In order to succeed while writing an essay, you have to know how to defend your opinion thanks to specific elements of literature, general culture... As much as debating with parents about the right to go out after midnight during the week is part of everyday life, arguing at school can be a stressful exercise for young people. 😉
As they say, you don't get a second chance to make a good first impression. So the key is to hook the reader in the first few lines. Writing a good introduction will have an impact on the rest of the essay. How to write an introduction for an essay successfully? Here is our recommended method!
How to make a good essay?
The size of the introduction
🔟 An effective intro should be brief but punchy. In 10-15 lines, you should have hooked the reader and initiated the essay. If you ramble on and start telling your life story, you are already putting yourself in danger.
🔙 Be careful, even though this is the first part of the essay, it is written last, after all the other steps have been written. A rough draft can be helpful to get all the ideas you have in mind down on paper by the time you write it out.
The structure of the introduction
The introduction begins with a paragraph and includes 4 steps:
- The teaser: this catchphrase is an essential bait and therefore must be original. We'll talk more about this below.
- The presentation of the subject: it is necessary to understand the topic in order to be able to rephrase it in your own words and define the main concepts.
- Problematization: this is the key question that guides the essay. It can be a paradox, an interrogation...
- The plan: it is built during the writing and is added at the end, in the introduction. There must be a progression, so a trick is to use logical connectors like "first of all", "then", "finally"... to be well structured.
For example, if the topic is "Is a good memory the key to a successful autobiographical narrative?" :
- The catchphrase can be the quote of Max Jacob "Erudition is memory and memory is imagination". One can then reflect on whether an autobiographical account is necessarily true to the facts or whether it contains an element of imagination.
- To introduce the topic, we can define what is an autobiographical narrative, unlike biography, what is memory and what are memoirs, in literature.
- The problematization, in this case, is already planted by the topic question. It can be developed by asking whether memories are indeed the basis of the narrative and what other means of writing a good autobiographical narrative exist.
- The plan presents the arguments chosen to answer the initial question.
Mistakes to avoid
- Begin with a platitude: "Men have always wanted to tell their stories..." or "History has shown us that wars often happen...". This gives the impression that the student has made no effort to be original or to show personality.
- Answer the problem in the introduction and kill the suspense.
- Not following the announced plan, by lack of attention. This is detrimental to the coherence of the work.
- Sloppy introduction that gives a first impression of the essay.
How to create a good introductory sentence?
One of the most important parts you need to know to learn how to write an introduction for an essay is how to write a good introductory sentence. The catchphrase is the very first thing the reader discovers. If it is original, surprising, powerful..., he will have a positive preconception. But it's an art to choose the right sentence!
What is a catchphrase?
This is the first sentence that introduces the essay. It must be related to the subject in order to add value to it.
This can be:
- A quote, like the one suggested in the example above. When in doubt about the exact quote, it is better to paraphrase it than misquote it.
- Statistics. If the topic is "Will digital books dethrone paper books?", a numerical catchphrase might be, "In 2018, nearly 29 million people bought a paper book against 2.3 million for the digital book...".
- A news fact like "Reading as an antidote in the midst of a pandemic, study finds..." if the topic is related to bibliotherapy.
- A historical event related to the topic that the essay is about.
Things to avoid
- Do not cite sources.
- Misquote an event or figure.
- Choose a sentence with no real connection to the subject just to give yourself a style.
- Avoid to explain the chosen sentence.
- Make a sentence too long that will overlap with the rest of the introduction.
- Spend more than 5 minutes on the choice of the hook and penalize yourself for the rest of the essay.
- Do not proofread before handing in your paper. Spelling is very important and the mistakes risk giving a sloppy look to the essay even if the content is well thought out.
So, after all these little tips, do you already know how to write an introduction for an essay? It is mostly a matter of practicing at home before the official one, to avoid unnecessary stress. Once the structure and the method are well integrated, the writing follows much more easily.
If you wish to have more tips and examples, do not hesitate to contact GoStudent and start your online tutoring with a professional tutor!