How to Start an Argumentative Essay: Tips For The Introduction

August 10, 2023

start argumentative essay

The opening paragraph can make or break your argumentative essay.

If you write it well, you'll not only pique the interest of your reader but also get them to read the following subsequent paragraphs. 

If you write it randomly, you’ll lose the reader even before the get to the thesis statement.

If you think about it, professors often read an argument's title and its opening statement before they can look at your actual arguments.

Depending on how you frame the introduction, they may read all the way to the bottom of the page or not bother to read the essay at all.

So what’s the best way to start an argumentative essay to make it engaging for the reader? And what should you avoid?

Introduction to an Argumentative Essay

The introduction isn’t a space to provide an analysis of your arguments.

Instead, its purpose is to lay a foundation that introduces the topic and provides a clear roadmap for the rest of the assignment.

A good introduction must be clear, concise, and direct to the point.

In other words, if a word or phrase doesn’t add any value to the introductory paragraph, do away with it. A good introduction should serve its purpose without the filler information.

How to Start an Argumentative Essay

The introduction of an argumentative essay is almost synonymous to the opening statement in a trial.

Just like an attorney, you have to present your claim, provide background information, and present your primary argument.

While you’re at it, you have to do so in both intellectual and logical manner.

1. Start Your Argumentative Essay with Good a Hook

The introductions to many argumentative essays are seriously boring to read. Either they’re too general or they don’t go straight to the point, as a good intro should.

To be clear, general and randomly written introductions won’t make your essay click with your reader. So you should avoid this.

Remember that even if you’re not the most creative student  when it comes to working on an argumentative essay in your class, you have to start the assignment with an impactful introduction for it to attract eyeballs. 

And if your opening sentence can grab the attention of your reader on the spot, they’ll definitely read the second, the third, and eventually all the way to the last sentence.

The question is:

How do you write a good hook for your argumentative essay?

  1. 1
    Ask a rhetorical question that relates to the title of the argument
  2. 2
    Write one or two sentences that make assertive claims about the arguments you’re about to make in the essay
  3. 3
    Start with facts or statistics, provided they revolve around the central theme of the essay and come from credible sources
  4. 4
    Start with a story that’s relevant to the topic in question, but make sure to keep it short and direct to the point.
  5. 5
    You can start the essay with a quote but only if it’s absolutely necessary

If you can start the opening paragraph like this, you should be able to grab the attention of the reader and, even more importantly, arouse their interest to keep reading the essay.

2. State the Background Information

It’s important to include the background information in the introduction of your argumentative essay for two reasons.

First, it makes it easy for your reader to understand the issue that you’re about to present.

Second, it provides you with a solid context that you can use to explain and argue your points.

3. State the Thesis Statement

An essay introduction that doesn’t feature a thesis statement to an argument is straight out flat and 100% irrelevant.

Without it, it’s hard for a reader to understand the primary point that you’re trying to make.

When it comes to writing the thesis for the essay, it’s best to take a position on a particular issue, one in which a reader can easily argue against.

In other words, the thesis of an argumentative essay cannot be a fact. And you’ll use the rest of the essay to provide arguments and evidence that support the thesis statement.

What Not to Write In the Introduction

Don’t Present Any Argument

The last mistake you want to make is to present your argument(s) in the introduction.

Doing so makes the paper hard to read, not to mention give your readers a reason to not continue reading the essay.

Keep in mind that the goal of the introduction is to provide a clear roadmap for the essay.

By laying a good foundation, it should be easy for your reader to know what to expect from the essay beforehand.

Avoid Lengthy Introductions

There’s nothing worse about an introductions than length. It’s easy to get bogged down to adding tons of words to fill up this section.

However, chances are you’re more likely to sound boring and less interesting.

When it comes to length, short and precise is better. In fact, short introductions are easy to read.

Add to this the one or two sentences for the thesis statement, and what you have is a killer introduction that will get your audience reading.

Don’t Start the Introduction with a Quote

There’s nothing wrong with starting an essay with a quote.

However, we don’t recommend writing a quotation in the introduction of an argumentative essay unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Quotes don’t reflect your own thoughts about a topic and can limit your writing and arguing prowess as far as the topic in question is concerned.

Stick to a strong hook instead, making sure you present a killer opening statement that will make your reader(s) wanting to read more.


Now that you know how to start an argumentative essay the right way, it shouldn’t be hard for you to start and complete the assignment on your own.

If you need help to write an argumentative essay, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Our professional writer have years of experience in essay writing, which means we can help you to write essays that leave your readers agreeing with you more than they’d like to oppose your point of view in a written argument. 

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

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