How to start an essay: best tips & examples

Writing academic papers can be both exciting and daunting, especially when faced with the crucial task of crafting an engaging introduction. In this article, you will discover insightful strategies and valuable tips on how to start an essay effectively. From capturing the reader's attention to formulating a compelling thesis statement, this guide provides practical insights that empower you to master the art of doing your research with confidence.

Join us as we unravel the key components and techniques that pave the way for impactful and compelling introduction ideas for essays!

Distinguishing essay introduction starters from research papers and other academic writing styles 

While both essays and research papers fall under the umbrella of academic content, their purposes, structures, tones in writing, and approaches to introductions can vary.

Opening an essay:

  • Purpose: The primary purpose is often to present an argument, share a personal experience, or analyze a specific topic.
  • Introduction: Intros for essays typically provide context, introduce the main idea or thesis statement, and offer a roadmap for the reader to follow.

Starting a research paper:

  • Purpose: Research papers aim to investigate and analyze a particular subject, often requiring a more extensive exploration of existing literature and the presentation of new findings.
  • Introduction: Research paper introductions include a review of relevant literature, formulating a research question or hypothesis, and clearly indicating the paper's objectives and scope.

Other types of academic writing:

  • Purpose: Various college papers, such as reports, case studies, or literature reviews, serve distinct purposes. A case study may analyze a specific instance or scenario, while a literature review synthesizes existing research.
  • Introduction: Introductions for different types of academic writing will vary based on the specific task requirements. They may include background information, the text’s purpose, and the analysis scope.

In summary, while both essays and research papers exhibit similarities within the academic sphere, the key difference lies in their purposes and the depth of investigation. These distinctions will shape the approach to starting each type of paper, with introductions tailored to meet the specific task demands.

Best ways to start an essay: 7 ideas for your introduction 

In this section, we’ll answer the question, “How to start an essay?” and delve into various meticulously designed strategies to initiate your essay with finesse. Each approach has unique merits and potential drawbacks, finding its optimal application in essays of any genre. Different methods are used, and they all aim to captivate the reader's interest and compel them to delve further.

To “hook” readers is to seize their attention, investigating a desire to continue exploring your work. Every essay writer must recognize that a captivating introduction in one text may not yield the same results in another. Let's delve into a survey of common ways to start an essay, each wielding its unique charm in attracting readers and setting the stage for the following narrative.

1. The intriguing question.

One of the approaches is using a thought-provoking question, a rhetorical device adept at sparking curiosity and actively engaging your audience in the discourse. When you pose a question at the beginning, you invite the reader to engage with your writing. It makes them active in the conversation, not just someone passively reading.

Example: “Have you ever delved into contemplating the profound influence a single decision can exert over the trajectory of a person's life? This essay embarks on an exploration of the transformative power inherently woven into the fabric of choices.”

2. The amusing personal story.

One of the best introduction starters for essays is a personal story. By sharing a narrative, you can connect with your readers and create an immediate and intimate ambiance for your text.

Example: “In the hushed corridors of a local library, I serendipitously stumbled upon a weathered journal, its pages housing the untold stories of a bygone era. This serendipitous discovery ignited the flames of my passion for historical exploration.”

3. Quotations that resonate.

A relevant and impactful quote, as introduced by this method, serves as a literary catalyst, setting the tone for your text and resonating through the subsequent discourse. The citation you select should connect directly to your subject. If your reader has to search the web to understand how the quote relates to your text, it's irrelevant. Choose a quote that your writing can easily clarify. Let’s see one of the introduction essay examples:

Example: “As Albert Einstein once contemplatively remarked, ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge.’ This profound sentiment forms the bedrock of our expedition into the realms of creativity and intellect.”

4. Bold declarations.

The power of assertion lies at the heart of this approach, where a compelling and assertive statement immediately arrests the reader's attention, propelling them into the heart of your narrative. When you begin your paper this way, you get straight to the point. It's like jumping into the deep end of a pool instead of gradually wading in. Rather than easing into the topic, you immediately present your thesis. This kind of introduction works well, especially for an opinion essay

Example: “Amidst the clamor of modern life, where digital voices fervently vie for attention, one undeniable truth remains unshaken: the written word possesses an unparalleled ability to transcend temporal confines and resonate across generations.”

5. Setting the scene.

By vividly painting a picture or describing a setting, you immerse your readers in the atmospheric ambiance of your paper, inviting them to experience the narrative on a sensory level. Let’s look at one of the essay starter examples, which is the best choice for literary papers.

Example: “Envision, if you will, a sun-drenched village cradled amidst rolling hills and whispering meadows. Within this idyllic backdrop, we embark on the unraveling of tales, weaving a narrative thread that binds a community through traditions and aspirations.”

6. Shocking statistics.

Beginning with a surprising or impactful statistic serves as a clarion call, highlighting your chosen topic's urgency and significance and compelling the reader to delve deeper into your exploration.

Example: “Did you know that over 80% of marine pollution finds its origins in land-based sources? This essay confronts the stark reality of our collective impact on ocean ecosystems, urging reflection on our environmental footprint.”

7. Establishing a historical context.

Initiate your essay by immersing readers in a historical context that holds significance for your chosen theme. Delve into the chronicles of human history, revealing how pivotal individuals of exceptional courage and determination have frequently instigated shifts. This historical reflection contextualizes your essay and encourages readers to contemplate the enduring impact of individuals who have shaped the course of humanity through their remarkable bravery and vision.

Example: “In the annals of human history, moments of great change have often been heralded by courageous individuals.”

Think of your text as a door to a world of ideas. Each method is like a key, unlocking the richness of your story. Choose the one that fits your writing style, inviting readers to explore your thoughts and ideas.

Dos and don'ts

Discover several recommendations about what you should do and what you should avoid to ensure a proficient and engaging commencement when initiating the writing process: 


  • Do start with a “hook.”

A good way to start an essay is by using a compelling “hook” that grabs the reader's attention. It could be a thought-provoking question, a relevant quote, or an unexpected fact.

  • Do provide context.

Offer background information to provide context for your topic. Help readers understand the significance of the subject matter and why it is relevant in your opening sentence for essay.

  • Do state your thesis clearly.

Express your thesis statement with clarity in the introduction. Make it concise and specific, outlining your paper's main point or argument. Our essay writers for hire can give valuable recommendations on how to do this correctly and effectively.

  • Do use clear and concise language.

Use language that is clear, concise, and easy to understand. Avoid unnecessary jargon or complex terminology at the beginning.

  • Do preview your main points.

Provide a brief overview of the main points or arguments you will address in the essay. Thus, it gives readers a roadmap for what to expect.


  • Don't be overwhelmed with details.

Avoid overwhelming your introduction with too many details. It’s not the best way to start an essay. Save the specifics for the body of the essay.

  • Don't be overly general.

While providing context is essential, don't be overly general. Aim for a balance between giving enough background and focusing on your topic. Thus, your readers are guided toward the truth you aim to unravel in your text without losing sight of the broader context.

  • Don't use clichés or generic statements.

Steer clear of clichés or generic statements that may not add value to your introduction. Instead, aim for a good start to an essay by prioritizing originality and infusing freshness into your introductory remarks.

  • Don't delay the thesis statement.

Avoid delaying the presentation of your thesis statement. Clearly state your main argument early in the introduction.

  • Don't start with apologies.

Refrain from using such ways to start off an essay as apologies or disclaimers. Instead, dive into your topic confidently and assertively.

By conscientiously considering and incorporating these recommended dos and don'ts into your writing process, you can develop an introduction that captivates your audience and sets the stage for a compelling start to your research.


Creating an intro for essay is a crucial skill for every student, and this article has offered valuable insights and practical tips to guide you in this endeavor. As you embark on your writing journey, remember that crafting a captivating introduction is an essential academic skill and a gateway to engaging your readers. Should you ever find yourself seeking additional guidance or assistance, EduBirdie is here to lend a helping hand.

Feel free to reach out for expert support in creating good introductions for essays that leave a lasting impression!

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