How to Write an Introduction

Table of contents

  1. A Guide to Writing a Great Essay Introduction
  2. Essential Intro Paragraph Elements
  3. Introduction Paragraph Outline
  4. Essay Introduction Tips
  5. Common Essay Introduction Mistakes
  6. More Essay Introduction Help

A Guide to Writing a Great Essay Introduction

A good introduction paragraph can really make a difference in your grade. In fact, it is often considered to be the most important part of your essay. Think about it. The introduction presents the topic to your readers, gets them interested in your topic (hopefully!), and presents your thesis. It’s clear that you should master writing an introduction paragraph in order to present a successful essay.

That’s why we have created this guide to show you how to write an intro paragraph. We’ll go over the important elements of an intro paragraph, share some great tips, and even present a brief essay introduction example. 

The introduction presents the topic to your readers, gets them interested in your topic, and presents your thesis.

Essential Intro Paragraph Elements

We’ll start at the beginning. Like any other introduction, your first order of business is to get your audience interested. That’s why your paper should lead with a hook. What is a hook? It can be:

  • An interesting statistic.
  • A compelling story.
  • A quote.
  • A thought-provoking question.

These should get your audience interested in your writing, and be relevant to your essay. When you think about how to start an introduction paragraph, think of ways to hook your readers.

Next, you’ll introduce the specific topic of your essay. Tell your readers what you’ll be writing about, and why it’s relevant.

Finally, you will close your introductory paragraph with a clear thesis statement. This is most important from a grading standpoint and a writing standpoint. You will spend the rest of your essay defending it. So, be sure you can provide proper research and data to back up your thesis.

Sample Introduction

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Introduction Paragraph Outline

Outlines are an important part of the writing process. In fact, we’ve written a guide on essay outlines. Here, we are going to drill down into the portion of your outline that involves your introductory paragraph.

Of course, the best way to demonstrate that is with a brief sample outline. We’ll annotate the example with parentheses.

  1. The Best Timing For a Disney Vacation (The Introduction)

    1. A trip to Disney World costs an average of 2000 dollars per person. (The Hook)

      1. Shouldn’t you work hard to make every cent worthwhile?

    2. The most common complaints about Disney vacations can be attributed to bad timing. (Making The Connection)

      1. Bad timing leads to a crowded park.

      2. You’ll pay more for attractions, even meals.

      3. Know your tastes to understand when to plan your vacation.

    3. Your vacation planning should prioritize timing over all else. (Thesis)

Essay introduction example infographic

Additional Writing Assistance

We asked our staff writers for some essay introduction ideas. Here’s what they had to say:

  • Think of your introduction as if it were an inverted pyramid. Start with a broad, but interesting statement. Then, narrow things down to your specific topic. Finally, put a very clear point on things with your thesis statement.
  • Conduct a lot of research when building your hook. It should be interesting and relevant. Dig into statistics, or find a great example story.
  • Your thesis should be concise, but it does not have to be a single sentence.
  • Feel free to circle back to your introduction after you work on other parts of your essay. You may gain some ideas and insights along the way.
  • Know your audience. It isn’t important that your introduction interests you, it needs to interest your instructor and peers.

I suppose when you do it correctly, a good introduction and a good outro makes the song feel like it's coming out of something and then evolving into something.

- Bruce Springsteen

Common Essay Introduction Mistakes

Avoid the following mistakes to write a winning essay: 

  • Writing a short introduction. Jumping right into your main points can be jarring for your audience.
  • Using an outdated example. A good example makes your topic relevant, but you should avoid older stories that may not be meaningful to your audience.
  • Sharing too much information. The introductory paragraph should motivate people to read the rest of your essay. They shouldn’t be able to use it as Cliff’s Notes version of your paper.
  • Avoid cliches. These include statements that a topic has been interesting and concerning since the dawn of man, leading with a ‘Webster’s dictionary definition’, or restating the question on your assignment.
  • Having a needlessly complex introduction paragraph structure. When in doubt, stick with a simple format.

More Essay Introduction Help

We hope this guide has given you some great information. Our writers have done a lot of research and provided insights from their own experiences. If you still need assistance, these same writers are happy to help you further. Please contact us 24/7 with questions, comments, or concerns. We will help you with your essay introduction, or any other academic writing assignment.

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