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What are the best words to start a paragraph in an essay?

Oct 2, 2020


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The beginning or introduction is perhaps the most important part of any essay. The way we start writing will define the overall quality of our work. If we are able to capture our readers’ attention from the very start, we can very much expect the whole essay to be read with interest and attention. It is a good practice to start with the main point or the main argument of our work, provided that we can make it short and catchy.  

One other important advice would be to always consider your reader’s perspective and keep in mind who your main target audience is. If you are writing an admissions essay to a college and there is an admissions committee assessing it, think of how many essays these people have to check on a daily bases and begin your story in a way that will positively distinguish you from hundreds of other applicants.

However, not only the introductory paragraph but also all other paragraphs are important. Writing essays is very much like telling a story. It is in our best interest if our story runs smoothly, therefore each paragraph’s beginning should link smoothly to the previous paragraph. Link phrases or transition phrases are the best options here. Below are some examples:

  • You want to ensure a good sequence and order: at first, at second, third.. then, finally, next, etc.  
  • You want to give an example: to illustrate, for instance, for example, specifically, etc.
  • To use contrast/exception: on the other hand, but, however, on the contrary, yet, nonetheless, on the one hand, etc.
  • To show similarity: in the same way, likewise, similarly, also, etc.
  • Want to give additional evidence: also, besides, furthermore, in addition, as well, moreover… 

Allow enough time and think over the words and phrases you want to use at the beginning of every paragraph to make your story run smoothly and to keep your reader fully engaged all the way through to the end. 

Each of your paragraphs typically represents a separate theme or a story within a bigger story (your entire writing). Typically you unfold this theme using several sentences. It is no less important to think of the correct order of these sentences and which one should come first. So take time to rethink the structure and toss the sentences within your paragraph in order to select the best candidate to lead the way your story goes. 

Nonetheless, no matter how smooth your essay is (by use of transition phrases and good structure), often it is a good idea to make occasional extra emphases somewhere in the middle paragraphs.

  • You should consider using these words and phrases: indeed, in fact, of course, even, truly, certainly, especially, granted, etc.

One last piece of advice would be to avoid using too long sentences at the beginning of each paragraph. Especially if it is a long paragraph. You do not want your reader to start reading between the lines or stop reading till the end of your sentences and in the worst-case begin to start guessing what you were trying to say. Long story short, as the famous idiom says. So keep it crisp and clear and always keep in mind your target audience to select the most appropriate opening words, style, and content of your essay paragraphs.    

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