A good start is half the battle won, but how to make yourself start? Whether you hesitate to start out writing because you are anxious about this assignment or you just aren’t sure what is the appropriate way to start an academic essay, you are not alone. Many students stall and feel uncertain when approaching some new format or an unconventional topic.
If your mind goes as blank as the page before you every time you sit down to write, our guide will help you. Knowing some tried techniques makes it easier to lull your anxiety and overcome this block.
Of course, sometimes reasons for writer’s block are more complex. If you have some urgent business on your mind that disperses your concentration, maybe it’s wiser to delegate academic assignments to paper writing websites.
How to Start Writing an Essay
Before we dive into details, here is a quick checklist of things you need prior to starting:
- You understand your assignment perfectly and there is no ambiguity about what response your instructor expects from you
- You have done your research and have all the necessary information
- You are well-rested, hydrated, and nourished
- You have a comfortable and distraction-free working space
If all that is taken care of, here are some tips on how to start an essay, examples of good first sentences, and things to consider depending on which part of the essay you find the biggest challenge to start.
How to Start an Essay Introduction
The introduction paragraph is probably the most important part of your essay because this is your pitch to readers. An introduction for an essay is what a blurb is for the book. For people to read further it must be:
- Engaging and thought-provoking, with a great hook sentence
- Well-structured and succinct, with an articulate thesis statement
- Informative, giving a preview of what to expect from your essay, for example, a list of main arguments
When you don’t know how to start writing your introduction, always go straight to the thesis statement. What is the subject of your essay and what do you want to say about it? This part is crucial for your essay. Everything else can wait.
Once you have your working thesis statement, you can leave the introduction and come back to it, when you have written the body of your essay. This way you will be able to give an accurate overview of the entire work.
How to Start a Conclusion in an Essay
Let’s first make clear how NOT to start your conclusion paragraph:
- With the words, “in conclusion”, “to sum up”, “to recap”, etc. Stating the obvious weakens the message.
- With phrases that cancel the importance of what you have just said, for example: “This is just one way of looking at it” or “I am not an expert, but such is my opinion”.
- With new information – anything new belongs in the body of your essay. If you have anything else to say, consider adding another paragraph.
For a strong conclusion, you can start by:
- Restating your thesis in the light of the information you have provided
- Recapping the main points of your argument
- Inserting an anecdote that highlights the significance of the topic
How to Start a Paragraph in an Essay
Starting each body paragraph in your essay should not be difficult if you are familiar with paragraph structure:
- Topical sentence
- Transition sentence
A topical sentence is for a paragraph what a thesis statement is for the entire essay – it encapsulates the main point. Therefore, if you don’t know how to start your paragraph – look at your outline. If it’s done right, every tagline should be a ready-made topical sentence or at least a phrase you can elaborate into a full sentence.
Examples of How to Start an Essay
Now, when you know how to start every part of your essay and – with any luck – you have written all of it, it is time to furnish your opus with something to ensure the eager attention of your readers. Let’s look at how to start an essay with a hook appropriate for different essay types.
How to Start an Essay with a Quote
One of the most popular ways to start an essay is a proverbial expression or a relevant quote. This use of quotation is close to an epigraph, so you don’t have to apply the APA or MLA quote format that you use in the rest of your essay. Attributing the quote correctly is enough. For example, we could start an essay about procrastination and ways to fight it like this:
Do the thing you fear the most and the death of fear is certain.
— Mark Twain
How to Start an Essay with a Definition
Although providing definitions for the crucial terms you intend to use in your essay is a good practice, definitions don’t usually make catchy hooks – not dictionary definitions, anyway. They belong further in the text. However, you can start your essay by giving an unorthodox definition that illustrates a problem or gives a new perspective on a well-known thing. For example:
Procrastination is one of the worst habits that a student can have, a thief of time, a wrecker of nerves, and a detractor of performance.
How to Start an Essay with a Question
A rhetorical question is an undying classic and mother of all hooks. Some instructors say it is trite, but it depends on the execution. To make an impressive starter, your question must be thought-provoking and the answer to it must not be obvious. For example, our essay about procrastination could start from the following question:
How much time did it take you to start doing your work today?
You assume that at least some of your readers were hesitant to begin their work and wasted some time before they actually got down to it. This question hits close to home because it makes your readers admit to their unproductive habits. It also immediately engages their minds because makes them think back looking for the answer.
As you can see, there are many ways to start an essay and you can use whichever works best for you. However, if you have tried everything and all to no avail, maybe you just need some rest. Take a break, go for a walk, or take a nap. If this assignment is very urgent, our writers can take care of it for you.