essay writing ideas

Starting Off Your Paper: Writing the First Sentence of an Essay

The first sentence of your essay is what gets the reader’s attention and gives them a glimpse into what your essay is about.  This is sometimes referred to as your “hook,” which is what any writer uses to get the reader to read their work.  There are a few different ways that you can grab their attention and there are five simple ways to do this.  

Ideas for the First Sentence of Your Essay

  • Use a Question as Your First Sentence:  Using a question to open your essay gives the reader something to think about as soon as they start reading.  This question gives the reader a personal connection to the essay and they are looking for the answer to that question. 
  • Tell the Reader a Fun Fact About Your Topic:  Telling the reader a fact about your topic that they don’t know is a good way to get their attention and keep them engaged in the essay. 
  • Use a Quote That has Something to do with Your Topic:  Many famous people have said some powerful things and using something like a quote can grab the reader.  This also gives the reader inspiration before they even begin to read the rest of your essay. 
  • Use the Title and Setting for Your First Sentence:  This pertains more to book report essays but it can be used if you are using a study, a historic event, or anything that has a title and a setting.  This puts the reader in the setting of your essay and tells them about a certain place they might not know about.
  • Use a Fact About the Author:  This also pertains more to a book report essay but if you are doing an essay on a person or place, you could use a fact about that person or a person that lived in that place.  This can be used in different ways to get the reader’s attention. 

When you are crafting your first sentence, you want to make sure that it will get the reader to keep reading.  The opening sentence shouldn’t tell them that this is the introduction or “to start” or anything that states that this is the introduction.  If you do this, you are degrading the reader and make yourself sound less intelligent.  The key is to start off strong and end strong in any essay you write.  This will make the essay flow better and the reader will be more likely to enjoy your essay. 

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