9 Words to Start an Essay Introduction

Common mistakes professors see when they read their students’ essay introduction turn good papers to boring junk. Avoid the following in your essay introduction:

  • Definitions (unless required)
  • Conjunctions such as because, by virtue of, but, therefore, etc.
  • Numerical numbers (totally illegal)

We compiled a list of interesting words to start an essay introduction. These phrases work well with most types of essays.

Words to Start an Essay Introduction

1. Author’s name or views

You can make the name of an author the first word in your essay introduction. Sharing the views of an author sets up your essay for many things. The reader will want to know whether you support them or have a contrary opinion.


Einstein often reiterated that experiments can prove theories, but experiments don’t give birth to theories.

Whatever author you pick, make sure that their field is related to the subject of your essay.

Related Article: How to Write the Best Introduction Paragraph

2. Contrasting words

These are words used to communicate differences, disagreements, or discrepancies. They help grab attention by linking more items in your essay introduction.

Some examples of contrasting words to start an essay with include:

  • While
  • Compared to
  • Rather than
  • Despite

Not all contrasting words will be ideal. Be cautious and only use what suits your paper.

3. Humor

Humor at the beginning of an essay rarely goes wrong if it is relevant.

Assuming you’re writing an essay about climate change, consider the example jokes below as the starting words.


  • Three thongs and you’re dressed!
  • What if it’s a big hoax and we create a better world for nothing?
  • No more pesky weeds. In fact, no more pesky plants.

Making the reader smile a bit at the start of a sentence can hook them for a few extra minutes.

4. Proverbs

The next set of introduction words for essays are proverbs.


They say blood is thicker than water but since the day my uncle sent me to the local bar, things have never remained the same.

5. A question

A question is a straightforward strategy to introduce any type of essay. When starting with a question, you raise the reader’s curiosity by up to 30% more than a plain old approach.


What on Earth was I thinking? The road was open and when the traffic light turned red, not even a superhero would have prevented it. My mother was yelling from the back seat…

6. Acknowledgement phrases

These are words that acknowledge reservations. Instead of stating a fact in a boring manner such as “Malaria kills millions of children,” you could add a little more information while still acknowledging the existing facts


Despite understanding that malaria kills more children than bacterial infections, most governments continue to focus on the wrong health priority areas.

This approach works well for introducing essays in technical fields such as healthcare, engineering, and business.

7. Exemplifying words

The words you can use here include phrases such as:

  • to give an illustration
  • a case example
  • as an example, etc

Good essays always present many examples, and these can come in the first paragraph. You only need to avoid using the words multiple times in the paper.


Quotes can also be used in the essay introduction. Only use one in the first paragraph.

Let’s consider an essay on gun violence and a quote from Martin Luther Jr.


In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Always remember that the quote should add evidence early in the essay.

It’s also okay to begin your introduction with “according to” just before quoting.

According to recent statistics by CDC, diabetes is the leading cause of mortality among overweight individuals.

9. Words that Signify importance

When seeking to demonstrate that a point is particularly important, use words that highlight it as such. These words could include:

  • significantly
  • notably,
  • importantly, etc

There is no harm in using them at the beginning of a paragraph or within the first line.

Actual figures are notably absent from Scholar A’s analysis.

A sentence can still begin with the word ‘notably’ or ‘importantly’ but maintaining good grammar is necessary.