No pressure or anything, but probably the most important sentence of an essay is the very first one. If it can’t hook the reader, he or she won’t continue reading. The introduction is the hook; it’s the bait. It lures readers into an essay and makes them want to read more. Whether you’re a content writer or a college student writing an essay, there are many models and examples to help get any writer started on an attention-grabbing introduction.
Tell a story
People are drawn to stories, especially those that are true and relatable. If you can’t think of a way to connect your essay topic to your own life, imagine how it might impact the lives of your readers.
For example, if you are writing an essay on hunger in Africa, you could begin your essay by making the readers feel as if they were experiencing the view of extreme hunger firsthand.
It’s a beautiful African morning with the sun on the horizon and the air already thick as oil. A four-year-old boy wakes up to the sound of his baby sister crying. She is hungry. He is also hungry, but there is no food to feed their family. His stomach growls; it has not been fed for more than three days. His mother will do what she can to find food for her starving family. Their empty bellies are something nearly impossible for us to imagine in the United States.
Give a shocking fact or statistic
As long as the statistic or fact can be verified, it’s a great way to start and essay. People love statistics, and they love to be shocked. Shock the reader and they will want to read more.
Out of all the states in America, there was one that didn’t grow in population over the past decade. According to the US Census Bureau, Michigan lost 0.6 percent of its population between 2001 and 2011. Michigan may be lacking in population growth, but it has plenty to offer future residents and tourists from out of state.
Use a well-known quotation
Sometimes, someone else says it best. Famous quotes are an interesting and thought-provoking way to begin an essay. There are an abundance of websites that organize quotes by author and subject.
Imagine you were stuck on writing the introduction of an essay about the importance of volunteering. Hop online to find an interesting quote that might be a great attention grabber. If the person who said the quote is well known, that can also help your reader to better identify with your subject.
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Most would think that a young girl hiding from Nazi soldiers would be the last person worried about improving the rest of the world, but in the midst of crisis, Anne Frank jotted down those exact words. She saw the urgency of improving the world, and she can serve as an inspiration to the rest of us.
Ask a thought-provoking question
Anything that gets readers thinking will help draw them into your essay. By asking a question, you are forcing readers to think for themselves about your topic.
Imagine you were writing an essay about depression. You could write an introduction using questions to help the reader imagine what depression is like.
Have you ever been sad? What about miserable? Have you ever felt like your entire world was falling apart and that there was nothing you could do about it? Millions of people feel this way every single day because of depression.
There are many ways to start an essay. What are some of your favorites?