What this handout is about.
This handout will explain the functions of introductions, offer strategies for creating effective introductions, and provide some examples of less effective introductions to avoid.
The role of introductions
Introductions and conclusions can be the most difficult parts of papers to write. Usually when you sit down to respond to an assignment, you have at least some sense of what you want to say in the body of your paper. You might have chosen a few examples you want to use or have an idea that will help you answer the main question of your assignment; these sections, therefore, may not be as hard to write. And it’s fine to write them first! But in your final draft, these middle parts of the paper can’t just come out of thin air; they need to be introduced and concluded in a way that makes sense to your reader.
Your introduction and conclusion act as bridges that transport your readers from their own lives into the “place” of your analysis. If your readers pick up your paper about education in the autobiography of Frederick Douglass, for example, they need a transition to help them leave behind the world of Chapel Hill, television, e-mail, and The Daily Tar Heel and to help them temporarily enter the world of nineteenth-century American slavery. By providing an introduction that helps your readers make a transition between their own world and the issues you will be writing about, you give your readers the tools they need to get into your topic and care about what you are saying. Similarly, once you’ve hooked your readers with the introduction and offered evidence to prove your thesis, your conclusion can provide a bridge to help your readers make the transition back to their daily lives. (See our handout on conclusions .)
Note that what constitutes a good introduction may vary widely based on the kind of paper you are writing and the academic discipline in which you are writing it. If you are uncertain what kind of introduction is expected, ask your instructor.
Why bother writing a good introduction?
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. The opening paragraph of your paper will provide your readers with their initial impressions of your argument, your writing style, and the overall quality of your work. A vague, disorganized, error-filled, off-the-wall, or boring introduction will probably create a negative impression. On the other hand, a concise, engaging, and well-written introduction will start your readers off thinking highly of you, your analytical skills, your writing, and your paper.
Your introduction is an important road map for the rest of your paper. Your introduction conveys a lot of information to your readers. You can let them know what your topic is, why it is important, and how you plan to proceed with your discussion. In many academic disciplines, your introduction should contain a thesis that will assert your main argument. Your introduction should also give the reader a sense of the kinds of information you will use to make that argument and the general organization of the paragraphs and pages that will follow. After reading your introduction, your readers should not have any major surprises in store when they read the main body of your paper.
Ideally, your introduction will make your readers want to read your paper. The introduction should capture your readers’ interest, making them want to read the rest of your paper. Opening with a compelling story, an interesting question, or a vivid example can get your readers to see why your topic matters and serve as an invitation for them to join you for an engaging intellectual conversation (remember, though, that these strategies may not be suitable for all papers and disciplines).
Strategies for writing an effective introduction
Start by thinking about the question (or questions) you are trying to answer. Your entire essay will be a response to this question, and your introduction is the first step toward that end. Your direct answer to the assigned question will be your thesis, and your thesis will likely be included in your introduction, so it is a good idea to use the question as a jumping off point. Imagine that you are assigned the following question:
Drawing on the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass , discuss the relationship between education and slavery in 19th-century America. Consider the following: How did white control of education reinforce slavery? How did Douglass and other enslaved African Americans view education while they endured slavery? And what role did education play in the acquisition of freedom? Most importantly, consider the degree to which education was or was not a major force for social change with regard to slavery.
You will probably refer back to your assignment extensively as you prepare your complete essay, and the prompt itself can also give you some clues about how to approach the introduction. Notice that it starts with a broad statement and then narrows to focus on specific questions from the book. One strategy might be to use a similar model in your own introduction—start off with a big picture sentence or two and then focus in on the details of your argument about Douglass. Of course, a different approach could also be very successful, but looking at the way the professor set up the question can sometimes give you some ideas for how you might answer it. (See our handout on understanding assignments for additional information on the hidden clues in assignments.)
Decide how general or broad your opening should be. Keep in mind that even a “big picture” opening needs to be clearly related to your topic; an opening sentence that said “Human beings, more than any other creatures on earth, are capable of learning” would be too broad for our sample assignment about slavery and education. If you have ever used Google Maps or similar programs, that experience can provide a helpful way of thinking about how broad your opening should be. Imagine that you’re researching Chapel Hill. If what you want to find out is whether Chapel Hill is at roughly the same latitude as Rome, it might make sense to hit that little “minus” sign on the online map until it has zoomed all the way out and you can see the whole globe. If you’re trying to figure out how to get from Chapel Hill to Wrightsville Beach, it might make more sense to zoom in to the level where you can see most of North Carolina (but not the rest of the world, or even the rest of the United States). And if you are looking for the intersection of Ridge Road and Manning Drive so that you can find the Writing Center’s main office, you may need to zoom all the way in. The question you are asking determines how “broad” your view should be. In the sample assignment above, the questions are probably at the “state” or “city” level of generality. When writing, you need to place your ideas in context—but that context doesn’t generally have to be as big as the whole galaxy!
Try writing your introduction last. You may think that you have to write your introduction first, but that isn’t necessarily true, and it isn’t always the most effective way to craft a good introduction. You may find that you don’t know precisely what you are going to argue at the beginning of the writing process. It is perfectly fine to start out thinking that you want to argue a particular point but wind up arguing something slightly or even dramatically different by the time you’ve written most of the paper. The writing process can be an important way to organize your ideas, think through complicated issues, refine your thoughts, and develop a sophisticated argument. However, an introduction written at the beginning of that discovery process will not necessarily reflect what you wind up with at the end. You will need to revise your paper to make sure that the introduction, all of the evidence, and the conclusion reflect the argument you intend. Sometimes it’s easiest to just write up all of your evidence first and then write the introduction last—that way you can be sure that the introduction will match the body of the paper.
Don’t be afraid to write a tentative introduction first and then change it later. Some people find that they need to write some kind of introduction in order to get the writing process started. That’s fine, but if you are one of those people, be sure to return to your initial introduction later and rewrite if necessary.
Open with something that will draw readers in. Consider these options (remembering that they may not be suitable for all kinds of papers):
- an intriguing example —for example, Douglass writes about a mistress who initially teaches him but then ceases her instruction as she learns more about slavery.
- a provocative quotation that is closely related to your argument —for example, Douglass writes that “education and slavery were incompatible with each other.” (Quotes from famous people, inspirational quotes, etc. may not work well for an academic paper; in this example, the quote is from the author himself.)
- a puzzling scenario —for example, Frederick Douglass says of slaves that “[N]othing has been left undone to cripple their intellects, darken their minds, debase their moral nature, obliterate all traces of their relationship to mankind; and yet how wonderfully they have sustained the mighty load of a most frightful bondage, under which they have been groaning for centuries!” Douglass clearly asserts that slave owners went to great lengths to destroy the mental capacities of slaves, yet his own life story proves that these efforts could be unsuccessful.
- a vivid and perhaps unexpected anecdote —for example, “Learning about slavery in the American history course at Frederick Douglass High School, students studied the work slaves did, the impact of slavery on their families, and the rules that governed their lives. We didn’t discuss education, however, until one student, Mary, raised her hand and asked, ‘But when did they go to school?’ That modern high school students could not conceive of an American childhood devoid of formal education speaks volumes about the centrality of education to American youth today and also suggests the significance of the deprivation of education in past generations.”
- a thought-provoking question —for example, given all of the freedoms that were denied enslaved individuals in the American South, why does Frederick Douglass focus his attentions so squarely on education and literacy?
Pay special attention to your first sentence. Start off on the right foot with your readers by making sure that the first sentence actually says something useful and that it does so in an interesting and polished way.
How to evaluate your introduction draft
Ask a friend to read your introduction and then tell you what he or she expects the paper will discuss, what kinds of evidence the paper will use, and what the tone of the paper will be. If your friend is able to predict the rest of your paper accurately, you probably have a good introduction.
Five kinds of less effective introductions
1. The placeholder introduction. When you don’t have much to say on a given topic, it is easy to create this kind of introduction. Essentially, this kind of weaker introduction contains several sentences that are vague and don’t really say much. They exist just to take up the “introduction space” in your paper. If you had something more effective to say, you would probably say it, but in the meantime this paragraph is just a place holder.
Example: Slavery was one of the greatest tragedies in American history. There were many different aspects of slavery. Each created different kinds of problems for enslaved people.
2. The restated question introduction. Restating the question can sometimes be an effective strategy, but it can be easy to stop at JUST restating the question instead of offering a more specific, interesting introduction to your paper. The professor or teaching assistant wrote your question and will be reading many essays in response to it—he or she does not need to read a whole paragraph that simply restates the question.
Example: The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass discusses the relationship between education and slavery in 19th century America, showing how white control of education reinforced slavery and how Douglass and other enslaved African Americans viewed education while they endured. Moreover, the book discusses the role that education played in the acquisition of freedom. Education was a major force for social change with regard to slavery.
3. The Webster’s Dictionary introduction. This introduction begins by giving the dictionary definition of one or more of the words in the assigned question. Anyone can look a word up in the dictionary and copy down what Webster says. If you want to open with a discussion of an important term, it may be far more interesting for you (and your reader) if you develop your own definition of the term in the specific context of your class and assignment. You may also be able to use a definition from one of the sources you’ve been reading for class. Also recognize that the dictionary is also not a particularly authoritative work—it doesn’t take into account the context of your course and doesn’t offer particularly detailed information. If you feel that you must seek out an authority, try to find one that is very relevant and specific. Perhaps a quotation from a source reading might prove better? Dictionary introductions are also ineffective simply because they are so overused. Instructors may see a great many papers that begin in this way, greatly decreasing the dramatic impact that any one of those papers will have.
Example: Webster’s dictionary defines slavery as “the state of being a slave,” as “the practice of owning slaves,” and as “a condition of hard work and subjection.”
4. The “dawn of man” introduction. This kind of introduction generally makes broad, sweeping statements about the relevance of this topic since the beginning of time, throughout the world, etc. It is usually very general (similar to the placeholder introduction) and fails to connect to the thesis. It may employ cliches—the phrases “the dawn of man” and “throughout human history” are examples, and it’s hard to imagine a time when starting with one of these would work. Instructors often find them extremely annoying.
Example: Since the dawn of man, slavery has been a problem in human history.
5. The book report introduction. This introduction is what you had to do for your elementary school book reports. It gives the name and author of the book you are writing about, tells what the book is about, and offers other basic facts about the book. You might resort to this sort of introduction when you are trying to fill space because it’s a familiar, comfortable format. It is ineffective because it offers details that your reader probably already knows and that are irrelevant to the thesis.
Example: Frederick Douglass wrote his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave , in the 1840s. It was published in 1986 by Penguin Books. In it, he tells the story of his life.
And now for the conclusion…
Writing an effective introduction can be tough. Try playing around with several different options and choose the one that ends up sounding best to you!
Just as your introduction helps readers make the transition to your topic, your conclusion needs to help them return to their daily lives–but with a lasting sense of how what they have just read is useful or meaningful. Check out our handout on conclusions for tips on ending your paper as effectively as you began it!
We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.
Douglass, Frederick. 1995. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself . New York: Dover.
Make a Gift
Types of Essay Introductions
An introduction is an integral part of essays of any kind. A good introduction must familiarize the audience with the topic of an essay and provide the writer’s perspective. You should choose different types of introduction, depending on your topic and the type of essay. Fortunately, there are a few options that always work well, making your audience want to read more. Learn more about different types of introduction with college-writers.com blog.
This is a great approach if you want to tell a story. However, you can use such introductions not only in narrative essays. For example, you can set the scene to describe a scenario that your readers can identify with. Describe sounds, tastes, sites, and feel of a scene so that your readers can picture themselves in the situation.
Your introduction may also provide an overview of your topic or its historical background. This way, you will give your readers information that will help them better understand the subject. An overview also allows you to compare and contrast different ideas so that your audience can see the connection between your topic and others. The main goal of such an introduction is to help the audience focus on the main points described in the body of the essay.
Your introduction may also provide a quote from an expert in your subject to prove the credibility of your opinion and your research. A properly chosen quote will help you establish your viewpoint, while also providing your readers with some useful information and supporting your argument.
In the introduction, you may ask one or more questions related to the subject matter. It will help make your readers more involved in the topic so that they can formulate their own opinion. Keep in mind that, if your introduction contains a question, you should answer it in the essay. Don’t answer questions that are unrelated to the topic. The question must prepare your readers for the body of the essay.
With us you get
- 10+ years experience in the custom writing market
- A wide range of services
- Satisfied and returning customers
- 6-hour delivery available
- Money-back guarantee
- 100% privacy guaranteed
- Professional team of experienced paper writers
- Only custom college papers
- Free amendments upon request
- Constant access to your paper writer
- Free extras by your request
- Utility Menu
GA4 tracking code
- Questions about Expos?
- Writing Support for Instructors
Writing an academic essay means fashioning a coherent set of ideas into an argument. Because essays are essentially linear—they offer one idea at a time—they must present their ideas in the order that makes most sense to a reader. Successfully structuring an essay means attending to a reader's logic.
The focus of such an essay predicts its structure. It dictates the information readers need to know and the order in which they need to receive it. Thus your essay's structure is necessarily unique to the main claim you're making. Although there are guidelines for constructing certain classic essay types (e.g., comparative analysis), there are no set formula.
Answering Questions: The Parts of an Essay
A typical essay contains many different kinds of information, often located in specialized parts or sections. Even short essays perform several different operations: introducing the argument, analyzing data, raising counterarguments, concluding. Introductions and conclusions have fixed places, but other parts don't. Counterargument, for example, may appear within a paragraph, as a free-standing section, as part of the beginning, or before the ending. Background material (historical context or biographical information, a summary of relevant theory or criticism, the definition of a key term) often appears at the beginning of the essay, between the introduction and the first analytical section, but might also appear near the beginning of the specific section to which it's relevant.
It's helpful to think of the different essay sections as answering a series of questions your reader might ask when encountering your thesis. (Readers should have questions. If they don't, your thesis is most likely simply an observation of fact, not an arguable claim.)
"What?" The first question to anticipate from a reader is "what": What evidence shows that the phenomenon described by your thesis is true? To answer the question you must examine your evidence, thus demonstrating the truth of your claim. This "what" or "demonstration" section comes early in the essay, often directly after the introduction. Since you're essentially reporting what you've observed, this is the part you might have most to say about when you first start writing. But be forewarned: it shouldn't take up much more than a third (often much less) of your finished essay. If it does, the essay will lack balance and may read as mere summary or description.
"How?" A reader will also want to know whether the claims of the thesis are true in all cases. The corresponding question is "how": How does the thesis stand up to the challenge of a counterargument? How does the introduction of new material—a new way of looking at the evidence, another set of sources—affect the claims you're making? Typically, an essay will include at least one "how" section. (Call it "complication" since you're responding to a reader's complicating questions.) This section usually comes after the "what," but keep in mind that an essay may complicate its argument several times depending on its length, and that counterargument alone may appear just about anywhere in an essay.
"Why?" Your reader will also want to know what's at stake in your claim: Why does your interpretation of a phenomenon matter to anyone beside you? This question addresses the larger implications of your thesis. It allows your readers to understand your essay within a larger context. In answering "why", your essay explains its own significance. Although you might gesture at this question in your introduction, the fullest answer to it properly belongs at your essay's end. If you leave it out, your readers will experience your essay as unfinished—or, worse, as pointless or insular.
Mapping an Essay
Structuring your essay according to a reader's logic means examining your thesis and anticipating what a reader needs to know, and in what sequence, in order to grasp and be convinced by your argument as it unfolds. The easiest way to do this is to map the essay's ideas via a written narrative. Such an account will give you a preliminary record of your ideas, and will allow you to remind yourself at every turn of the reader's needs in understanding your idea.
Essay maps ask you to predict where your reader will expect background information, counterargument, close analysis of a primary source, or a turn to secondary source material. Essay maps are not concerned with paragraphs so much as with sections of an essay. They anticipate the major argumentative moves you expect your essay to make. Try making your map like this:
- State your thesis in a sentence or two, then write another sentence saying why it's important to make that claim. Indicate, in other words, what a reader might learn by exploring the claim with you. Here you're anticipating your answer to the "why" question that you'll eventually flesh out in your conclusion.
- Begin your next sentence like this: "To be convinced by my claim, the first thing a reader needs to know is . . ." Then say why that's the first thing a reader needs to know, and name one or two items of evidence you think will make the case. This will start you off on answering the "what" question. (Alternately, you may find that the first thing your reader needs to know is some background information.)
- Begin each of the following sentences like this: "The next thing my reader needs to know is . . ." Once again, say why, and name some evidence. Continue until you've mapped out your essay.
Your map should naturally take you through some preliminary answers to the basic questions of what, how, and why. It is not a contract, though—the order in which the ideas appear is not a rigid one. Essay maps are flexible; they evolve with your ideas.
Signs of Trouble
A common structural flaw in college essays is the "walk-through" (also labeled "summary" or "description"). Walk-through essays follow the structure of their sources rather than establishing their own. Such essays generally have a descriptive thesis rather than an argumentative one. Be wary of paragraph openers that lead off with "time" words ("first," "next," "after," "then") or "listing" words ("also," "another," "in addition"). Although they don't always signal trouble, these paragraph openers often indicate that an essay's thesis and structure need work: they suggest that the essay simply reproduces the chronology of the source text (in the case of time words: first this happens, then that, and afterwards another thing . . . ) or simply lists example after example ("In addition, the use of color indicates another way that the painting differentiates between good and evil").
Copyright 2000, Elizabeth Abrams, for the Writing Center at Harvard University
- Tips for Reading an Assignment Prompt
- Asking Analytical Questions
- What Do Introductions Across the Disciplines Have in Common?
- Anatomy of a Body Paragraph
- Tips for Organizing Your Essay
- Strategies for Essay Writing: Downloadable PDFs
- Brief Guides to Writing in the Disciplines
- Schedule an Appointment
- English Grammar and Language Tutor
- Harvard Guide to Using Sources
- Departmental Writing Fellows
- Writing Advice: The Harvard Writing Tutor Blog
Essay Writing Guide
Writing An Essay Introduction
A Complete Essay Introduction Writing Guide With Examples
13 min read
Published on: Feb 24, 2023
Last updated on: May 26, 2023
On This Page On This Page
Writing an essay introduction can be a daunting task, especially if you don't know where to start.
Essay introductions are the first impression that your reader will have of your paper. So, it's important to make sure they're well written and engaging. You want to draw in your readers with an interesting opening that sets the tone for the rest of your work.
If you're having difficulty crafting your essay introduction, let MyPerfectWords.com lend a hand!
We offer expert advice on how to write an effective essay introduction that will grab your reader’s attention from the very beginning and keep them engaged throughout.
With our tips and examples, you can create an incredible essay introduction that will set the tone for a well-written, powerful paper.
Without further ado, let's begin!
Tough Essay Due? Hire Tough Writers
The Definition of an Essay Introduction
An essay introduction is the first part of your paper that introduces the main points and presents your stance on the topic.
It should provide a brief overview of what readers can expect from the body of your paper, as well as any relevant background information. It should also be concise and direct, as too much fluff can quickly detract from your overall argument.
Purpose of the Essay Introduction
The purpose of an essay introduction is to provide the reader with a brief overview of your paper and its main points.
It should also set the tone for the rest of the paper by summing up your argument or presenting any pertinent background information. Essay introductions should be written in such a way as to capture the reader’s attention and keep them interested in reading the rest of your paper.
How To Write An Essay Introduction
The beginning of the essay sets the tone for the reader. It is essential to write an essay introduction that picks your reader’s interest and encourages them to read further.
There is no one way of starting an essay. Some people prefer getting started with the essay and write the introduction at the end of the writing process.
Whenever you decide to write the introduction, always focus on the tone and purpose of your essay.
Here is a quick guide on how to write an introduction paragraph for an essay.
Step 1: Start With a Hook
Start your essay introduction with an interesting hook statement that should pull the readers in. This is usually the first sentence that sets the tone of your essay. Start with something interesting, clear, and concise to grab the reader’s attention.
Here are some expert suggestions on how to create a hook:
- Start with an interesting fact
- Share an anecdote
- Write about a common misconception about your essay topic
- Start with a rhetorical question
You can also refer to other catchy hook examples for writing a captivating start of the essay introduction.
Step 2: Background Information
Give the background of your essay topic first, and then identify the themes.
The introduction always begins with an orientation. It contains statements that show how the topic relates to bigger issues addressed in the next part of the essay.
The information you present here should be focused and must relate to the main argument of your essay. You can mention points that you will discuss in the body section. But do not give much information in this section.
Here's an example of it:
Step 3: State the Limitations of Your Essay or Discussion
Since you cannot discuss everything that is present about the given topic, it is important that you limit your discussion. Narrow down your focus and inform the readers how and why you have chosen the given topic or subject.
Here's a demonstration of it.
Step 4: Write the Thesis Statement
The last part of the introduction is the thesis statement. The thesis statement is a brief overview of the entire essay. It demonstrates the fundamental idea and approach of the writer toward the essay topic.
The thesis statement is written at the end of the introductory paragraph.
Step 5: Conclude the Essay Introduction
Finally, you must conclude your essay introduction by summarising the points mentioned in it. This should be done in such a way that readers are encouraged to read further and start exploring the rest of your paper.
Your conclusion should also include a call-to-action that encourages readers to engage in further discussion.
Here's an example of a well-crafted introduction:
Create captivating essays effortlessly!
The Essay Introduction Structure
An essay introduction serves as the first impression for your reader. It sets the tone for the rest of your paper and tells the reader what to expect from your work. The structure of an essay introduction should include a hook, contextual information, and a thesis statement.
A hook is used to grab readers' attention and draw them in. It can be a quote, an anecdote, or an interesting fact. The goal of the hook is to make your reader interested in reading your essay and keep them engaged until the end.
Contextual information gives the reader background on the subject you are writing about. This can include facts, definitions, and historical information. By providing this information, your reader will be better equipped to understand the rest of your essay.
Paper Due? Why Suffer? That's our Job!
Your thesis statement is the main point of your paper and should be stated clearly in one sentence. It should briefly explain what you plan to discuss in the body of your paper. A good thesis statement should be specific and narrow in focus so that the reader can easily understand your argument.
Essay Introduction Outline
Essay Introduction Sample
Essay Introduction Examples
Here are some interesting introduction examples for different types of essays for you to go through and take help from.
Argumentative Essay Introduction Example
A good argumentative essay introduction is like an opening statement of the court. It involves presenting the facts at hand and the main argumentative approach in a rational and intellectual manner.
Here is an example for you to understand how to write an argumentative essay introduction.
Persuasive Essay Introduction Example
Writing a persuasive essay introduction is a tricky one. One of the reasons persuasive essay introductions are difficult to write is because it is difficult to persuade readers. As an author, you need to apply a subtle approach to your introduction.
Below is a perfect example of a persuasive essay introduction.
Compare and Contrast Essay Introduction Example
The compare and contrast essay introduction analyzes the similarities and differences between two or more subjects. They are often assigned to enhance the student’s critical abilities, analytical reasoning, and academic writing skills. A compare and contrast essay introduction is different in many ways; for instance, it introduces two elements within its first paragraph.
The following is a great introduction for a compare and contrast essay that you can refer to.
Descriptive Essay Introduction Example
Writing a descriptive essay introduction is easy when you know how to pen down your ideas. A descriptive essay provides a clear image of the topic and conveys a comprehensive understanding of the topic to the reader.
Here is an outstanding descriptive essay introduction example for your help.
Covid - 19 Essay Introduction Example
The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on life in many countries. But it has also shown how resilient people can be in the face of adversity. Writing an essay on this topic requires careful analysis of the current situation and its effects.
The following is a great example of an introduction to a Covid-19 Essay.
Abortion Essay Introduction Example
The abortion debate remains one of the most controversial topics in modern society.
Pro-choice and pro-life advocates have been debating this issue for decades, with no end in sight. Writing an essay on this topic requires thoughtful research and a clear understanding of both sides.
Here's an example of how to write an abortion essay introduction.
Heritage Day Essay Introduction
Heritage Day is an important holiday that celebrates the multicultural heritage of South Africa.
It's a day to remember and appreciate the nation’s diverse culture, while also reflecting on our shared history. Writing an essay on this topic requires careful consideration of its history and purpose.
Here is an example of a great Heritage Essay Introduction:
Essay Introduction: Mistakes to Avoid
For a good introduction, here are some mistakes that you should avoid writing in your introductory paragraph.
- Try to avoid writing a vague introduction of irrelevant details about the topic.
- Do not provide too much information and facts in the introduction. Simply present the topic with sufficient information for the reader’s understanding.
- Avoid using informal language or slang terms in the introduction. Essay introductions should be written in formal and academic language.
- Do not make assumptions about the reader’s knowledge of the topic. Provide only basic background information to fill any gaps in understanding.
- Finally, do not introduce any new information in the introduction. The introduction should only provide an overview of what will be discussed in the essay, not dive into details.
By avoiding these mistakes, you can ensure that your essay introduction is clear and concise. It will help readers easily understand the topic and follow your argument throughout the paper.
Essay Introduction Writing Tips
The following are some expert essay writing tips that you can follow for an interesting introduction.
- The introduction should grab the reader’s attention and inculcate a sense of curiosity amongst them to read the whole essay.
- Provide background information. The background gives context to your essay. But the claims, arguments, and information should always be present within the body of the essay.
- Don’t forget to provide a thesis that is the main argument of the essay.
- Always leave out irrelevant information and use appropriate language that adds precise information.
Remember, an essay introduction is very important as it is the first element of an essay outline . However, it is not an easy task to accomplish.
Watch this video to learn the steps required for crafting a compelling essay.
Lastly, keep in mind that there are many ways you can be creative with your essay introduction. Well-composed opening lines will help you grab the reader’s attention.
Hopefully, the guidelines in this blog helped you in coming up with a strategy to engage your readers from the start.
If you are struggling to make your essay introduction engaging, look no further. We are a professional online essay writing service that guarantees top-quality essays.
MyPerfectWords.com will provide the perfect "hook" for an introductory paragraph and write a compelling story from start to finish!
Hire our top essay writer service !
Nova A. (Literature, Marketing)
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.
People also read
An Ultimate Essay Writing Guide for Students
Learn How to Write An Essay in Simple Steps
A Complete 500 Word Essay Writing Guide With Examples
Interesting Essay Topics to Ensure A Better Grade
Different Types of Essays In Academic Writing
Essay Format: A Basic Guide With Examples
Learn How to Create a Perfect Essay Outline
Learn How to Start an Essay In Simple Steps
What is a Hook Example For an Essay? Know Now
Learn How to Write a Thesis Statement With Examples
Good Thesis Statement Examples For Your Help
What is a Topic Sentence? - Definition & Examples
Learn How to Write a Conclusion in Simple Steps
Transition Words For Essays - The Ultimate List 2023
What are the 4 Types of Sentences - Definition & Examples
Rules and Writing Conventions For College Student
Essay Writing Problems - 5 Most Paralyzing Problems
Useful Tips for Students on How to Make an Essay Longer
How to Title an Essay - A Short Guide & Examples
Learn How to Write a 1000 Word Essay Like a Pro
Share this article
We value your privacy
Website Data Collection
Are you sure you want to cancel?
Your preferences have not been saved.
Have a language expert improve your writing
Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.
- Knowledge Base
- How to write an essay outline | Guidelines & examples
How to Write an Essay Outline | Guidelines & Examples
Published on August 14, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.
An essay outline is a way of planning the structure of your essay before you start writing. It involves writing quick summary sentences or phrases for every point you will cover in each paragraph , giving you a picture of how your argument will unfold.
Table of contents
Organizing your material, presentation of the outline, examples of essay outlines, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about essay outlines.
At the stage where you’re writing an essay outline, your ideas are probably still not fully formed. You should know your topic and have already done some preliminary research to find relevant sources , but now you need to shape your ideas into a structured argument.
Look over any information, quotes and ideas you’ve noted down from your research and consider the central point you want to make in the essay—this will be the basis of your thesis statement . Once you have an idea of your overall argument, you can begin to organize your material in a way that serves that argument.
Try to arrange your material into categories related to different aspects of your argument. If you’re writing about a literary text, you might group your ideas into themes; in a history essay, it might be several key trends or turning points from the period you’re discussing.
Three main themes or subjects is a common structure for essays. Depending on the length of the essay, you could split the themes into three body paragraphs, or three longer sections with several paragraphs covering each theme.
As you create the outline, look critically at your categories and points: Are any of them irrelevant or redundant? Make sure every topic you cover is clearly related to your thesis statement.
Order of information
When you have your material organized into several categories, consider what order they should appear in.
Your essay will always begin and end with an introduction and conclusion , but the organization of the body is up to you.
Consider these questions to order your material:
- Is there an obvious starting point for your argument?
- Is there one subject that provides an easy transition into another?
- Do some points need to be set up by discussing other points first?
Here's why students love Scribbr's proofreading services
Discover proofreading & editing
Within each paragraph, you’ll discuss a single idea related to your overall topic or argument, using several points of evidence or analysis to do so.
In your outline, you present these points as a few short numbered sentences or phrases.They can be split into sub-points when more detail is needed.
The template below shows how you might structure an outline for a five-paragraph essay.
- Thesis statement
- First piece of evidence
- Second piece of evidence
- Importance of topic
- Strong closing statement
You can choose whether to write your outline in full sentences or short phrases. Be consistent in your choice; don’t randomly write some points as full sentences and others as short phrases.
Examples of outlines for different types of essays are presented below: an argumentative, expository, and literary analysis essay.
Argumentative essay outline
This outline is for a short argumentative essay evaluating the internet’s impact on education. It uses short phrases to summarize each point.
Its body is split into three paragraphs, each presenting arguments about a different aspect of the internet’s effects on education.
- Importance of the internet
- Concerns about internet use
- Thesis statement: Internet use a net positive
- Data exploring this effect
- Analysis indicating it is overstated
- Students’ reading levels over time
- Why this data is questionable
- Video media
- Interactive media
- Speed and simplicity of online research
- Questions about reliability (transitioning into next topic)
- Evidence indicating its ubiquity
- Claims that it discourages engagement with academic writing
- Evidence that Wikipedia warns students not to cite it
- Argument that it introduces students to citation
- Summary of key points
- Value of digital education for students
- Need for optimism to embrace advantages of the internet
Expository essay outline
This is the outline for an expository essay describing how the invention of the printing press affected life and politics in Europe.
The paragraphs are still summarized in short phrases here, but individual points are described with full sentences.
- Claim that the printing press marks the end of the Middle Ages.
- Provide background on the low levels of literacy before the printing press.
- Present the thesis statement: The invention of the printing press increased circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.
- Discuss the very high levels of illiteracy in medieval Europe.
- Describe how literacy and thus knowledge and education were mainly the domain of religious and political elites.
- Indicate how this discouraged political and religious change.
- Describe the invention of the printing press in 1440 by Johannes Gutenberg.
- Show the implications of the new technology for book production.
- Describe the rapid spread of the technology and the printing of the Gutenberg Bible.
- Link to the Reformation.
- Discuss the trend for translating the Bible into vernacular languages during the years following the printing press’s invention.
- Describe Luther’s own translation of the Bible during the Reformation.
- Sketch out 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.
Literary analysis essay outline
The literary analysis essay outlined below discusses the role of theater in Jane Austen’s novel Mansfield Park .
The body of the essay is divided into three different themes, each of which is explored through examples from the book.
- Describe the theatricality of Austen’s works
- Outline the role theater plays in Mansfield Park
- Introduce the research question : How does Austen use theater to express the characters’ morality in Mansfield Park ?
- Discuss Austen’s depiction of the performance at the end of the first volume
- Discuss how Sir Bertram reacts to the acting scheme
- Introduce Austen’s use of stage direction–like details during dialogue
- Explore how these are deployed to show the characters’ self-absorption
- Discuss Austen’s description of Maria and Julia’s relationship as polite but affectionless
- Compare Mrs. Norris’s self-conceit as charitable despite her idleness
- Summarize the three themes: The acting scheme, stage directions, and the performance of morals
- Answer the research question
- Indicate areas for further study
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
- Choosing Essay Topic
- Write a College Essay
- Write a Diversity Essay
- College Essay Format & Structure
- Comparing and Contrasting in an Essay
- Grammar Checker
- Paraphrasing Tool
- Text Summarizer
- AI Detector
- Plagiarism Checker
- Citation Generator
What can proofreading do for your paper?
Scribbr editors not only correct grammar and spelling mistakes, but also strengthen your writing by making sure your paper is free of vague language, redundant words, and awkward phrasing.
See editing example
You will sometimes be asked to hand in an essay outline before you start writing your essay . Your supervisor wants to see that you have a clear idea of your structure so that writing will go smoothly.
Even when you do not have to hand it in, writing an essay outline is an important part of the writing process . It’s a good idea to write one (as informally as you like) to clarify your structure for yourself whenever you are working on an essay.
If you have to hand in your essay outline , you may be given specific guidelines stating whether you have to use full sentences. If you’re not sure, ask your supervisor.
When writing an essay outline for yourself, the choice is yours. Some students find it helpful to write out their ideas in full sentences, while others prefer to summarize them in short phrases.
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.
Cite this Scribbr article
If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.
Caulfield, J. (2023, July 23). How to Write an Essay Outline | Guidelines & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved August 28, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/academic-essay/essay-outline/
Is this article helpful?
Other students also liked, how to create a structured research paper outline | example, a step-by-step guide to the writing process, how to write an argumentative essay | examples & tips.
Do the letters (A, B, C, etc.) in the outlines above, especially of the body, have a one-to-one correspondance with a paragraph each within the essay?
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
In the examples here, the letters are used to show parts within a single paragraph, with Roman numerals (I, II, etc.) used to show paragraphs. For a longer essay, you could certainly use Roman numerals for sections and letters for paragraphs—whatever suits your argument and structure best.
How can I use footnote and document my essay writing Without bibliography?
You should always check with your teacher or university whether you're required to use a specific citation style in your essay. If you're allowed to choose your own style, Chicago notes and bibliography style is one you could use where citations appear in footnotes and the bibliography is optional. You can find more information about this style here .
Still have questions?
What is your plagiarism score.
Essay Introduction Examples
Written by Scribendi
Always have a road map for an essay introduction . Having a strong essay introduction structure is critical to a successful paper. It sets the tone for the reader and interests them in your work. It also tells them what the essay is about and why they should read it at all.
It shouldn't leave the reader confused with a cliffhanger at the end. Instead, it should generate interest and guide the reader to Chapter One. Using the right parts of an essay introduction can help with this.
Check out an effective essay introduction structure below. It’s a road map for writing an essay—just like the parts of essay introductions are road maps for readers.
Essay Introduction Structure
Outline of argument
Some academics find the beginning the most difficult part of writing an essay , so our editors have created some examples of good essay introductions to guide you. Let's take a look at the samples below to see how the essay introduction structures come together.
If you are unsure about your paper, our essay editors would love to give you some feedback on how to write an essay introduction.
 According to Paul Ratsmith, the tenuous but nonetheless important relationship between pumpkins and rats is little understood: "While I've always been fascinated by this natural kinship, the connection between pumpkins and rats has been the subject of few, if any, other studies" (2008).  Ratsmith has been studying this connection, something he coined "pumpkinology," since the early 1990s. He is most well known for documenting the three years he spent living in the wild among pumpkins and rats.  Though it is a topic of little recent interest, the relationship has been noted in several ancient texts and seems to have been well understood by the Romans. Critics of Ratsmith have cited poor science and questionable methodology when dismissing his results, going so far as to call pumpkinology "rubbish" (de Vil, 2009), "stupid" (Claw, 2010), and "quite possibly made up" (Igthorn, 2009).  Despite these criticisms, there does appear to be a strong correlation between pumpkin patches and rat populations, with Ratsmith documenting numerous pumpkin–rat colonies across North America, leading to the conclusion that pumpkins and rats are indeed "nature's best friends" (2008).
Let's break down this example of a good essay introduction structure. The beginning hooks our attention from the get-go in section one. This is because it piques our curiosity. What is this strange relationship? Why has no one studied it? Then, section two gives us context for the topic. Ratsmith is an expert in a controversial field: pumpkinology. It's the study of the connection between pumpkins and rats.
The second half of the paragraph also demonstrates why this is a good essay introduction example. Section three gives us the main argument: the topic is rarely studied because critics think Ratsmith's work is "rubbish," but the relationship between pumpkins and rats has ancient roots. Then section four gives us the thesis statement: Ratsmith's work has some merit.
The parts of an essay introduction help us chart a course through the topic. We know the paper will take us on a journey. It's all because the author practiced how to write an essay introduction.
Let’s take a look at another example of a good essay introduction.
 Societies have long believed that if a black cat crosses one's path, one might have bad luck—but it wasn't until King Charles I's black cat died that the ruler's bad luck began (Pemberton, 2018).  Indeed, for centuries, black cats have been seen as the familiars of witches—as demonic associates of Satan who disrespect authority (Yuko, 2021). Yet, they have also been associated with good luck, from England's rulers to long-distance sailors (Cole, 2021).  This essay shows how outdated the bad luck superstition really is. It provides a comprehensive history of the belief and then provides proof that this superstition has no place in today's modern society.  It argues that despite the prevailing belief that animals cause bad luck, black cats often bring what seems to be "good luck" and deserve a new reputation.
This example of a good essay introduction pulls us in right away. This is because section one provides an interesting fact about King Charles I. What is the story there, and what bad luck did he experience after his cat passed away? Then, section two provides us with general information about the current status of black cats. We understand the context of the essay and why the topic is controversial.
Section three then gives us a road map that leads us through the main arguments. Finally, section four gives us the essay's thesis: "black cats often bring what seems to be 'good luck' and deserve a new reputation."
Still feeling unsure about how to write an essay introduction? Here's another example using the essay introduction structure we discussed earlier.
 When the Lutz family moved into a new house in Amityville, New York, they found themselves terrorized by a vengeful ghost (Labianca, 2021). Since then, their famous tale has been debunked by scientists and the family themselves (Smith, 2005).  Yet ghost stories have gripped human consciousness for centuries (History, 2009). Scientists, researchers, and theorists alike have argued whether ghosts are simply figments of the imagination or real things that go bump in the night. In considering this question, many scientists have stated that ghosts may actually exist.  Lindley (2017) believes the answer may be in the quantum world, which "just doesn’t work the way the world around us works," but "we don’t really have the concepts to deal with it." Scientific studies on the existence of ghosts date back hundreds of years (History, 2009), and technology has undergone a vast evolution since then (Lamey, 2018). State-of-the-art tools and concepts can now reveal more about ghosts than we've ever known (Kane, 2015).  This essay uses these tools to provide definitive proof of the existence of ghosts in the quantum realm.
This example of a good essay introduction uses a slightly different strategy than the others. To hook the reader, it begins with an interesting anecdote related to the topic. That pulls us in, making us wonder what really happened to the Lutzs. Then, section two provides us with some background information about the topic to help us understand. Many people believe ghosts aren't real, but some scientists think they are.
This immediately flows into section three, which charts a course through the main arguments the essay will make. Finally, it ends with the essay's thesis: there is definitive proof of the existence of ghosts in the quantum realm. It all works because the author used the parts of an essay introduction well.
For attention-grabbing introductions, an understanding of essay introduction structure and how to write an essay introduction is required.
Our essay introduction examples showing the parts of an essay introduction will help you craft the beginning paragraph you need to start your writing journey on the right foot.
If you'd like more personalized attention to your essay, consider sending it for Essay Editing by Scribendi. We can help you ensure that your essay starts off strong.
Image source: Prostock-studio/Elements.envato.com
Let’s Get Your Essay Ready to Wow an Audience
Hire one of our expert editors , or get a free sample, about the author.
Scribendi's in-house editors work with writers from all over the globe to perfect their writing. They know that no piece of writing is complete without a professional edit, and they love to see a good piece of writing transformed into a great one. Scribendi's in-house editors are unrivaled in both experience and education, having collectively edited millions of words and obtained numerous degrees. They love consuming caffeinated beverages, reading books of various genres, and relaxing in quiet, dimly lit spaces.
Have You Read?
"The Complete Beginner's Guide to Academic Writing"
Essay Writing: Traffic Signals for the Reader
How to Write a Great Thesis Statement
How to Write a Persuasive Essay
MLA Formatting and MLA Style: An Introduction
Upload your file(s) so we can calculate your word count, or enter your word count manually.
We will also recommend a service based on the file(s) you upload.
Drag File(s) Here to Calculate Your Word Count
English is not my first language. I need English editing and proofreading so that I sound like a native speaker.
I need to have my journal article, dissertation, or term paper edited and proofread, or I need help with an admissions essay or proposal.
I have a novel, manuscript, play, or ebook. I need editing, copy editing, proofreading, a critique of my work, or a query package.
I need editing and proofreading for my white papers, reports, manuals, press releases, marketing materials, and other business documents.
I need to have my essay, project, assignment, or term paper edited and proofread.
I want to sound professional and to get hired. I have a resume, letter, email, or personal document that I need to have edited and proofread.
Select a Service
Prices include your personal % discount.
Prices include % sales tax ( ).
Online Plagiarism Checker For Academic Writing
Start Plagiarism Check
Online Proofreading for Your Academic Writing
Get it proofread now
Online Printing & Binding Services for Students
Configure binding now
- Academic essay overview
- The writing process
- Structuring academic essays
- Types of academic essays
- Academic writing overview
- Sentence structure
- Academic writing process
- Improving your academic writing
- Titles and headings
- APA style overview
- APA citation & referencing
- APA structure & sections
- Citation & referencing
- Structure and sections
- APA examples overview
- Commonly used citations
- Other examples
- British English vs. American English
- Chicago style overview
- Chicago citation & referencing
- Chicago structure & sections
- Chicago style examples
- Citing sources overview
- Citation format
- Citation examples
- College essay overview
- How to write a college essay
- Types of college essays
- Commonly confused words
- Dissertation overview
- Dissertation structure & sections
- Dissertation writing process
- Graduate school overview
- Application & admission
- Study abroad
- Harvard referencing overview
- Language rules overview
- Grammatical rules & structures
- Parts of speech
- Methodology overview
- Analyzing data
- Inductive vs. Deductive
- Qualitative vs. Quantitative
- Types of validity
- Types of reliability
- Sampling methods
- Theories & Concepts
- Types of research studies
- Types of variables
- MLA style overview
- MLA examples
- MLA citation & referencing
- MLA structure & sections
- Plagiarism overview
- Plagiarism checker
- Types of plagiarism
- Printing production overview
- Research paper structure & sections
- Types of research papers
- Research process overview
- Problem statement
- Research proposal
- Research topic
- Statistics overview
- Levels of measurment
- Measures of central tendency
- Measures of variability
- Hypothesis testing
- Parameters & test statistics
- Types of distributions
- Effect size
- Hypothesis testing assumptions
- Types of ANOVAs
- Types of chi-square
- Statistical data
- Statistical models
- Research bias overview
- Types of research bias
- Spelling mistakes
- Tips overview
- Academic writing tips
- Dissertation tips
- Sources tips
- Working with sources overview
- Evaluating sources
- Finding sources
- Including sources
- Types of sources
Your Step to Success
Online Printing & Binding for Academic Writing
How To Write An Academic Essay Introduction
How do you like this article cancel reply.
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
- 1 Academic essay introduction definition
- 3 Academic essay introduction structure
- 4 Writing an introduction
- 5 Academic essay introduction formats
- 6 Academic essay introduction tense
- 7 Academic essay introduction example
- 8 Academic Essay Introduction – In a Nutshell
Academic essay introduction definition
An academic essay introduction is the beginning paragraph of a paper that sets the path and the tone of what the reader should expect throughout the paper. It should capture the reader’s attention by creating an interest in reading the entire paper. The introduction is applicable across all fields, including descriptive, expository, dialectic, thesis , or even argumentative essays.
How long should an academic essay introduction be?
There is no specific rule on the length of an essay introduction. How long your introduction is, is dependent upon the length of the academic essay . The length of your academic essay introduction should be somewhere around 10 % of the word count of the overall academic essay.
What makes a good academic essay introduction?
A good academic essay introduction should highlight the critical context of the topic in question, indicating your specific focus in the academic essay. It should be able to capture the reader’s attention by giving them an overview of the academic essay structure and what the entire paper is about. It’s also important that the introduction begins with a strong opening sentence to catch the reader’s attention.
How do you start an academic essay introduction?
Starting an academic essay introduction can be tricky. Sometimes, you literally just don’t know where to start! However, with the following tips, you should be able to get onto the right track.
- Read about transition words and sentence starters
- Repeat your topic or subject description using different words
- Point out some interesting facts about the topic
- Consider starting with a rhetorical question
How do you write an introduction paragraph for an academic essay?
Your introduction paragraph should begin with a one or two sentence opening statement created to capture the attention of the reader. This should be followed by a couple of sentences that connect the opening statement with the thesis statement . Your thesis statement is the key impression of what the academic essay is all about and should be towards the end of the introduction.
In how many ways can a student write an academic essay introduction?
There are four different ways of writing an introduction to an academic essay. These include; funnel, quotations, dramatic, and the turn-about form. A funnel introduction runs from background information to a more focused thesis. Quotation introductions use quotes to lead the reader to the thesis statement. Dramatic introductions are written as eye-witness accounts, while turn-about introductions start with an opposite perspective before focusing on the main idea.
Tip: Check out our blog article ‘How to Write an Academic Essay’ for some more general hints and tips about structuring and writing an academic essay.
Academic essay introduction structure
There are numerous questions that students raise concerning the structure of an academic essay introduction. This is because how good you are in structuring your academic essay introduction adds to how efficient you will be in your essay writing skills. An introduction to your academic essay consists of three essential elements, including an attention grabber, a connection to the academic essay’s content, and a thesis statement .
This is the first sentence of an introduction to your academic essay. The purpose of the attention grabber is to capture the attention of the reader. It should be in the form of a quote, anecdote, dialogue, or an interesting fact about the topic of discussion.
These are a few sentences that lead the reader from the academic essay’s opening statement to the thesis statement. These sentences highlight what you will be talking about throughout your academic essay.
This is the statement that comes towards the end of your academic essay introduction. It provides a concise summary of the academic essay’s main idea, and it is usually expressed in a single sentence.
Writing an introduction
A good introduction provides an overview of what the entire paper is about and should be convincing to the reader that reading the rest of the academic essay is worth their time. Here are a few tips on how to write an outstanding introduction to your academic essay.
- Make your introduction brief and direct to the point: Unless you are writing a 40-page academic essay, your introduction should be as short as possible. Highlight the key elements of an academic essay introduction and leave the rest for the body of your academic essay.
- Capture the reader’s attention: Consider using an interesting fact, quotes, anecdotes, or a question to keep the reader engaged and interested in giving the rest of the paper some attention.
- Avoid clichés: Some styles of writing academic essay introductions may have been successfully used before but sound too obvious and usual today. An example of a cliché ideology in writing an introduction to your academic essay is starting the introduction with a definition.
- Do not forget your thesis statement: Your thesis statement is the backbone of your academic essay introduction, as well as your overall paper.
- Avoid providing too many background details at this point: Only highlight the necessary introductory information here.
- Keep the tone and language formal when writing your academic essay introduction: Academic essay writing comes with some form of strictness when it comes to tone and language, and your introduction is not an exception. Only be informal when required to by your lecturer or tutor.
Academic essay introduction formats
Depending on the type of academic essay you are writing, an academic essay introduction should capture various elements, including a problem statement, personal opinion and attitude, and the scope of your discussion. Here is how to go about an academic essay introduction for the various academic essay formats:
An introduction to an argumentative essay should be personal, highlighting convincing reasons why our thoughts and opinions are the most accurate and impeccable.
The introduction of a persuasive essay should carry some form of deep conviction, persuading your reader to agree with your viewpoint before getting into the entire paper. Readers might not find your academic essay interesting to read if your introduction does not create a persuasive impression on the subject matter.
Compare and Contrast Essay
Students should be able to highlight the two sides of the subject matter in their compare and contrast essay introduction. The backbone of this academic essay type is found in the capacity of your introduction to show similarities and differences between two issues, tendencies, or events.
A descriptive essay introduction should creatively capture the reader’s attention by offering a descriptive list or outline of sensory details on the subject matter. It should trigger the reader’s imagination using descriptive statements. You can also add your opinion and thoughts on the topic by being specific to the details.
Academic essay introduction tense
There is no specific restriction on the tense to use while writing an introduction for your academic essay. For example, past tense can be used in reference to past events or historical descriptions. Students can also use either past or present tense when writing a narrative essay . However, whichever tense you choose, it should be applied consistently throughout your introduction.
Essay printing & binding
You are already done writing your academic essay and need a high quality printing & binding service? Then you are right to choose BachelorPrint! Check out our 24-hour online printing service. For more information click the button below :
Essay Printing & Binding
Academic essay introduction example
Academic Essay Introduction – In a Nutshell
In summary, an academic essay introduction;
- Is the beginning paragraph of a paper that sets the tone of the entire academic essay.
- Should outline a general overview of what the entire paper is about.
- Should be 10 % of the academic essay’s total word count in length.
- Should contain three key elements, including the attention grabber, connections, and a thesis statement.
- Can be written in any tense depending on the nature of the academic essay, provided the tense is used consistently throughout the introduction of your academic essay.
Discover more useful articles:
How does Harvard Referencing in your thesis work:
In this article we show you referencing & citation styles:
This article includes information about the title page with examples:
We give you some information about transition words:
- External Media
Individual Privacy Preferences
Here you will find an overview of all cookies used. You can give your consent to whole categories or display further information and select certain cookies.
Accept all Save
Essential cookies enable basic functions and are necessary for the proper function of the website.
Show Cookie Information Hide Cookie Information
Statistics cookies collect information anonymously. This information helps us to understand how our visitors use our website.
Content from video platforms and social media platforms is blocked by default. If External Media cookies are accepted, access to those contents no longer requires manual consent.
What Are the 5 Different Types of Essays? A Complete Guide
For high school or college students, essays are unavoidable – worst of all, the essay types and essay writing topics assigned change throughout your academic career. As soon as you’ve mastered one of the many types of academic papers , you’re on to the next one.
Our specialists will write a custom essay on any topic for 13.00 10.40/page
This article by Custom Writing experts provides the tools you need to attack any essay. It describes the five current major types of essays and five additional types! The article includes some thesis statement examples and numerous useful links to resources with sample essay papers. Keep reading and good luck with your assignment!
- 📑 5 Main Types of Essay Writing
🎈 Other Essay Types
- 👌 Essay Writing Tips
📑 what are the 5 different types of essays.
The five main essay types are:
An expository essay aims to present opinion-free information on a topic that may be broad or narrow. This essay type is often assigned as an in-class or an exam task. Please find below useful expository writing tips!
- An expository essay introduction should clarify the topic and briefly lay out its elements.
“The oil industry is a very large portion of the energy sector, and it has significant impacts on the climate and economy.”
- The body paragraphs of your expository essay should contain enough evidence to support your thesis statement.
- Your expository essay conclusion should readdress the thesis in the light of the evidence provided in the body.
- The transitions between the different parts of your expository essay should be very logical and clear.
An argumentative essay requires a profound investigation of a topic leading to the collection and evaluation of evidence. Such an in-depth study shall result in an established position on the topic, written down concisely.
As a rule, this type of writing presupposes extensive literature research . Sometimes, argumentative assignments may require empirical investigation through surveys, interviews, or observations. Detailed research ensures a clear understanding of the issue and the different points of view regarding it. Thanks to the preliminary study, you will be able to make an unbiased decision on which opinion to adhere to, and your argumentation will be more persuasive.
An argumentative essay shall follow the strict structure rules:
Difference between Expository and Argumentative Essay
Expository and argumentative essays abound in similarities and are often mistaken for one another. The principal difference is the amount of preliminary research . Argumentative essays are often assigned as final projects summing up the corpus of information mastered during a course. Expository essays are shorter and less based on research. They are used for in-class unprepared writing.
Persuasive writing is the polar opposite of expository writing. For this style of essay, your opinion should be the focus . A persuasive essay attempts to persuade its reader to have a specific opinion.
“Though the oil industry is an important part of our economy, it has negatively impacted our environment through climate change, smog, and the building of roads.”
- Your position should be set from the introduction of your persuasive essay. Take care to maintain it throughout the text.
- Your persuasive essay body should contain the arguments in progression: from the least important to the most important.
- Use ethos, logos, and pathos to persuade your readers.
There is no more clearly-named essay than the descriptive one. Here, the goal is to describe something : a person, an object, a place, etc. The oil industry theme used to demonstrate an expository thesis statement would not be typical for a descriptive essay. Instead, descriptive writing would far more likely focus on an object associated with the oil industry, such as an oil drum, an oil tanker, or even the liquid oil itself.
- A sample descriptive thesis statement could sound like this: “Crude oil is a black, viscous liquid that gives off an odd smell like plastic or many sorts of fuel.”
- Your descriptive essay body should be very logical. Each of its paragraphs is to focus on one of the aspects of the topic.
- The language you use in your descriptive essay should be vivid and varied. It is a good idea to appeal to the senses of the reader when you are describing something.
The meaning of narrative writing is very similar to a story. It may be moving, emotional, anecdotal, or insightful. You are allowed to write using first-person pronouns, and creativity is appreciated. A narrative essay is subject to all the story rules and shall comprise an introduction, characters, plot, setting, climax, and conclusion. The only case when a narrative assignment does not have to comply with a story outline is a book report. This informative narration is impersonal and unemotional.
Receive a plagiarism-free paper tailored to your instructions.
- The thesis is the purpose of your narrative essay . Although it doesn’t need to sound as formal as in other academic papers, make it clear why you decided to tell the story.
- First-person narration is not a must but is welcomed.
- Don’t switch between points of view . If you decide to write a third-person narrative, keep it consistent throughout the text.
- A narrative essay is closer to fiction than to a scientific document . Use artistic language that will have an emotional response in the reader.
- Although this is not a standard five-paragraph essay, it should have an introduction and a conclusion . An unfinished piece of writing is as bad as a too wordy one.
Difference between Narrative and Descriptive Essay
A narrative essay is aimed to tell the reader a complete story of personal experiences . A descriptive essay dwells upon a separate object, place, concept, or phenomenon. It does not have a climax or any development of action.
Cause and Effect Essay
In a cause and effect essay, the text should focus on the impact of some phenomenon or physical thing —in other words, a cause and its effect.
The simplicity of this essay allows you to explore any topic . All you need to do is consider its consequences and write. Again, the oil industry can be the focus of a cause and effect essay thesis statement :
“The oil industry has had a tremendous impact on our world, enabling the automotive industry, contributing to climate change, and generating great wealth.”
In this essay, the goal is simply to respond to or reflect upon a species person, place, thing, event, or phenomenon. You may be required to reflect upon a poem, a military battle, or perhaps even another essay. By its definition, reflective essays should be very subjective. You should use personal pronouns like “I” and “me” in these essays! This type of essay should be very personal. Check out some examples of reflective writing to see this yourself.
Just 13.00 10.40/page , and you can get an custom-written academic paper according to your instructions
For example, this would be a great thesis statement for a reflective essay :
“The oil industry has provided many benefits to society, but I worry deeply about its potential costs to our planet and its species.”
In many ways, analytical writing is the objective cousin of reflective writing. Prior to attempting this style of essay, you should reflect. But you should also conduct research. The reflection is personal, while the analysis is rooted in facts and logic.
Compare the following example thesis statement with the one from the previous type of essay:
“As the oil industry has grown, the levels of greenhouse gases have increased along with temperatures and concentrations of particulate matter in the atmosphere.”
This statement outlines factors that will be analyzed in the body of the essay. It DOES NOT insert personal feelings, personal pronouns, or subjective language. You can even try and use an informative thesis statement generator and then compare the results to see it more clearly.
By staying objective, an analytical essay is much more like a report. In fact, an outline for an analytical paper should be interchangeable with a section of an outline for a much longer research project. But most importantly, any analytical paper should avoid using personal pronouns .
Comparison and Contrast Essay
In a compare and contrast essay , you make a comparison of two or more issues . You may look at their similarities, differences, or both. The focus of your analysis should be reflected in your thesis statement. Consider this example:
“While both the oil industry and the solar-power industry will be major sources of energy in the future, oil has more environmental costs than green solar power.”
An exemplification or illustration essay is one of the most flexible essays you might be assigned. In simple terms, this essay is all about picking vivid examples. In other words, you want to make points that exemplify or illustrate your thesis statement.
For an exemplification essay, you should focus on the examples that will make your point without serious effort. In other words, if you are trying too hard, you are missing the point of the essay. Consider the following example thesis statement:
“The oil industry has had serious effects on the environment as demonstrated by the impact of massive oil spill on wildlife, the uncontrolled fires and explosions caused by oil and oil derivatives, and the melting of the polar ice caps caused by climate change.”
In the body of this exemplification essay, the writer should devote a paragraph to each of these arguments. Descriptions of seagulls or penguins coated in oil would be perfect examples of the effect of the oil industry on wildlife. Similarly, descriptions of major oil refinery explosions will also grab the reader’s attention.
Once again, the conclusion should restate the introduction, providing less background, and reminding the reader of the examples one last time.
👌 Remember These Important Essay Tips
These tips and tricks are just the basics of essay writing .
When you are writing any assignment, always pay close attention to the instructions . The standard interpretation of any particular essay style is never as important as your teacher’s definition of the assignment. When in doubt, ask questions! No teacher will be upset with you asking for reasonable clarifications. It is better to write the essay your teacher expected, rather than surprise your teacher with a creative effort. And, subsequently, get a poor grade.
- You may also notice that every one of the rough examples described fits into the 5-paragraph essay format . This essay structure is a powerful way to organize your thoughts. Becoming skilled at applying this structure will strengthen your writing. Soon after, you’ll write both shorter and longer essays with ease.
- If you’re still confused, watch one of the many helpful videos on essay writing .
- Start writing your essay early! No matter the essay type, your revisions will be better than your first drafts. If you have time for second, third, and fourth drafts, you will be much happier with your final grade.
- Essay Structure | – Harvard College Writing Center
- Writing: Types of Essays – Smith College
- Essay Writing // Purdue Writing Lab
- Types of academic writing – The University of Sydney
- Guide to Different Kinds of Essays – Gallaudet University
- What are the types of essays? – Quora
- Share to Facebook
- Share to Twitter
- Share to LinkedIn
- Share to email
This is nicely done!
Thank you very much for your kind words!
This site is awesome for high school students that need that extra boost. It saved me more than once! You can easily see reviews from all the main sites to get your homework done, so you can choose a good one.
Thank you for your feedback, Ammara!
I appreciate this, really helpful.
I’m happy you found the article helpful. Thanks for the feedback, Yumma!
this information is very helpful
Thanks for the feedback, Steward! Much appreciated.
Thanks for the great info!
Glad you liked it, Bryan! Thanks for the feedback.
Beauty lasts only a short time. But in the realm of art, in the field of poetry, beauty lasts forever. Sonnet 73 is addressed to a lover who is younger than the speaker. The poem uses three metaphors to depict the speaker’s age and impending death. First, the speaker says that he is autumn, the time of year when the beauty of summer is gone, and the death of winter is about to set in. Then he says that he is the end of the day when only a faint light lingers on the western horizon, and deathly darkness is about to engulf the world. Then he says that he is an almost burned out fire, nearly reduced to ashes. This sonnet doesn’t look to art for consolation, but to love. It concludes by saying, You love me even though you know you’re soon going to lose me, and that makes your love all the greater.
Awesome post as usual! Your posts make me accumulate knowledge about writing various college papers! Thanks a lot for this assistance!
These are amazing tips for compare and contrast essay writing. Will definitely use them when writing my compare and contrast essay. Thanks for sharing them!
- Aug 29, 2022
Types of Essay Introductions
Updated: Apr 27
Today, we're going to learn about different types of essay introductions. I'm going to provide you with examples and I will show you how to do it, and we are going to talk about the best type of introduction for a given essay.
The first type of introduction I want to talk about is the traditional approach. For this, we are going to use 3 parts. We're going to have a hook, a transition (sometimes called a bridge), and a thesis statement.
We want to start with something interesting related to our topic. Then, we have a smooth transition or bridge to the thesis statement, and we state our case or our main idea clearly and specifically.
The Funnel introduction starts with a broad opening and then becomes more specific. The most specific part is the thesis statement.
Let's look at this example below. You can see that we start off broad with the idea that diet and exercise are two areas that we can control when it comes to our health. Then we get more specific in the thesis statement.
The Overview Introduction provides a survey often involving research about a topic. For that reason, they are commonly used in research essays. At the university level, you might have something more in-depth like a literature review.
In the example below, note that before we get to the thesis statement, we are showing the trend within the research for this particular topic.
Personal anecdotes could not be more different than an Overview. Whereas Overviews are academic, personal anecdotes are best suited to personal essays where you are communicating your own experience. This is often used for college application essays because a university or college wants to know about you, they want to know about your experience, and who you are.
Let's take a look at the example below. As you can see, anecdotes draw on rich imagery to engage the reader's senses.
The final introduction type that we're looking at today is the contrast introduction. Here we might begin with an objection to our argument. Then we use a transition word like 'however', and then we shift to our thesis statement, which states the opposite.
Here is an example:
We begin the paragraph above with the idea that the particular malaria eradication program that was used in the United States was effective. Then we use our connection word "however" to shift to a perspective about this that says that this is not something that can be generalized or may not work in some regions.
Are you looking to enhance your writing skills? We're here to support you in your journey! 😊
Check out the FREE Essay Guide below to get started!
- Academic Writing
How To Be More Specific | A tool for writers
The Difference Between Concrete and Abstract Words
These Verbs Enhance Writing
Talk to our experts
- Essay Writing
In the simplest terms, an essay is a short piece of writing which is set around a specific topic or subject. The piece of writing will give information surrounding the topic but will also display the opinions and thoughts of the author. Oftentimes, an essay is used in an academic sense by way of examination to determine whether a student has understood their studies and as a way of testing their knowledge on a specific subject. An essay is also used in education as a way of encouraging a student to develop their writing skills.
Moreover; an essay is a focused piece of writing designed to inform or persuade. There are many different types of essays, but they are often defined in four categories: argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive essays. Argumentative and expository essays are focused on conveying information and making clear points, while narrative and descriptive essays are about exercising creativity and writing in an interesting way. At the university level, argumentative essays are the most common type.
Types of Essay Writing
When it comes to writing an essay, there is not simply one type, there are, quite a few types of essay, and each of them has its purpose and function which are as follows:
A narrative essay details a story, oftentimes from a particular point of view. When writing a narrative essay, you should include a set of characters, a location, a good plot, and a climax to the story. It is vital that when writing this type of essay you use fine details which will allow the reader to feel the emotion and use their senses but also give the story the chance to make a point.
A descriptive essay will describe something in great detail. The subject can be anything from people and places to objects and events but the main point is to go into depth. You might describe the item’s color, where it came from, what it looks like, smells like, tastes like, or how it feels. It is very important to allow the reader to sense what you are writing about and allow them to feel some sort of emotion whilst reading. That being said, the information should be concise and easy to understand, the use of imagery is widely used in this style of essay.
An expository essay is used as a way to look into a problem and therefore compare it and explore it. For the expository essay, there is a little bit of storytelling involved but this type of essay goes beyond that. The main idea is that it should explain an idea giving information and explanation. Your expository essay should be simple and easy to understand as well as give a variety of viewpoints on the subject that is being discussed. Often this type of essay is used as a way to detail a subject which is usually more difficult for people to understand, clearly and concisely.
When writing an argumentative essay, you will be attempting to convince your reader about an opinion or point of view. The idea is to show the reader whether the topic is true or false along with giving your own opinion. You must use facts and data to back up any claims made within the essay.
Format of Essay Writing
Now there is no rigid format of an essay. It is a creative process so it should not be confined within boundaries. However, there is a basic structure that is generally followed while writing essays.
This is the first paragraph of your essay. This is where the writer introduces his topic for the very first time. You can give a very brief synopsis of your essay in the introductory paragraph. Generally, it is not very long, about 4-6 lines.
This is the main crux of your essays. The body is the meat of your essay sandwiched between the introduction and the conclusion. So the most vital content of the essay will be here. This need not be confined to one paragraph. It can extend to two or more paragraphs according to the content.
This is the last paragraph of the essay. Sometimes a conclusion will just mirror the introductory paragraph but make sure the words and syntax are different. A conclusion is also a great place, to sum up, a story or an argument. You can round up your essay by providing some morals or wrapping up a story. Make sure you complete your essays with the conclusion, leave no hanging threads.
Give your essays an interesting and appropriate title. It will help draw the attention of the reader and pique their curiosity
Keep it between 300-500 words. This is the ideal length, you can take creative license to increase or decrease it
Keep your language simple and crisp. Unnecessary complicated and difficult words break the flow of the sentence.
Do not make grammar mistakes, use correct punctuation and spelling five-paragraph. If this is not done it will distract the reader from the content
Before beginning the essay, organize your thoughts and plot a rough draft. This way you can ensure the story will flow and not be an unorganized mess.
Understand the Topic Thoroughly-Sometimes we jump to a conclusion just by reading the topic once and later we realize that the topic was different than what we wrote about. Read the topic as many times as it takes for you to align your opinion and understanding about the topic.
Make Pointers-It is a daunting task to write an essay inflow as sometimes we tend to lose our way of explaining and get off-topic, missing important details. Thinking about all points you want to discuss and then writing them down somewhere helps in covering everything you hoped to convey in your essay.
Develop a Plan and Do The Math-Essays have word limits and you have to plan your content in such a way that it is accurate, well-described, and meets the word limit given. Keep a track of your words while writing so that you always have an idea of how much to write more or less.
Essays are the most important means of learning the structure of writing and presenting them to the reader.
FAQs on Essay Writing
1. Writing an Essay in a format is important?
Yes, it is important because it makes your content more streamlined and understandable by the reader. A set format gives a reader a clear picture of what you are trying to explain. It also organises your own thoughts while composing an essay as we tend to think and write in a haphazard manner. The format gives a structure to the writeup.
2. How does Essay writing improve our English?
Essay writing is a very important part of your English earning curriculum, as you understand how to describe anything in your words or how to put your point of view without losing its meaning
3. How do you write a good essay?
Start by writing a thorough plan. Ensure your essay has a clear structure and overall argument. Try to back up each point you make with a quotation. Answer the question in your introduction and conclusion but remember to be creative too.
4. What is the format of writing an essay?
A basic essay consists of three main parts: introduction, body, and conclusion. This basic essay format will help you to write and organize an essay. However, flexibility is important. While keeping this basic essay format in mind, let the topic and specific assignment guide the writing and organization.
5. How many paragraphs does an essay have?
The basic format for an essay is known as the five paragraph essay – but an essay may have as many paragraphs as needed. A five-paragraph essay contains five paragraphs. However, the essay itself consists of three sections: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Below we'll explore the basics of writing an essay.
6. Can you use the word you in an essay?
In academic or college writing, most formal essays and research reports use third-person pronouns and do not use “I” or “you.” An essay is the writer's analysis of a topic. “You” has no place in an essay since the essay is the writer's thoughts and not the reader's thoughts.
7. What does bridge mean in an essay?
A bridge sentence is a special kind of topic sentence. In addition to signaling what the new paragraph is about, it shows how that follows from what the old paragraph said. The key to constructing good bridges is briefly pointing back to what you just finished saying.
Types of Introductions in Essays
26 sep 2017.
All essays need an introduction, a way to inform the reader about the topic and show the writer's perspective on the subject. The way you choose to write your introduction will depend on the type of essay you are writing and the topic itself. Knowing some of the options you have for introductions will help you write an effective opening that engages your readers and makes them want to keep reading.
Explore this article
- Set the Scene
- Give an Overview
- Quote an Expert
- Ask a Question
1 Set the Scene
Scene setting works well for essays that tell a story. You might also use this style if you want to draw your readers into your topic, creating a scenario that they may identify with. Giving the sights, sounds, tastes and feel of a scene makes readers want to know more.
2 Give an Overview
You can use the introduction to give an overview or the historical background of your topic. This grounds readers in the facts and provides the information they need to understand your subject matter. In this style, you might also compare and contrast ideas to show how your topic relates to others. Your goal is to provide readers with enough information that they can focus on the points you present in the body of your essay.
3 Quote an Expert
Introducing your essay with a quote from an expert in the subject matter will help establish the credibility of your research and your viewpoint. The right quote will also give readers information about the topic and establish your viewpoint, helping to create a solid foundation for your argument.
4 Ask a Question
You might pose one or more questions to your readers in the introduction. This style can help you bring readers closer to your topic, increasing their awareness of how they feel or react to your subject matter. When you pose a question in your introduction, you need address the answer throughout your essay. You should not ask questions that do not relate directly to the topic itself. For example, you might ask, “How would you get back on your feet if you lost your job and your home?” With this question in mind, the main part of your essay might state facts on the subject of homelessness or give ideas on how to help people faced with this situation.
- 1 Long Beach City College: Writing Introductory Paragraphs for Essays
- 2 Valencia College: Writing Effective Introductions
About the Author
Kate Beck started writing for online publications in 2005. She worked as a certified ophthalmic technician for 10 years before returning to school to earn a Masters of Fine Arts degree in writing. Beck is currently putting the finishing touches on a novel.
How to Write an Informative Essay
How to Outline a Biblical Sermon
How to Segue a Sentence
Purpose of Writing an Essay
How to Start an Informative Paper
Tips for High School Students on Creating Introductions...
Beginning an Informative Essay
The Difference Between Discursive & Argumentative Essays
Major Parts of a Term Paper
How to Write a Thesis Statement in High School Essays
Sandwich Method of Paragraph Writing
What Is a Lead-in Statement?
How to Write an Introduction for an Argument Essay
Transitions For Essays
How to Restate an Expository Writing Prompt
How to Write an Introductory Paragraph for a Narrative
Key Ideas to Help Write an Argument & Persuasion Essay
How to Write an Introduction for a Character Analysis
What Skills Must a Student Develop to Write an Effective...
DRAPES for Persuasive Writing
Regardless of how old we are, we never stop learning. Classroom is the educational resource for people of all ages. Whether you’re studying times tables or applying to college, Classroom has the answers.
- Copyright Policy
- Manage Preferences
© 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. Based on the Word Net lexical database for the English Language. See disclaimer .