Writing Introductions — Help Writing Admissions Essays - AdelaminInfo

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How To Write an Essay Introduction

Mar 09, 2017
Essay Writing Guide

How To Write an Essay Introduction

“In this story, I want to tell you about the time I almost got burned in the car riding 200 miles per hour trying to get away from cops.” Fortunately, I don’t have such a story to tell, but I bet that I grabbed your attention. You might ask: “how did I do that?” I did this with a catchy opening line that makes you want to read more. A great opening line and catchy introduction are the two things you will definitely want to use in your essay. Read on to find out how to write a “READ ME!” introduction.

Quick Essay Help

Table Of Contents
  • Definition
  • Structure
  • Types
  • Tips

Introduction Definition

The introduction of the essay is the part that comes in the beginning. It tells the reader what you are going to be writing in your paper. It should identify the topic of the essay , evoke interest and motivate the audience to read the rest of your paper.

Let’s Talk About Structure

Usually, an introduction consists of 3 parts:

3 essay introduction parts

Part 1: The hook (attention grabber). The purpose of this part is to catch the reader’s attention (always one sentence). To reach this goal, you should start with a shocking fact, an anecdote, or an appropriate quote.

Then provide an overview of the essay theme and a small piece of background or basic information about the topic you are going to cover. The best way is to start an essay with a broad explanation and lead your readers to something specific. At first, give general information and gradually narrow it down to your specific points.

Part 2: Connections. After you have provided some background information, use your introduction to outline what you are going to talk about. Write your main points and claims in the order in which you will discuss them. Make sure that you keep body paragraph topics concise and to the point.

Do not forget to answer these questions to make sure that you have given your audience a full explanation of the main characters and time frames: Who? What? Where? When? How? Why? Is it limited to a particular time frame or a group of people? etc. Answer these questions in 2 or better 3 sentences in the middle of your intro

Part 3: The thesis statement. There is no doubt that the paper thesis is the most important thing you must include in your introduction because your entire essay revolves around this statement. It should be narrow (1 sentence), focused, and very specific.

What about the length?

There are no strict rules about the length of the introduction. In such cases, a professional writer knows to take the length of the paper into account. A relevant length for a five-paragraph essay is one paragraph, but if you are writing a 30-page paper, your introduction will take several pages and multiple paragraphs.

Overall conclusion:

  • The hook is written at the beginning of the introduction and is used to grab the reader’s attention.
  • Provide background and basic information about the topic.
  • Write your main points and claims in the order that you are going to discuss them.
  • Give all necessary information about the characters, time frames, and setting.
  • DO NOT FORGET to write the thesis. It should present the main idea of your paper, or something you are arguing for or against. It must be written at the end of the introduction.

Different Types

Although introductory paragraphs follow the same set structure, the content placed within the bones will have variation. This variety comes from the type of essay that is being written as well as its overall purpose. When talking about academic writing, there are three main kinds that most students will create. Most essays will take on either a narrative, analytical or persuasive perspective. Each one of those has their one introductory styles. The differences are listed below:

  • Narrative Introduction

  • Narrative essay is a type of writing in which a story is being told by the writer.

  • The hook will usually be a sneak peak of a segment of the story. It will indirectly relate back to the thesis.

  • Each part of the trailer will be an important moment in the story that had a significant impact on the outcome.

  • The thesis in narrative writing is the theme or main lesson learned from the tale.

  • In essence, it was the purpose for its creation.

  • Analytical Introduction

  • Writing that serves to purely inform or educate the reader on the chosen topic.

  • The hook in this scenario will be information that is directly related to the thesis statement. It may be a rhetorical question or an informative statement that gives us clues about the writer’s main point from the get-go.

  • The trailer of the introduction will include the three critical pieces of information that help validate the analytical thesis.

  • As the goal of this type of writing is to inform and or educate the audience, the thesis will usually be a researched and thought out statement that has yet to hold any weight. It will be phrased in a factual way, although technically it is still theoretical.

  • Persuasive Introduction

  • A type of writing that aims to persuade an audience through the use of ethos, pathos, and logos.

  • A hook statement in this scenario can really be anything. Starting from an interesting fact, and going all the way to humor, the actual hook has full customizability. Its purpose remains the same.

  • As for any argumentative writing , it should have at least three pieces of evidence that support its claim. Each supporting argument usually has one introductory sentence to present it. So for three supporting details, we are looking at a three-sentence trailer.

  • Lastly, the thesis statement is the main argument presented by the author. This should be a well-thought and confidently written sentence that briefly summarizes the point of the entire essay.

Tips for Writing a Winning Introduction

  • Avoid including too much background information.
  • Do not make your introduction too long, unless you are writing a 30-page paper.
  • Show that you understand the subject
  • Be concise: 8-9 percent of the total number of words is recommended (160 words in a 2000 words assignment)
  • And don’t forget to visit EssayPro if You feel like using some professional custom essay writing help !

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Essay introduction

The introduction to an essay has three primary objectives:

  • Explain the context of the essay
  • Give the answer: the response to the question or the overall focus of the essay (the thesis statement)
  • Describe the structure and organisation of the essay

These aims can be given more or less emphasis depending on the length and type of essay. In a very short essay (less than 1000 words), for example, there is not much room to give a full and detailed context or structure. A longer essay has room for greater detail.


Essays are usually written for an intelligent but uninformed audience, so begin with some context: the background of the topic, the topic scope, and any essential definitions.

  • Introductions often begin with a broad opening statement that establishes the subject matter and background. Don’t make it too broad (“Since time began…”), but identify the relevant topic and sub-topic (e.g. human resource management, early childhood development, animal behaviour…).
  • To establish the scope, answer basic questions: Who? What? When? Where? How? Why? Is the essay limited to a particular time period, a particular group of people, a particular country?
  • Definitions are often established after the introduction, so only include them here if they are absolutely essential.

Answer / focus

The most important part of the introduction is the response to the question: the thesis statement. Thesis statements are discussed in detail here: thesis statements .

An introduction often ends on the thesis statement. It begins with a broad statement and gradually narrows down until it directly addresses the question:

Essay introduction diagram

This order of introduction elements is not set in stone, however. Sometimes the thesis statement is followed by a breakdown of the essay’s structure and organisation. Ultimately, you must adapt the order to suit the needs of each particular essay.


Strong introductions tell the reader how the upcoming body paragraphs will be organised.

This can be as easy as outlining the major points that your essay will make on the way to the conclusion. You don’t need to go into much detail in the introduction: just signal the major ‘landmarks.’

It can help to identify how all of the paragraphs are organised:

  • Do the paragraphs deal with the issue from earliest to most recent (chronological)?
  • Are the paragraphs grouped by broader themes (thematic)?
  • Does the essay answer several related questions one after the other (sequential)?
  • Do the paragraphs describe two elements and them compare them (contrasting)?

The essay will be much more readable once the reader knows what to expect from the body paragraphs.

Introduction examples

See sample essay 1 and sample essay 2 for model introductions.

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Introduction paragraphs

Key words: background statement, thesis statement, outline statement

Students often make the mistake of sailing straight into the answering the essay question in the first paragraph without following the convention of beginning with an introduction. Basic introduction paragraphs have a special function. Fortunately, introductions have a recognisable pattern (recipe) you can follow so that you do this correctly.

About introduction paragraphs

The introduction to an essay is very important. It is the FIRST paragraph that the marker reads and should ‘grab’ the reader. Introduction paragraphs are usually about 5% of your essay word count. In clearly-written sentences, the writer gives some background on the main topic; explains the academic problem and tells the reader what to expect in the rest of the essay. You can follow a basic pattern (recipe) for writing introduction paragraphs to help you get started. As essay topics and lecturer requirements vary, you will find that ‘the recipe’ will need to be adjusted to suit the style of essay you will be asked to write.

Try to write your introduction straight from your question analysis, then review it many times while you are writing the body of the essay—this will help you to keep your essay on target (i.e. answering the set question). Note that most introductions generally only include references if definitions are taken from an information source.

Writing pattern for introduction paragraphs

The introduction to an essay is rather like a formal social introduction: How do you do! For example, if an ASO consultant comes to a lecture to do a guest presentation, it would be good practice to be introduced in a meaningful way:

This is Mary Bloggs who is a consultant from the Academic Skills office (relevant info about the person for the job about to be done). Good question analysis is critical to the success of your assignment essay, so it is important that you learn a process for analysing a question (statement of purpose). Mary will work with you on analysis of the question you will be answering in your assignment and will show you how to develop an essay plan from your question (a statement about what will be happening in the next hour).

An introductory paragraph is very much tied to the question that has been set (see Question analysis workshop ), and we use special terms to describe each stage of the introduction.

Exercise 1: Understanding the stages of an introductory paragraph

Click or hover over the introductory paragraph below to see an analysis of its structure, and how the introduction matches the set question.

The introduction is usually ‘funnel shaped’. It begins with the broadest topic (sentence 1). Then, it narrows to the thesis statement or the part of the topic that will be specifically addressed in the essay (sentence 2). The last sentence of the paragraph usually outlines the main points that will be covered in the essay (sentence 3).

Figure 1: A pattern for introduction paragraphs Figure 1: A pattern for introduction paragraphs

Exercise 2: Sentence types in introduction paragraphs

Read the following question and the sample introduction paragraph. The sentences are in the wrong order for an introduction paragraph. Match the statements to the correct sentence type.

Some students who enrol in university studies have difficulties with their writing skills. Discuss the reasons for this problem and critically assess the effectiveness of university intervention writing programs.


Because poor writing skills can affect students’ success in tertiary education, it is important that writing problems are understood so that university assistance programs are adequate.

Background statement


Thesis statement


Outline statement



This essay will identify and examine the main causes underpinning student difficulties with academic writing and consider evidence to evaluate whether programs delivered in universities address this problem.

Background statement


Thesis statement


Outline statement



Assignment essays are frequently used as assessment tasks to involve students in research, academic reading and formal essay writing.

Background statement


Thesis statement


Outline statement


Exercise 3: In the right order

These introduction sentences are in the incorrect order. Now that you have identified the sentence types, put them in the correct order (background statement -> thesis statement -> outline statement) for an introduction paragraph.

Drag the sentences to rearrange them.


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