Homework Help

What would be a good autobiography start out sentence? Please give me a few.I just...

user profile pic

mank | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 16, 2009 at 9:12 AM via web

dislike 0 like
What would be a good autobiography start out sentence? Please give me a few.

I just need a good introduction or opening sentence for my autobiography.

19 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

kkosach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted September 16, 2009 at 1:37 PM (Answer #2)

dislike 2 like

The thing about an autobiographical essay is that you DON'T want to start out with a cheesy beginning.  In that case, be sure you DON'T say, "Once upon a time," or "I was born on November 13, 1974," or "In this essay, I am going to write about my life."  Is this an autobiography of your entire life?  If so, you could start with, "When I was young, my family and I lived in ____."  Or, "Things were good/bad/boring/exciting in my early life."  Something like that will do.  If this is an autobiographical essay about one incident that happened to you, start with something like, "I never expected to be as happy/sad/shocked/angry/embarrassed as I was on that day."  Or, "Many things have happened to me in my life, but this was the best/worst/saddest/funniest."  Hope this helps.

user profile pic

e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 27, 2013 at 2:32 PM (Answer #9)

dislike 2 like

You might want to begin with an observation that relates to

your experiences ("It takes years for a house to become a home.");

to the location(s)("Like most of North American, Philadelphia is cold and wet in the winter.");

of your personal history "(My passion for sports developed late. My first passion was art.");

or to human nature. Tolstoy begins his great novel Anna Karenina with this line:

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

You could come up with a similar insightful generality that has bearing on your own history. 

Sources:

user profile pic

lelz | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 18, 2013 at 7:38 PM (Answer #11)

dislike 2 like

I like the ideas the other answers are giving you here, you could even do:

"Sitting here and looking back, I dont know where to begin. My life..."

or something like that. You can begin from the Present and travel back.

user profile pic

a0542959 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted August 12, 2013 at 4:22 PM (Answer #16)

dislike 2 like

Another great idea would be to allude to something that happens later in your autobiography. "The day I got married was the most insane day of my life. Everything went wrong. But I suppose that's jumping the gun a bit."

Or you could begin with a significant moment in your life, "I remember the first time my father put a fishing pole in my hands. He sat me down on the end of the dock and said, if that bobber goes under the water you jerk. Within moments it sunk under the water--I jerked, excitement coursing through me--and caught my first bass. That day I realized how much I enjoyed the peace and quiet of being on a lake."

user profile pic

kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted October 1, 2009 at 1:06 PM (Answer #3)

dislike 1 like

Beginning a piece of writing in which you wish to grip the audience is best done 'in medias res' - in the middle of the action. You can engage really well by giving the impression something is overheard, or incomplete, then the reader's curiosity takes over as your events unfold. Beginning in the middle of a memorable event gives you the opportunity to tell what happened at the time, and reflect on it. Ideas could be:

' "Aaah!" I screamed as the bicycle wheel flew over my head...'

'There was paint everywhere - the walls, the ceiling, my hair..'

Think of three key events which shaped you as a person and try this technique to formulate your beginning.

 

user profile pic

kimfuji | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted October 2, 2009 at 12:45 PM (Answer #4)

dislike 1 like

It's nice to start out a story with a specific example of something that happened to you. It should be an incident that you describe in detail, something that would make someone laugh or cry or just be intrigued, like they would ask themselvs "what is happening here ?". In journalism they refer to that as the "lead"; it makes the reader want to read the entire story.

Example,

The sun was high in the sky the day when I woke up on the deck of uncle Bob's yacht. I sat up. The hot sun was in my eyes. I looked down at my legs. They hurt. There were scratches stretching the whole way down the front of my legs, from my thighs down to my ankles. I looked around but couldn't understand where I was. I didn't recognize my surroundings. My ears felt like they were plugged. I couldn't hear well...

Anyways, that's just an example of a detailed description of a specific event.

user profile pic

lavc | eNoter

Posted July 24, 2011 at 4:28 PM (Answer #5)

dislike 1 like

I like a pithy quote that in some way reflects what you want to say about yourself. For example, "a grapefruit is a lemon and had a chance" would be a good opener for someone who wanted to explain that they have had good chances and take advantage of them.

Another example of a quote might be "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times" to lead into a personal story that reflects 2 sides of that issue i.e. being asked to and dance and not having a drivers license, or the money for new outfit etc.

user profile pic

mdteacher1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted August 15, 2011 at 9:05 AM (Answer #6)

dislike 1 like

Think about who you are or what you want to become in life and rip us with a really exciting start sentence. For example:

Example 1: Creating stomach cramps from laughter is my ambition in life. One day, I hope to play the Improv as a stand up comedian and then Saturday Night Live.

Example 2: The graveyard has always gripped my attention as I view loved ones grieve for a family member. One day, I hope to bring solace to hurtin families in the funeral business....

Example 3: From the emergency room again, my Dad was right there to comfort me. Quite the "stunt man" as a child, I would give my parents many scares.

Hope this helps. Godspeed to you.

user profile pic

casperbg60 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 13, 2012 at 3:44 AM (Answer #8)

dislike 1 like

The thing about an autobiographical essay is that you DON'T want to start out with a cheesy beginning.  In that case, be sure you DON'T say, "Once upon a time," or "I was born on November 13, 1974," or "In this essay, I am going to write about my life."  Is this an autobiography of your entire life?  If so, you could start with, "When I was young, my family and I lived in ____."  Or, "Things were good/bad/boring/exciting in my early life."  Something like that will do.  If this is an autobiographical essay about one incident that happened to you, start with something like, "I never expected to be as happy/sad/shocked/angry/embarrassed as I was on that day."  Or, "Many things have happened to me in my life, but this was the best/worst/saddest/funniest."  Hope this helps.

can you tell me more. I am a high school student and i am having trouble on writing my autobiographical essay.

user profile pic

mscurry | eNoter

Posted March 4, 2013 at 8:04 PM (Answer #10)

dislike 1 like

Peeking through the door, he finds his bed occupied by movement.  Slowly creeping it open thus revealing in his hand a metal bat.  The sounds of lovemaking echo around the room as he crept closer and closer to the man making love to his wife. Raising the bat slowly he stops when he was just behind the head of the man and swing......

user profile pic

florine | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted May 6, 2013 at 7:44 AM (Answer #12)

dislike 1 like

I can only imagine a beginning that involves a reading with a circular pattern. Once you've reached the end, you are under the impression that you've come full circle and you want to start again and then you realize what was written at the beginning takes on a completely different aspect. 

Just like the books you read in your childhood, like Gulliver's Travels   or moby Dick that you read again when an adult and you find it's an altogether different book simply because you're a different person. 

user profile pic

zaap | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 11, 2013 at 1:39 PM (Answer #13)

dislike 1 like

OUT IN THE WOODS OF ( NAME OF YOUR VILLAGE ), A CHILD WAS BORN TO MR. AND MRS (YOUR PARENTS NAME) IN THE YEAR (E.G 2009). THIS LOVELY BABY WAS NAMED (YOUR NAME). AND THAT'S ME!

                  OR

LIFE IS BUT A FOOTBALL MATCH, SOMETIMES VERY ROUGH AS A RESULT OF LOOSING AND OTHER TIMES EXCITING. BUT ALL IN ALL, I THINK THE BATTLE HAS BEEN A GREAT SUCCESS.

     OR

SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE DREAMING BUT THE REALITY HUNGS ON. I WENT THROUGH THE TURBULANCE OF LIFE YET SAFELY ARRIEVED IN THE PROMISE LAND!

user profile pic

hannaberry | Teacher | eNoter

Posted June 18, 2013 at 5:28 PM (Answer #14)

dislike 1 like

A good way to introduce your autobiography may be to start by asking the reader a question. The question could be an affective hook. Example: How did it come to this?

user profile pic

cripley61 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 26, 2013 at 1:46 PM (Answer #15)

dislike 1 like

I wouldn't work on the introduction to your autobiography first. Instead, I would write a few notes on what you want to include in your autobiography. I would write a few body paragraphs first. What information about your life are you going to include? Once you do this, you can more easily draft your introduction. You can start with a scene from your life, and go from there. The tough thing about writing is there are no true correct ways to start, but you have to know where you are going before you can write an introduction.

user profile pic

mlgendron7 | High School Teacher | eNoter

Posted February 18, 2014 at 2:33 PM (Answer #17)

dislike 1 like

Treat it like any other "hook." You want to grab your audience's attention so that they want to read your paper.

A few good ways to start any paper include the following:

1. using a startling statement - shock your audience or use an appalling statistic

2. using a relevant quotation - make sure to provide proper attribution

3. ask a question - make sure to avoid second person in formal writing

4. an anecdote - a short story that appeals to the audience emotionally (may be a funny story)

user profile pic

mrsmayo | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 30, 2014 at 4:02 AM (Answer #18)

dislike 1 like

Begin with something personal.  A secret, a wish, a dream, a quote, a belief, a fear, a love. A favorite first line in a movie I liked was, " did I ever tell you about the time I almost died?" Hook the reader! You are interesting, something in there will catch fire once you open up and put it down on paper! 

Images:
This image has been Flagged as inappropriate Click to unflag
Image (1 of 1)
user profile pic

prerna1234567 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 6, 2011 at 7:13 PM (Answer #7)

dislike 0 like

When you start writting an autobiography,first of all you should introduce yourself and start with a story. For example:My name is Mank.One day I was sitting near a river and .......

user profile pic

chrisyhsun | TA , College Freshman | Honors

Posted June 23, 2014 at 3:36 AM (Answer #19)

dislike 0 like

I think a big part of the opening sentence should depend on the tone of the rest of the autobiography. For example, if you were going to write the entire thing in a formal tone and treat it like a history book, maybe start out with a more dry statement and maybe even in third person. An example of this would be "(first name) (last name) was born on (birthday) to (parents)". On the other hand, if the autobiography is somewhat fun and quirky, perhaps a better approach would be a really blunt statement of something extraordinary. For example, it could be a very very short summary of some really exciting anecdote like "My life almost ended at that Brooklyn crosswalk. I'm glad it didn't though, because then I wouldn't be able to tell you about it". As you can see, this approach is much more conversational and fun, and therefore sets up the entire autobiography in the same manner.

user profile pic

mchandrea | TA , College Junior | Salutatorian

Posted July 1, 2014 at 6:05 AM (Answer #20)

dislike 0 like

The introduction will always have a big impact in whatever piece of writing. If you are writing an autobiography, you could start with a quotation you very much believe in like "Never be late."  or a short witty story about an unforgettable experience like "that time I went to... " or a leading question could be used too like "What am I doing with my life?" . 

Using the phrases "My name is... I was born... My parents are..." are a bit too cliche and  I think you could twist them a bit to make your writing more interesting. 

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes