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The Essay Introduction

The introduction paragraph in a high school or college argumentative essay is one of the hardest to write. In some cases, many students wait until they're done with the rest of the essay before they write an introduction.

Intros Are Tough
The introduction paragraph is difficult because students sometimes have a hard time figuring out what to say first.

Ideally, you should have your thesis statement written first, as the introduction should lead into the thesis, which is typically the last sentence.

While introduction lengths vary by paper, try to keep your introduction between three and five sentences. This allows you to get to the point without rambling.

Hook the Reader
You can start your introduction with an anecdote or personal story, as long as its short and relevant to the paper. Like the start of a newspaper article, the point of the introduction is to hook the reader in and keep them reading.
Sample Essay Introduction
Here's a sample introduction from a college essay on Shakespeare's Hamlet:

When King Claudius admits he killed his brother in Shakespeare's Hamlet, it is one of the few private moments the audience gets with the play's villain. The speech reveals a man fraught with guilt, but unwilling to surrender what he gained through murder: "My crown, mine own ambition and my queen" (III, iii, 55). For once, Claudius appears relatable to the audience - he desperately wants deliverance from an awful situation, but sees no way out without great sacrifice. But while Claudius ultimately cannot earn the audience's sympathy, his effective (but tainted) leadership style, desire for Gertrude and failure to seize a moment of redemption can be seen as tragic qualities.

In this example, the writer cites a central quote from the play and uses his introduction to expand on it. Using a quote can be a powerful way of writing introductions because it immediately brings the text into your argument.

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