We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Lead Paragraph?

By Mark Wollacott
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

This is a lead paragraph. It is the first paragraph of an essay, article or book. The lead paragraph contains the essential information about the article or essay and the hook that keeps readers interested. It is extremely important to get it right; otherwise readers will be led elsewhere.

The lead paragraph of an article’s primary function is to hook readers. This means it needs to entice readers by letting them know what the article is about, while not telling them everything they need to know. Once a reader’s interest is piqued, he or she will continue reading to the bottom of the piece.

The paragraph needs to be brief and specific and it needs to have active sentences. Such paragraphs are best prepared by considering the what, where, when, why and how of the article. The writer also looks to highlight the conflict in the article, because it is the conflict or angle that provokes a response. The lead must also be deliverable in the body of the article.

Essay lead paragraphs require slightly different information to those found in articles. The essay lead needs to address the question directly and demonstrate an understanding of the question. It then explains the angle of the answer taken in the essay, the route this was taken and a basic outline of the answer to the question. None of this information needs to be in detail or explained in depth; this will be done later in the essay. The leading paragraph of an essay should be written last, after the conclusion.

The term ‘lead paragraph’ has also found its way into novels and chapters. While less important in the chapter, it is also one of the hooks that persuades readers to buy or borrow a book. Readers will often look at two or three parts of the book when deciding to buy or not: the blurb, the first page, and with some, the final page.

The key element of any book or article lead paragraph is the first line. This is the case especially in fiction where the first paragraph does not explain the whole story. Classic first lines include Leo Tolstoy’s “All happy families are alike, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” in ‘Anna Karenina.’ Another example is Dodie Smith’s “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink” in ‘I Capture the Castle.’ The first line is the first step in a great first paragraph.

Learning to write a good lead paragraph requires practice as well as good writing skills. The best first paragraph rarely comes to mind straight away. Writers often go back once they have finished the rest of the piece to work on the first line and the first paragraph. This is because editing naturally improves flow and allows the mind to build on what is already there, but also because the writer understands the piece more thoroughly once finished than before it is written.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Discussion Comments
Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.