Sentence Starters for Essays

A sentence starter is simply a word or a phrase that will help you to get your sentence going when you feel stuck, and it can be helpful in many different situations. A good sentence starter can help you better transition from one paragraph to another or connect two ideas. If not started correctly, your sentence will likely sound choppy, and your reader might not be able to follow your thoughts.

Below, we will explain when sentence starters for essays are used and what types of them exist. We will then give you plenty of examples of sentence-starter words and phrases that you can use in your writing.

Note: To learn more about word choice in academic writing, you can read our guide: Words to Use in an Essay

Why you need good sentence starters

In academic writing, sentence starters are usually used to connect one idea to another. Sentence starters make your essay coherent as they are often used to transition from one paragraph to another. In other words, they glue your writing together so that it makes sense and is easy to read.

You can also use sentence starters inside paragraphs. This will help you to better transition from one idea to another. It can make your writing flow better and sound more unified if done correctly.

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When sentence starters are used

You don’t have to use them in every sentence, but they can be helpful if you feel like your ideas are choppy or you want to connect two thoughts. If overused, sentence starters can make your writing sound repetitive and distracting to the reader.

Here’s a list of cases where you should consider using sentence starters:

  • To transition from one paragraph or section of your writing to another
  • To introduce a new idea at the start of your essay or paragraph
  • To start the final paragraph and conclude the entire essay
  • To emphasize something important
  • To create a hook and grab your reader’s attention
  • To clarify something or give brief background information

These are just some common situations for using sentence starters, and this list is not definitive. If you can’t decide whether or not to use a sentence starter, it’s usually best to err on the side of not using one. If your paragraph flows nicely, don’t overthink it and move on with your essay writing.

What are the different types of sentence starters?

Sentence starters vary based on what you want to achieve in the sentence you’re starting. Here are some of the most common purposes that define what sentence starter you need to apply, along with some examples.

Starters for hooks

If you want to grab your reader’s attention in the first paragraph and make them want to read your essay, you need to use introduction sentence starters that are attention-grabbing and interesting. Some common sentence starters for essay hooks are:

  • Did you know that… (for a fact)
  • When I was… (for an anecdote)
  • Just as… (for an analogy)
  • According to… (for a statistic)

Starters to start a thesis statement

The thesis statement is the main idea of your essay. It’s what you want to prove or argue in your essay. You will need to use sentence starters that introduce your essay topic in a clear and concise way. For example:

  • This essay will discuss…
  • The purpose of this essay is to…
  • In this essay, I will argue that…
  • In my opinion…
  • I think that…

Starters for topic sentences

A topic sentence is the first sentence at the beginning of each body paragraph that introduces the main idea of the paragraph. You will want to use body paragraph starters that state the main idea of the paragraph in a clear and concise way. Some specific examples:

  • One reason why…
  • The most important thing to remember is that…
  • Another important factor to consider is…
  • The first thing to note is that…
  • It’s important to remember that…
  • Besides the previous point,…

Starters for concluding

When you’re concluding your essay, you need to use conclusion sentence starters that emphasize the main points of your argument and leave your reader with a strong impression. Here are some examples:

  • In conclusion,…
  • To sum up,…
  • Overall,…
  • To conclude,…
  • Finally,…
  • In the final analysis,…

Starters for lists

If you’re listing ideas or items, you will want to use sentence starters that introduce each item clearly. Some common list starters are:

  • The first…
  • The second…
  • Thirdly,…
  • Next,…
  • Lastly,…

Starters for comparing and contrasting

If you’re writing an essay that compares and contrasts two or more things, you will need to use sentence starters that introduce each item you’re discussing and emphasize the similarities and/or differences. For example:

  • Similarly,…
  • However,…
  • In contrast to…
  • On the other hand,…
  • Compared to…
  • Despite the fact that…

Starters for elaborating

If you want to elaborate on an idea, you need to use sentence starters that introduce the detail you’re going to include and how it relates to the main idea. Some common starters for elaborating are:

  • For example,…
  • In other words,…
  • That is to say,…
  • To elaborate,…
  • Another way to put it would be…
  • To put it more simply,…

Starters for giving background information

If you want to give some brief background information in your essay, you need to use sentence starters that introduce the information and explain why it’s relevant. For example:

  • As previously mentioned,…
  • As everyone knows,…
  • In today’s society,…

Starters for giving an example

If you want to give an example in your essay, you need to use sentence starters that introduce the example and explain how it supports your argument. For example:

  • For instance,…
  • To illustrate,…
  • Thus,…
  • In this case,…

Starters for introducing a quotation

If you want to include a quotation in your essay, you need to use sentence starters that introduce the quotation and explain its relevance. Some examples:

  • As John Doe said,…
  • In other words,…
  • According to Jane Doe,…
  • As the old saying goes,…
  • In Jane Doe’s words,…
  • To put it another way,…

Starters for introducing evidence

If you want to include evidence in your essay, you need to use sentence starters that introduce the evidence and explain its relevance. For example:

  • The data shows that…
  • This proves that…
  • This suggests that…
  • The evidence indicates that…

Starters for bridging

If you want to create a bridge sentence between two paragraphs, you need to use sentence starters that introduce the second paragraph and explain how it relates to the first. For example:

  • This leads to the question,…
  • This raises the issue,…
  • Another important point to consider is…
  • This brings us to the question of…

Starters to show causation

If you want to show causation in your essay, you need to use sentence starters that introduce the cause and explain its relationship to the effect. For example:

  • Because of this,…
  • As a result,…
  • Consequently,…
  • Due to the fact that…
  • Therefore,…

Starters to emphasize a point

If you want to emphasize a point in your essay, you need to use sentence starters that draw attention to the point and make it clear why it’s important. Examples of sentence starters to add emphasis:

  • In other words,…
  • To put it another way,…
  • That is to say,…
  • Importantly,…
  • Significantly,…

Starters to express doubt

If you want to express doubt about an idea in your essay, you need to use sentence starters that make it clear you’re not certain and explain why you have doubts. For example:

  • It’s possible that…
  • It’s uncertain whether…
  • Some people might argue that…
  • There is evidence to suggest that…
  • Although it is debatable,…
  • It might be the case that…

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CONTINUE

Key takeaways

  • Sentence starters are especially important in academic writing because they can help you make complex arguments and express yourself clearly.
  • There are many different types of sentence starters, each with its own purpose.
  • You need to choose the right sentence starter for the specific task you’re writing about.
  • When in doubt, err on the side of caution and choose a simpler sentence starter.

Now that you know the different types of sentence starters and how to use them effectively, you’ll be able to write clear, concise, and well-organized essays.

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