How to Start a Short Essay — an Effective Guide

A short essay doesn’t mean a less complicated writing process. Like regular essays, a short essay composes of the introduction, body, and conclusion.

The introduction provides context for the reader and clarifies the essay’s main argument. It is an essential part of the essay because it sets the tone of the entire piece. This guide on how to start short essay will teach you to write a gripping opening that keeps your reader hooked until the end. 

A short essay is a piece of academic writing that answers a question on course content. Short essays are 200 to 750 words long, depending on the instructor’s or course’s guidelines.

What Is a Short Essay?

A short essay is an academic writing assignment that is shorter in length than a typical research paper. It is between 200-750 words, depending on the professor’s guidelines. But just like other essays, a short essay can be narrative, expository, descriptive, or argumentative.

Such essays aim to teach students how to express their thoughts and opinions in a short form. Short essays present arguments, opinions, facts, and statistics, avoiding cliché phrases, vague information, and slang.

A short essay contains three main parts: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. The introduction presents the topic and thesis and aims to grab the readers’ attention. Body of the essay presents the arguments and strengthens the ideas of the thesis. The conclusion draws the whole essay to a close and leaves the readers with a general understanding.

How to Start Short Essay

A short essay begins with an introduction that describes the topic and provides a brief overview of what the paper is about. The introduction composes of three essential parts, discussed below.

1. the Hook

A hook is a brief attention-grabbing statement that lures the reader into the essay and makes him/her want to read more. A hook creates interest and curiosity. Giving the paper a good start is one of the simplest ways to grab readers’ attention.

Begin your short essay with a statement that grabs the reader’s attention. You could do this in any of the following ways:

  • Use a quote by a famous person.
  • Begin with a thought-provoking rhetorical question
  • State a shocking or amusing fact.
  • Present a personal anecdote.
  • State an unexpected statistical fact.
  • Describe the essay’s theme without revealing the arguments.

2. the Background

Now that you’ve grabbed the reader’s attention, provide more detail about the essay’s subject. Provide enough information to help the reader understand what the essay is about. Remember, you are limited to a specified word count, so you’ll have to make your background information concise.

3. the Thesis Statement

The thesis statement conveys the central idea of the essay. A short essay introduction must end with a thesis; a precise statement that summarizes the essay’s main points. It becomes easier to develop your paper with a clear thesis statement in place. 

person holding on red pen while writing on book
Photo by lilartsy on Unsplash


A strong introduction sets the tone for an excellent paper. Begin the introduction of your short essay with a hook that lures the reader in and holds their interest. Present background information to give the reader a better understanding of the topic. End the introductory paragraph with the thesis, a summary of the essay’s essence.

A complicated or confusing introduction will make your paper appear weak and uninteresting, so keep it brief yet captivating. This guide on how to start short essay will help you learn how to write a great short essay introduction.

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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