How to Introduce an Essay Like A PRO – Writing the introductory paragraph

There is only one rule for writing the introduction paragraph of an essay. That is, “you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression”.

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When writing an introduction, you should typically use a ‘general to specific’ structure.

For example, start by introducing the particular problem or topic the essay will address in a general sense to provide context, before highlighting the specific position and line of argument.

An essay should not keep the reader in suspense like a novel. Instead, the purpose and supporting arguments are usually stated in the introduction paragraph.

The purpose of the introduction

Before we even discuss what you should write in your introduction and how it should be structure, let us answer a quick question; why bother writing an essay introduction?

  • To grab the attention of the reader and lead them into your claim
  • Highlights the background information to provide the context of the specific problem addressed in the essay
  • To provide the reader with a clear idea of the argument discussed in the essay using a thesis statement that clearly states your response to the assignment question or the essay topic
  • To highlight a brief overview of the contents of your essay

Parts of An Essay introduction paragraph

The introduction paragraph of an essay should consist of three main parts including:

    • Context/Background
    • Your Position/Argument,
    • Main points/Overview of the Argument.

Context/Background

Start your introduction with a compelling statement to hook the reader and grab their attention. The first sentence could be a fact, a rhetorical question, or a statement providing some background on your argument. The next one or two sentences of the introduction should be to provide more information on the first sentence. Always provide evidence or cite these sentences.

Your Position/Argument

Develop a single sentence that fully demonstrate what position or argument is discussed throughout the essay. In most cases, this sentence is referred to as a Thesis Statement. It should clearly state your claim or argument in a complete way. Once the reader comes across your thesis statement, they should automatically identify why and how you build up your argument. Keep in mind that a thesis statement is a brief overview of the essay. If you are not sure how to write a thesis statement, check out our complete guide here. After writing the thesis statement, you can write an extra sentence to back up your main argument.

Main Points/Brief Overview of the Essay

Write down a small overview of how you present your points to support the main argument. Here, your goal is to give the reader a small highlight of what you are going to cover in the remaining part of the essay. This should be the last one or two sentences of the introduction paragraph.

 

Basic Structure of an Essay’s Introduction Paragraph

structure of introduction paragraph of an essay

EXAMPLE OF INTRODUCTION PARAGRAPH

“Business leadership has been described as the ‘ability to influence, motivate and enable others to contribute to the effectiveness and success of the organizations of which they are members (House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman, & Gupta, 2004, p. 63). Whether this ability is something a person is born with, or whether it is something that a person can learn, has been the subject of considerable debate. Kambil (2010) has outlined two categories of leadership attributes that help to frame the discussion: ‘traits’ (mostly innate) and ‘skills’ which can be developed through experience or training.  This essay will draw on the trait theory of leadership to argue that leaders are first born, but then must be made. While good business leaders share certain traits that are essential to success, including ‘curiosity, courage, perseverance, personal ethics and confidence’ (Kambil, 2010, p.43), they also need learnable skills, such as communication, negotiation and conflict resolution, that are only developed through practice. A potential leader should develop their natural traits as well as learn and practice skills which will help them to persuade, equip and inspire others to realize their vision.”

Key Take Away points on creating an essay introduction paragraph

  1. Following this structure of the introduction paragraph, you will realize that the length of a good introduction should be 10% of the required length of the essay, and should have 5-7 complete sentences.
  2. When to write an introduction? In most cases, it is best to write the introduction after writing the body paragraphs. This helps you create a better background, provide better context, and summarize main points discussed in the essay.

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