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How to Start an Essay Well: Good Starters and Hook Examples


Whether you’re writing a short essay or a lengthy dissertation, the first paragraph is crucial; you will need to start it well. It needs to grab your reader’s attention and make them want to read on.

By writing a good introduction, you can make your writing more interesting and enjoyable for your reader. If you don’t get the introduction right, the rest of the essay will probably be a struggle to write and to read.

After you write a good essay title, the next part you should start doing well is a good introduction paragraph. In this blog, we will look at how to start an essay well.

Importance of Starting an Essay with a Bang

Like any good story, a good essay needs a good beginning. And, like any good author, you need to know how to get your audience interested in your story. By starting your essay with a bang, you are able to get your reader’s attention. 

Essay writing

The primary goal of your introductory paragraph is to get the reader interested in the topic.

You want to make him or her want to continue reading.

If you are writing an argumentative essay, you want to get the reader on your side.

If you are writing a narrative essay, you want to get the reader curious about what will happen next.

Remember, there are many other essays available to the reader and therefore you should give him or her a reason to read yours. 

Apart from grabbing the readers’ attention, the introduction should also be able to describe the main idea of your essay.

It is important that you are able to use it to tell your readers what they will learn from your essay. However, make sure the introductory paragraph does not have too much information.

How to Start an Essay Well

An introduction can make or break your essay. While it may seem like a small part of your essay, your introduction is what grabs your reader’s attention and leads them to either want to read more or put your paper down.

writing essay

A good introduction should be attention-grabbing, but not so attention-grabbing that it’s unclear what your essay is about.

It should also be clear and concise so that the reader can easily see what your essay is about and know if they want to continue reading.

A great essay introduction should accomplish several things.

First, it should grab the reader’s attention. Next, it should clearly state the main topic of the essay.

Finally, it should give the reader a good idea of what to expect from the essay, or at least it should make the reader want to read on.

Here is a list of ways that you can use to start an essay well. It is important to note that you can use a combination of these methods to make sure you have a great first paragraph. 

1. Ask a Captivating Question

A captivating or intriguing question is a question that intrigues the reader enough to read to the end. It helps keep the writer to the final part of the essay, where you also capture the reader with good conclusion starters too.

This is a question that makes a reader think, “I wonder what the answer to that question is…”, or  “I wonder what information I will find that will help me answer that question.” 

The best kind of captivating question to ask at the beginning of a paper is a question that makes a reader think about how to answer it or makes them want to read the rest of the paper to get an answer.

2. Use an Interesting Anecdote

Another way to start a college essay is to tell an interesting story. A funny, interesting, anecdote is a great way to grab a reader’s attention and keep it. 

Anecdotes are stories told about something. They can be about anything, but they are usually funny or interesting.

An anecdote is a perfect way to grab the attention of your reader and start your essay off on a light note. If you’re having trouble coming up with an anecdote, you can use the following method to help you out: 

Instead of focusing on the topic of your essay, think more about the subject. What is it about the subject that you find interesting or funny?

Is it the topic itself, or is it more about the people involved? Think of an interesting or funny story about the subject. Now write your anecdote. Make sure to keep it brief.

3. Use a Shocking Statistic

Remember, the key is to be as interesting as possible. One of the best ways to do this is to start with a shocking or interesting statistic and connect it to your essay’s topic. In order to do this, you need to have a good source ready.

interesting statistics

It is best to use a statistic that is surprising or that conveys information that the reader may not have known before.

This will help to grab the reader’s attention and make them want to read on.

Think of something that provides interesting information, but may not be known to everyone.

You can use sources from the internet, or you can use a book. This type of statistic also helps to keep the audience interested throughout the essay. This is because they find out new information as they read the essay.

4. Use an Astounding Quote

A thought-provoking or astounding quote is a quote that draws a reader’s attention to a text. The quote can either be from a famous or an unknown source.

In the case of the latter, the source’s name is usually mentioned in the text. A thought-provoking quote is usually used as a hook to catch a reader’s attention. This is followed by a brief explanation of the quote.

A quote is typically one of the easiest yet captivating ways to start an essay. It automatically sets the tone of your essay. If you use a quote you are making a statement about the topic, your feelings about it, or the feelings of the person you are quoting. 

Quotes are great to use when you are writing about something that is controversial or that you are not sure about. They are also great for pulling out details that are really important to the essay.

Quotes are not only good for these reasons, but they are also easy to find on your own. However, they tend to make an introduction longer. But this is Ok when writing long essays or projects.

Read our guide on the optimal length of an introduction so that you can be able to determine the type of essay starters you will have.

FAQs on Essay Starters

Can you start an essay with a date?

Yes, you can. It is possible to start an essay with a date. The date that you use should be related to the topic of your essay.

For example, if your essay is on the importance of getting enough sleep, you can write about an article that was published in one of the newspapers on the importance of sleep.

If your essay is on the dangers of smoking, you can write about the recent increase in the number of deaths due to lung cancer. You can use the introduction to tell the reader your view on the topic, what to expect in the body paragraphs of your essay. 

Can you start an essay with a question?

Yes, it’s common practice to start an essay with a question. This is a great way to engage the reader because it makes them think about the question and consider their own answer. 

Starting an essay with a question is also a good way to grab the reader’s attention. If you are writing a persuasive essay, you can use a question to make your point without having to use a lot of time to persuade the reader.

There are two ways to start an essay with a question. The first is to pose a question to the reader before you even begin the introduction, and the second is to end your introduction with a question.

Can you start an essay with a statistic?

The simple answer is yes. Especially, when writing an argument essay, you must always consider how you will persuade your audience to accept your argument. Sometimes, statistics are the best way to persuade an audience because they are concrete and easily understood.

Statistics can show how your audience is affected by a situation or why they should feel the way you do about a certain topic. Including statistics in your essay gives you credibility because it shows you have done your research.

Can you start an essay with a quote?

Starting an essay with a quote is a great and effective way to get your reader’s attention. It also helps you develop a deeper understanding of the topic and make a reference to a well-known fact or authority in the field.

Of course, you should never use a quote when you do not agree with it, but you can use it as a starting point for further discussion and analysis. 

Can you start an essay with a fact?

As a general rule, you should avoid starting an essay with a fact. This is because there is a big difference between an essay and an article.

An essay is usually an analysis of an argument, and as such, it requires evidence, examples, and specific points. Using a fact as the first sentence of an essay is usually not a good idea as it may not contain any relevant information for the rest of the essay.

In fact, it may be better to start with a more general statement to capture the interest of the reader and then move on to your main point.