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  • Writer's pictureAnqi Teng

3 Steps for a Strong Start to Your English Essay

Stuck on how to start your English essay? Take a deep breath and relax – this post will run you through everything you need to know about an essay’s introduction. Specifically, an English essay’s introduction.

We will go through the theory behind including an introduction, plenty of example introductions and a final summary to help you remember the 3 simple steps for a strong English essay introduction!

The goal of an essay

An essay is any piece of writing exploring the writer’s argument on a subject.

An English essay explores the writer’s perspective on the meanings of a book, poem or any other type of text.

No matter what type of essay writing you're doing, the most crucial element is your personal understanding and opinion of a subject matter.

The goal of an introduction

The introduction of an essay is like drawing the black outlines of a painting. It shows the shape of what you’re about to paint, but none of the colours have been added yet.

In the essay introduction you’re giving the readers an overview of your essay’s argument, the main angles you will take to prove your argument and ultimately, what they should expect to learn more about when they read the rest of your writing.

This means that an introduction should include:

  • Your overall argument

  • Any background pieces of the information the reader needs to know to understand your ideas clearly (e.g. date of publication, title of any texts you’re discussing, author of the texts, any historical information)

  • A list of the supporting points you will make in the rest of your essay

An introduction should AVOID:

· Any storytelling or recount of the text

· Too much detail about your supporting points

The general anatomy of an introduction

The general structure of an essay introduction looks something like this:

The English essay introduction

The English essay’s main differences from other types of essays are:

  • English essays are academic, so they must be formal. This means third person language and avoiding any sort of humour or colloquialism.

  • English essays are text based, and text introduction needs to be a part of the English essay introduction.

Answering the question

For high school English, answering the essay question posed to you in the exam or assignment notification is the most important part of an essay. When should you answer the question and where should it be positioned in the introduction?

The answer is simple: answer the question as soon as possible. But don’t be afraid to take some time to flesh out definitions and specify your argument.

Let's have a look at another example:


The easiest essay introduction has 3 parts to it:

  1. your argument for the question and definitions for key terms

  2. contextual information that will help the reader be on the same page as the writer

  3. brief outlines of supporting points you will use to support your argument

I hope this has been helpful and look forward to the next blog post where we will cover more crucial tips about English literature and writing!

- Anqi

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