This article was co-authored by Alexander Peterman. Alexander Peterman is a Private Tutor in Florida. He received his MA in Education from the University of Florida in 2017. There are 19 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. The introduction of your essay serves two important purposes. First, it gets your reader interested in the topic and encourages them to read what you have to say about it.
A powerful introduction grabs your reader’s attention and keeps them reading. The first sentence or two of your introduction should pull the reader in. You want anyone reading your essay to be fascinated, intrigued, or even outraged. You can’t do this if you don’t know who your likely readers are. It can be helpful to reverse-engineer your audience based on the subject matter of your essay.
For example, if you’re writing an essay about a women’s health introduction for a women’s studies class, you might identify your audience as young women within the age range most affected by the issue. A startling or shocking statistic can grab your audience’s attention by immediately teaching them something they didn’t know. Having learned something new in the first sentence, people will be writing to see where you go next. Use a fact or statistic that sets up your essay, not something you’ll be using as thesis to prove your thesis statement.
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Particularly with personal or political essays, use your hook to get your reader emotionally involved in the subject matter of your story. You can do this by describing a related hardship or tragedy. Offer a relevant example or anecdote. In your reading and research for your essay, you may have come across an entertaining or interesting anecdote that, while related, didn’t really fit into the body of your essay. Such an anecdote can work great as a hook.
Particularly with less formal papers or personal essays, humorous anecdotes can be particularly effective hooks. If you’re writing a persuasive essay, consider using a relevant question to draw your reader in and get them actively thinking about the subject of your essay. For example: «What would you do if you could play God for a day? If your essay prompt was a question, don’t just repeat it in your paper. Make sure to come up with your own intriguing question. Generalizations and clichés, even if presented to contrast with your point, won’t help your essay.
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