How to Write a Good Hook for Your Essay. Essay Hook Ideas and Examples
Have you ever opened a book and after reading a couple of sentences realized you have no wish to continue? No one wants to read boring writing, right? And it may happen that once you start reading something, you are captured from the very first letter and are simply curious to find out what is next. It means that the very first sentence grabbed your attention.
So how did the author manage to “hook” you? The author just created an interesting and eye-catching first sentence that will not leave anyone indifferent. And if you want your essay to grab your professor’s attention the same way, let’s find out how to write a hook for an essay.
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A hook is, as a rule, is the first or second sentence of the essay that aims to catch the eye of the reader and make him want to read it till the very end. But be careful, a hook is not an introduction! An introduction can’t be replaced with a hook; it can only be opened with it. Once your audience is hooked, your task is to provide your topic and a thesis statement.
You may think that only pieces of literature should be interesting and eye-catching and an essay doesn’t have to sound the same way while you need it only to get your grade. But you are wrong then while your grade directly depends on what impression you make on your professor.
Sure, an essay is more formal writing and it may put you into certain frameworks and somehow limit your imagination and creativity. However, you should remember that entertaining and educating your target reader is the main goal of your essay whatever it is. When people start reading something, their attitude is already prejudicial.
You may even recall yourself when you have been assigned to read a certain piece of literature. Haven’t you thought “Another boring book I have to read”? Your professor thinks the same when he opens your essay – it is another boring paper he has to read. And you can change his opinion on it and your attitude to you if you manage to impress him from the very first sentence and convince him to keep reading your essay till the end. A captivating hook is your main tool to do that and make your essay stand out of all the rest.
Using different types of hooks will help you do it well. The hooks are perfect attention grabbers and will help you keep your reader interested throughout the whole paper. Your readers should think. When starting with hooks, your task is not only to catch the attention of the audience but also to give to the reader certain emotions and impressions. Don’t neglect to make your introduction interesting, while a couple of first sentences may become crucial for your success! The reader should stop for a minute and think of what he has just read. Then you may consider your hook a successful one.
Create a detailed picture for your reader. And the type of essay doesn’t matter in that case. Make your reader feel like he is a part of the story. So what should you do? Add as many details as possible to your essay so the reader would imagine himself in that story. You can use hooks in the beginning only but it should be a deal-breaker for the whole story.
Your reader should be interested in reading the whole story. Make sure not to make your hook the most interesting part of your writing. The audience should be willing to read more but don’t get an impression as if they have seen all in a couple of sentences! A hook should be interesting but the most impressive things have to be saved for later.
Some hook ideas that you will find throughout that article may help you write a perfect and outstanding paper the beginning of which would be really eye-catching and intriguing. However, before you start your essay, you should keep in mind the following:
- Realize to the fullest what kind of paper you write. Every type of essay requires a different approach, writing strategy, and your writing skills. So make sure to realize the difference between the types of essays. Writing critical and writing argumentative essays require convincing a reader and supporting your argument, while descriptive, narrative, and definition essays need your description of specific concepts or events.
- If you don’t know how to start a paper, then remember you should start it with an outline. It will help you imagine how your eventual essay will look like and what things you should highlight.
- Define your target audience. Your paper should develop in a particular way, so make sure to understand who you aim your essay at. You probably realize that the language and the manner of writing for children and professionals would be different.
- Understand your goal. You should clearly understand where you can go humorous and where you have to be serious in your essay. You should keep your essay formal if you create conference writing, for example, and you can use jokes if you write for a popular magazine. Stick to the general style and framework of your topic.
- Don’t use more than 1 or 2 hooks in your essay. Don’t make your reader lost and avoid plagiarism. You can add a hook not only in the introduction but also to start your conclusion.
Hook sentences can be presented in the form of questions, statistics, quotes, or even jokes or anecdotes. However, it is important to keep it related to the main topic of your paper. Below, we have provided some examples of a good hook so you could realize how your first sentence should look like to make an unforgettable impression on everyone who will ever read your paper.
Questions are a great tool to start any essay while when you ask your reader something, they start thinking on it in their mind and visualize it. And they wait for the author to give them an answer to his question.
Essay hook example (using a question): What is the difference between successful college students and unsuccessful ones?
This hook is perfect for informational writings. You can use a quote that relates to the main topic of your essay and contains some numbers, statistics, comparisons, percentages, etc. Make sure to explain the meaning of that quote and how it relates to your paper.
Essay hook example (using statistics): 75% of people pretend using a phone to avoid the interaction. People pretend to be busy not to talk to other people.
This type of hooks is very eye-catching when used properly. But the source of the quote has to be credible only. But make sure it is relevant to your topic and doesn’t confuse the reader. So it would be better to explain its meaning afterward.
Essay hook example (using a quote): “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” – said Leo Tolstoy in his Anna Karenina novel. The success of the marriage consists of several aspects.
An anecdote or joke about grabbing the readers’ attention is perfect. But as in all previous cases, it should relate to the topic.
Essay hook example (using a joke): A 56-year-old lady had a heart attack and was taken to the hospital. On the operating table, she was clinically dead. The lady saw God and asked him if that was her time up. God replied that she had another 42 years to live. Once she recovered, a woman came up with the decision to stay in the hospital and have liposuction, breast implants, face-lift, and teeth-brightening. She even changed her hair color while she wanted to enjoy life to the fullest since she had 42 more years to live. She left the hospital in a wonderful mood and plans for a long life in her new body but she was killed by the ambulance when crossing the street. The lady appeared in front of God again and screamed: “You told me I had 42 more years, so why didn’t you save me from that ambulance?” God replied: “I didn’t recognize you.”
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An attention grabber is a must for any paper, no matter whether you write a book or an essay. Below, you will find some interesting hook examples which will help you create an interesting introduction for your essay. Your catching sentence has to be effective, so don’t hesitate to use the following ideas and make them yours. Before you start, you should be aware of certain mistakes to avoid.
- Avoid creating an outstanding beginning without bonding it to the main topic of the paper. Your starter is just a part of the paper and not separate writing. You will not be able to support your main idea if your powerful words are not related to it.
- Avoid not sticking to the style and tone of your work. Don’t start with a personal story if you write for a scientific journal, for example. You should clearly evaluate the situation.
- Avoid not taking your target audience into account. When writing for teenagers, don’t use scientific language, use less formal one, and vice versa.
Remember these three key points to create a great hook for your essay. And now, pay attention to the following hook examples:
The fact or statistics you provide should come from credible sources, be interesting or inspiring. Try to find facts which are unknown to most people. You can search for facts in such sources, like interviews, documentaries, websites, official reports, newspapers, books, magazines, scientific journals, etc. The fact or statistics should be trustworthy and convince people what you have written is true.
Example: Nearly 50% of all marriages in the United States end up with a divorce or separation, according to the recent research conducted by the Wilkinson & Finkbeiner Family Law Attorneys.
If you write on the problem of divorces in your country and the reasons for them, that statistics will help your reader to understand the problem from the very beginning and start thinking about what causes people to divorce or separate from the very first sentence. This information is the most critical and discussed in society. After providing the fact, you can start discussing why the problem is crucial for modern society and what people can do to improve the situation.
Example: According to a Nielsen study released in 2015, an average smartphone user utilizes from 25 to 30 mobile apps.
This fact will help app developers understand how helpful mobile apps are considered by users and use that information for their further developments, for example.
A thesis is something you are obliged to develop throughout your paper. Once you have a unique idea, you are free to introduce it at the very beginning of your essay. When a thesis is used at the beginning, it promises a reader to tell about something special.
Example: My decision to attend the Cranbrook Academy of Art was one of the most difficult ones.
After providing this information on your personal experience, you are going to tell about the background of it. People are curious to know why that decision was so difficult and read it till the end.
A quote from your favorite book, movie, or even a cartoon is one of the best ways to catch the eye of your reader.
Example: “It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wings can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world.” – Chaos Theory.
By the way, The Butterfly Effect movie is a great example of using a quotation hook at the very beginning. Although it is not a paper, the quote, in the beginning, catches people’s attention and keeps the intrigue till the very end.
Using a metaphor or a simile, as well as any other literature tool, is a great idea for a hook. It can be short but tell a lot.
Example: My life has been a carnival.
Such a hook sentence will intrigue your reader and will make them interested in what you are going to tell next, to find out all the background of your life and the reasons for making such a statement.
Such hooks are perfect for any type of writing, while you can pose any question related to your topic.
- Muhammad Ali is the greatest boxer of all times, isn’t he?
- People can’t survive without water, can they?
- The Earth is round, isn’t it?
People used to believe any question may have their answers. Rhetorical questions should have obvious answers and don’t require your explanations. Starting your essay with a rhetorical question is an interesting way to intrigue the reader. You can ask them questions on the sense of life, ethical values, crimes, existence, etc.
A scene aims to depict a scene from real life or a fiction story. And your topic doesn’t matter. The scene aims to make the readers feel the emotions of the heroes.
Example: The day of my birth began with Hurricane Gilbert Joan in Nicaragua.
Isn’t that a great beginning to grab the interest of your reader? Instead of writing ”My name is John, I was born in 1988 in Nicaragua…” you can use such a scene depicting the day of your birth and keeping the interest of the reader from the very beginning till the very end.
As was already described earlier, you can start with an anecdote or joke and make people laugh.
Example: Why do we tell actors to break a leg? – Because every play has a cast.
The only thing you should remember is that your joke should relate to your main idea, otherwise, it will be a failure. Providing a joke that has a direct relation to your plot is one of the best ways to make people feel positive about your paper.
We hope that these hooks for essays will help you come up with the idea of your own. You can use any hook that will relate to your story. Apart from the above-mentioned, you can use a story as an opening for your essay. Stories always get people’s attention but if you write a story about some famous people, the effect will be even better. Readers enjoy nice stories. A contradiction is a great starter, too. The contradiction should combine two opposite situations or ideas. You can also start with a dilemma, the best advice you have ever got, with how you see yourself in the future, with a definition, or even your comparison to a celebrity or a well-known person.
Now you know how to start an essay and how to write a good hook for an essay, you can easily cope with that task on your own. Don’t hesitate to use our tricks and tips to make your target audience really interested in what you are going to tell them. It is crucial for any piece of writing and academic one as well.
An excellent hook is crucial for the success of your paper. It requires you to do some research and show your excellent writing skills. And if you are not sure you have enough of them or that you are not able to devote enough time to your essay, you’d better entrust that responsible task to professionals. They will not only create an outstanding essay hook for you but will make the whole paper interesting and exciting. Your readers surely will not be left indifferent when the paper is written by the experts. So we recommend not procrastinating but thinking of the success of your essay beforehand.