How to Write an Explanatory Essay Introduction + Sample

One of the things that most students struggle with when writing their expository essay is the introduction. While it is the easiest thing for the reader to read, it is the hardest thing for the writer to write. If you are one of such students struggling with writing an introduction for their expository essay, then continue reading. In this article, you will be getting tips on how to perfectly write an introduction for your expository essay.

How to Write an Explanatory Essay Introduction

When writing an expository essay introduction, you need to consider three things. These are the hook, the background information, and the central statement. Now, the hook is what draws your reader’s attention to the essay. This could be a funny quote, a sarcastic statement, or a controversial question. When writing the hook, think like this:

“If I were the reader, would I read this essay judging by this introduction?”

If you are unsure of what your answer will be, then it is better to ask a friend or an expert’s opinion. You can then use that to judge.

After the hook, the next thing is to write background information for your topic. This background information is usually something new that your audience has not read. This will help them understand the reason why you choose your topic. Finally, add your central statement or argument to your introduction. Here, ask yourself, “What is the objective of this essay? Is it to agree with a certain point of view or to argue against it?” When you can successfully answer these questions, it becomes easier for you to develop a central argument.

Remember, when reading your introduction, your reader should have a clear understanding of what to expect in your essay as a whole. So, make sure your introduction contains these three important things.

Tips to Writing an Explanatory Essay Introduction

  1. Use Clear Language

When writing your introduction, use clear words that your readers can understand. Try as much as possible to avoid ambiguous terms or sentences with different ideas in the same paragraphs. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes, if you were them, would you understand?

Now, does this mean you should only use simple everyday English? No, you will need to also use advanced terms especially if it is an academic essay.

Make sure you break down your ideas in a language that the audience understands and can easily recollect if told to do so.

  1. Reference Relevant Sources

When writing an expository essay, one of the instructions that usually come with it is that you cite your sources. This is the standard in the world of academics as your lecturers expect you to have consulted previously published sources during your research. So, make sure you cite sources where you got your information from in your expository essay introduction. You can even use a quote from a source as your hook and then present a counter opinion or one that is in agreement.

Now, bear this in mind when selecting sources for your essay:

You should not use every source that has relevant information to your essay; only use academic sources. In the academic world, random blogs and websites do not count as credible sources of information so you should avoid them.

Now, when citing your source, write the author’s surname and the publication year before the information. For example, “John (2021) states that all humans should be open to learning.”

  1. Use Transition Words

When writing your expository essay introduction examples, make sure you use transition words. This will establish the flow of your thoughts and ideas. For example, if you wrote,

“I am a girl. I love to dance. I enjoy spending time with my family more. I believe in the company of loved ones.”

What did you notice about this paragraph? You will see that there is no proper transition and everything just reads like a poem or a seven-year-old’s English composition.

Now, see this example,

“I am a girl and I love to dance. However, I enjoy spending time with my family more. This is because I believe in the company of loved ones.”

Do you now see how you have successfully shown a flow of thoughts and ideas? Examples of translation words are: however, still, so, because, on the other hand, etc.

  1. Write Your Expository Essay Introduction Last

This may seem strange to you but it is actually the wise thing to do. You cannot know how to write an introduction for your expository essay if you have not written the body paragraphs first. When you write your body paragraphs first, you will not struggle with how to write your expository essay introduction examples.

Explanatory Essay Sample

Explanatory Essay: “Exhalation”

The short story “Exhalation” traces the figure who is a machine in the context of a science fiction time period. He is a scientists, and the story is a record of his journal entries. The narrative focuses on a particular issue of time and the reading of clocks. However, these are not the most important themes in the story. Rather, I think that investigation and enlightenment constitute the major themes of Chiang’s story.

In the first place, this is reflected in the character himself. He is a scientist. What do scientists rely on? What characterizes them? They seek solutions to problems, assessing the situation and trying to solve it. When they solve a problem, they do so through new knowledge and discovery. These processes might by summarized in two words: investigation and enlightenment.

In addition to being embodied in the character himself, the journal records reveal a similar focus throughout the story. The character recounts his first encounter with the problem. So he writes (Chiang 2008), “It was at one of the filling stations that I first heard the rumors that prompted my investigation and led to my eventual enlightenment.” Here the two themes appear, at the outset of the story’s problem, which I contend drives a narrative. Thus based on their location and plain nature, these themes seem central to the short story. However, in addition to explicit comments, the author also reveals these themes in other language.

The theme of investigation appears in the scientist’s language. He describes his approach to the problem as it is the scientific method. He recounts (Chiang 2008), “I did not subscribe to this theory, known as the inscription hypothesis, for the simple reason that if all our experiences are in fact recorded, why is it that our memories are incomplete?” The focus of this passage is not so much on what it says in plain meaning but what it represents. The question and contemplation, the language of hypothesis and theory all support the idea of investigation. He is moving and looking for something, working his way through the problem.

In similar fashion, he speaks of enlightenment. A lot of the story recounts his dismantling and operation on his own machine body. Thus, one scene notes a key point in the process (Chiang 2008): “Only my faceplate remained, but it was locked into a restraining bracket, and I could not see its inner surface from the vantage point of my periscope; what I saw exposed was my own brain.” This passage is all about seeing something new. He views his own brain after taking off some parts. It represents a form of enlightenment. In a way, the scientists is undergoing self discovery.

On of the final parts of the story addresses the reader more directly. Here the scientists again captures both themes in a more reflective manner. He writes (Chiang 2008), “I hope you are not saddened by that awareness. I hope that your expedition was more than a search for other universes to use as reservoirs. I hope that you were motivated by a desire for knowledge, a yearning to see what can arise from a universe’s exhalation.” The language of “expedition” and “search” resemble the investigation theme. While the “knowledge” and “awareness” reflect the idea of enlightenment. Thus from beginning to end, the short story threads the themes of investigation and enlightenment. These appear in plain language, in more hidden words, at key points in the story, and with satisfying explanatory power. In all, the story is about investigation and enlightenment.

Works Cited

Chiang, Ted. “Exhalation.” 2008.


Writing an introduction for your expository essay can be as easy as possible. All you have to do is follow the tips in this article and you will write a good expository essay intro.