Prompts for beginners: how to write an intro paragraph for an essay

The introduction can be a challenging part to write. When you start an essay you often have some idea of what you will include in the body but you might not know what you want to write in the introduction to set the stage for your paper. Your introduction should give your reader a nice transition from their current surroundings to your paper and the world you create in it.

Why are introductions important?

  1. Because you have one chance to make a good impression. The introduction is where you offer the reader a glimpse into your writing quality and style as well as your argument. If your introduction is boring or vague or full or errors it will leave the readers with a negative impression immediately. If your introduction is instead concise and engaging it will leave the reader with a positive impression immediately.
  2. Your introduction needs to convey quite a bit of information to the readers. The introduction is what lets them know your topic and its importance. It is what lets the readers know how your argument and discussion will proceed. You need to include your thesis statement in the introduction as well.
  3. Your introduction should make the reader want to continue reading your paper. The introduction needs to capture their interest. It needs to show them why your topic is important and serve as an invitation to keep reading.

So if you are struggling to write your introduction consider using an attention grabber. This can include:

  • An example that is intriguing to the reader
  • A quote that is provocative
  • A scenario that is puzzling to the reader
  • An anecdote that is vivid and maybe unexpected
  • A question that is thought provoking

As you sit down to write remember you do not have to stick to what you first create. Just like you can change the body of your text during a revision you can change the content of your introduction too. If you cannot write the body of your paper without first having your introduction written then get something-anything-down on paper and go back and change it as necessary once you are done with the majority of your writing.

Remember to pay attention to the first sentence. Not only should it be free from error but it should say something useful to the reader.