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Essay Opening

The opening paragraph of your essay is vital and deserves careful consideration. The first paragraph must arouse the reader’s interest. It works to push the reader out of a neutral mindset into one of curiosity concerning the direction of your essay. This can be done in a variety of ways:

  • Ask a provocative question,
  • Develop a philosophical stance,
  • Offer an interesting and relevant quotation,
  • Present a vivid scene,
  • State an opinion,
  • Relate an episode or anecdote,
  • Attack a general misconception,
  • Make an assertion, etc.

Whatever opening strategy you select, make sure it accomplishes three vital things:

  1. It must stimulate interest,
  2. It must establish the tone of your essay,
  3. It must in some way point out the method you are going to use to develop your main idea.

Examine your introduction with a scrutinizing eye. Is it sincere? Is it energetic? Is it crisp and to the point? Is it decisive? Is it interesting? Too many essays fail before they really begin.