How to Write a Hook: 11 Most Interesting Ways to Start an Essay


How to Write a Hook: 11 Most Interesting Ways to Start an Essay

"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 an A+ essay and hook your readers? You can make the readers laugh or even cry from the very beginning. The right words for your paper 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 by 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.

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 essay introduction and conclusion

You may include a good hook in an essay twice in your article. The first time you include your hook 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 of an essay was. Read other writing tips to make your academic essay 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 essay introduction/conclusion parts and the best hook for them. Try to follow all of them.

Essay Introduction Hints Essay Conclusion Hints
Base on a true story. Think about what will happen if the 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 the 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 hook sentences you may use to attract a greater audience to your essay.

View a detailed guideline on how to write an essay from A to Z.

Follow these tips to pick good hooks for essays

Your essay 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 for their essay. The best idea is to check recently published articles to pick a good subject for their essay. Television and social networks are two other treasuries of ideas. High school students may find the information on selecting research paper topics helpful.

  • Pick a good hook that best reflects 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. Other good ways to grab the reader’s attention are quotes, interesting facts, statistics. Everything is up to you. If you have your own idea for the good essay start, don’t hesitate to use it.
  • Pose a question to make your reader want to learn the answer in your essay. 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. Also, linking words are going to help you make the transitions between hook sentences and paragraphs smoother.
  • 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 an 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 hook ideas. Study them to understand the aspects of essay formatting plus obtain great ideas for your hook. Use academic databases to find samples of hooks of a good quality that will only improve your essay.

Now that you know the principles of using a hook in an essay and academic writing, please take some time to learn the process of creating 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 working on 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. There are many types of essays, so learn more about them to make a final decision.
  • Choose the style and stick to it. Any fluctuations will make an author look unprofessional as professionalism is associated with stability in the human mind.
  • Think about the target audience of your essay. 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. Understanding who your potential readers are will help you choose the vocabulary better.
  • Create an outline of the essay. This way you will structure your writing and see which parts need to be emphasized. The outline is similar to creating a plan for an essay. If you are not sure how to do that, dig down a little bit and read more articles on how to create it. 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 style and have a hook effective enough to make your audience interested. Below we listed amazing examples of the hooks the writer can incorporate.

Tell a good story as a hook

People love stories since childhood. These days, 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.

Example:

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 backyards, preferring to conduct their wars in miniature.

Tom Junod, Surviving High School

Use jokes as interesting essay 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, use this hook.

Example:

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.

Example:

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 in your essay — your paper will become more appealing and interesting with it.

Example:

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 in an essay?

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. This hook can be very effective in your essay.

Example:

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 essay hook is helpful and powerful.

Example:

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 in 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 for your hook carefully: your essay may have just one hook sentence in the introductory paragraph of your essay. You can also change a definition a bit and add your own ideas and understanding of it.

Example:

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. Just don’t put on your paper a recommendation that is too obvious.

Example:

One should be able to put the needs of others before his personal to have meaningful relationships like love or friendship.

Use the example of simile or metaphor

Both these terms mean a comparison of two things that are unrelated to each other. Sometimes things have a stronger connection than it seems. Using weird comparisons and connections in your writing will be surprising and still interesting, so don’t be afraid to do that.

Example:

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 for your hook

A bold statement is the one which induces an opinion or reaction from your audience. It might be a little dangerous to include such bold hook in your paper, but if done properly, more readers will be interested in your writing. Just make sure that you don’t go beyond the limits.

Example:

They say soon people will be able to create clones to send them to work.

Begin your essay with an interesting fact

Just like people love quotes from famous people, they love learning new facts from famous people’s lives. A story of a famous person might actually be a great hook for the essay your write. Especially if you need to work on a persuasive essay, this hook is the card up your sleeve.

Example:

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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