Starting an Essay: How to Write a Hook

 

Have you ever found yourself nearing the end of an article or post that you hadn’t intended to read, but you ended up doing so anyway — followed by the natural curiosity of how it absorbed you? That’s all! You were sucked in! That first sentence piqued your interest, and you were so intrigued that you read the entire text.

Do you want to learn some simple techniques for capturing the attention of your readers? If that’s the case, keep reading this guide and we’ll tell you everything we know.

What Is a Hook in Writing?

A hook is a brief piece of information provided at the beginning of an essay that is intended to capture and hold the attention of the reader. It is usually no more than 1-2 sentences long, but it should be so intriguing, interesting, or impressive that readers naturally want to know more and read on.

There are no restrictions on using a hook in most essay types. Everything is dependent on the hook. A line from a poem, for example, is not an appropriate hook for an expository essay, whereas a joke has little chance of becoming an effective hook for a persuasive essay on a serious topic.

It is critical to understand that a hook is not a substitute for an introduction. It complements rather than replaces it. In reality, it is merely an optional way to begin the introductory section of your essay. The following is the structure of an introduction with a hook:

A Hook + Short Description of your Topic + Thesis.

Here is an example:

A Hook: Did you know that 0.3 percent of the solar energy emitted by the Sahara is enough to power all of Europe?

Short Description of a Topic: Yes, the opportunities provided by such natural energy sources are impressive. So, why aren’t we using them to their full potential, and when will that change?

Thesis: As is often the case, the problem appears to be within people’s minds and their inability to act.

Don’t jump to conclusions if you have the strong impression that writing a good hook is easy. The cost of making a mistake is prohibitively expensive. A bad hook will have the opposite effect on readers, causing them to stop reading after a few sentences. Assume your essay topic is climate change; here are two hooks. We’ll see which of these is correctly written:

  1. Climate change has a wide range of effects on human lives and health, including threats to clean air, safe drinking water, a nutritious food supply, and safe shelter.
  2. According to the World Health Organization, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year between 2030 and 2050 due to malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea, and heat stress alone.

Which one would you pick? – That’s right, the second one. This example demonstrates both a “bad” and a “good” hook. A good hook will be appropriate for the essay type, will be appropriate for the writer’s style, and will gently lead readers to the main topic. While a bad hook will cause readers to have lower expectations for the essay, the essay itself may not always live up to those expectations.

How to Write a Good Hook for Your Essay

Here are some guidelines to follow if you want to learn how to write the best essay hook possible:

  • Keep your essay type in mind. This is the most fundamental thing you’ll need to know in order to find a suitable hook. An effective hook is about more than just its message; it is also about its relevance. A good and appropriate hook for a romantic novel review and an argumentative essay will be very different. We’ll go over some examples below.
  • Decide on the purpose of your hook. What effect do you want it to have? Do you want to pique your readers’ interest? Or, better yet, are you surprised? Or even a little taken aback? Select a hook based on the effect you want to achieve.
  • Choose a hook at the end of the writing process. Despite the fact that it should be the first sentence of your paper, it doesn’t mean you should write your hook first. Writing an essay is a long and creative process. So, if you couldn’t think of an effective hook at the beginning, just keep writing according to your plan, and it will eventually come into your head. If you were lucky enough to concoct your hook right away, double check your writing to see if it still fits into the whole text and its style (once you’ve finished writing).
  • Make it really short The shorter the better – this is a general rule that applies to essay hooks. Keeping your hook to a minimum size will ensure that readers read it as soon as they begin reading your essay. Even before they decide whether or not to read it, their attention will be drawn and their curiosity will get the best of them. As a result, they will continue to read the entire text in order to learn as much as possible.
  • Strategies for Writing an Essay Hook

Now, let’s move directly to hook types that exist, and their features:

Literary Quotes

Obviously, the best place to use a literary quote as a hook is in a book review. Though its application is not limited to that, it is primarily determined by the meaning and style of the quote. Despite this, it is one of the simplest to find and use. We advise extreme caution when dealing with them. Remember that literary quotations should not be used in expository or persuasive essays.

Example: To begin your compare-and-contrast essay on William Shakespeare’s works from different eras, use the following lines: “A little bit more than kin and a little bit less than kind” (Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2)

Quotes from Famous People

This is another type of hook that is commonly used—and perhaps a little overused. If you want to use this one but don’t want to be boring, choose a modern figure with significant accomplishments to keep your readers interested and motivated to keep reading.

Example Hook:“ There must be reasons why you wake up in the morning and want to live.”

Elon Musk’s quotes are, in general, excellent hooks for persuasive essays on how to achieve the best results of your life in business and how to make a difference in the world.

Common Misconception

Demonstrate to the readers that something they believe in is false. Then, connect it to your work’s thesis. The goal of this method is to amplify disagreement within your topic and even create a disturbance that will compel readers to read on.

Example Hook:“The Buddha was not fat”, “Fortune cookies are not Chinese”.

You can begin with these phrases to demonstrate how frequently things differ from how we are accustomed to seeing them. This method is typically used in explanation or reflection essays.

Anecdotes and Jokes

If the subject is not too serious, these can be a good option. Using a joke at the beginning of your paper, however, does not necessarily imply that your essay should be humorous as well. Also, remember to keep it brief. To achieve the best results, the joke should be brief and well-targeted.

Example Hook:“I stop fighting my inner demons, because we are on the same side.”

This is the most effective way to begin an explanatory essay about the role of bad habits in our lives and how to understand them rather than fight them.

Personal Stories

Only use this type of hook if you can summarize your story in 2-3 sentences. In all other cases, look for a different hook. Furthermore, don’t tell too much of a personal story, and consider whether it will be appropriate for the style. Narrative essays are an excellent opportunity to share an interesting story with your readers.

Statistics

This type of hook is extremely effective and can be used in situations where other types of hooks are ineffective. For serious topics and persuasive essays, use statistics. Figures are almost as effective as seeing something with your own eyes. Exact figures, rather than the words “many” or “a lot,” usually impress people.

Example Hook:There are 4.2 billion Instagram Likes per day.

Questions

The trick’s secret is related to the principles of how the human brain works. When you hear a question, your brain begins to process it, even if no one asks you to answer it—even if it is a rhetorical question. Your readers will begin to consider your question, even if they already have their own answers, or they will become interested in your point of view. Another important point is that such questions should be unusual, if not unexpected. You can even ask a common question from a unique perspective. Don’t ask mundane or uninteresting questions.

Example Hook:“Have you ever thought about how much plastic waste you produce every year?”

This question will most likely pique your readers’ interest, cause them to stop reading and think about it. Following that, they will be delighted to hear your thoughts on the plastic pollution problem. This hook is appropriate for an argumentative or cause-and-effect essay.

Fact or Definition

You could start your essay with an interesting fact or a definition related to your topic. The same rule applies here as it does for the majority of the other types: it should be interesting, unexpected, and/or shocking.

Example Hook:“ The population of the United States is 319 million, and the number of firearms owned by US citizens is 371 million [resource link] — there are more guns than people.”

This is a great option to start your gun control essay.

Scenes

Visual information is easier for most people to remember and process. Another interesting fact about the human brain is that we like to imagine words as images in our heads. So, if I tell you to imagine a big shaggy dog, don’t. You will do the exact opposite! Making people imagine what you write about involves them more. Use it to write narrative or descriptive essays.

Example Hook:“ Imagine yourself sitting in front of the fire with a cup of delicious tea and your closest friends.”

Thesis Statement

Another trick is to not use any tricks at all. Simply begin with your main statement. You won’t be able to say much in a couple of sentences, but you don’t have to. You may, however, outline what you intend to say in your essay and why it is so important.

Example Hook:“I strongly believe that the most important thing in preventing nature’s pollution are our personal contributions, and I would like to share my experience with you.”

Despite the fact that this guide is not short, we are confident that it will assist you in writing short and effective hooks for your essays. Try it, and you’ll quickly realize how useful this technique is.