The Basic Components of an English Essay Introduction

The basic components of an English essay introduction

Essay writing is an important skill for every student. Regardless of your field of study, you need to master the art of putting word to paper and explaining concepts to your audience. As you will discover in this article, having a good essay starts with having an awesome introduction. Why? Your introduction acts as a roadmap, in orienting readers with your work. Though components of an English essay introduction vary, a standard intro should have the background information and thesis statement. At its minimum, your first paragraph should give answers to what,” “why,” and “how” of your topic. For example, what are you discussing? Why is it important? How will you argue your ideas to convince the reader?

What this handout is about:

  • Parts of a good essay introduction
  • Writing excellent essay introductions
  • Mistakes to avoid when writing essay intros
  • Examples of good essay introductions

In formulating this document, we understand that every essay will have a unique introduction. You will find these guidelines to be flexible and easy to apply whenever you are working on any English essay assignments. Enjoy reading on…

Important components of an English essay introduction you should know

Writing a good essay intro can be intimidating. Even veteran writers will tell you that weaving an excellent intro call for hard work, and practice. You never become an expert in writing essay introduction in a twinkle of an eye.

Here are key elements of an introduction:

Background information – Readers enjoy reading an essay in which you contextualize the issue. Clearly state what you are discussing in the paper, including circumstances, which may have contributed to your undertaking. If you cannot remember all the components of an English essay introduction, then keep in mind the background information for your audience.

Purpose of your essay – A good writer states his or her goal in the first paragraph. Here, provide answers to the ‘what’ question. If the reader cannot identify this answer, they may waste the rest of their reading time flipping through subsequent chapters or abandon your essay all together.

Thesis statement – A thesis is your overall claim or argument. It comes at the end of your introduction. Here, say what position you have taken on the issue. A good thesis should be:

  1. Contestable– No one wants to read a boring and flat essay. Your professor has tens of essays to read and expects something appetizing from you. Choose a debatable thesis to allow readers to form counterarguments on your issue.
  2. Clear – You either know your argument or you do not. Give a clear statement that is devoid of ambiguity and confusion.
  • Specific – A good thesis does not capture everything but narrows to a particular subject matter. This also helps your readers to follow your discussion.

Always remember these components if you want to leave a lasting impression in the mind of your readers. After all, a first impression creates a lasting impression.

Essential components that will spice your essay introduction

Did you know that every essay in English begins with an introduction paragraph? Does it mean that you are doomed if you cannot put together an impressive intro? Not with this toolkit. In this section, we look at components of an English essay introduction in details. Go through these ideas keenly and overcome writing pitfalls.

A good introduction comprises of:

  1. The hook
  2. Context
  • Main argument

Let us explain these elements

Idea 1: Writing your introduction hook

The hook is simply your attention grabber. You must work hard to impress the reader and give him or her good reason to spend more time on your essay.

As you grab the attention of your audience, do it in a fresh manner and remain original in your writing. Do not try to be Shakespeare or your best author; be yourself and your essays will soon become benchmarks for your class.

Try the following approaches as you think of a hook:

Startling information- Begin your introduction with surprising information about the problem, you are discussing. This will draw the readers’ attention, as they will want to know more on the subject matter. For example if you are writing about effects of cigar smoking in China, you may start by saying:

“About 2 million Chinese die annually because of cigarette smoking.”

Use an interesting quote – As you think about components of an English essay introduction, reflect on want prominent people say about the issue you are handling. Readers generally want to know the views of famous people on different topics. For this approach to work well, introduce the personality and contextualize his or her quote.  If you are writing about abortion, find out what the Pope thinks about the subject.

Use anecdotes – Anecdotes are short and interesting stories. Ensure that you pick on a story that relates on your topic. Importantly, do not divert the attention of the reader with your anecdote but use it to hold their attention and read the rest of the paper.

Use rhetorical questions – Get your audience thinking hard about the subject matter by subjecting them to rhetorical questions in your first paragraph. This will also give them a new perspective on the issue.

Idea 2: Contextualize your essay. Once you have the attention of your audience, proceed to relevant information that forms the basis of your purpose. The context helps the reader appreciate why you are working on the topic. In addition, it ensures that you move with the reader from the introduction through the main body until you get to your conclusion.

Idea 3: Give your main argument. Your thesis statement is one of the most important components of an English essay introduction. As we have mentioned above, your thesis should capture your main idea. It acts as the axis or compass pointer of your paper. This statement determines the evidence you will provide as you defend your argument.

Your thesis may also have a map, showing how you will organize your points in the essay. You can incorporate this map in your thesis or have it as a separate statement, immediately after the statement.

With these tips and secrets, let us consider an example of a good essay introduction:

Example: Essay Introduction

Is Recycling Worth It

Environmental conservation is an important approach in taming global warming, which is threatening humanity. This is because future generations equally need a safer environment. A sure way of conserving the environment is through recycling. Recycling revolves around a three-stone axis; reduce, reuse and recycle. Through recycling, our environment would be free from wastes that pollute the surrounding. However, the road toward recycling is never smooth as the concept presents a myriad of pros and cons. To achieve a healthy and sustainable environment, the world must deal with the disadvantages of recycling.


In this example, the writer adopts an inverted pyramid approach by beginning with general information before narrowing to the specifics of the subject matter. The background information in this introduction excerpt helps to contextualize the issue, just as we have already discussed in the previous section. Ideally, the writer captures all the components of an English essay introduction. You too can be such a writer; practice and make this guide your companion.

Common Pitfalls: Components of an English essay introduction

By now, you already understand that an introduction sets the pace of your essay. The audience develops a perception about the kind of writer you are from your first paragraph. Genius students score high because they know what to include in the initial statements and what to leave out.

This section focuses on mistakes that you should always avoid when putting together your introduction. Here is the list:

Things to avoid in your essay introduction:

Avoid apologies – Never suggest to your readers that you are not sure of what you are saying and that you are not an expert in the field. Your reader will quickly turn to a credible source of information. Avoid statements like “In my [humble] opinion . . . I’m not sure about this, but . . .

Do not announce your purpose – While your intro should carry your aim, do not present it flatly to your audience. The reader should perceive your purpose from your background and context information. Never think of phrases like, “In this paper I will . . . The purpose of this essay is to . . .

Avoid dictionary definitions in your introduction. Use this when handling technical papers

This guide discusses components of an English essay introduction. You have no reason to present a shoddy paper to your tutor. See you at the top.

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