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How to write an introduction paragraph for an academic essay

So many students have challenges with the beginnings of their essays, but once they learn how to write an introduction, they never again have problems. Introductory paragraphs are the most formulaic of all paragraphs. This means that students simply need to know the template, then they fill in the details for their specific topic. Every introductory paragraph for an academic essay contains the same ingredients: hook, bridge, and thesis.

  • Hook: This is the part of the essay that should grab the reader’s attention. There are a handful of different techniques that can be used in nearly every type of academic essay. You simply need to choose one technique in each essay. You can begin with a fitting quote or short passage from a famous person. If you prefer some creativity in your essay, you can start with a short anecdote that will get the reader into your essay. A fascinating fact is another fun way to start an essay. Rhetorical questions work nicely, especially if you write series of three questions. Your hook should be at least one sentence but can be several more than that.

  • Bridge: In order to properly write an academic essay introduction, you will need to connect the hook to the thesis (that information is coming next). Without the bridge, the introduction will be choppy and difficult to understand. The bridge will include information about the hook and why that applies to the essay. The bridge will need to be several sentences in length in order to give the reader what is needed to understand where the essay will go.

  • Thesis: This should be the last sentence of the paragraph and it should be only one sentence in length. The thesis (or claim) of the essay is the sentence that guides the rest of the essay. The bridge should smoothly lead into thesis. Your thesis should clearly state what your academic essay will be about, but without saying things like “in my essay I will” or “my essay will be about” - the thesis should sound like a wise collegiate-level student wrote it, not a beginning elementary writer.

Once you know the template, you should take a look at introductions written by other authors. Try to find the hook and identify the technique. Then, jump to the end of the paragraph to look for the thesis. Then, investigate the bridge to see how the writer tried to connect the beginning and ending of the paragraph.

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