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Take a look at these examples of weak hooks and learn how to improve them.
How much space you need for background depends on your topic and the scope of your essay. In our Braille example, we take a few sentences to introduce the topic and sketch the social context that the essay will address:
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a famous book from the nineteenth century. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement.
Next, give your reader the context they need to understand your topic and argument. Depending on the subject of your essay, this might include:
The main goals of an introduction are to:
The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.
Catch your reader’s attention. Give background on your topic. Present your thesis—the central point of your essay.
How to Write an Essay Introduction | 4 Steps & Examples.
Examples: Writing a good hook.
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This introduction example is taken from our interactive essay example on the history of Braille.
The hook should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of the topic you’re writing about and why it’s interesting. Avoid overly broad claims or plain statements of fact.
Instead of just stating a fact that the reader already knows, the improved hook here tells us about the mainstream interpretation of the book, implying that this essay will offer a different interpretation.
Step 2: Give background information.
Your first sentence sets the tone for the whole essay, so spend some time on writing an effective hook.
Example: Background information The writing system of raised dots used by blind and visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use.
The information here should be broad but clearly focused and relevant to your argument. Don’t give too much detail—you can mention points that you will return to later, but save your evidence and interpretation for the main body of the essay.
Avoid using a dictionary definition as your hook, especially if it’s an obvious term that everyone knows. The improved example here is still broad, but it gives us a much clearer sense of what the essay will be about.
The internet is defined as “a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities.” The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education.
Historical, geographical, or social context An outline of the debate you’re addressing A summary of relevant theories or research about the topic Definitions of key terms.
Published on February 4, 2019 by Shona McCombes. Revised on December 6, 2021.
Table of contents.
A good introduction paragraph is an essential part of any academic essay. It sets up your argument and tells the reader what to expect.
Avoid long, dense sentences—start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.
The first sentence is a dry fact; the second sentence is more interesting, making a bold claim about exactly why the topic is important.
Essay introduction example.
Step 1: Hook your reader.
Step 1: Hook your reader Step 2: Give background information Step 3: Present your thesis statement Step 4: Map your essay’s structure Step 5: Check and revise More examples of essay introductions Frequently asked questions about the essay introduction.
Braille was an extremely important invention. The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability.
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