How to Write a Catchy Essay Introduction

The aim of an introduction is to “hook” the reader. People have very short attention spans nowadays so if you don’t engage their interest or curiosity with the first few lines, the rest of your essay may as well be written in Latin. An essay leads your reader down a path, and the introduction is like pointing a light in a certain direction to indicate “This is where we are heading.” Find a way of weaving in the thesis, i.e. the essential statement/idea put forth into the essay introduction.

There are many ways to begin an essay, let’s discuss some of them below:

  • Narrative introduction

You begin in the thick of the action. For instance, consider an essay writing assignment on the sedentary lifestyle of pre-teens:

“Anye, a 32 year-old mother of two, has reached the point of exasperation. Her sons, Jamie (10) and John (12) head straight for the video game console on returning home from school. They don’t budge from in front of it until they have played for at least an hour, while the snacks she has painstaking prepared turn cold on the dining table. No niceties, no ‘Hi mom, how are you?’ and barely a glance of acknowledgement. Their grades have dropped since her husband brought home the console in May and she is worried that their social skills are going to seed. Kate is not alone in her predicament. Child psychologists have identified gaming addiction as one of the top reasons for reduced physical activity and social development among pre-teens.”

  • Statistical Introduction

Quoting a shocking statistic in your essay introduction, from a credible source, always gets the reader’s attention. For instance, if you have to write about AIDS, you could begin with “In 2008, USA’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that approximately 56,300 people were newly infected with HIV in 2006 (the most recent year for which data are available). Over half (53%) of these new infections occurred in gay and bisexual men.”

  • Quote Introduction

You can begin your essay with a relevant quote. It’s an easy and effective way to open an introduction. For instance, “Winston Churchill once commented that ‘The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.’”

  • Question introduction

You begin with query or queries addressed to the reader, or perhaps to no one in particular, implying that you will attempt to answer them in your essay. For instance, “Does the media have the right to invade people’s privacy for the pursuit of a good story? Where does one draw the line? Is the media even aware that there is a line that it crosses?”

Some people prefer to write the essay introduction after they have completed the main body of the essay as they feel surer about what aspect to highlight in the essay. Another strategy is to write rough introduction first and then refine as the scope of your essay gets better defined. Either way, you must keep the introduction short and simple. Ideally, don’t exceed 100-125 words.

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