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Struggling to write your essay introduction? Don't worry, we're here to help...
Have you ever experienced writer's block? Are you unsure of how to write your essay introduction? One of the most difficult parts of writing is when you're staring at a blank page, with no idea where to begin. So, to help you structure your essay introduction, here are some top tips. Follow this guide on how to write an essay introduction and you'll be writing great essays in no time!
Tip 1: Use a funnel structure
The golden rule for writing a good introduction is to follow a 'funnel structure'. You might be wondering what on earth a funnel is... well, it's a piece of equipment shaped like a cone. The most important thing to remember, however, is the shape. A funnel is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom, and your introduction should also have this shape.
Still confused? Well, a funnel introduction begins with the most general information (the widest part of the funnel) and becomes more specific as you focus on the topic (the narrowest part of the funnel). We can break this down into three different stages:
- Opening statement (attention-getter)
Begin with a general statement to introduce the topic of the essay and highlight its importance. Sometimes, this is known as an 'attention-getter' since it is designed to pique your reader's interest.
- Supporting statements
Provide background information for the essay. Define any key terminology, and explain any contextual information that might be useful, such as historical facts or important concepts.
- Thesis statement
Summarise your argument and give a direct response to the essay question. You can also use this to explain the structure of your essay, or how you will answer the question.
All of this can seem a bit abstract, so let's take a look at a sample introduction:
The vast majority of scientists agree that we are facing a climate crisis due to human activity. For this reason, we must adapt our behaviour and find ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. In particular, transportation is responsible for a large proportion of these emissions, and electric cars offer a promising alternative to petrol and diesel. This essay will therefore examine the advantages and disadvantages of switching to electric cars.
Did you notice how the writer began with a very general statement? Mentioning climate change here places the topic within a context, and reminds the reader of the importance of the subject matter. With each clause, the writer gets closer to the main topic of electric cars.
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Tip 2: Don't forget the thesis statement
Perhaps you're wondering what the thesis statement is. Well, it's probably the most important part of your introduction, and maybe the whole essay! A thesis statement is usually the last sentence of your introduction, and you should use this opportunity to directly respond to the essay question. In other words, summarise your key argument by narrowing down the topic and stating your opinion.
Let's look at some example questions and thesis statements:
- What were the main causes of World War 2?
There were many factors that caused World War 2, but the most significant was the Great Depression of the 1930s.
2. Should standardised testing in high schools be abolished?
Although standardised testing can cause stress, it is an efficient way of measuring performance and is therefore necessary.
3. What is the best way to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus?
Track and trace systems, social distancing and wearing masks have all had varying levels of effectiveness in different countries, so it is difficult to provide a conclusive solution to this problem.
Notice that the thesis statement is often an opinion that others may disagree with. What's more, you don't always have to give a clear response, as in example 3.
Tip 3: Show the structure
When you're writing an essay, you should make things as easy as possible for the reader. For this reason, your introduction should act as a road map for the rest of the essay. You can explain how you will structure the essay in simple terms so that the reader knows what to expect. This may be part of the thesis statement or in a separate sentence.
Bear in mind that this might not be relevant for all essays! If your essay is very complex then it's difficult to summarise the structure in just one or two sentences. Or if it's very short, it might not be worth explaining the structure.
Let's take a look at some examples:
This essay will begin by examining the advantages of living abroad, before discussing common issues that foreign students face.
Three key areas in which American culture has influenced the UK will be discussed: food, music, and fashion.
This paper will first describe the process of photosynthesis before explaining why it is an essential process for plants themselves and the ecosystems that they inhabit.
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So, I hope this post gives you some inspiration and helps you to beat that writer's block! Remember to use a funnel structure, include a clear thesis statement and indicate the structure of your essay, and writing a great introduction will be a piece of cake. Want to hear Britcent tutor Tim talking about the contents of this blog post in more detail? Or perhaps you just want to find out more and you prefer learning with videos? If so, take a look at 'Want To Write an Amazing Essay Introduction? Check out These 3 Tips!' on our YouTube channel. Alternatively, scroll down to watch it here. If you're still struggling with academic writing, why not send your essay in to our editing service? Our team of trained editors can help you perfect your English so that your essay stands out.
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Please note: These blog posts are written in informal, conversational English.
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