What is a good way to start an introduction to an essay?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In starting an essay, it’s generally helpful to begin by introducing the reader to the general themes that you will address in your writing. If you are writing in response to another piece of writing, begin with a brief summary (2-3 sentences) of that piece and its key themes and arguments. This principle applies even if you are not analyzing a text. If you are writing in regards to a current event or political debate, for example, describe and summarize its most important elements.

Next, your introduction should give the reader a strong sense of what you will be arguing in your paper by concluding with a strong thesis statement. A thesis statement is a concise summary of your argument. It should be 1-2 sentences, and clearly articulate both what you are going to argue, and what the elements of your argument are.

A helpful trick is to use your thesis statement to lay out the structure of your paper. For example, a sample thesis statement might be: I will argue that cats are superior to dogs because they are more self-sufficient, they can form peer-level relationships with humans, and they tend to be smaller and easier to manage. Each of these three segments of your thesis statement—self-sufficiency, peer relationships, and ease of management-- can now form a section of your essay.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team