Great Beginnings for Essays

Great Beginnings for Essays

Great Beginnings for EssaysSome Choices for You

“The experienced writer realizes that many readers would rather do almost anyting than make a commitment to read….” -- Rosa & Escholz, Models for Writers, 2007.

An anecdote

  • Draw from current news events, history, personal experience.
  • For example, write a story of your encounter with a deer on the highway if your topic is safe driving

An analogy or comparison

  • Consider comparing your topic to something else, something quite unrelated (a metaphor).
  • For example, compare writing an essay to building a stone wall or constructing a bridge.

A dialogue or quotation

  • The quote or dialogue can illustrate an attitude or a point in your essay.
  • For example, write a recent dialogue between you and your friend about the stresses you face and use it to work into an essay about stress.

Facts or Statistics

  • A brief and startling statistic or fact can engage your readers in the topic.
  • For example, “Did you know that Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born on the same day – February 12, 1809. These two men became legendary figures for very different reasons.”

Irony or Humor

  • Humor signals entertainment; irony signals thought.
  • For example, Stephen King used an ironic twist on the legend of Hansel and Gretel in his essay, “Now You Take ‘Bambi’ or ‘Snow White’ – That’s Scary!”

A Short Generalization

  • Use these sparingly, but they can be effective.
  • For example, “E. B. White once observed that it was a miracle that New York worked at all.”

A Startling Claim

  • Again, use sparingly.
  • For example, “Gore Vidal, an influential 20th Century American author, once said that legalization of drugs would mean the end of drug addiction in the United States.”

Rhetorical Questions

  • Rhetorical questions encourage theoretical thinking.
  • For example, “Just how much do we owe our parents?” is a rhetorical question.

Beginnings to AVOID

The apology

I am a student and I do not consider myself an expert on cheating, but I think sharing MP3 downloads should be legal.

The complaint

I’d rather write about something more significant, but here goes….

A dictionary definition

Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines the verb to snore as follows: “to breathe during sleep with a rough hoarse noise due to vibration of the soft palate.”

Reference to your title

As you can see from the title of my essay, I’m going to write about stem cell research.