Good Sentence Starters for College Essays

by Will Martins/ Updated October 16, 2019

I’m gonna be honest with you, I couldn’t start writing this article for like 20 minutes. I knew what I wanted to write about, I had a plan for it, but I just didn’t know how to start my first sentence. Is that a familiar feeling to you? Do you often get stuck when writing an essay? Well, that shouldn’t be a problem anymore since I’ve got a list of sentence starters for you.

Unlike me, you can’t just start your paper with such a confession. However, using some good sentence starters for essays will help you to get your thoughts on paper (or screen) much faster. Consider them a hook that will fish the whole sentences out of your head.

Introduction Sentence Starters

Different words and phrases can be used in different parts of an essay. In fact, some of them can often be used only in those specific parts. So, while these introduction sentence starters for essays will help you write the first paragraph, they will not serve as concluding sentence starters (you’ll find those further below).

  • This essay discusses…
  • In this essay…
  • The definition of…
  • Views on… range from…
  • The subject of discussion…
  • The key aspect discussed…
  • (The subject) is defined/examined/explored/justified…

Paragraph Starters

The body paragraph starters are the most numerous group, and that’s not surprising. In its turn, it’s subdivided into smaller groups, based on the purposes of different phrases.

And it’s more convenient than having a long list of sentence starters for essays. You know what you want to say in the next part of your essay, you already have previous sentences, so all you have to do is identify the purpose and choose the sentence starter that will fit the best.

Expressing a Viewpoint

Some essays welcome you to express your opinion, others are based on it and require you to do that throughout the whole paper. Use this list to have different ways to share your position without starting sentences in the same way each time.

  • According to my point of view, …
  • My position is that…
  • In my view, …
  • As I see it, …
  • To me, …
  • I think that…
  • I believe that…
  • In my opinion, …
  • It seems to me that…
  • My stance is that…
  • My attitude is that…

Comparison and Contrast

Quite obviously, this is an indispensable list for writing a compare and contrast essay. However, it may come in handy in many other cases as well.

  • Similarly, …
  • In comparison, …
  • In the same way/manner, …
  • Likewise, …
  • Just like (before), …
  • Complementary to this…
  • In contrast, …
  • On the contrary, …
  • This is in contrast to…
  • On the other hand, …
  • Whereas…
  • However, …
  • Nevertheless, …
  • Notwithstanding…
  • Despite this, …
  • Then again, …
  • And yet, …
  • Conversely, …
  • That aside, …

Adding Ideas

If you’ve been wondering how to introduce new ideas in your paper, the list below is the answer to that. Just make sure you pick the most appropriate one for your essay to flow naturally.

  • Also, …
  • Moreover, …
  • Equally important…
  • Another essential point…
  • Furthermore, …
  • Subsequently, …
  • More importantly, …
  • As well as …
  • Additionally, …
  • In addition, …
  • Then, …
  • Besides…
  • To elaborate, …
  • Then again, …

Indication of Time/Sequence

The following transitional words and phrases are especially useful for cases when you are narrating events or introducing a series of arguments.

  • Earlier, …
  • Following that, …
  • To begin with, …
  • After that, …
  • After a while, …
  • Before long, …
  • First, …
  • First of all, …
  • Firstly, …
  • Second, …
  • Third, …
  • Next, …
  • After…
  • After that, …
  • Afterwards, …
  • When, …
  • At this point, …
  • Eventually, …
  • Lastly, …
  • Finally, …
  • Subsequently, …

Presenting Common or Widespread Ideas

If you want to stress that a certain opinion is shared by many, use the following words. This is also a good way to introduce statistical data in your essay.

  • Numerous…
  • The majority…
  • Many…
  • More than…
  • Almost all…
  • Most…
  • Usually…
  • Several…
  • Commonly…

Presenting Uncommon or Rare Ideas

The opposite of the previous group, which can help either to present your own opinion you are going to defend or showcase the disadvantage of a particular point of view.

  • Seldom…
  • It is uncommon…
  • Few…
  • Not many…
  • It is scarce…
  • A few…
  • It is rare…
  • Rarely…

Giving Examples

You got it, these are sentence starters for illustrating one thing, event, or idea with the help of another, similar to it.

  • For example, …
  • For instance, …
  • To illustrate, …
  • An illustration of…
  • As can be seen in…
  • As demonstrated by…
  • As an example, …
  • Specifically, …

Making Emphasis

Quite often, you want to make sure the reader doesn’t overlook something, so you need to let him or her know to pay attention to the sentence by starting it in one of the following ways.

  • It is important to state that…
  • Essentially, …
  • As a highlight, …
  • As an emphasis, …
  • In essence, …
  • To lay emphasis, …
  • Again, …

Conclusion Starters

You need conclusion paragraph starters to transition to the part where you summarize your essay. Remember, that these sentence starters for college essays can also be used whenever you are drawing a conclusion to an idea or a concept in your paper, even if you haven’t gotten to the last paragraph yet. They will introduce a closure on the matter, as well as demonstrate that you know how to use academic language to share and organize your thoughts properly.

  • In conclusion…
  • In summary, …
  • Lastly…
  • To sum up, …
  • It is my conviction that …
  • Finally, …
  • It is clear that…
  • Hence, …
  • Thus, …
  • In closing…
  • In short, …
  • In brief, …

So, this is my list of sentence starters for essays, reviews, reports, and all kinds of academic papers. It is in no way a complete one, as I am sure you can come up with some good starters on your own, and certain types of papers will require additional phrases, specific for those works. For a simple essay, however, that should be enough.