Cathy A.
Cathy A.

How to Start an Essay – Writing Tips

7 min read

Published on: Jan 21, 2020

Last updated on: Apr 15, 2023

How to Start an Essay

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You cannot deny the fact that a good academic essay needs an effective introduction. An effective introductory paragraph both motivates and informs the reader about what you are going to write. It lets the reader know what your essay is about and why they should read your essay.

An effective essay starting is intended to leave a good impression on the targeted audience’s mind.

Keep staring at the page?

Wondering how to start an essay?

Although all elements of an essay are very important, the introduction plays a major role. If you are unable to write a single word, get some effective tips from our blog on how to start an essay.

What is an Essay?

An essay is a piece of writing about a particular topic. An essay gives the author's own argument. To write an essay effectively, the writer tries to present the argument and provide evidence to support his claim.

When you write an essay, you make a case for the validity of your argument. This is done through logical analysis, set of facts, interpretation, or procedures. There are many types of essays, but the most common are argumentative essays, descriptive essays, persuasive essays, exploratory essays, and analytical essays.

Although there are many types of essays, their objective is the same. It is to describe a topic and the stance of the writer about the topic.

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How to Start an Essay?

“How to start off an essay?”

There are many different ways to start an essay, but before exploring the ways, let's see what elements should be considered before starting an essay.

Choose a Topic

The first step in essay writing is selecting a topic. Choose a topic that is not too broad and not too narrow in scope. When you begin the topic selection process, think about:

  • What subjects interest you the most?
  • What do you want to address through your topic?
  • How much do you know about the particular field or topic?
  • What questions come up in your mind about the topic?

How to Improve the Topic?

It is important to choose a good topic for writing an essay. You have chosen the topic, but your topic is too narrow or too broad in scope. So how can you improve it? You can do the following things to improve your topic

If you have chosen a topic that is too narrow:

  • Add time periods and subtopics in your main topic
  • Add event, places, or person(s)

If you have chosen a topic that is too broad:

  • Remove the time period, subtopic from your topic
  • Remove the person or places
  • Expand the time period
  • Restate your topic using, what, how, when, where, who questions.

Find Scholarly Source

Once you have chosen the topic, the next step is research. Research is very important to write something impressive. It allows you to explore your topic's different angles. It gives you information about your topic which you might not have before.

Research allows you to look at your topic from a different perspective. You need to have enough information before you start writing your essay.

You definitely want to impress the reader with the piece of your writing. Hence, you don't want to miss any information. So, spend some time in research and collect information about your topic.

The following sources may help you collect information:

  • Scholars: Scholars are specialized in their particular field. They are known as experts in their field. They can help you with writing a perfect essay.
  • Academic journals: Journals are the publications of conducted research. They are based on the original research articles written by experts in a particular field. Hence, whatever information you get from the journals is authentic and proved true.
  • Periodicals: Periodicals are an open-ended series of a publication produced at regular intervals, i.e., daily, monthly, quarterly, and yearly.
  • Research papers: A Research paper -as the name suggests- an article written after conducting research on a particular topic.

Always use relevant and current research sources. You can not quote a source from the nineteenth century on a current affairs topic. Be relevant to the times!

Create a Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is the main point, claim, or argument of your essay. The whole essay revolves around the thesis statement. A thesis statement provides a clear argument about your essay topic. A good thesis statement will:

  • State a clear argument
  • Focus on the main point or the central idea of the essay
  • Describe the purpose of the essay
  • Become a guideline for the reader
  • Catch the reader's attention
  • Get the reader hooked
  • Be sufficiently narrow rather than broad
  • Clear and specific

How to Start an Essay Introduction

“How to start an essay introduction?”

Introduction paragraph is supposed to introduce the topic. It should begin with an attention grabber. Start the introduction paragraph with a strong essay hook statement or a quote, or present a relevant question.

Then, provide some background information on your topic, and set the tone of your essay. Lastly, you need to state the thesis statement or the main point of your essay.

While writing an introduction, you need to keep in mind that you have to engage your reader by providing an interesting and informative introduction. The main purpose of the introductory paragraph is to provide clear information about your topic and what you are going to discuss in your essay.

How to Start an Essay with a Quote?

Starting an essay with a quote is a very common and effective way. It requires you to find a suitable quote that fits exactly with your topic, and you can easily fit it in the introduction paragraph.

The basic guidelines you should follow while starting your essay with a quote are:

  • Make sure it perfectly fits with the topic and content of the essay
  • Choose a quote that readers can easily relate to
  • The quote should be simple, clear, and easy to understand. It should not be like a poetic verse that is difficult to interpret.
  • Choose a unique quote that has not being used several times
  • Avoid cliché
  • Ensure that it connects with the major argument

How to Start an Essay with a Question?

“How to start an argumentative essay?”

Posing a question at the start of your essay is quite a good strategy, especially for argumentative essays. It is human nature that when they get caught in a mystery, they try to solve it. It is a good idea to start your essay by posing a relevant question so that the reader tries to find the answer in your essay.

But, keep the following things in your mind while starting your essay with a question:

    • Is your question relevant?
    • Do you have enough information to answer the question?
    • How are you going to answer the question?
    • Is your question addressing the type of essay?
    • Rhetorical questions could be a good idea
    • Make sure your question is not too general.

For example, let's say your essay topic is about technology. Asking a question like “Do you have a laptop?” will hardly catch the reader's attention. It doesn't engage the reader in critical thinking, so try to avoid the questions which simply require “Yes” or “No” answer.

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How to Start an Essay with a Definition?

Be careful with the definitions!

A reader may not be impressed by definition copied from the internet or from a dictionary. It is an easy way to start an essay, and it may look tempting, but it certainly is not very interesting. So, it is better to avoid starting with a definition.

An outrageous statement, bold pronouncement, or exaggeration may help you give a better start than a definition.

Tips to Start an Essay

The opening lines of an essay are very important, as you have to catch the reader’s interest. Therefore, it should be written in a perfect way.

“What are some good ways to start an essay?”

We have provided some perfect ways to start an essay.

    • Share shocking and interesting facts about your topic
    • Capture the attention of the reader: use a strong hook statement, an anecdote, or a compelling thesis statement.
    • Provide authentic and relevant information about the topic
    • Create some drama: A little drama is good, but don't try to be overdramatic
    • Refer to the argument that you are going to make to support your thesis statement.
    • Be sufficiently funny. Yes! You read it right.

You can be funny in your essay but sufficiently funny, make someone laugh is the toughest task. Hence, when you try to be funny make sure your fun is appropriate.

  • Use anecdotes: An anecdote is a kind of story designed to explain a point that you are going to make. It should be short and should directly relate to the main point of your essay.

Essays not only rely on the validity of the facts they communicate but also the selection, organization, critical evaluation, and presentation of the facts. You need to effectively transition from the introduction to the body of the essay.

Our step-by-step guide will definitely help you start an essay.

If you still need some help, you can get in touch with our professional essay writing service. We have expert writers to write all your essays within your due date.

Frequently Asked Questions

What words can you use to start an essay?

The words that can be used to start an essay are Once, For this reason, In fact, Moreover, Similarly, Firstly, Significantly, etc.

What are the six sentence openers?

The six sentence openers include:

  • Subject 
  • Prepositional phrase 
  • Adverb (-ly) 
  • Participle (-ing) 
  • Clausal phrase 
  • Very short sentence 

How to start an informative essay?

An informative essay should preferably start with a startling fact or statistic that hints towards the significance of the topic or the information being given.

How to start an essay about yourself?

You can start an essay about yourself through the use of anecdotes or short personal stories.

Cathy A.


Cathy A., Marketing, Literature

Cathy has been been working as an author on our platform for over five years now. She has a Masters degree in mass communication and is well-versed in the art of writing. Cathy is a professional who takes her work seriously and is widely appreciated by clients for her excellent writing skills.

Cathy has been been working as an author on our platform for over five years now. She has a Masters degree in mass communication and is well-versed in the art of writing. Cathy is a professional who takes her work seriously and is widely appreciated by clients for her excellent writing skills.

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