A Hook In A Essay

Anyone who's ever been a student will agree that writing an essay is not easy. In fact, it seems to be quite a challenging task: finding proper ideas, arranging the text according to the rules, keeping the style consistent throughout the entire work. Let us assume that you've composed a great essay but when you give it to others for editing, they literally force themselves to read till the end. Not because you lack writing skills, but because your essay is...simply boring. In short, readers don't enjoy following the flow of your thoughts. Why does it happen? Here comes an explanation.

The 20 seconds rule

The reader subconsciously estimates the value of the text during the first 20 seconds of reading it. Obviously, it is impossible to get all the worthy ideas from the text in 20 seconds, but that's how much time it takes to make your impression and decide whether you want to keep on reading or not. Sure, your college professor MUST read your essay until the end, but when it comes to online audience, you have to fight for their attention. What you need is a "hook" to grab the interest of those to whom your essay is addressed. Sounds like taking part in a competition, perhaps, but it is exactly what you should be best at in order for your works to get noticed and appreciated.

What's a hook in writing?

A hook is not merely a metaphor. Actually, this widely used tool was first mentioned by Aristotle in the context of drama. Hooks were used to involve spectators into the action, make them captivated by whatever happens on stage. Such technique can be applied to writing as well. So, here comes the hook definition in literature: a hook is a literary device in an opening sentence (-s) used in order to attract a reader's attention. That is to say, you should offer a striking beginning to motivate your readers and encourage further reading. Offer the intriguing or mysterious setting, create the right mood, allude to the theme or conflict, surprise the reader with casting him/her into the middle of an action. This is one of the features that literature and movies have in common: both of them have to capture and keep attention, both need a proper hook.

What is a hook in an essay?

As you know, each kind of essay starts with the introduction presenting a topic and posing a statement. However, the statement should be presented in a logical manner; that is why it is usually preceded by a few generalized sentences. These sentences are your hook. A pitfall here is that you may ponder on the hook words for essays for hours while generating the essay body in your mind. Therefore, get down to business: write the essay body first and then work on the hook. Having the framework in front of you eases the construction of the lacking essay parts. That is an effective "recipe" for many writers.

Not only the first sentences but also the last ones may serve as a hook for your essay. Introduce the closing hooks for essays through posing a controversial or tricky question, intriguing with unusual outlook, presenting the generally known facts as brand new ones. In short, get your audience really interested. A conclusion usually echoes the intro part, so if your essay is framed by hooks, you hit the target.

How to write a hook?

Well, knowing how to use essay hooks is undoubtedly a must for every writer. Below there are some tips that will help you write effective hooks for all essay types. Consider different kinds of hooks and choose the optimal one for writing either an introduction or a conclusion. Since it's the introduction that goes first, let us start off with hook introduction examples.

Quote of a well-known person

Indicating the author is obligatory. Quoting the acknowledged personality not only grabs attention immediately but also brings a sense of credibility to your writing. Check out the following quotes, and you will see that they are all well-suited to be followed by a thesis:

  • "Never say more than is necessary." ― Richard Brinsley Sheridan;
  • "Be a worthy worker and work will come." ― Amit Kalantri;
  • "Great losses are great lessons." ― Amit Kalantri;
  • "The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today." ― H. Jackson Brown;
  • "An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." ― Benjamin Franklin;
  • "Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship." ― Buddha.

Click on the links below to find plenty of wise sayings worth being used as hook sentences for essays:

Brainyquote.com

Goodreads.com

Keepinsiring.me

2. A piece of advice:

  • "Never reply when you are angry. Never make a promise when you are happy. Never make a decision when you are sad";
  • "When you say yes to others make sure you are not saying no to yourself." ― Paulo Coehlo;
  • "Don't ever dumb yourself down just to make someone else feel comfortable";
  • "Best advice in two lines: Silence is the best answer for all questions. Smiling is the best reaction in all situations";
  • "Listen to advice from people who have been there and done that. It is so hard to believe that when you are young, but parents, mentors, teachers, they can all be so valuable when it comes to advice";

3. Contradictory statement:

  • "The well-bred contradict other people. The wise contradict themselves." ― Oscar Wilde;
  • "Everybody sets out to do something, and everybody does something, but no one does what he sets out to do." ― George A. Moore;
  • "I believe in nothing, everything is sacred. I believe in everything, nothing is sacred." ― Tom Robbins;

4. Surprising and interesting fact:

  • "Bill Gates' first business was Traf-O-Data, a company involved in producing machines that recorded the number of cars passing a given point on a road"
  • "Ketchup was being sold in the 1830s as medicine";
  • "Celery has negative calories: it takes more calories to eat a piece of celery than the celery has in it to begin with. It's the same with apples";
  • "If you were to remove all of the empty space from the atoms that make up every human on earth, the entire world population could fit into an apple."

5. Rhetorical question:

  • Why bother about...?
  • What if...?
  • How come...?
  • What does it mean to...?
  • What should be done if...?

6. Humorous statement:

  • "Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive." ― Elbert Hubbard;
  • "There are only three things women need in life: food, water, and compliments." ― Chris Rock;
  • "They say marriages are made in Heaven. But so is thunder and lightning." ― Clint Eastwood;
  • "Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it." ― Charles Dudley Warner;
  • "Two wrongs don't make a right, but they make a good excuse." ― Thomas Szasz.

7. Describing the setting

Choose the book or story your essay will be based on and use its first lines in your introduction. It should set the mood, introduce characters, hint towards the historical or cultural background. Such hooks to start an essay take the reader straightforwardly into the action, without long preambles.

8. Statistics:

  • "The number of worldwide social media users is expected to reach 2.5 billion by 2018";
  • "70% of the U.S. population has at least one social networking profile";
  • "100 million Internet users watch online video each day";
  • "Only 12% of businesses feel that they are using social media effectively, and yet approximately 60% of businesses have their profiles on various social media channels".

9. Unusual comparison

  • "Life is like a bar of soap, once you think you've got a hold of it, it slips away";
  • "Life is like a 1,000-page book. You want to quit halfway through, but then you realize you have a lot left to look forward to";
  • "Life is like a party. You invite a lot of people; some go, some join you, some laugh with you, some didn't come. But in the end, after the fun, there would be a few who would clean up the mess with you. And most of the time, those were the uninvited ones".

Closing hooks for essays: really needed?

The hook examples listed above may serve as hooks for a conclusion as well. Don't underestimate the importance of the concluding part of your essay: it should not be just a summary of each body paragraph. It's like putting a cherry on top of the cake: conclusion has to leave your audience satisfied, but at the same time intrigue them to investigate the topic more. Rewriting the thesis doesn't fit: better do it in an interesting, innovative way. Try to step into your potential readers' shoes and read your essay again. Now, what questions are left unanswered? Write them down as rhetorical ones. What saying comes to your mind after reading an essay? Include it in your conclusion in the shape of a quote. Or just offer a humorous, sarcastic idea. Get your audience hooked for the second time while reading your essay.

Well, confess: having read all the tips, do you feel inspired, especially now that you know exactly how to begin an essay and finish it? Do not waste time then, get down to writing!

If someone is searching for a book or article to read, he or she will decide from the very beginning whether this work is worth attention. Ironically, the book can be an awesome piece of writing. If the opening lines are dull, a reader will unlikely keep reading the rest.

A hook in the essay is a catchy sentence or paragraph in the introduction which serves as an attention-grabbing element.

The effectiveness of the hook is defined by its ability to motivate people to read the entire text. A hook sentence is the most recommended way to start an academic paper of any type as it gives a hint of what the topic is and what kind of questions will be observed. It keeps the reading audience intrigued to the end. 

An excellent hook sentence is engaging and interesting; it is a perfect method to start an argumentative or persuasive paper. The problem is that once students start, they forget to keep the rest of the paper interesting. It's important to define the target audience, thesis, and supporting arguments not to fall off the point. However, this article is focused on writing a hook; it is time to find out the ways a writer can pick the most appropriate attention grabber. View these great tips on writing a school/college essay to get more information.

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How to Write a Hook sentence?

Before we begin to talk about types of perfect essay hook, we want to mention several steps students should take to decide on which hook to choose.

How to write a good hook?

  • You must have a clear vision of what kind of a literary work you are working on.

Definition, descriptive, and narrative essays differ from argumentative and critical essays a lot because they require different writing strategies. In the initial group of essays, you need to describe certain events or concepts, whether the second group requires you to use persuasive techniques to support your argument.

It allows writers to see how the work is structured better and which points to highlight.

  • Understand who you are writing for.

Each cohort, each generation has its own language, and your primary task is to choose a particular way in which your work will develop. When you write for children, write for children. If you write for language professionals, take their specific language into account - it is an effective way to get an action plan and follow it.

  • Realize why you are writing this essay.

If it is a paper on a complicated topic for a popular magazine, you can go funny and humorous, and your readers will love this approach. Yet, if you write a conference paper, be more formal. Good hooks must fit in your writing frame, your tone and style.

The answer to the question is 'no.' You can't use more than 1-2 hook sentences in your paper because you risk having high plagiarism level and making your reader lost. Try to choose only one powerful hook as the opening sentence of paper's introduction. You can also add a hook at the beginning of conclusion (learn how to write conclusion).

Let's Look at Some Catchy Hooks for Essays

START WITH AN INTERESTING FACT

Example:

"Archaeologists believe, based on marks they've seen on mummies, that human beings had tattoos between 4000 and 2000 B.C. in Egypt."(David Shields, 36 Tattoos)

Do you want to make the audience read your full text? Amaze them with the great introduction! Get them hooked with the help of a fact they have never heard and keep them interested throughout the entire work. Such hook sentences do not necessarily need specific figures. Check out this article: don't you want to learn more about where tattoos have come from and what they mean?

STATE A THESIS

Example:

"Few aspects of the American mythos form such a complex set of relationships with the African American experience as the idea of the frontier."(Pamela Swanigan, Much the Same on the Other Side: The Boondocks and the Symbolic Frontier)

If you have a great idea and you want to be straightforward and introduce it immediately because it is unique, do what you want. Why is this particular sentence so hooking? It intrigues the readers because using such a structure the author 'promises' she will tell us about something special. We are interested in the concept of frontier now.

Unlike other types of hook sentences, a thesis is something a writer is obligated to develop in every new paper - view the general structure here. That is why it is better to start with another hook to have two attention grabbers in the introduction.

PLACE YOUR FAVORITE LITERARY QUOTE

Example:

"I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."(J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring)

It would be a good hook in an essay of several types: a writer can choose to focus on the value of time, review "The Fellowship of the Ring" storyline, or describe the character of Gandalf. A great hook is the one which has many different applications in one text.

QUOTE FAMOUS PEOPLE YOU BELIEVE ARE WISE

Example:

"Any achievement in business is never accomplished by a single person; a team of skilled members from diversified fields is always needed." (Steve Jobs)

The wisdom of this man has no doubts. People tend to believe every single word Steve Jobs says as he has achieved amazing results, wealthy being, and a new age of technology. Such people are worth listening. It is a good idea to start a paper on business, management, leadership, marketing, or even IT from these words.

PURCHASE CHEAP ESSAYS OF ANY TYPE

USE A GREAT STORY AS AN OPENING

Example:

"In late 1979, a twenty-four-year-old entrepreneur paid a visit to a research center in Silicon Valley called Xerox PARC. He was the co-founder of a small computer startup down the road, in Cupertino. His name was Steve Jobs."(Malcolm Gladwell, Creation Myth)

Do you need anything else to get hooked? It is a brilliant essay starter. Stories are always effective, but stories about famous people are on top. Do the research, read great people's biographies and find correlations with the theme of your writing. Give readers a nice story, and they will enjoy it.

SETA SCENE ANOTHER TIME

Example:

"The dark blue glitter was penetrating, leaving no space for creativity. In just one stare, Mary's eyes defined a lot about her true passion, her devotion and her commitment to her cause. Most of the employees that day left the corporation once launched by Mike Myers without saying a word, but feeling completely different people." (Unknown writer)

This category of good hooks is almost the same as the previously discussed attention-grabber. The goal of the writer is to describe a certain scene taken from the fiction story or real life. No matter what the topic is, it is the effective method used to make the readers not only think but feel the emotions of heroes.

ANECDOTE/JOKE TO MAKE PEOPLE LAUGH

Example:

"A Chukcha comes into a shop and asks: "Do you have color TVs?" "Yes, we do." "Give me a green one." (Unknown author)

Every day we learn different jokes from our colleagues, family, or friends. If you want to share these funny stories with your teacher or classmates, the best way is to use anecdotes as the relaxing hook sentences. They make people both laugh and feel less stressed. Humor is one of the keys to success in our life, and a good anecdote is not an exception. In our case, the anecdote may start a serious topic like the problems people with colorblindness experience. The anecdote can serve as an introduction to the research on stereotypes about Chukcha, especially their intellect. The same anecdote may open an essay on different types of humor.

STRIKE WITH NUMBERS AND STATISTICS

Example:

"According to 2008 figures from the Pew Research Center, 97% of today's K-12 students spend many hours each week playing video games."(Keith Devlin, Learning Math with a Video Game)

Every time you want to draw the audience's attention, start the intro paragraph with large numbers and interesting statistics. Demonstrate that you did extensive research and created a good basis for your discussion.

SURPRISE READERS BY REVEALING A COMMON MISCONCEPTION

Example:

"We all know that a tongue has several sections which are exclusively responsible for a particular taste: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. The idea was disproven by other studies and research."

What can be more intriguing than finding out that an idea you have had in mind for years is wrong? This is a perfect trigger, and it will get your audience hooked in a second.

INVOLVE A CONTRADICTION

Example:

"Mrs. Lynch's freaky dress made me feel excited and disgusted at the same time; it was not the best choice."

Good hooks may include contradictions. The example shows a contradictive sentence combines opposite ideas/situations.

CREATE AN IMAGE, SIMILE, OR METAPHOR

Example:

"To make an omelet you need not only those broken eggs but someone 'oppressed' to beat them..." (Joan Didion, The Women's Movement)

Obviously, this isn't a recipe or a story about eggs. The writer starts with a very simple, everyday image, and then adds a drop of unpredictability - 'oppressed' ones to break the eggs. We call such sentence a fantastic starter and a great hook.

POSE A RHETORICAL QUESTION

Example:

"We all need food and water to live, don't we?" "People today know that the Earth is round, don't they?" "Children always find something new interesting, don't they?" "How much would you pay to save the life of your beloved ones?"

People think that all questions may have answers. There is a special type of questions known as rhetorical questions; they can be good hooks for essays on any topic. These questions have obvious answers. There is no need to explain why humans can't survive without food, how we learned that the planet is round, or why human life is priceless. It's just the way to let your reader think. It is an interesting way to start a paper on hate crime, life, existence, the universe, sense of life, moral or ethical values, etc.

ASK A QUESTION - GIVE AN ANSWER!

Examples:

"Why do novelists write essays? Most publishers would rather have a novel."(Zadie Smith, The Rise of the Essay)

"What a nice question! We want to know the answer now, and we keep reading and reading and realize that we have finished the entire piece. Nothing is more hooking that a question that interests lots of people. Don't be afraid to use this trick if you want people to get sincerely interested in your academic writing.

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