacy
  • Sunk cost fallacy

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The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.

The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.

An essay isn’t just a loose collection of facts and ideas. Instead, it should be centered on an overarching argument (summarized in your thesis statement ) that every part of the essay relates to.

The way you structure your essay is crucial to presenting your argument coherently. A well-structured essay helps your reader follow the logic of your ideas and understand your overall point.

Comparisons in essays are generally structured in one of two ways:

  • The alternating method, where you compare your subjects side by side according to one specific aspect at a time.
  • The block method, where you cover each subject separately in its entirety.

It’s also possible to combine both methods, for example by writing a full paragraph on each of your topics and then a final paragraph contrasting the two according to a specific metric.

You should try to follow your outline as you write your essay . However, if your ideas change or it becomes clear that your structure could be better, it’s okay to depart from your essay outline . Just make sure you know why you’re doing so.

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9 Questions to Help You Figure Out Why You’re Burned Out

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It’s likely a combination of factors.

The World Health Organization characterizes burnout as comprising three key dimensions: sustained feelings of exhaustion, feelings of personal inefficacy, and increased mental distance from one’s job. In this article, the author outlines nine questions to ask yourself under each of these three categories to help you diagnose what’s causing your burnout. It’s likely a combination of factors, requiring a number of changes over time to fully address it, and not something a one-off vacation can reverse right away. Nonetheless, the answers to these questions serve as a starting point and can inform steps you can take to address your burnout and possibly prevent it from happening again in the future.

It’s no secret that managers and employees have been suffering from burnout for quite some time.

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On Thursday, everyone in the northern half of our planet will experience the summer solstice. It’ll be the longest day of the year north of the Equator, and it is the scientific start of summer.

Earth has a solstice every six months, in June and in December. Leading up to the summer solstice, the sun appears in a higher spot in the sky at the same time each day until it reaches its maximum point.

After the summer solstice, the days will get shorter. The sun will appear lower in the sky each day until the winter solstice, on Dec. 21.

What time is the summer solstice this year?

According to the National Weather Service , the summer solstice will occur on Thursday at 4:51 p.m. Eastern time. This is the moment during the day when the sun reaches its most northern point in the sky during the year.

Why do we have solstices?

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This is what gives Earth its seasons: When the northern half of the planet leans toward the sun, it experiences summer; at the same time, the southern half of the planet leans away from the sun, and is in winter. It is a mystery why Earth is angled this way, though some astronomers believe that its tilt paved the way for life to exist .

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  1. How to write an Essay Introduction (5-Step Formula) (2024)

    a question to start an essay

  2. Start Essays Ways

    a question to start an essay

  3. General Guidelines for Answering Essay Questions

    a question to start an essay

  4. Start Essays Ways

    a question to start an essay

  5. Analysing essay question

    a question to start an essay

  6. How to Answer Extended-Response or Essay Questions

    a question to start an essay

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  1. How to Start Essay Writing for UPSC Exam

  2. #Essay on Quiad e Azam in English#Short essay my hero in history#Short essay in English

  3. John Locke Theology Question 3 Video 6 (Part 4 of 5)

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  5. HOW TO START ESSAY WRITING l UPSC l UPPCS l MAINS 2023-24#uppsc #upsc #mains2023

  6. Essay on Quiad e Azam in English/Short essay on Quiad e Azam/Essay writing/My Favorite personality

COMMENTS

  1. 13 Engaging Ways to Begin an Essay

    Use the Historical Present Tense. An effective method of beginning an essay is to use historical present tense to relate an incident from the past as if it were happening now. "Ben and I are sitting side by side in the very back of his mother's station wagon.

  2. How to Write an Essay Introduction (with Examples)

    Here are the key takeaways for how to write essay introduction: 3. Hook the Reader: Start with an engaging hook to grab the reader's attention. This could be a compelling question, a surprising fact, a relevant quote, or an anecdote. Provide Background: Give a brief overview of the topic, setting the context and stage for the discussion.

  3. How to Write an Essay Introduction

    Step 1: Hook your reader. Step 2: Give background information. Step 3: Present your thesis statement. Step 4: Map your essay's structure. Step 5: Check and revise. More examples of essay introductions. Other interesting articles. Frequently asked questions about the essay introduction.

  4. How To Start An Essay (With 20 Great Examples)

    3. Create a mysterious atmosphere. "Moths that fly by day are not properly to be called moths; they do not excite that pleasant sense of dark autumn nights and ivy-blossom which the commonest yellow-underwing asleep in the shadow of the curtain never fails to rouse in us.". - Virginia Woolf - Death of the Moth. 4.

  5. Beginning the Academic Essay

    The writer of the academic essay aims to persuade readers of an idea based on evidence. The beginning of the essay is a crucial first step in this process. In order to engage readers and establish your authority, the beginning of your essay has to accomplish certain business. Your beginning should introduce the essay, focus it, and orient ...

  6. Introductions

    The introduction to an academic essay will generally present an analytical question or problem and then offer an answer to that question (the thesis). Your introduction is also your opportunity to explain to your readers what your essay is about and why they should be interested in reading it. You don't have to "hook" your readers with a ...

  7. How to Start a College Essay to Hook Your Reader

    Set a time for one minute and write down whatever comes to mind for that specific topic. This will help get the juices flowing and push you over that initial bit of writer's block that's so common when it comes time to write a college essay. Repeat this exercise if you're feeling stuck at any point during the essay writing process.

  8. Example of a Great Essay

    The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement, a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas. The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ...

  9. How to Start a College Essay Perfectly

    The Bottom Line: How to Start a College Essay. The college essay introduction should hook your reader and make her want to know more and read more. Good personal statement introductions will contain the following features: A killer first line. A detailed description of an experience from your life.

  10. The Beginner's Guide to Writing an Essay

    Come up with a thesis. Create an essay outline. Write the introduction. Write the main body, organized into paragraphs. Write the conclusion. Evaluate the overall organization. Revise the content of each paragraph. Proofread your essay or use a Grammar Checker for language errors. Use a plagiarism checker.

  11. How to Start an Essay

    Below are the steps to start an argumentative essay. 1. Create an Outline. Creating an outline is the very first step of beginning your essay, whether it is 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.

  12. How to Start an Essay with Strong Hooks and Leads

    1: HOW TO START AN ESSAY WITH "THE ATTENTION-GRABBING ANECDOTE". Anecdotes are an effective way for the student to engage the reader's attention right from the start. When the anecdote is based on the writer's personal life, they are a great way to create intimacy between the writer and the reader from the outset.

  13. How to Write an Introduction Paragraph in 3 Steps

    The 3 Main Parts of an Intro Paragraph. In general, an intro paragraph is going to have three main parts: a hook, context, and a thesis statement. Each of these pieces of the intro plays a key role in acquainting the reader with the topic and purpose of your essay. Below, we'll explain how to start an introduction paragraph by writing an ...

  14. How To Start An Essay

    How To Start An Essay. To begin an essay effectively, use a captivating hook, provide context, present a clear thesis statement, outline the essay's structure, transition smoothly to the body, be concise, and revise for alignment with the content. A strong introduction engages readers and sets the tone for your essay.

  15. How To Start an Essay That Engages Readers in 5 Steps

    Related: How To Write an Intro Paragraph in 5 Steps (With Examples) 2. Introduce your essay topic. The first step in beginning an essay is introducing the topic you plan to discuss. Use the introduction to establish the context of the topic and highlight the frame within which you aim to discuss it.

  16. Learn How to Start an Essay In 5 Simple Steps With Examples

    Step 1: Start With an Interesting Hook. An essay hook is an opening statement that strives to grab people's interest and attention. Always start an essay introduction with a hook to make your essay appealing. Here are different types of hooks that can be used in your introduction paragraph: Quotation.

  17. Focus and Precision: How to Write Essays that Answer the Question

    Step Four: Practice makes perfect. The best way to get really good at making sure you always 'answer the question' is to write essay plans rather than whole pieces. Set aside a few hours, choose a couple of essay questions from past papers, and for each: Write a hypothesis.

  18. 80+ Interesting Hook Examples

    Here are the quotes you can use to start your essay: "Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.". If your topic is related to hard work and making your own destiny, you can start by quoting Michael Jordan. "Some people want it to happen; some wish it would happen; others make it happen.".

  19. How to Structure an Essay

    1. What is an essay structure? An essay structure serves as a framework for presenting ideas coherently and logically. It comprises three crucial elements: an introduction that communicates the context, topic, and thesis statement; the body focusing on the main points and arguments supported with appropriate evidence followed by its analysis; and a conclusion that ties together the main points ...

  20. How to Write a Good Answer to Exam Essay Questions: 13 Steps

    Start with an introductory paragraph, use 3 paragraphs in the body of the article to explain different points, and finish with a concluding paragraph. It can also be really helpful to draft a quick outline of your essay before you start writing. 3. Choose relevant facts and figures to include.

  21. How to Structure an Essay

    The basic structure of an essay always consists of an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. But for many students, the most difficult part of structuring an essay is deciding how to organize information within the body. This article provides useful templates and tips to help you outline your essay, make decisions about your structure, and ...

  22. When writing an essay, should a paragraph end or begin with a question

    That question could be at the end of the ethnicity paragraph or at the beginning of the religion paragraph. If a question works well, that can be a good variation for a bridge statement. However ...

  23. 9 Questions to Help You Figure Out Why You're Burned Out

    The World Health Organization characterizes burnout as comprising three key dimensions: sustained feelings of exhaustion, feelings of personal inefficacy, and increased mental distance from one ...

  24. Teaching & Learning

    Resources for Educators & Students K-12 Education The AHA strives to ensure that every K-12 student has access to high quality history instruction. We create resources for the classroom, advise on state and federal policy, and advocate for the vital importance of history in public education. Learn More Undergraduate Education…

  25. Summer Solstice 2024: Why It's the Longest Day of the Year

    It'll be the longest day of the year north of the Equator, and it is the scientific start of summer. Earth has a solstice every six months, in June and in December. Leading up to the summer ...