What to Include in the First Paragraph of an Essay


The first paragraph of your essay is the first thing that the reader is going read, so this paragraph is the most important.  This paragraph has to get the reader’s attention, tell them what is in the essay and state your thesis.  There are some key elements that you should include in this paragraph and I will tell you exactly what should be in the first paragraph of your essay.

How to Write Your Introductory Paragraph

The first sentence of your paragraph is the first thing that they will be reading, so you want it to grab their attention and give them a reason to keep reading.  One way to do this is by finding an interesting fact or quote during your research; you could even use humor in this part.  Using something like this will grab their attention and make them want to continue to read. 

  • Once you have crafted your first sentence, next you want to write a couple sentences that support your thesis and build up to it.  These sentences not only build up your thesis but they also explain your first sentence to the reader. 
  • The last sentence of your introductory paragraph is the one that hooks the reader for the next part of the essay.  This sentence leads them into the rest of the essay, so it has to keep their attention and make them want to keep reading.  With any paragraph you are constructing, you want to start out strong and end strong, this will make your paragraphs flow better. 

Things to Never do in an Introductory Paragraph

  • You should never apologize or give the reader the impression that you don’t know about your subject or that you doubt what you are talking about.  This will make the reader not take you seriously and not want to read your essay. 
  • Don’t use phrases like, in this paper, or anything that tells the reader what the essay is about this way.  This is lazy and will lose the reader’s attention. 
  • Don’t use a dictionary definition in the introductory paragraph, you are better than that and can come up with a better way to tell your reader something they should know about your essay.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t use a definition in your essay but not in the intro, maybe in another part to give the reader the information. 
  • When you are writing the introductory paragraph, don’t mess around with your wording and get right to the point.  If you’re using boring language you will lose the reader right away. 

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