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Essay introduction – how to catch an eye


This is what happens to most of us—we sit in front of our computer, read through as essay assignment question a dozen times and then stare blankly at the open white page (Microsoft word) as thoughts ooze through the ventricles of our brain. The frustrating and recurring question is: how do I start?

Writing a catchy introduction requires a mix of skill, style and resourcefulness. It is what sets the scene; what gets your foot in the door of your reader’s attention. And the tone you establish in your introduction tells the reader what to expect in a very clear and precise manner. Your introduction is where you either grab your reader’s attention or you lose it. It plays the pivotal role in your essay and therefore deserves a thoroughly thought out killer paragraph.


  1. The beginning is where you give your reader an outline of your essay. You use opening sentences to contextualize the essay topic and also briefly state what you are going to talk about.
  2. In the middle you continue elaborating further on the background of the topic. Getting more focused and specific on what you will be tackling in the essay. Most readers can tell how well the ideas in the rest of your essay are organized by reading this section. It is made up of one or two sentences.
  3. And finally, the closing sentence or thesis statement, which encases the whole purpose of your essay. How you write this: the tone, the choice of words, the length etc. forms your reader’s attitude. Because whatever comes after stating your thesis must support it, which is why most writers prefer writing the introduction last. This way, it is easier, simpler and more convenient to edit the introduction to fit the body of the essay rather than doing it vice versa.


Deductive writing – This means using an upside down pyramid or an inverted triangle to organize your ideas. Let the general meaning of your argument come out first then gradually and methodically narrow down the focus to its specifics. Most writers find this approach easy to work with and easy for the readers to understand.

A different perspective – One of the things reader(s) seek is learning something new. You do not want your essay to encapsulate the ordinary, mundane and boring points of view which the reader already knows. Try to think outside the box and come up with something authentic, something unique and put it forward in a logical and creative manner.

Be stylish – As much as you possibly can; avoid being plain. In fact, never be plain with your introduction. You can:

  • Start with a mind-boggling question
  • Or a shocking or dramatic statement to capture your reader’s attention.
  • Use devices such as narratives to compel your readers to keep reading on.
  • Try to throw in anecdotes whenever necessary to emphasize or establish rapport with your reader(s).
  • Use imagery and give vivid descriptions to get your reader(s) hooked.
  • Insert a famous quote, an expression or a saying that is relevant to the thesis; this helps with explaining complex ideas in a succinct way. Common expressions also add descriptive value to your writing.
  • Apply a variety of elements for example, humor or surprise to get your reader(s) really involved in your essay.
  • Keep your introduction as concise as it is necessary in order to pique your reader’s interest and compel them to read on.
  • Most importantly, thoroughly check for errors. Your introduction must be absolutely and completely free of grammatical errors.

One very important thing is having a clear understanding of what the essay question needs you to do. Because at the core of a catchy essay introduction is your resourcefulness—and to be able to tap into your resourcefulness, you need to be fully aware of what you are constructing.