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What Should the Introduction Look Like When Writing an Essay?


The introduction of an essay is usually the first paragraph, and it should do what its name says it will do -- introduce the topic of the essay. Even the shortest essay should include an introduction that will serve as a guide to show readers what to expect while reading the essay. There are a few key components to writing a strong introduction: the hook, connecting information and the thesis statement.

When to Write the Introduction

Many people choose to write the introduction to an essay last. This way, there is less danger of missing key themes from the essay while writing the introduction and thesis statement. Whether you've chosen to write the introduction last or first, be prepared to go back to it several times while writing your essay to check if the themes you've introduced in your introduction are consistent with the content of your essay.

The Hook

The first sentence of your introduction should draw the reader in. It should be interesting and make the reader want to keep reading. There are several ways to write a hook. You could pose a question, quote a statistic that is related to the topic or begin with a relevant quotation. For example, in an essay exploring the role that money plays in happiness, you could start with the famous Beatles quotation "Money can't buy me love." Many people will recognize this quotation, and your readers may be more interested in the rest of what you have to say.

Connecting Information

After the hook, include connecting information that builds a bridge between your first sentence and your last sentence, which will be your thesis. There are usually two to five connecting sentences in an introduction, depending on how long your essay will be. You can choose to begin giving background information related to your topic in these connecting sentences. These sentences, for example, could follow the Beatles quotation: "Whether this is true or not, many people wonder what actually will make them happy. Some people lead simple lives, surrounded by simple pleasures and family and friends, and others may always be on the lookout for the next fancy gadget that promises to make their lives easier and more enjoyable."

Thesis Statement

The last sentence in the introduction should be the thesis statement. The thesis statement should clearly and concisely provide a guide of what topic or topics your essay will cover. For instance, this thesis statement addresses the question of whether money plays a part in happiness: "While some people may constantly be reaching for that next best thing or the next luxury money can buy, researchers have actually found that above a certain threshold, money has little to no impact on how happy people are." Your essay would then explore aspects of this threshold at which money ceases to be a significant indicator of happiness.

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About the Author

Megan Ritchie has been a writer for more than 10 years, and has been published in a number of journals and newspapers, including "The Daily Targum" (Rutgers University's daily newspaper) and "The Philadelphia Inquirer." She has a Master's degree in Education from the University of Pennsylvania.

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