"As a teen, Bill Gates used to go dumpster diving at his workplace, seeking information. That is how he got his hands on some impressive source codes."
Do you know how to start A+ essay? You can make the readers laugh or even cry from the very beginning. The right words for an essay are easy to be found once you discover the introductory statement which triggers the entire process. Essays are extremely challenging assignments for college students and professional writers. When you write essays, you commit your thoughts and make readers believe you through explaining your viewpoint. Your mission is to get your readers excited from the first sentence, and to a good hook is exactly what you need. Great hooks must be catchy, interesting, and attention grabbing. All you need to understand is how to write a good hook based on the type, purpose, and target audience of your project.
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What Is a Hook Sentence?
It is important to define what a great introduction is before learning how to write a good hook. The hook is one or several sentences of essays or research papers that serve as an introduction. It is meant to attract the reader and create a specific writing tone. As you see, it is crucial to begin academic papers with powerful opening paragraphs which contain hooking words and phrases. Although finding perfect persuasive strategies might seem difficult, there are several types of hook sentences which you may use as excellent, engaging starters.
Check out why hook sentences play an important role in the essay's introduction/conclusion.
Working on Introduction and Conclusion
You may include good hooks for essays twice in your article. The first time you do it in the introduction; then, you do it in the final part of your project which is a conclusion. It is a good method to remind the readers of what your initial purpose was. Read other writing tips to make your academic paper excellent.
To understand what would be the most suitable hook to keep your audience interested all the time, it is important to know the structure and purposes of essay introduction/conclusion.
There are six approaches to writing introduction/conclusion parts. Try to follow all of them.
|Introduction Hints||Conclusion Hints|
|Base on a true story.||Think about what will happen if proposed solution is implemented (the audience accepts your argument).|
|The scenario is when the writer makes up a story to explain the problem.||Revise the scenario by pointing to the outcomes in case target audience adopts your suggestions.|
|Opening quote, joke, fact, or statistic serve as good hooks. You may even quote a poem.||Use a real-life example of how your idea functions.|
|Describe the problem.||Share what your readers are expected to think, do, feel or believe.|
|Interpret issue vividly.||Appeal to emotions, personality, or reason.|
|Frame story/flashback.||Finish the frame story.|
You have already noticed four types of essay hook sentences. This article covers much more different types of grabbing sentences you may use to attract a greater audience.
View a detailed guideline on how to write an essay from A to Z.
Follow These Tips to Pick Good Hooks for Essays
Your opening sentence must complement the entire text instead of living its own life.
To make your essay both interesting and informative, keep in mind several general tips concerning the hook sentences.
There are times when students are free to choose a topic. The best idea is to check recently published articles to pick a good subject. Television and social networks are two other treasuries of ideas. High school students may find this information on selecting research paper topics helpful.
- Pick good hooks that best reflect your topic. A joke/anecdote won’t work if you write a paper on some serious healthcare issues (disability or cancer). However, this type of hook is a good start for the essay on modern TV shows.
- Pose a question to make your reader want to learn the answer. It is one of the most effective methods used to grab attention: the audience becomes curious. Curiosity is what makes people read the information from cover to cover, but it is important to answer the main question at the end. Never leave any questions without answers unless they are rhetorical.
- Apply transition words/phrases such as "moreover," "on the contrary," "at the same time," "in contrast," and others to connect ideas and entire sentences. Transitions will help to build a bridge between the hook sentences and the rest of your text.
- Your paper should be written in formal language, so no slang/jargon is ever allowed in professional academic writing. There are times when writers can use slang or jargon if they add several good hooks. Don't change your hook's original text even if it uses the informal English language.
- Another good idea is to have a look at the example of essay with a great hook. Some professional academic websites offer free examples of papers that may help to decide on a hook sentence. Such papers usually have the best hooks. Study them to understand the aspects of formatting plus obtain great ideas for your hook.
Now that you know the principles of using hooks in academic writing, please take some time to learn the process of writing a strong capturing sentence.
How to Write a Hook Step-by-Step
It is necessary to understand that the ways of getting readers hooked are different and don't work with every kind of essay. Should your text be creative or formal? Is it an argumentative, definition, narrative, or analytical essay? The clever idea is to take the following steps before you begin writing an introductory paragraph.
- Decide on the type of paper you are working on.It is crucial that a writer sees what he or she is writing about and what the purpose of this paper is.
- Choose the writing style and stick to it.Any fluctuations will make an author look unprofessional as professionalism is associated with stability in human mind.
- Think about your target audience.If you read several literary works about the same topic written for doctors and engineers, you will notice how the language of these books changes. Define your audience carefully.
- Create an outline of the essayThis way you will structure your writing and see which parts need to be emphasized. Keep in mind that you can find a professional writer online to complete the entire paper or just part of it.
With all these in mind, decide on a nice, strong introduction. It must be appropriate for your writing style and effective enough to make your audience interested. Below we listed amazing examples of the hooks one can incorporate.
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Tell a Good Story
People love stories since childhood. Today they are looking for opportunities to hear more and more amazing stories to brighten up their lives. Storytelling has become a major technique in creative writing and advertising/marketing. Nobody wants boring discussions anymore: we want to meet real characters with awesome stories which will convince us to pay for a product or service.
"The two boys - Eric and Curt - grew up together, dreamers on a dead-end street. Overweight and unathletic, they shied away from rough sports and played with GJ. Joes in their back yards, preferring to conduct their wars in miniature." (Tom Junod, Surviving High School).
Use Jokes as Interesting Openings
Humor is the best technique to make people get relaxed and feel they want to keep reading. If your paper's theme and the style allow you to start with a joke, take advantage of this opportunity. Good jokes or anecdotes from personal life are almighty if appropriate. Unusual, ironic comments work perfectly if you want to make your readers smile and love your piece of art.
"Scientists say that the brain chemistry of infatuation is akin to mental illness - which gives new meaning to "madly in love." (Lauren Slater, Love)
Give a Quote from Famous People at the Beginning
Wise men say wise things. Why not use one of these wise statements to introduce your work to the readers? This hook is the best way to demonstrate your belonging to the greatest people who ever lived. Show the bond between your and their ideas. The tricky part is that you must build this connection between the used quote and your essay to justify your choice and make it look a natural part of your work.
"Noam Chomsky once said, "The internet could be a very positive step towards education, organization and participation in a meaningful society."
Ask a Question
This hook always works impeccably. It is in humans' nature to look for answers to various questions and posing a question as a starter motivates readers to finish the reading to get the answer. Don't neglect this hook - your paper will become more appealing and interesting with it.
"Is there a formula - some mix of love, work, and psychological adaptation - for a good life?" (Joshua Wolf Shenk, What Makes Us Happy?)
What about Contradictions?
Contradictions are not always good, but they make the readers want to continue the discussion. Add a few concepts that don't fit together to confuse your audience so that it will motivate the readers to make it to the end.
"It was the best time in my life yet I felt really bad."
The Power of Statistics
Don't be lazy to do research and explore the world of scientific literature in search of unique facts and statistics. People love numbers because they make the news less abstract and more comprehensible. If you manage to discover these shocking numbers, make sure you include them into your piece of writing. This hook is helpful and powerful.
"Averting planetary disaster will mean forcing fossil fuel companies to give up at least $10 trillion in wealth." (Christopher Hayes, The New Abolitionism)
Make Definition Your Introduction
If you deal with an essay which has an interesting central term, it would be a good idea to start with its definition. Pick one from the official glossary. You may use the definition of the term offered by famous people like scientists or artists. Don't simply quote the dictionary - you must avoid plagiarism! Choose a concept/term/phrase carefully: your essay may have just one hook sentence in the introductory paragraph.
Theology refers to the field of study that treats of God and God's features and relations to the world of humans; the science which explores divine things or religious dogmas; divinity itself.
Share Useful Advice
People tend to have a lot of questions. Many of them keep looking for a consultation on the disturbing problem. As an essay usually aims to provide effective solutions to some problems, the good idea is to start with advice. You may find interesting recommendations from the primary sources like journal articles or secondary sources (e.g. expert interviews). Words of advice have a great impact on readers.
"One should be able to put the needs of others before his personal to have meaningful relationships like love or friendship."
Use Example of Simile or Metaphor
Both these terms mean a comparison of two things that are unrelated to each other.
"My granny's cuisine was like a holy place: no one could wear the shoes. All family members and guests had to sit there at a certain time, and occasionally they'd pray."
Find a Cool Bold Statement
A bold statement is the one which induces an opinion or reaction from your audience.
"They say soon people will be able to create clones to send them to work."
Begin with an Interesting Fact
Just like people love quotes from famous people, they love learning new facts from famous people’s lives. If you need to write a persuasive essay, this method is the card up your sleeve.
In the winter of 1769, the British explorer Captain James Cook... received from a Polynesian priest named Tupaia an astonishing gift - a map..." (David Dobbs, Restless Genes) Certainly, this list is not excessive. You may find another way of grabbing readers' attention. The more you write, the better your skills get.
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And you have to find perfect hooks for an essay even when you don’t know what to write about.
When you are asked to write an essay, it doesn’t mean that you don’t get to express your own thoughts and creativity. An essay shouldn’t be boring or too formal. As a writer, your first priority is to make sure that you are keeping your audience in mind and writing for them and to them. That means grabbing and keeping their attention so that they want to read every word.
This is exactly why the essay hook exists and is such an important tool.
The use of hooks in writing goes far beyond just essays and college papers. Every writer, copywriter, screenwriter, and storyteller uses this device to draw in readers and keep them hooked. For example, world-famous ad executive, David Ogilvy, relied on a list of 29 “magic words” that he used in titles in order to hook a client’s attention.
College essay hooks can be difficult to generate, especially when you are still working on clarifying what your essay is going to say. So, the very first step in writing a strong essay hook is to do some planning.
This type of hook is appropriate when you are writing about a particular author, story, literary phenomenon, book, etc. Using a quote will make your essay sound fresh and establish your authority as an author.
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” These words of Nick Carraway perfectly describe…”
“Not all those who wander are lost.” And yes, indeed, every person is so…”
“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” Agree or not, but these words from The Alchemist determine…”
Including a quote from an authoritative and influential person can help support your argument and create an intriguing hook. The key is to make sure that you clearly show how the quote is relevant to your essay.
“John Wooden once said, ‘Never mistake activity for achievement.'”
“Learn to laugh” were the first words from my kindergarten teacher after Ralph Thorsen spilled paint on my daffodil picture.
Don’t be afraid to employ this type of hook. Remember, even if you start with a humorous anecdote, it doesn’t mean that your entire essay has to be funny. A bit of humor can help you grab readers’ attention and spark their interest in the topic.
“As my cousin and I pedaled our new bikes to the beach, 6 years old, suntanned and young, we met an old, shaggy-haired man weaving unsteadily on a battered old bike.”
“When I was a young boy, my father worked at a coal mine. For 27 years, he made it his occupation to scrape and claw and grunt his way into the bowels of the earth, searching for fuel. On April 19, 2004, the bowels of the earth clawed back.”
Keep in mind that most essay assignments will ask you to avoid using the first person. Be sure to check any requirements before using “I” in your writing.
Almost nothing can attract interest better than a well-constructed question. Readers will want to continue reading your essay in order to discover the answer. Be sure to avoid simple “Yes” or “No” questions and try to pose questions that ask reader to consider the other side or engage in some critical thinking.
“What would you do if you could play God for a day? That’s exactly what the leaders of the tiny island nation of Guam tried to answer.”
“Have you ever wondered, whether Anna Karenina still loved Alexei if she hadn’t decided to commit a suicide?”
People respond well to visual cues. Taking the time to set a detailed scene will help your reader have a clear picture in their minds and create an effective hook. You can describe an incident or detail the particular features of a person or a character to help the readers become immersed in your writing.
“The day of his birth began with Hurricane Charlie pounding at our door in Charleston, South Carolina.”
“Deciding to attend Hampton Roads Academy, a private school, was one of my most difficult decisions.”
These types of hooks start by surprising the reader with something that may not have known. Provide an interesting fact about something you are going to discuss in your essay’s body and your audience will want to keep reading to learn more.
“Spain, though hardly a literary juggernaut, translates more books in one year than the entire Arab world has in the past one thousand years.”
“Amiable is the best way to describe Elizabeth’s personality: she was friendly and caring.”
There is no harm in getting right to the point. Start with your main argument and use the rest of your essay to support your point of view. If you have an interesting take on a subject, readers will want to see where you came up with your idea.
“It is time, at last, to speak the truth about Thanksgiving, and the truth is this. Thanksgiving is really not such a terrific holiday. . .”
“Humans need to invest more time and money into space exploration because Earth is on a certain path to destruction.”
The most interesting essays will teach the readers something new. If you start your introduction by showing that a commonly accepted truth is actually false, your readers will be instantly hooked.
“Any parent will tell you that goldfish are a great first pet for a child. They hardly need any attention, and they won’t be around for too long. Flushing a goldfish in its first week is pretty common—it even happened to my first goldfish. But it turns out that goldfish aren’t as helpless as we all think.”
“While most coffee enthusiasts would tell you that their favorite drink comes from a bean, they would be wrong. Coffee is actually made from a seed that is simply called a bean.”
By listing proven facts at the very beginning of your paper, you will create interest that can be carried throughout the rest of the essay.
“The average iceberg weighs over 100,000 metric tons.”
“70% of all jobs found today were got through different networking strategies”
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Depending on the style of essay you are writing (narrative, persuasive, personal, critical, argumentative, deductive, etc.), the type of hook you will want to use will vary. Remember, your essay hook is just a tip of an iceberg and it will not guarantee that the rest of your essay will work. Be sure to organize your research and start with an outline before deciding on the best hook to start your essay. The right choice can make your paper truly interesting and worth reading.
Written by Lesley J. Vos, our blog writer and essay proofreader. Lesley is a big fan of reading, and she is always ready to help students come up with good ideas for their papers and reach their academic goals. You can always find her on Facebook and Google+.