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Breaking the Ice: Tips and Tricks on How To Start an Essay


Arguably, the most important part of an academic essay is the introduction. This is where your reader will begin their journey with you as you explore the subject matter and lead them through your thoughts, evidence, and, eventually, your conclusions. A roadmap of the essay and an introduction should be strong, holding the reader’s attention and piquing their curiosity to read on.

In academic papers, you must also remember that when being marked, your work will be among others of similar subjects. So, it’s important to make yours stand out from the rest.

This article will examine strategies to help you craft the perfect introduction. Some can be used in conjunction, whereas others may be standalone suggestions.

How to start an essay: crafting the perfect hook

The first strategy we will explore is how to hook your readers in the best way, captivating them with your introduction to give them just enough interesting information that they want to continue reading. You could consider creating a thought-provoking statement or raising a question that sparks intrigue and imagination. Perhaps a surprising fact that is in keeping with the topic you are about to discuss will help your reader find interest in the rest of the text as you explore your chosen topic. You may even ask a rhetorical question or use an interesting anecdote if the writing style allows.

We’ve created some examples to help you explore some interesting hooks that might work for your style of writing:

  • “Imagine a world where technology advances and evolves faster than our ability to comprehend it.”
  • “The human body is comprised of more than 10 times bacteria than cells.”
  • “We have art in order not to die of the truth. (F. Nietzsche)”

Clearly state your thesis

Your thesis is your main point, argument, or statement of your work and should be presented during your introduction in a clear and precise manner. This statement should provide context to the reader on what your paper will be about, hinting at the areas of discussion you will raise as you move from chapter to chapter.

Some examples that may help to guide your writing are below:

  • “This essay is going to explore the ethical implications of artificial intelligence, examining its impact on privacy, job security, and societal values.”
  • “In this paper, I will go into detail about the causes, effects, and potential solutions to the pressing issue of climate change.”

Provide context to your audience

You must take some time to provide some background information for your readers. Many might come across your paper after being captivated by your title and hook, so to keep them interested in the wider topic, you should provide some context to set expectations of and explain a little more about any hooking statements, questions, or facts.

Take a look at some of these examples to help you navigate how to provide context for your introduction:

  • “With the increasingly rapid advancements in technology, how we live, work, and interact has undergone a profound transformation.”
  • “Climate change is a global issue of increasing concern and has far-reaching consequences for our planet and future generations.”

Choose your right tone, and stick with it

It can be all too easy to begin writing in a formal tone, using complex sentences, and then falling into using hyperbole rather than keeping to the point. This is especially true of papers you write with word counts, as you may begin to talk around the topic rather than be direct and to the point. You should select a tone and style that fits your topic and purpose, whether narrative, academic, or informal. Maintain consistency throughout your text and ensure you proofread, as this establishes the mood of your work and helps the reader to engage fully.

Here are some examples of two different tones that suit the subject matter being discussed:

  • “This analysis will adopt a critical lens to scrutinize the ethical implications of AI, considering its potential benefits and risks.”
  • “In this exploration of climate change, we will adopt a pragmatic approach, evaluating scientific evidence and proposing actionable solutions.”

Outline your main points, arguments, and findings

Stating some examples of the points you will cover and giving your readers a slight preview also adds engagement and keeps the reader curious to learn more and continue to read on. Providing your reader with an overview of the text’s journey also helps you structure your essay clearly and concisely. Here, we also recommend that you connect these points back to your thesis, which you will have already stated.

Take a look at some examples we have set out below:

  • “First, we will delve into AI’s challenges to personal privacy, then explore its impact on employment. Finally, we will examine the ethical considerations surrounding AI and societal values.”
  • “To comprehend the urgency of addressing climate change, we will explore its causes, assess its effects on ecosystems and human populations, and consider potential mitigation strategies.”

Proofread and refine your text

It would be a rare occasion that you were able to craft an introduction in one go and have it ready for a reader. Most introductions will take careful consideration, revision, and polishing to captivate your audience. Write a first draft with some critical points included, and come back to it later if needed. You may find that after writing your paper, your introduction will need to change as your research has taken you in a different direction than you originally planned. Check that your introduction has clarity, provides context, and is impactful. Each sentence would serve a purpose; do not try to fill space with unnecessary words, as this will affect the flow of your writing.


When crafting an introduction to your essay, you will need to be creative, thoughtful, and measured. Your introduction is your reader’s first sample of what’s to come and should be engaging. Be mindful of your audience and subject matter to refine your tone and style. Engage your reader with a hook before diving into your thesis and providing context for the paper. Above all, make sure that you review and refine your introduction to reflect the rest of your work while piquing enough interest from your readers to keep them wanting to continue through the rest of the text.