How many times have you sat down to write your paper and gotten stuck right at the very first intro line? Learning how to write an introduction is a vital component of writing any type of assignment, whether it’s an essay or a research paper. But it’s not always easy.
You’ve got your evidence ready to go, your body paragraphs planned out, and your thesis statement built. Now it’s time to work on an introduction to everything that transitions properly into your work. This part is often overlooked and more often than not, students get stuck throwing in generic statements and sensational narratives that might hook the reader, but they don’t communicate your arguments. Sometimes they just aren’t relevant at all.
If this sounds like your typical writing process, you’re not alone. That’s why we’re here to help you out. So, without further adieu, let’s dig deep into the lesson and learn how to write an introduction.
When you’re learning how to write an introduction, it’s important to start with the why. Sure, you know every paper needs a good introduction, but you may be wondering why it really matters. The more you understand that, the stronger your writing becomes.
This is where you introduce your topic and give the reader a sense of what you’re going to talk about. Think of it like a first impression for your assignment. Just like first impressions matter in a job interview, the first impression of your paper matters, too. You don’t usually get a second chance to make them, so nail it the first time.
Simply put, without an introduction to your paper, how is your reader going to know what they’re getting themselves into? Would you really want to read an essay that didn’t really explain what it was about and expected you to just figure it out in the body paragraphs? You wouldn’t, and neither does your reader.
Why Learning How to Write an Introduction is Vital For Any Assignment
Your introduction indicates the position you’re going to take in the paper. It provides context to set up all of the points you’ll make in your body paragraphs. Think of it like a map to your paper that shows the reader where they’re going. No surprises, no roadblocks – just solid arguments and evidence about the main point.
So, when it comes to figuring out how to write an introduction, make sure you remember this above everything else. A weak introduction sets the tone that the rest of your paper is going to be dull. If you don’t nail this, the rest of your paper will seem bleak and uninteresting. Not to mention, everything won’t flow the way you think it will and that could lose you some marks.
How Long Should My Intro Be?
This is a great question, and one of the first things you consider when learning how to write an introduction that fits in properly. Sometimes students will try to stuff the introduction with more words to take up more space so they can reach the page count, but we assure you that your professors know when you do this.
The length of an essay introduction should be relative to the length of your paper. If your paper is, say, five pages, your introduction paragraph should be no more than about half a page. Likewise, if your paper is twenty pages, it can be one or two pages long.
Your introduction paragraph should be long enough to answer some of the following questions (they may vary depending on the type of assignment you’re writing):
● Why are you writing this paper?
● Why should your reader care about this paper?
● What arguments are you going to make?
● What is your position on the topic (if you need to make one)?
● How will you capture the reader’s attention long enough to get them to pay attention?
The answers to these questions will help you formulate your introduction paragraph, from that catchy first line to a strong thesis statement.
Elements of an Essay Introduction
In episode 69 of The Homework Help Show below, Cath Anne is going to go through more details to show you how to write an introduction. But before we get there, let’s dissect the basics.
A typical essay introduction structure should resemble an upside down triangle. You start broad (but not too broad), and then narrow down to eventually get to your specific thesis statement. Need help with that thesis statement? Check out our blog on
how to write a thesis statement
, where we go more in depth with our best tips and tricks.
Start with broad context that gives the reader some background information they’ll need to know to understand the topic. This part should include only relevant information that will relate to the arguments you’re going to make. Depending on the topic of your paper, you could choose to provide some historical background, social context, or explanation of specific keywords that will appear when you discuss your evidence. Save the deep dive for your body paragraphs. Then, narrow it down to get to the point, which leads directly into your thesis.
Most importantly, your introduction needs to be interesting. Write something that inspires your reader to keep going.
Avoid These Overrated Intro Lines
Before you go and look for some generic quote to throw in as your opening line, stop and think. Your professors are sick of seeing the same lines over and over again being used as the hook of your introduction.
The key to learning how to write an introduction is avoiding overrated, overused intro lines that will only make your professor or your reader roll their eyes.
● Dictionary definitions: Anyone can Google the dictionary definition of something. When you start your introduction paragraph this way, it looks like you didn’t put any thought into it.
● Quotes: Avoid those motivational quotes, popular quotes, and Additionally, quotes are lazy. They might work for a blog post, but they’re not going to cut it for an academic assignment that’s worth a large part of your grade.
● Cliches: As New York Times writer
puts it, cliches are “substitutes for exploration.” Sure, they sound great in personal narratives, but leave them out of your academic work. It makes it look like you’re avoiding doing research and are taking a shortcut with an overused phrase your professor has heard millions of times before.
● Sweeping phrases or claims like “Throughout history,…” These are very general, sound like cliches, and most professors find these statements more annoying than anything else.
● Research questions based on the essay prompt: Your professor assigned this question, and is going to receive a ton of different answers to it. They want to see something new and original in your assignment.
Sometimes these items can be okay depending on the specific context of your assignment, but it’s best to avoid them whenever you can. For example, a quote might work if it comes from an expert in the field that reveals something new or shocking about your topic.
So, What Does Make an Interesting Introduction Paragraph?
If you looked at the above list of intro no-nos, you’re probably wondering, “What does make a good introduction, then?” And that’s a fair question.
Here’s the real secret to determining how to write an introduction that really catches your professor’s eye from the very first line: nail down that hook. Don’t just jam it with something you think would be fun. Use something you know will work. Put a little bit of effort into it.
Here are some ideas to try:
● A particularly interesting or startling statistic
● An anecdote or narrative
● Make a statement or misconception that you’re going to take a position against
● A thought-provoking question or scenario (that you will answer in the paper)
● Make an observation that leads into your thesis
The point is to write something that will catch the eye before you get into the meat of your material. Make it really stand out and everything else will fall into place. Stuck getting the rest of your paper to fall into place? Read our
ultimate guide to writing a good essay
for more of our expert tips and tricks.
It’s Time to Learn How to Write an Introduction That Will Hook Your Reader From The Start
Now that we’ve prepared you to learn how to write an introduction, it’s time to dive in. Our top writer and Homework Help Show host, Cath Anne, is going to give you all the information you need to know for crafting an amazing essay introduction.
Remember, if you’re not sure about your introduction paragraph and need a new one written, or if you could just use some pointers,
Homework Help Global
has your back. We provide
custom essay writing services
for students that can help you take your academic success to the next level, and save you tons of time in a pinch.
Watch Episode 69 of The Homework Help Show Now
One of the hardest part in writing an essay is knowing what to write and how to start. Students often think that you have to always start writing the introduction first but that’s not always true.
In this episode of the Homework Help Show, our top writer & host, Cath Anne, discusses some tips that can help you to write an introduction.
Looking for study tips, help with essay writing, or advice on how to be a better student? Welcome to The Homework Help Show, a weekly show where we teach, assist, and offer valuable insights for student life. From study hacks to writing tips, discussions about student mental health to step-by-step guides on academic writing and how to write a resume, we’ve got you covered. Want your questions answered? Write them below or join the conversation on social media using the hashtag
[00:00:00] Introductions are one of the most important components of an essay. And because they are the first thing that many readers write, you want to make sure that you start off with a bang. Last week we discussed how to start an essay this week. Let’s get a little bit more specific and talk about how to write an introduction. Hi, guys, and welcome back to our channel.
[00:00:34] My name is Cath Anne and this is The Homework Help Show hosted by Homework Help Global here on the show. We provide you with valuable content for your academic and student life. Now, before we jump into the content, I wanted to remind you to hit that notification bell so that you can be reminded every time we post you academic content. Also, if you do like our content, make sure to subscribe to our channel. So you still get reminders when we are posting new academic content. And as always, make sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook as well for updates and information on new collaborations and new information on our organization.
[00:01:24] OK, let’s jump in. Now, a good strong introduction provides a broad overview of what you will discuss in your essay. It also helps the reader to learn about what you’re going to be discussing and hopefully it will keep them wanting to read more. Now let’s discuss some tips on how to write a strong introduction and keep our professors from banging their head against the wall.
[00:01:51] Tip number one, begin broad but not too broad. Sometimes students think that it is a good idea to delve in and discuss everything that revolves around a certain topic that has ever been researched or discussed. Now this approach might become a little too confusing for your reader. It is better to narrow your topics specifically in the introduction. The introduction should provide your reader with a sense of what they should expect on the topic and not discuss every little thing that has ever been written on your topic. In particular begin broad, but then and narrow into your thesis and keep it specific as you move into your essay.
[00:02:38] Tip number two, discuss a relevant background information, but don’t delve in to the full content of your essay. It is OK to offer some context to your essay. However, the main meat of your essay should be throughout your body paragraphs. You can hint to what you’ll be discussing in your introduction and give your reader a sense of what they can expect in the essay. But make sure that you don’t give it all away because remember, you want them to continue reading the essay in order to decide how to incorporate things into your introduction or into your body paragraph. Consider whether it is context or evidence. True evidence should go in your body paragraphs and leave the context for your introduction.
[00:03:30] Tip number three, write a thesis statement. In general, a thesis statement should go towards the end of your introduction. Now, I’m not going to go in-depth into a thesis statements because we’ve talked about it a lot here on our channel. We will link a video here so you can check out a video specifically related to writing a thesis statement. Remember, a thesis statement gives the overall idea, an argument that you’re presenting in your essay.
[00:04:00] Tip number four, provide only helpful, relevant information. Now, anecdotes can be an interesting opener to your essay and you might want to include one. However, only if it is relevant to your topic. Are you writing an essay about Maya Angelou? Perhaps an anecdote about her childhood and how she got into writing might be an interesting way to open the essay that is relevant. Are you writing an essay about the book Moby Dick? Perhaps it’s not the best idea to provide an anecdote about how your friend read Moby Dick and they really didn’t like it. Keep in mind whether the information or the anecdote is relevant to your topic. Keep this in mind with statistics, definitions, facts, or any other little tidbits of information that you think might make your introduction a little bit more interesting. Just make sure that it’s relevant to the rest of your essay.
[00:05:00] Tip number five, try to avoid clichés. Sometimes cliches can work. They might pack a punch, however, sometimes they are also overdone. One of these cliches is starting your essay with a definition. Starting an essay with the definition is an example of one of these conventions. Think about Michael Scott in The Office, you know how he always begins his speeches with, “according to Oxford English Dictionary” or “according to Webster’s English Dictionary”, and everyone always laughs or rolls her eyes. “Webster’s dictionary defines wedding as the fusing of two medals with a hot torch.” That’s because opening an essay or a speech with a quotation or a definition is a little bit overdone and tired at this point. Because it has been overdone it might come across as a little boring to your reader and cause your reader to tune out. Think of a more creative, engaging way to start your introduction.
[00:06:12] Tip number six don’t feel pressured to write your introduction first. Personally, I find that my writer’s block is strongest when I am first beginning an essay. I find that it can help to get myself writing first, fill out some of the body paragraphs, complete the outline, even work on the conclusion, and then come back to the introduction. Once you’ve written the remainder of your essay, you’ll have a stronger sense of how you want to start your essay, and you’ll be more likely to start off with a really strong introduction.
[00:06:47] Tip number seven Convince your reader that your essay is worth reading. A good introduction will really grab your reader and make them feel engaged. From the get go. The purpose of an introduction is to grab the reader, suck them in, and let them know that you have something interesting to say. Essentially, you want to hook your reader so that they’re interested in learning how you are going to make your argument on a really relevant and interesting topic. A good way to engage your reader off the get go is to provide information that perhaps they disagree with, or perhaps you present something a little controversial. This will help them to feel engaged in the material and make them want to keep reading. Once they are thinking about the topic, they are more likely to become engaged and they’ll want to know how you’ll make your argument.
[00:07:45] Basically, a good introduction provides your reader with an overview of your topic. A good introduction is interesting, engaging and to the point. A great introduction doesn’t provide irrelevant information, doesn’t rely on cliches. It’s direct, concise and on topic.