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Google-esque is...." Is it appropriate to use a sentence that only contains one word with the following sentence describing the first? A one-word sentence in the beginning of an essay isn't cliche.I think you'd be in a different ballpark if we were talking about a one-word sentence beginning a piece of creative writing.A one word sentence in a college essay for a teacher you don't know (or TA's who you don't know) would seem sloppy, especially if it's the first thing they read after the title.
As to your example, I'd say that's an example of a failure. Google-esque is...," you are just being repetitive. Leading off with an atonally snappy opening sentence is a very common mistake.
You are breaking a grammar rule for dramatic effect, and then not getting any dramatic effect. It is a strange, awkward, and ugly word, bordering on a monstrosity. A better question, perhaps, is "why is the word even necessary?
(c) I would always begin an essay with its aim or "setting", to provide the readers with a stepping stone into my argument.
If they read "Google-esque.", they have no idea why you throw that word at them.
Other tactics include using a statistic or an anecdote.
Avoid using definitions or clichés as your hook; these hook tactics are overused and could create the opposite effect of your intended purpose of reeling your readers into your essay.
If you write an essay on the word "google-esque" or on Google, the company, why not use "Google-esque" as the title, or as the first part of it (e.g.
"Google-esque: How we perceive the world through a search engine.")?
If, on the other hand, you open with something like "Internet users today ..." or "We must ... Summary: I would do something like: The answer to your general question is: no, not cliché, and yes, you could do it in a college essay IF you write well enough to carry it off. It's like a woman attempting a triple axel is figure skating. That immediately alerts the reader to the potential inefficiency of a one word sentence. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).
If she can carry it off, it's a big plus, but the odds and cost of failure are high. Be aware that you are setting a snappy, informal tone for your essay. More importantly, can you maintain that tone for the whole essay? Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?