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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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!
"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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Creating texts is a complicated task for any person, but it is not really a talent – it is more of skill. If a person who is aware of nothing about writing, practices and reads the helpful articles how to improve their technics, writes a bit each day and carefully proofreads their text, they will 100% become a good writer soon. However, this skill requires a lot of work, patience, and the capacity and wish to revise and rewrite your text as many times as needed. Do you want to become a qualified essay writer? Then be ready to step on one of the most complicated paths.
We have prepared an article for the writers who already have some skills, but need to learn how not only to make texts that are readable but that also truly attract the readers’ attention. This article is going to introduce you to the so-called “essay hooks” that will make your essay more intriguing and piquant. You might have never heard of this term that is why we are going to explain to you how your essay hook has to look like and what it is.
Read also: Do you have someone to write my paper for me?
What is an Essay Hook?
Just like in boxing, the hook is a punch that knocks down the opponent, in writing, it is the sentence whose effect is so fast that the reader is so captured, they find themselves lost in the world of words and phrases. The hook sentences are the ones that attract your attention by offering some clinging information that intrigues you and you wish to read a bit more to find out what that sentence was supposed to mean. In the result, you end up reading the whole article, and the aim of a writer is achieved. You might wish to be aware of how to write a hook – there are several rules that will help you in mastering this skill. Do you wish to find out more? Then keep on reading!
Identify Your Audience
It does not matter for which resource you are creating an article it always has an audience. Whether it is for the school, your own blog, or the random website, there have to be particular features that unite the people who are going to examine your essay. Knowing well your readers will aid you to invent how to attract their attention and surprise them. If your audience is an intelligent type, you might wish to use the literary quote as the hook sentence. If your readers are mostly kids and young people, the simple anecdote will be a perfect match. Just imagine your readers in your mind and start writing for them – the creation of the text will be easier because you are aware of whom you are addressing.
Identify a Purpose of Your Writing
You will be aware of how to write a hook for an essay if you fully understand the purpose of your writing. Do you wish to make your reader be afraid? Then the hook sentence has to be some fact that will terrify your audience. Do you want to put your reader in the playful mood? Then provide an anecdote for the hook sentence. You need to realize why you are creating this article and how you wish your narratees to feel about it. You have to be aware of what you wish your readers to take away from your article – cheer up, question the facts, or become frightened. This will help you to formulate the hook sentences much better. When you know the reason why you are creating the essay, your flow of words and sentences will be even.
Create the Hooks
Here, you are very welcome to turn in your imagination, and having in mind who your audience is and why you are creating your article, you can create the powerful hook sentences. You have to start your essay with the hook sentence already because if the audience reads the first couple of sentences from the article, and they are not attracted, they will not give your text another chance by reading it till the end. They will simply switch to another article. You need to divide your essay into several paragraphs and start each paragraph with the hook sentence. Your reader will thus be motivated to read the text until the end.
Essay Hook Types to Use
Do you understand now what the hook sentences are and how to make them? Very well. The next thing we want to try to explain to you is what types of hooks exist. Of course, it is pretty difficult to define the types because as long as your imagination works, the hooks will keep on appearing making your writing technics better. But let us be honest – the types still exist, and we will show you the most basic ones so that you are aware of what we mean based on the elementary examples. Are you still interested? Then do not close the article and keep on reading!
There is something about the literary quotes that makes the audience read it until the end (if it is not five lines, of course). It has a magical effect because as soon as you find that the name of the author is famous, you want to find out what they thought about one thing or another. Writing an essay hook like this is pretty easy – you take the topic, search for the quote that seems attractive to you, and add to your article. The following paragraph needs to explain what the quote says and be a natural continuation of it.
A perfect essay hook for the text aimed to entertain your reader would be a short anecdote. Even if you do not intend your paragraph to be funny, a bit of humor in its beginning will attract the audience’s attention. The only thing you have to pay attention to is whether your essay does or does not have to contain the first person narration. The majority of anecdotes are told from the first person – if it is not allowed to use “I,” just find an anecdote that is told from the third person.
Here, you have to be careful because the question needs to be truly intriguing. It has to be well-constructed and clear to the reader – you have to make them want to find out the answer to it by reading the following paragraph. It is not easy to write a good hook especially if it is a question. Before inventing the question, check if the answer to it is neither “Yes,” nor “No” – the best option here would be to ask the question that offers the choice. In the paragraph, you are not obliged to choose sides and indeed choose something. You only have to mention the pros and cons of both and allow your reader to decide themselves what to choose.
Fact or Definition
There is no better way to grab your reader’s attention than to provide some curious fact or the definition of the word they have never heard of. The best essay hook examples here would be: “The US has more people with mental disorders than any other country in the world” or “Kakorrhaphiophobia is a fear of failure.” See? You were yourself interested when you read this! Using these technics will guarantee your article would be popular among your audience.
Another hit that would make any article attractive to your reader. For some reason, when people see the numbers, they feel the need to read the sentence until the end. If your sentence is short and clear, and it provides interesting and useful statistical data about something, the audience will read it. Do you not believe us? Check yourself: “41% of the children in Africa are engaged in child labor aged between 5 and 14.” We bet you not only read the sentence until the end but also took a moment and thought how terrible this is to hear. We bet you would read the following paragraph to find out more about this horrifying statistics.
What is a hook in an essay? Now you know. Do you understand now what we meant when we said it is a difficult path to choose? Unfortunately, writing readable texts is not enough. You have to keep your audience on their toes. You have to make it want to read the text until the end. You have to make it feel sorry when the article is over. You have to make it want to read more of your articles. And here, the knowledge of how to write the hook sentences will come in handy.
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