Starting an essay can be the hardest part, but once you start writing, often you'll find that your ideas and your arguments flow smoothly. When starting an essay, the most important thing to keep in mind is to begin your essay with something that captures the reader's attention immediately and makes them want to genuinely continue reading your essay.

Use a Quote

Using a relevant quote is a suitable way to begin your essay. If you're writing an essay on a novel or play, you could quote a significant moment in the text that relates to your thesis in some way. Alternatively, you could quote a famous text that's not the basis for your essay which has relevance nonetheless. For a historical essay, you could quote a famous politician, world or historical leader. Regardless of where your quote comes from, it should not be something that is generally familiar to most people, such as the "to be or not to be" question posed in Shakespeare's "Hamlet." The reason for this is because it's hard to capture a reader's attention with something they have heard quite often, since the quote would seem somewhat trite.


An anecdote is a very suitable way to being an essay, as it should tell the reader some interesting information that he was not aware of earlier. For example, for a paper on literature or history you could tell Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" or quote F. Scott Fitzgerald's famous remark to Hemingway about the rich. The key of an anecdote is that it should do more than just amuse and interest the reader, it should directly connect to the thesis that you seek prove. You should be able to use a good anecdote as a springboard leading you to your main argument, regardless of whether or not the anecdote agrees or disagrees with your thesis.

Make a Bold Statement

Making a bold statement is a suitable tactic for someone who has a very clearly defined thesis, knows exactly how she will argue for her thesis and most importantly, feels very confident. A bold statement opening the first paragraph of your essay is wise idea, as it will definitely grab the attention of the reader; however, you must absolutely make sure that your arguments and supporting paragraphs maintain your statement. Otherwise, you're likely to annoy your reader. For example, you could disagree completely with the point of view posed by the essay question or discount a commonly held belief about a character in a novel or play.