How to write the first paragraph of an essay
Publication Date: 27 March 2023
Every student during their studies at the university is faced at least once in their life with writing an essay. We all know that in any business, the most difficult stage is the beginning. Depending on the introductory paragraph, this is how your essay will be perceived by the reader.
Many students struggle with not knowing how to start an essay. Notice that this is a popular issue so you are not alone! In this article, we will talk about how to build a high-quality introduction and write a good first paragraph.
To begin with, we will understand why introductory paragraphs are needed and consider their structure. Then we will discuss in detail what should be in each part of the introductory paragraph, and how to write it. Next, we will collect all the important information in the final paragraphs and give you small tips on how to make your first paragraph better.
Idea of Introductions
In short, the idea of an introductory paragraph is to introduce the reader to the course of your essay. To do this, people have come up with a good algorithm to keep the reader’s attention. While reading the introductory paragraph, created according to this particular outline, the person understands the context of your entire document and the specific topic that you want to discuss.
Imagine a pyramid that looks upside down. It is divided into three parts. At the base of the pyramid is general information. In the middle – a narrowing to a specific topic and at the top – a specific question.
This way you create a flow of information in one paragraph from the general to the specific. The more specific the topic of a particular issue, the more information should be provided in terms of contextualization.
We will clearly analyze the construction of the first paragraph on the example of an essay on biology, namely, on the example of photosynthesis in ferns. Such a funny example will be remembered for a long time, and will definitely convince you that a good first paragraph can be written on any topic!
The first sentence is part of general information. Consider this the calling card of your essay. It should be bright, but not defiant. Here you should be as short and concise as possible. The main task of the first sentence is to evoke emotion in the reader. That is why you can start your essay with some fun facts or even a little joke. Here, a small quote can perfectly take its place, which immediately makes it clear in which direction you are going to conduct a “dialogue”. Don’t write a long sentence – the shorter the first statement, the clearer it is. Try not to write the first sentence in the style of a school textbook. You are still not a hundred and twenty years old, are you? Make the sentence in such a way that the reader wants to argue with it a little. Just do not overdo it with provocation. For example, if you are writing an essay about risks of photosynthesis in ferns at home, you could write the first sentence about how without photosynthesis humans would not be able to live. But don’t say things like, “Take care of the ferns, otherwise all people will die.” Firstly, this is not entirely true, because other plants can also photosynthesize. Secondly, you will most likely scare the reader and he will go to buy all the ferns in your city, instead of reading your essay.
Hook the reader
After you have written the first sentence, you need to put yourself in the place of the reader and ask the question: “What is in this article or essay that would make me read it further?”. Let’s give you a little hint – don’t start with a boring theory. Put the reader in the context of your material. Give an example from life that will support your future thesis statement. Ask readers to come up with something that will help them understand the issue with clear examples. You must interest the reader with something that resonates within. After all, we pay attention to what seems familiar to us. Going back to the ferns example, you could write something about how the air in your apartment gets fresher if you grow flowers in pots.
You’ve got the reader’s attention, and now you need to tell him more so that he, too, feels like he’s an expert on this topic. Tell the reader more. Perhaps you can write a phrase that is in opposition to your thesis statement so that you can later challenge it and present your main idea in the last sentence of the introductory paragraph.
You can bring the reader closer to the topic of photosynthesis in ferns by adding a little phrase: “But what if ferns produce toxic substances along with oxygen?” This question, which obviously people don’t ask themselves every day, will give them the idea that this needs to be tested. And there can be many reasons for this – curiosity, interest, or personal concern for health.
The thesis statement is the very specifics that you should give readers at the end of your introductory paragraph. The main idea of the thesis statement is a strong statement that you have to reveal throughout your essay. This part is no more than two sentences long, but it should be enough for you to describe your topic accurately enough. Remember that you should not describe a dry fact that any person agrees with. You need to write a proposal with which it would be interesting to argue. You will need to prove your point in the body of the essay. Make sure that your thesis statement is a logical conclusion to your introductory paragraph.
At the end of your first paragraph, let people know why photosynthesis in ferns is a really important topic for your essay. You can end the paragraph with a strong sentence:
“Photosynthesis in ferns is nothing but a natural process of life of plants that helps people to exist, but it is worth considering the possible risks before buying a flower pot for yourself at home”.
Hacks to write a strong first paragraph of an essay
Carefully read the assignment you received at the university. Make sure you write an introductory paragraph that matches the topic of your essay. Write a catchy opening paragraph, try not to be boring. Grab the reader’s attention with emotional phrases, but keep the writing style formal. Expand your point of view in a way that makes the reader inclined to agree with it. If your essay is narrow enough, make sure that all important terminology is clear to the reader from the very beginning. First, understand the topic of your essay. The reader should understand that you are a professional in this matter from the first paragraph. Outline the structure of your essay and don’t deviate too much from it. Be concise – your introductory paragraph should take up no more than 10% of the size of your entire essay.
Writing the first introductory paragraph requires a bit of your time, but we advise you to pay attention to proper preparation. Practice writing an introductory paragraph so that you can keep the reader interested in your essay.
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