How to Start a Paragraph in an Essay

Paragraphs are the fundamental building blocks of any essay. They help organize the content of the paper and allow the writer to present the material in the clearest and most effective way. Because paragraphs are so essential to the overall structure of an essay, it is important to know how to use them properly. Starting each paragraph off on the right track with a clear and concise main idea will go a long way toward improving the quality of the essay as a whole.

Determine clearly the thesis of the essay. The thesis is the main argument or point of the essay. Because every paragraph is essentially the presentation of a subordinate point in support of the essay's thesis, a clear thesis will make it easier to organize the paragraphs that follow.

Decide on the main idea of the paragraph. The paragraph's main idea should be broad enough to require a few supporting sentences but narrow enough to be articulated within a single one of them. The purpose of the paragraph's main idea is to propose a supplementary idea in support of the essay's thesis. The main idea also helps to organize each of the subsequent sentences in the paragraph, which should support the paragraph's main idea.

Work out the most clear and concise way to express the paragraph's main idea. The expression of the main idea should let the reader know precisely what it is that all of the following sentences in the paragraph are attempting to reinforce. Ideally, the main idea can be expressed in a single sentence.

Start the paragraph with the main idea. The main idea should be the first sentence of the paragraph because it is in this position that it will most effectively grab and direct the reader's attention. Use examples, statistics and logical arguments in the following sentences to support the main idea.

This technique for starting paragraphs works best for the body paragraphs of an essay. The introductory and concluding paragraphs of an essay are better handled in a less formulaic way.