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How to Write an Opening Statement for an Essay

by Daniel Ketchum, Demand Media

    An opening statement helps to set the tone for your overall essay. It also gives the reader a sense of the direction you will be taking in your essay. Essay writing is different from most other types of writing you will be required to write in school and college. When an instructor assigns an essay, he is asking for your personal perspective on a particular subject.

    Step 1

    Develop an outline for your overall essay. Developing an outline is an important step in bringing together your ideas on a subject and making sure that you cover the topic as thoroughly as possible. This outline will help you formulate your opening statement, as well as the body of your essay, since most opening statements summarize or at least foreshadow the contents of the essay. For example, if your essay is about the development of the Roman legions, the topic headings you use in the outline can also be used as the core of your opening statement.

    Step 2

    Develop the thesis for your opening statement, one that will help to encapsulate the theme of your essay for the reader. The opening statement should make clear what the essay is about and what approach you are going to take. You can also give, in a general way, you opinion on the subject, while leaving the details to the body of the text.

    Step 3

    Think outside the box and get creative with your opening statement. One of the main purposes of an opening statement is to grab the reader's attention. For instance, if you are writing an essay in a history or social science class against war or materialism, you might want to quote a line from a John Lennon song like “Imagine,” or start with a quote from Gandhi.

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    About the Author

    Daniel Ketchum holds a Bachelor of Arts from East Carolina University where he also attended graduate school. Later, he taught history and humanities. Ketchum is experienced in 2D and 3D graphic programs, including Photoshop, Poser and Hexagon and primarily writes on these topics. He is a contributor to sites like Renderosity and Animotions.

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