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Beginning an Informative Essay

by Melissa Nicholas

When you write an informative essay, your goal is to provide readers with information on a particular topic. An effective introductory paragraph of an informative essay includes a hook, sentences that contain background information and a thesis statement. Writing an effective beginning for your informative essay will improve your chances of accomplishing your goal of providing your readers with pertinent information on your topic.

The Hook

Begin your informative essay by writing a strong hook that grabs your readers’ attention. Use a strong quote, an extraordinary fact or an evocative question as possible strategies. Other tactics include using a statistic or an anecdote. Avoid using definitions or clichés as your hook; these hook tactics are overused and could create the opposite effect of your intended purpose of reeling your readers into your essay.

Background Information

Provide your readers with general background information on your topic. For example, if your informative essay is on exercise, you could include several sentences explaining the impact that a sedentary lifestyle could have on a person's overall health.

Thesis Statement

Follow the background information with a thesis statement. The thesis statement -- also referred to as the thesis sentence or simply the thesis -- provides the focus or central idea of your paper. A solid thesis statement gives readers a good idea of what to expect in your essay and works to compel your readers to continue. You can place your thesis statement in the center of your introductory paragraph or make it the last sentence of the paragraph. Because you are writing an informative essay, you should not include your opinion of the topic in your thesis statement as you might with other types of essays.

Proofreading

Reread the beginning of your essay several times to ensure you have written a hook that gets your readers’ attention. Double check to make sure your paragraph contains background information that is relevant to your topic, and that your thesis statement conveys the central idea of your essay. Doing so can put you on the path to crafting an essay that your readers will consider informative and well-worth their time.

Tips

Your instructor will explain his expectations for what you should include in the beginning of your informative essay. If your instructor provides a rubric, review it repeatedly to be sure you're including all required elements. If after doing so you still feel unclear of your instructor’s expectations, discuss your concerns with him at his earliest convenience.

About the Author

Based in Atlanta, Melissa Nicholas has been writing features articles since 1995. She was a features writer and columnist for “The Gainesville Times” newspaper and “The Island Packet” newspaper. During that time, she received Associated Press awards for features writing and for newspaper page design.

Photo Credits

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