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How To Start A Persuasive Essay: Introduction That Catches The Readers

15 September 2020
An extensive and simple manual on how to start a persuasive essay

Imagine the nightmare of any student: you’ve spent a lot of time researching and writing the persuasive paper, but the prof just glanced at it and gave it an F because the introduction was off the point and weak. Noooo! You have to avoid this outcome at all costs, and the best way to do it is to create a worthy introduction. 

Yes, the matter of beginning the paper is an important one. As they say, a good beginning makes a good end. But how to how to start a persuasive essay properly and create a really interesting and topical intro? Well, we will spill the tea right now: you do not have to write the introduction before you have written everything else. To the contrary – write the paper, and the intro will come easily to you. That’s our number one advice. As for the rest, read the guide we have developed for you and become a pro of introduction writing. 

What Is An Introduction?  

The intro is an opening paragraph of the paper that sets the topic and your specific arguments and hooks the readers, making them want to read the whole paper. 

A good introduction tells the readers immediately: hey, you gonna read this and this, and it will be a great and funny trip, so join in (and a bad intro says: it will be a bumpy ride, so run away as fast as you can). 

The introduction has its scholarly purpose, structure, and tricks. This is why some intros make you want to read more, and some bore you to death. Besides, an intro can significantly impact your grade, so as a student, you are highly motivated to build nice errorless intros. 

Goals of a Good Introduction 

When you plan on how to start a persuasive essay, remember to include these three elements into your writing. 

  • Interesting and catchy beginning. This first sentence hooks readers, make them stop in their track, and read what you offer them. 
  • Your main argumentation line, also known as a thesis. It says clearly what you will argue for in your paper, and what reasons you will present. 
  • Overall good quality of writing and proper tone of the paper. If readers like what they see, they will read on, but if writing is careless and hard to read, the interesting content won’t compensate for this flaw.   

All in all, aim to make the intro short, clearly written, and up to the point of your discussion. You will display the wealth of your argumentation and rhetoric in the body, but in the introduction, tease the reader and then jump into the main section of your writing. 

Good Structure Of Introduction 

To make your writing easier and more fluent, follow the rule of the inverted pyramid. 

That is:

  • first, you create broader context, outline the issue and its place in the world in general;
  • narrow down to a specific problem you plan to discuss;
  • present your specific standpoint in this problem and how you interpret it (and invite readers to accept your interpretation). 

Basically, you work up to your specific opinion. For example, you say that some chronic disease plagues people for quite a long time, then you say that there are more and less efficient ways of curing it, and finally, you name the method you support and explain why it should be tested or implemented more intensively. 

But how to achieve these seemingly simple goals (in reality, not that simple)? Has the process broken down inconvenient steps for you?

Detailed Guide On How To Start A Persuasive Essay

A persuasive essay is tricky in that it needs not just to state something but persuade others of it, too. The introduction should also carry the load of persuasive goals. Use our tips to build a truly impressive and convincing intro. 

1. Sit On The Topic For A While.  

Think about what you know, what you need to research, and how you will present your position (if you have it shaped already). Put down the topic, the key arguments for a thesis, and the main evidence pieces to use. When you know what to say, it is easier to envision broader and narrower contexts and how to go from one to another. 

2. Think Of A Hook – An Interesting Opening Sentence.  

The hook is usually some impressive piece of evidence, figures, surprising statistics, a saying of some famous person, anecdote, paradox, or a carefully crafted rhetorical question. The hook should be connected to the greater background so that it enhances it (not distracts from the point). 

Think about what surprises, worries, or offends you most about the topic. Most people will probably see it the same, so use this thing as a hook, if you do not know how to start a persuasive essay. 

Like, for example, ‘Can we expect to have a good life in the world where all plants are gone? No, and more and more people realize the importance of plants. But how can we expect plants to flourish if human activity has almost made bees disappear, and without bees, plants will not reproduce, literally? That’s an equally important problem, but fewer people are aware of it. And this is the biggest problem of all.’

That’s a hook built as a rhetorical question, and it works well by playing on human emotions, just do not overdo it emotionally. From a hook move on to a broader topic, that is, from plants to bees. 

3. Background.  

The background is general facts about your problem, the context of what you will argue. 

In the case of plants and bees, the background is that bees pollinate about 80% of all flowering plants on Earth, the scale which is impossible to achieve by artificial means. So if bees go instinct, so will plant, and hence, we will face food shortage. From this point, you can narrow down in many directions, including details on how bees contribute to food growing, why they disappear, or what can be done to prevent this extinction. 

So generally, you provide a larger picture, how something has a role in the world, and for humans in particular, and from that point, you go to a narrower talk. Just remember, an intro is a brief section, so write a couple of sentences and move on. Details will come in the body of the text. 

4. Narrowing Down Towards The Thesis.  

Here you explain what you worry about in particular. Namely, why bees disappear, what they do for the environment, or what efforts are made to prevent their disappearance. From this narrow issue, you will easily transfer to your thesis. 

So far, the question of how to start a persuasive essay does not look that complex.

5. Introducing A Thesis.  

A thesis is your paper in a nutshell. Aim for this effect while writing it. The thesis is your standpoint on persuasion and essential arguments for it. Usually, a thesis contains 2-3, maximum of four specific pints that will be explained and proved throughout the paper. 

For our plants and bee’s business, a persuasive and debatable thesis can be like this (one of the variants):  

Bees do not disappear naturally, as part of the evolutionary process; to the contrary, they are under threat of complete extinction because of excessive use of pesticides, insecticides, destruction of their habitats, and presence of parasites. 

From this thesis, you can already see four main ideas of your persuasion: bees die from anthropological causes, and these causes are chemicals, parasites, and loss of feeding ground. 

6. Write Academically, Avoid Primitive Formulations, And Thinking.  

When you write, do not make the widespread mistake in the quest how to start a persuasive essay. You write for a reader, not for a professor. Imagine that you write for a reputable magazine or national newspaper. Will you write the passage ‘This paper will argue about…’ or will you look for more professional and interesting expressions?  

‘This paper will argue about’ basically means that you are not interested in what you say, the paper is a dreaded task to compete and you do not care how emotional and persuasive its content is. 

When you talk about issues themselves, not about ‘paper,’ you show that you are passionate about the matter at hand. You care about bees, you speak up for them, your plea to your fellow humans to save them, to care, to change their habits to save the species. So, leave aside the school-like sentences ‘this paper will show,’ the content you present should show, not the boring pointing sentence. 

Wrong approach: This paper will show how anthological factors destroy bees and what these factors are.  Right approach: It is anthropological impact that destroys the bee species, and specific contributing factors are excessive use of pesticides, insecticides, destruction of their habitats and presence of parasites.
Wrong approach: This essay will argue that bees are essential for making food and that they should be protected.  Right approach: Bees are the crucial link in the chain of growing food plants, they pollinate the majority of flowering species, and if they are not carefully protected, we may well face the global famine.  

7. Keep The Introduction Short.  

With all these tips on how to start a persuasive essay, it is easy to write the introduction as long as the paper itself. That’s a mistake. The intro needs to be short, tackling the broader and narrower context only fleetingly, so give some focus to the thesis and move to write the body of the paper. Only facts, only strong arguments, and specific points in the thesis. Nothing else for the intro. 

8. Stick To Persuasion Goal.  

Your intro should already do the work of persuasion. Every sentence you write should persuade. This is why begin with picking a topic that is debatable (it has several viewpoints on the matter) rather than universally agreed upon. So you will pick a certain side and stick with it – and make readers stick with it, too.

Do not appeal to ‘common sense’ or ‘universal knowledge’ – there isn’t one. For everyone, the truth is different. Rather, mention specific facts, arguments, and select them to support your standpoint. The more specific and accurate you are, the easier to persuade the readers that you are right. 

9. Friendly Reminder: Do Not Write The Intro First, Write The Body And Then Compile The Intro Using The Most Interesting Ideas From The Text.  

Yes, we said it at the beginning, and we will repeat it now: write the intro after writing the body of the paper. Collect the key arguments, see what line of reasoning you applied in the text, and then write the intro that prompts this line of reasoning. You will see how much faster and simpler the work will go. 

Cheat-Sheet Of How To Start A Persuasive Essay

Let’s recap all that we’ve learned in the condensed form. 

  1. Explore your topic.
  2. Decide upon a smart hook. 
  3. Give a broader context. 
  4. Narrow down to a more specific context. 
  5. Bring in the thesis. 
  6. Keep the introduction short. 
  7. Write academically and professionally. 
  8. Stick to the persuasion goal. 
  9. Write into last, not the first. 

If you are still unsure how to start a persuasive essay properly, trust our experts to write it for you, they will create a flawless introduction to the equally flawless paper. 

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