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5 Types of Attention Getters in Essays

by Nicole Palmby, Demand Media

    Why are essays so boring? Many people don't like to read essays because they aren't engaging. A lot of essays are full of dry facts and statistics, and people can't always relate to them. One way to help engage readers and make them want to read your essay is with a strong attention-getter. An attention-getter is at the beginning of your introductory paragraph. They're used to draw your reader in, and get him to want to keep reading.

    Anecdote

    An anecdote is a story that relates to your essay in some way. By starting your essay with an anecdote, you engage the reader on an emotional level by drawing her into your essay through the story. Your reader will try to relate to the story, which means she will also try to relate to your essay. If your reader can relate to your essay, she is more likely to enjoy it.

    Question

    Using a question as an attention-getter engages your reader and gets him thinking. Don't ask a “yes” or “no” question, because the reader can answer the question and won't have the need to read further. Ask a question that gets your reader thinking about the topic. If your essay explains something, you can ask a “why” question to lead into your thesis. Your reader will be thinking about the “why,” and your essay will give him the answer.

    Quotation

    Using a quote as an attention-getter can lend credibility to your essay. Find a quote by an expert in the field your essay is about and use it to support your thesis. This will show that you've done research for your essay, and that experts support the point your essay is making. A quote can also capture what you want to convey eloquently. Usually quotes become famous because they're truthful, and are written in a way that moves or speaks to people. You can use that emotional factor to start your essay off strongly.

    Humor

    Starting your essay off with a joke can engage your reader and put him in a positive mindset for reading your essay. This can be especially effective if your essay covers a lighthearted topic. It will keep your reader from taking your essay too seriously. Be careful not to use a joke that might be offensive to readers. Good, clean humor is what works best for essays.

    Shocking Statistic

    A shocking statistic is a factual statistic that deals with your essay topic and is surprising to your reader. Often, it will be a statistic that most people don't know, and will make them think about your essay topic in a new way. Shocking statistics can be effective in persuasive essays when readers may not have thought about all aspects of one side of the argument. They can also be very effective in informative essays or essays with a lot of technical information.

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    About the Author

    Nicole Palmby began writing professionally in 2007. She has written for MacMurray College and has experience writing about education, sewing and crafts, health care and religious topics. Palmby holds a Bachelor of Science in English (creative writing) from MacMurray College.

    Photo Credits

    • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

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