Every sentence needs a beginning, but we should avoid certain introductory phrases. Consider both the effectiveness and necessity of the words you select. A sentence, especially the initial one, should start strong. A sentence opener is the enticing bait on your hook. A hook is your initial sentence and how you lure someone into your writing.
Sentence Opener Rule #1: Avoid opinion statements as sentence openers.
In the primary grades, teachers offer sentence starters to help students begin a sentence. Many elementary school handouts offer opinion statements, and young writers learn to write by giving their thoughts on a subject. As we evolve as writers, we should avoid these starters to begin our sentences:
I think that…
I feel like…
I guess that…
I hope that…this might be a decent sentence.
Opinion openers are the speech crutches of written communication. It’s like saying “um” at the beginning of your sentence. Um, who wants that in their writing? Well, you can safely remove them, and voila, your sentence is completely intact.
In addition, opinion openers weaken the credibility of the writer–especially in a persuasive piece. They offer an uncertain tone, and your reader may doubt your authority on an issue.
When I edit for someone, this is how I treat opinion statements as sentence openers:
I think that I will start a blog.
I feel like I have something to say.
I guess that It’s important to share my thoughts.
I hope that I can impact others with my words.