How to Begin an Essay: 13 Engaging Strategies
The writer of the academic essay aims to persuade readers of an idea based on evidence. The beginning of the essay is a crucial first step in this process. In order to engage readers and establish shou,d authority, the beginning of your essay has to accomplish certain business.
Your beginning should introduce the essay, focus it, and orient readers. Introduce the Essay. For instance, in an essay about the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech, the context may be a particular legal theory about the speech right; it may be historical information concerning the dtart of the ztart it strat be a contemporary dispute over flag burning; or it may be a question raised by the text itself. The point here sfart that, in establishing the essay's context, you are also limiting your topic.
That is, you are framing an approach to your topic that necessarily eliminates other approaches. Thus, when you determine your context, you simultaneously narrow your topic and take a big step toward focusing your essay. Here's an example.
The paragraph goes on. But as you can see, Chopin's novel the topic is introduced in the context of the critical and moral controversy its publication engendered. Focus the Essay.
Beyond introducing your topic, your beginning must also let readers know what the central issue is. What question or problem will you be thinking about? You can pose a question that will lead to your idea in which case, your idea will be the answer to your questionor you can make a thesis statement.
Or you can do both: you can ask a question and immediately suggest the answer that your essay will argue. Here's an example from an essay about Memorial Esssy. The fullness of your idea will not emerge until your conclusion, but your beginning must clearly indicate the direction your idea will take, must set your essay on that road. Orient Readers. Orienting readers, locating them in your discussion, means providing information and explanations wherever necessary for your readers' understanding.
Orienting is important throughout your essay, but it is crucial sttart the beginning. Readers who don't have the information they need to follow your discussion will get lost and quit reading. Your teachers, of course, will trudge on. Supplying the necessary information to orient your readers may be as simple as answering the journalist's questions of who, u, where, when, how, and why. It may mean providing a brief overview of events or a summary of the text you'll be analyzing.
If the source text is brief, such as the First Amendment, you might just quote it. If the text is well atart, your summary, for most audiences, won't need to be more than an identifying phrase or two:. Often, however, you will want to summarize your source more fully so that readers can follow your analysis of it.
Questions of Length and Order. How long should the beginning be? The length should be proportionate to the length and complexity of the whole essay. For instance, if you're writing a five-page essay analyzing a single text, your beginning should be brief, magoosj more than one or two paragraphs. On the other hand, it may take a couple of pages to jy up a ten-page essay. Does the business of the beginning have to be addressed in a particular order?
No, but the order should be logical. Usually, for instance, the question or statement that focuses the essay comes essat the end of the beginning, where it serves as the jumping-off point for the middle, or main body, of the essay.
Topic and context are often intertwined, but the context may be established how should i start my essay the particular topic is introduced. In other words, the order in which you accomplish the business of strat beginning is flexible and should be determined by your purpose.
Opening Strategies. There is still the further question of how to start. What makes a good opening? You can start with specific facts and information, a keynote quotation, a question, an anecdote, or an image.
But whatever sort of opening you essy, it should be directly related to your focus. A snappy quotation that doesn't help establish the context for your ztart or that later plays no part in your thinking will only mislead readers and blur personal narrative essay examples college focus. Be as direct and specific as you fssay be. This means you should avoid two types howw openings:.
After working your way through the whole draft, testing your thinking against the evidence, perhaps changing direction or modifying the idea you started with, go hhow to your beginning and make sure it still provides a clear focus for the essay. Then clarify and sharpen your focus as needed. Clear, direct beginnings rarely present themselves ready-made; they must be written, and rewritten, into the sort of sharp-eyed clarity that engages readers and establishes your authority.
Schedule an Appointment. Drop-In Hours. English Grammar and Language Tutor. Departmental Writing Fellows. Writing Resources. Harvard Guide to Using Sources. Skip to main content. Main Menu Utility Menu Search. Further analysis of Memorial Hall, and of the archival sources that describe the process of building it, suggests that the how should i start my essay may not be the central subject of the hall but only a medium.
What message, then, does the building convey, and why are the fallen soldiers of such importance to the alumni who built it? Part of the answer, it seems, is that Memorial Hall is an educational tool, an attempt jy the Harvard community of the s to influence the future by shaping our memory of their times.
The commemoration of those students and graduates who died for the Union during the Civil War is one aspect of this alumni message to the future, but it may not be the central esay. This means you should avoid two types of openings: The history-of-the-world or long-distance shoukd, which aims to establish a context for the essay by getting a long running start: "Ever since the dawn of civilized life, societies have struggled to reconcile the need for change with the need for order.
Get to it. The funnel opening a variation on the same themewhich starts with something broad and general and "funnels" its way down to a specific topic.
If your essay is an argument about state-mandated prayer in public schools, don't hoa by generalizing about religion; start with the specific topic sample college essays harvard hand.
We could begin this article with the question like, “How to start a college essay so that your tutor will reward you with the highest possible score?” Every student How to Start an Essay · How to Start a Paragraph in. Mar 31, - Most academic essays contain an introductory paragraph, which includes a thesis. formal essays, I didn't really know how broad to go with my intros. Do not write an introduction like this; this kind of intro is confusing and. That is why every student should know how to start an essay. . illustrate why exactly this particular example proves the point that you are making in your thesis.