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How to Write a Good First Line of an Essay

How to Write a Good First Line of an Essay

Have you ever gotten hooked by the first line of a novel only to enter a lucid dream and wake up on page 100? What about hitting play on a film that you weren’t so sure about, to end up hypnotized on the couch for two hours after witnessing the first scene? This effect that H.G. Wells illustrates in the passage quoted above shows you the true power of an excellent introduction- one that grasps the audience and never lets them go. Read on to learn how to start an essay with a bang!

H. G. Wells quote about essays

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How to Create a Good First Line

Never underestimate the power of the punch line. The first sentence weaves into the very fabric of your essay paper and creates forward momentum that propels the reader to venture forth into unexplored territory. As you will discover, acknowledging the importance of the first sentence and getting creative will guarantee that the reader will stick around to learn more.

Here are a few tips and strategies that will aid you in crafting an unforgettable opener:

The Power of Curiosity

“You Won’t Believe What Heath Ledger Did To Prepare For His Role As The Joker.” Fan of comic book movies or not - there is a strong chance that this headline peaked your interest and made you want to read the article. This doesn’t go to say that your opener should read like a clickbait headline. In applying the “Curiosity” strategy, you simply want to replicate the effect of making your audience curious to learn more. The media has never underestimated the power of curiosity. In fact, is used as an editorial weapon. News publications, “fun-fact” media, movies, books, and advertisements can inspire you to inspire others.

Factual Information

Scientists discovered that banging your head against a wall burns 150 calories per hour. Don’t say you aren’t interested in learning how they figured that one out.

What if you had to write a problem/solution essay tackling the issue of bribery amongst professors in your university? You can start with: “The professors in California State University are corrupt and someone needs to do something about it.” But that doesn’t sound very convincing. It’s almost as if you’re about to read the opinions of an angry grandpa.

What about this one: “A 2017 Student Government survey revealed that 40% of California State University professors had taken bribes from students because of low wages.” This opener works better because it takes on a serious tone and presents a statistic, convincing the reader that the problem is real. If your target audience consists of university students in the U.S., this kind of opening line is sure to grab their attention.

Delay Identifying Your Subject

Another way to get your audience hooked is to imply the narrative strategy of delay to build up momentum until you identify your subject. If executed correctly it can have a powerful eye-opening impact on your readers. There are many ways you can play around with this strategy. For example, if you’re writing an essay about tax evasion, you can briefly illustrate the process of how corrupt businesspeople do it, before leading into your thesis statement. Picture a piece that starts off like a fast-paced crime-thriller film. If you think that the topic of your paper is not so energetic, you can still get creative and successfully implement this strategy. Consider the example below:

Lee Zacharis Quote

Keep in mind that this strategy can easily backfire if you stretch it for too long. Imagine the iconic opening credits to Star Wars rolling for over two minutes, creating such a long delay that it becomes frustrating and humorously absurd.


The passage by H.G. Wells used in this article summarizes, illustrates, and embodies what an excellent paper introduction must do. It’s so perfect that the article could have just ended there and left you thinking. If you feel like a specific quote will blow your readers’ minds, then, by all means, use it. Remember that the quote has to be visibly relevant to your topic. Otherwise, you might just confuse your reader.

Ask a Question

Asking a rhetorical question will prompt your reader to think. Posing a simple question relevant to your paper can be a great lead-up to your thesis (the answer). There are many examples available, as starting off with a question is quite a standard attention-grabbing technique. Some ‘literary agents’ even believe that this method is cheesy and overused. Feel free to get creative and prove them wrong.

Anecdote/ Humor

Imagine a time long forgotten, before the dawn of the Internet, when humans had to travel to a store to buy something.

This humorous opener serves as an introduction to a broad topic discussing how the internet changed shopping. Presented in a semi-formal and widely accessible manner, just like a supermarket, the writer has the opportunity to take you on a journey into the past, shed light on the present, and blast off into the future, where people don’t even need to leave the house to buy groceries. The essay leaves you informed and inspired.

Plenty essays open with some joke, riddle, or humorous quotation related to the topic. Not only can it ease the tension of reading a lengthy piece, but it can also place your audience in the environment where you want them to be.

Need Help??

So you have read the article and still can not come up with a tasty punchline? Do not worry, for we are not all meant to be Mini-Shakespeareans. EssayPro has custom essay writers that have been creating these phrases for years! Our experts have been trained by some of the best college professors around and know what it takes to interest the reader! Simply live chat with one of these top-tier professionals and they will simplify the process for you by coming up with something unique and creative!

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