Do’s and Don’ts of Beginning an Essay


Starting to write an essay requires a serious hook to grab your readers’ attention. In this article, we will tell how you can engage your reader by starting the essay on the right foot. For starters, don’t write the introduction yet because once you have finished your essay only then you are in a better position to write a proper intro.

Before we delve in further, understand what an introduction does to your essay. Writing a good introduction creates a better first impression on your reader. It may be your gateway to building an awesome reader base down the line because the first impression usually stays with you.

Introduction works as a roadmap for your readers as it tells them what the essay is about and what they can expect as they read on. An introduction is where you insert your thesis statement. This will let your reader know the things that follow in your essay.

Without further ado, let’s find out how to create an attention grabber introduction for your essay:

1. An intriguing question

In the introduction ask your reader a question such as ‘can playing video games improve health?’, or ‘do you know what chemicals a glass of tap water contains?’ when you have asked a question start shedding light on it. Provide an explanation as to how games can lead to health benefits or the chemicals can be detrimental your health.

If possible, include a relevant mention of the study or research paper that you have gathered your insights from. Crediting your sources of information immediately appeals your readers and a sense of trust is established in the minds of your readers.

2. A funny, interesting, or out of the ordinary anecdote

There is one other way to get to hook your audience and that is by means of narrating a brief story. It could also be drawing an analogy which means that the outcome of that analogy relates to your subject. This sets up the mood and the reader begins to anticipate as to what might follow. This incites interest

Examples of this are, ‘There was once a man who knew how to get people to respect him but then one day he lost his charm to influence people’ or ‘Remember the time when you had to wait to hear from, your loved as letters took a while to arrive, similarly today…’ and so on so forth.

3. A shocking or interesting statistic

Another way to go about it is via a statistic that makes your reader exclaim “Wow”! With this, you have made the person to stick with you at every cost. Because now he wants to know desperately what is in store for him in the essay further since the stat is unbelievable, to begin with.

The examples could be ‘Food and Development Authority (FDA) states it has a lenient policy if only one rodent hair is found in each 100g of chocolate’, yikes right? I know. Such statistics are bound to hold your readers’ interest for a longer period of time.

However, that is not to say you trick your reader into reading or by deliberately stuffing cooked up stories which is both wrong and unethical.

4. A thought-provoking or astounding quote

You can also start your introduction by a powerful quote which will entail an immense impact on your reader. But a word to the wise, the quote should be a person who is well-known and at the same time an expert on the subject you are writing an essay.

Now that you know how you can begin your essay correctly, let us also shed some light on how NOT to start your essay:

1. Don’t start with a dictionary definition

Writing an introduction, as we have seen, is not easy and for all you know, you can be staring at a blank screen for hours without having written a single word. It’s called a writer’s block. Consequently, people begin by stating the dictionary definition of the topic, say from Cambridge Dictionary.

This is a real turn off for the readers. They know what most of the things in the world means, don’t insult their intelligence. Rather give them a fresh take on the subject that they might not have heard of before. Although, for words that are not common or frequently used, it is advisable to use the definition to bring the reader on board.

2. Don’t write a broad, generalized introduction

Also a no-no. Don’t just write ‘bland’ introductions or that are generalized. Readers expect a personalized touch and to ruin an introduction is the worst thing that you can do to your essay. Period. Speak about something specific in your subject.

3. Don’t announce the goal for your paper

Also, refrain from announcing right away as to what the essay is going to be talking about. Don’t say “This paper will seek to explain the consumer trust in e-commerce transactions” because if they know first what it is going to be about, why should they bother (unless of course it truly incites their interest).

In conclusion

Above are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind, the next time you set to begin an essay?


If you have any questions, please ask below!