Can you Start an Essay with a Quote: A Guide How to do it

writing essay

an Essay with A Quote?

Students must produce outstanding essays to reach their academic expectations. What you should note is that the strategy or method you use to introduce your essay plays an imperative role in determining your essay score.

How you start your essay will tell the reader whether they should continue reading it or not. It sets the tone for the entire essay. It acts as the first impression you give to the readers about the essay.  

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Importance of Good Essay Starters

In our guide on the steps to write good essays, we explained that having a good introduction is key to capturing the attention of the reader. In this section, we will give reasons why this is important.

Good essay starters can arouse the curiosity or interest of the reader to continue reading your paper to the end. The importance of good essay starters includes:

1. Attention-grabbing

Attention-grabbing can be regarded as the greatest importance of good essay starters. This is because all other reasons for having a good essay starter trickle down to one thing; attention-grabbing. 

When you have written an essay and you submit it to your instructor for grading, you should be aware that they have to read the entire essay to determine your score.

Furthermore, the instructor has to also read your classmates’ essays so that they can grade their essays. What this means is that your instructor is busy and you should give them a good reason to read your essay in its entirety. 

Imagine you are required to write an essay to win a prize or earn a scholarship to your dream university. Many students will submit their essays in the hope of being considered and the essay graders will have a lot of work. 

From the two examples, it is apparent that your essay needs to stand out from the start. The best way to make it stand out is to have a good essay starter that instantly grabs the attention of the reader. Once their attention is grabbed, they will be forced to read the entire essay and award you good grades. 

2. Passing New or Interesting Information to Readers

Apart from grabbing the attention of the readers, good essay starters can also be used to pass new or interesting information to the readers.

The new or interesting information can be facts or even fun facts concerning your topic that will make the reader want to know more through reading your entire essay. Facts can include statistics like, “Did you know that 90% of all dolphins…”

As noted, your instructor will be very busy because he/she will be reading several essays from your classmates. Because of the need to standardize the evaluation process, your class will have to write essays on related topics.

As such, your instructor will already know what to expect and he/she will treat your essay like any other. To make your essay stand out, start your essay with something interesting that will challenge the instructor to concentrate on your essay more.

3. Creating Awareness Concerning the Subject Matter or Topic

This depends on the topic of your essay. If your essay challenges social, political, economic, or environmental issues, you can start your essay with a statement that creates awareness.

For example, you can start by stating, “Youths in inner cities engage in gang violence because of high unemployment rate”. The reader will want to know why this is the case and therefore continue reading the essay. 

Can You Start an Essay with a Quote?

The answer to this question is dependent on the type of essay you are writing. It can also depend on the expertise of the writer, especially his or her ability to incorporate quotes in a paragraph.

You can start an essay with a quote if it is within the context of the topic you are writing about or it is necessary to reinforce the argument you are presenting in the essay. If the quote if it forms the thesis or the claim you are arguing in the essay. Also, a quote is an attention grabber and captures the attention of the readers’ minds.

In addition, using a quote is among the most creative strategies used to start an essay that distinguishes you from the rest.

Essay quote

Such quotes can come from politicians, famous leaders, academicians, or influential individuals known by readers.

The quotes should be introduced effectively to add value and clarity to your essay.

There are various types of quotes that can be used to begin an essay.

The commonly used forms of quotations include a summary of the original text, paraphrasing, or direct quotes.

When starting your essay using a summary, ensure that you provide a brief account of the major points.

Concerning paraphrases, ensure that the facts are similar to the original text even if you have reworded the statements. Direct quotes should contain the exact words as the original text enclosed with quotation marks (“…”). 

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How to Start an Essay with A Quote

It should be noted that you can start an essay using either short quotes or long quotes. Below are tips on how to start an essay with a short quote.

Essay quote guidelines

1. Direct Incorporation of Short Quotes into A Sentence

Short quotes are those that do not exceed four typed lines.

If you use a short quote, copy-paste it directly into your introductory paragraph.

Make sure to enclose the short quote using quotation marks.

Then, use your words to explain the significance of the quote to the topic and the reader.

2. Incorporate Lead-Ins to Introduce Quotes

Lead-ins offer the context of the quote to the reader. The reader will know that you are presenting support or evidence, and where the evidence comes from. You can use the author’s name as a lead-in, for example, “According to Mathew King…” You can also use other lead-ins like “Based on recent studies…”

3. Enclose the Direct Quote Using Quotation Marks

Anytime you directly quote another source, make sure you put them in quotation marks to show your readers that the quote does not belong to you.

When you incorporate quotation marks and an in-text citation of the source of the quote, you can directly utilize another person’s ideas or intellectual property without plagiarizing. 

4. Give a Commentary after the Quote

When you provide a quote without a commentary, you have done nothing. This is because it does not fit the context of the paper or topic, and the readers cannot connect it to the topic.

Therefore, a commentary is very important to analyze the quote and link it to your claims and topic. You can use such commentary to build on a paragraph. Read our guide on how to start a paragraph in an essay and see how this fits well when writing.

5. Paraphrase or Summary

If you have paraphrased or summarized a quote, you do not need to enclose the text with quotation marks. All you need to do is put an in-text citation after the statement to show that the ideas belong to another writer. 

Tips On How to Use Quotes in an Essay

Using quotes

1. Introduce The Quote’s Author

Every time you use a quote in any part of your essay, make sure that you first introduce the author of the quote to show the readers that the content does not belong to you. 

2. State The Quote

The second tip is to state the quote after you have introduced the author.

The quote is directly copy-pasted from the source hence it should be enclosed using quotation marks. At the end of the quote, make sure that you cite the source using your preferred academic format. 

3. Summarize The Quote

After you have stated the quote, summarize it if it is not easily understandable. However, if the quote is straightforward, there is no need for a summary. You should skip this stage and move to the analysis stage. 

4. Analyze The Quote

This is where you break the quote into its significant bits so that you can get the actual meaning. The different parts of the quote may give different meanings but create a singular meaning when brought together.

5. State The Relevance of the Quote to The Argument 

Finally, ensure that you have stated the relevance of the quote to your essay’s arguments. You must connect the quote to the central argument so that it can add value to your paper. 

Josh Jasen
Josh Jasen
When not handling complex essays and academic writing tasks, Josh is busy advising students on how to pass assignments. In spare time, he loves playing football or walking with his dog around the park.

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