The introductory paragraph of any paper, long or short, should start with a sentence that piques the interest of your readers.
In a typical essay, that first sentence leads into two or three sentences that provide details about your subject or your process. All of these sentences build up to your thesis statement.
The thesis statement is the subject of much instruction and training. The entirety of your paper hangs on that sentence. But its function is to be informative and direct.
This means it’s not normally very exciting.
Your First Sentence
To get your paper off to a great start, you should try to have a first sentence that engages your reader. Think of your first sentence as a hook that draws your reader in. It is your big chance to be so clever that your reader can’t stop.
As you researched your topic, you probably discovered many interesting anecdotes, quotes, or trivial facts. This is exactly the sort of thing you should use for an engaging introduction.
Consider these ideas for creating a strong beginning.
Surprising fact: The pentagon has twice as many bathrooms as are necessary. The famous government building was constructed in the 1940s, when segregation laws required that separate bathrooms be installed for people of African descent. This building isn’t the only American icon that harkens back to this embarrassing and hurtful time in our history. Across the United States there are many examples of leftover laws and customs that reflect the racism that once permeated American society.
Humor: When my older brother substituted fresh eggs for our hard-boiled Easter eggs, he didn’t realize our father would take the first crack at hiding them. My brother’s holiday ended early that particular day in...